History

Items that are historically significant in some way. They may be recent history or ancient history, pertinent to local history or something on a grander scale…

Genocide in California’s History

July 6, 2020 by Source

Junipero Serra1Originally published on August 15, 2008

by gjohnsit / DailyKos / August 14, 2008

What do you think of when someone says “California”? Beaches? Sunshine? Hollywood?

How about the largest act of genocide in American history?

“The idea, strange as it may appear, never occurred to them (the Indians) that they were suffering for the great cause of civilization, which, in the natural course of things, must exterminate Indians.”
– Special Agent J. Ross Browne, Indian Affairs

California was one of the last areas of the New World to be colonized. It wasn’t until 1769 that the first mission, Mission San Diego de Alcalá, was built in California at present-day San Diego. It was the first of 21 missions, which would become the primary means for the Spaniards to subjugate the natives. The leader of this effort was Franciscan friar Junípero Serra.

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San Diego Media Need to Stop Calling Our Airport ‘Lindbergh Field’ After White Supremacist and Anti-Semite Charles Lindbergh

June 29, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

The leaders of the Orange County Democratic Party are pressuring to drop actor John Wayne’s name, statue and other likenesses from the county’s airport because of his racist and bigoted comments.

It’s part of a national movement to remove white supremacist symbols and names from American institutions, monuments, businesses, nonprofits, sports leagues and teams. And now airports.

Orange County officials passed an emergency resolution condemning Wayne’s “racist and bigoted statements” made in a 1971 interview. They are also calling on the Orange County Board of Supervisors to drop his name, statue and other likenesses from the international airport, whose name is simply John Wayne Airport. They want to restore the airport to its original name, Orange County Airport.

Now seems like an excellent moment to do the same here in San Diego and stop calling our airport after Charles Lindbergh – a known anti-Semite and white supremacist,

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May 8, 1970 – the Day the Anti-Vietnam War Movement Came to Point Loma

May 8, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

Exactly 50 years ago today, May 8, 1970, the anti-Vietnam war was thrust upon the sleepy neighborhood of Point Loma.

4,000 mainly college students showed up in the early hours of that day on Catalina Boulevard and created a passive resistance march and blockade of the gates of NEL, the Naval Electronics Lab (since renamed). NEL was known for its war-related research and the action was seen as a blow against the Vietnam war by thousands of trying to jam up the gears of the war machine.

Nixon had just invaded Cambodia instead of winding down the war, as he had promised. Protests at colleges and universities blew up across the nation. Protests at Kent State in Ohio turned deadly when National Guardsmen fired into crowds of unarmed demonstrators, killing four and wounding eleven others. Fifty years ago this day, the entrance to the military facility was effectively blocked

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UCSD Student George Winne Burned Himself to Death in Protest of the War – May 10, 1970

May 8, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

George Winne, 23, a History major at UC San Diego strolled out to the middle of Revelle Plaza on Sunday, May 10, 1970. It was about 4 o’clock in the afternoon. A huge anti-war protest had occurred earlier that weekend in downtown San Diego. It’s not known whether Winne attended it, but it’s unlikely.

President Nixon had invaded Cambodia and the campuses across the nation blew up in protests. One protest at Kent State University in Ohio ended in the deaths of four students shot by National Guardsmen.

When Winne came out to the plaza, he carried a sign, which read, “In God’s name, end this war.” It was a simple message. He also carried rags which he had saturated with gasoline.

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The Murders at Jackson State, Mississippi During the May 1970 Student Rebellion

May 6, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

The killings at Jackson State occurred 5 minutes after midnight, May 15, 1970
Besides the Kent State Four, there were two other murders during the May 1970 student rebellion fifty years ago. Police opened fire on a Black girls’ dormitory at Jackson State College in Mississippi on May 15, killing two young, African-American men, and wounding another dozen people.

The Jackson State killings, however, never received the media and protesters’ attention as those at Kent State did. There were demonstrations in response, of course, but not as wide-spread as those following the deaths of the 4 white students. From an ingrained media racism, to the privileges of white, middle-class young, to the fatigue and exhaustion of a protest movement nearly spun out – there are a number of factors for this difference.

But – as in the Kent State incident – no one was ever held accountable for the killings.

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May 5, 1970 Was the Most Violent Day Within the Country in American History

May 5, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

The day after the Kent State Massacre, Tuesday, May 5, was one of the most violent days in American history. It was the day when college and university students realized that four from their generation were dead because of protests against the Vietnam war. It certainly ranks up there as one of the most turbulent days inside the country.

What follows in our latest installment in the series commemorating the student rebellion and strike of May 1970. We offer it without apology, without recourse but with the knowledge that despite the tedious repetition, it is part of our American experience, an important day in our modern history.

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No, Cinco de Mayo Is Not Mexican Independence Day

May 5, 2020 by Brent Beltran

cinco-de-mayo oldschool

Editor: The following is an excerpt from Brent Beltran’s weekly column Desde Logan at the San Diego Free Press in 2013. What follows is worth repeating as Gringos typically are kept in the dark about the history of a people a few dozen miles away.

By Brent E. Beltrán

Cinco de Mayo commemorates El Día de la Batalla de Puebla (The Day of the Battle of Puebla) where in 1862 a ragtag Mexican army lead by General Ignacio Zaragoza defeated a much superior and better equipped force of the French army. Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day. It’s not even a significant holiday in Mexico except in the state of Puebla where the battle took place.

After the great liberal Mexican president Benito Juarez decided to stop paying Mexico’s foreign debt for two years to help it’s near bankrupt national treasury France’s Napoleon III, pissed off by this move, decided to invade and build up it’s empire.

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May 4, 1970: Kent State Murders 50 Years Ago Today – ‘The Day the World Turned Upside Down’

May 4, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

Fifty years ago exactly, on May 4, 1970, was the day the world turned upside down for an entire American generation of young people. It was the day National Guardsmen on the campus of Kent State University in Ohio aimed their M1 rifles at crowds of unarmed demonstrating college students and fired.

15 students were hit by bullets – four of them died either instantly or within minutes and eleven were wounded, one so badly he was maimed for life.

This day, then, stands out – as Pearl Harbor did for an earlier generation, as 9-11 did for a later generation. It was one thing to protest the Cambodian invasion and the war in Vietnam, it was quite another to be shot to death by American soldiers on an American college campus for protesting the wars.

The date May 4, 1970 will forever be associated with the murders of four young people.

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‘I was in a sit-in at UCSD when we heard about the killings at Kent State.’

May 4, 2020 by Source
Thumbnail image for ‘I was in a sit-in at UCSD when we heard about the killings at Kent State.’

Originally posted May 4, 2009.

By Dr. Anonymouse

May 4th, 1970, is forever etched in my brain and memory cells. I was a student at UCSD, and we had just taken over the 5th floor of Urey Hall – a Science building – in protest of the University’s complicity in the Vietnam War, when we heard the bad news from Kent State. It came over a small radio someone had perched on a chair out on the balcony overlooking the Quad. …

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May 2-3, 1970: The Weekend Before the Storm 50 Years Ago

May 2, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

The weekend of Saturday, May 2 and Sunday, May 3, 1970 – exactly 50 years ago – was the “lull” before the storm of protests that erupted and enveloped the nation in response to President Nixon’s invasion of Cambodia.

Thus, we continue our series of installments of a day-by-day recounting of what came down half a century ago, which is actually just a sampling of what happened during that first week of May 1970. From coast to coast and everywhere in between college and university students rebelled – sometimes violently – against Nixon’s expansion of the Vietnam War.

Nixon had been elected in 1968 because he had a “peace plan” and had actually begun bringing US troops back to the states – when he announced on April 30 that he was sending American troops into Vietnam’s neighbor Cambodia, a diplomatically neutral country.

Protests began immediately (see the intro to the series here, and Part 1 here) and ultimately involved literally millions of students and faculty members with the closings of hundreds of campuses,

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50 Years Ago Today – May 1, 1970 – the Rebellion Begins

May 1, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

As part of our week-long commemoration of the student rebellion of 50 years ago exactly, we begin with May 1, 1970. (See the intro here.)

On April 30, 1970, then President Richard Milhouse Nixon announced he was sending US troops from Vietnam into Cambodia, a diplomatically-neutral country. His announcement set off a month of intense protests by mainly college and university students across the country, from Maine to Southern California.

What follows here is a sampling of the reaction by students on April 30 and May 1 of that year (raw data for my upcoming book, 1970: The May Rebellion). It was a different time. The only people bringing guns to campuses then were cops and National Guardsmen. And on May 4, National Guardsmen shot and killed four unarmed students, wounding 11 others on the campus of Kent State University in Ohio. Ten days later, two young Black men were murdered by local police at Jackson State in Mississippi.

But first … this, as we cross the country from the northeast to the southwest, the rebellion began:

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May 1st – A Day to Remember the Folks Who Brought You the 8-Hour Day

May 1, 2020 by Jim Miller

Originally posted April 29, 2019

By Jim Miller

The majority of Americans don’t know much about May Day or they simply associate it with the state sponsored holiday in the former Soviet Union. For the most part, it’s lost down the memory hole. But if you dig a little deeper, you’ll discover a whole forgotten history of American workers and their struggle for basic dignity and rights in the workplace and in society.

The truth of the matter is that May Day has deep American roots. It started in 1866 as part of the movement pushing for the 8-hour day.

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50 Years Since the Rebellion of May of 1970

April 30, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

By Frank Gormlie

Introduction to Series

A half century ago exactly, our country was being literally torn apart over the war in Vietnam and its subsequent escalations. Today, the only reference to the Vietnam War is how the number of American deaths from the COVID-19 virus have now exceeded the deaths of US servicemen during the entire Vietnam period.

Yet, history has caught up with us.

Fifty years ago exactly to the day, on April 30, 1970, President Richard Nixon announced to the nation that he had ordered the invasion of Cambodia by US troops. Nixon didn’t call it an “invasion” but it was clear he was expanding the war in Vietnam and Southeast Asia, not de-escalating it as he had pledged.

With his announcement, Nixon set off a month-long torrent of protest mainly by college and university students, an intensity never seen before on American campuses.

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How Did We Get From Earth Day To Trump?

April 22, 2020 by Source

Fifty years after the first Earth Day, the connection between the environment and human health has never been more obvious.

By David Helvarg / HuffPost / April 22, 2020

Twenty million people rallied, marched and staged clean-ups across the country on April 22, 1970, the first Earth Day. Many carried signs that read “Mother Nature Bats Last.”
But who knew there would be actual bats involved?

Fifty years later, the COVID-19 pandemic is the starkest example of natural disasters foretold but not prepared for.

The destruction of unique habitats, logging of rainforests and consumption of displaced wildlife such as bats, chimps and endangered pangolins has led to most of our recent viral outbreaks, from AIDS and Ebola to the coronavirus. This only confirms the scientific consensus that human health and prosperity depend on a healthy environment.

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Scripps Scientist Says ‘Don’t Go Near the Ocean’ as Beach Is One of Most Dangerous Places Right Now

April 7, 2020 by Source

UPDATE: Please see Kim Prather’s clarification on her position about staying out of the ocean here.

By Rosanna Xia / Los Angeles Times / April 2, 2020

Kim Prather, a leading atmospheric chemist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, wants to yell out her window at every surfer, runner, and biker she spots along the San Diego coast.

“I wouldn’t go in the water if you paid me $1 million right now,” she said. The beach, in her estimation, is one of the most dangerous places to be these days, as the novel coronavirus marches silently across California.

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In a Black History State of Mind in the Time of Virus

March 16, 2020 by Ernie McCray

(With a Little Help from Coretta Scott King)

by Ernie McCray

I had a very nice time, a little while ago, on an exceptionally lovely Saturday afternoon at “A Gospel Brunch” at the Educational Cultural Complex, “ECC” – a place that means a lot to me, personally.

We were there to celebrate Coretta Scott King and her contributions to keeping Martin’s dream, for social justice and inclusion for all, alive.

I arrived in a Black History state of mind, playing in my mind, some of the wonderful experiences I’ve had at ECC, acting on the stage, a wonderful space that will be renovated from part of the proceeds from the day, or addressing a class or reading my poetry and attending special occasions like on this day.

I kind of felt that I was in a fantasy world, in a way, sitting among so many friendly smiling faces, enjoying a mimosa and some down home southern cooking – just appreciating, for one thing, that for three days in a row, I had been to ceremonies where San Diego Black History was being kept very much alive – beyond February.

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OB Historical Society: Dible Family Silent Movie – Thurs. Feb.20

February 17, 2020 by Source

Come join the Ocean Beach Historical Society and see this fun and captivating step back into OB’s and San Diego’s rich history.

OBHS Presents: the “Dible Family 1928 – 1938 Silent Movie”, which features clips of Sunset Cliffs, La Jolla, Ocean Beach, Point Loma, Mission Beach, San Diego Bay, Coronado, Balboa Park, Julian, Downtown San Diego, Catalina, Tijuana, and other locales.

COME INSIDE FOR MORE DETAILS

This Program is Free!

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Peninsula Planning Board Calls Proposed Changes to North Chapel ‘Fundamentally Inconsistent’ With Its Historical Use

January 23, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

The Chairperson of the Peninsula Community Planning Board, Robert Goldyn, has written a letter on behalf of the Board to Mayor Faulconer and other city officials calling the proposed “modifications” to the North Chapel at Liberty Station “fundamentally inconsistent with the historical use of the property.”

Goldyn was responding to a presentation by the property managers of North Chapel at the most recent meeting of the Board on January 16. (See OB Rag reporter Geoff Page’s report here.)

828 Venues representatives – the current sublessee – had described the proposed changes – as Goldyn noted – “that include, in particular, the removal of substantially all of the pews that are currently installed in the building and the removal of several stained glass windows, each of which have been specifically identified as historic resources in the Guidelines for Historic Properties at NTC.”

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Talking Love in Tucson at a Breakfast for Martin Luther King

January 23, 2020 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

I’ve been asked,

as we honor

Martin Luther King,

to speak of what I

have overcome in life.

In ten minutes.

And I’m thinking “Wow, really?”

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More on San Diego’s Great Flood of 1916 and Charles Hatfield – ‘the Rainmaker’

January 23, 2020 by Source

Sweetwater Dam and Reservoir (Photo by Barbara Zaragoza)Editordude: The following is a reposting of a two-part series we published in 2016 by Patricia Maxwell on San Diego’s Great Flood of 1916 and on Charles Hatfield, the “Rainmaker.”

Part 1

Originally posted Jan. 21, 2016

By Patricia Maxwell

Today’s residents of Chula Vista have much in common with citizens of a hundred years ago. Make that a thousand years or more. Southern California has always been an arid land, with cycles of drought, interspersed with wet years every now and again.

In December of 1915, San Diego’s city fathers tackled the issue from a completely different angle. They hired a rainmaker!

The impetus for their decision was the unfilled Morena Reservoir in the mountains sixty miles east of San Diego. A rock-filled dam had been completed in 1912, but the reservoir had yet to be filled beyond a third of its capacity. Other reservoirs in the area shared the same problem. None were filled and the city was growing. The rainmaker, Mr. Charles Hatfield, said “I will fill the Morena Reservoir …”

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Reader Rant: The ‘100-Year Flood’ Will Come to San Diego Some Day

January 20, 2020 by Source

By Stan Levin

Through the 1960’s and 70’s I taught in the city’s public elementary schools. Each year I told my students about the history of a severe drought that San Diego had been experiencing up until late January, 1916.

A brilliant scoundrel, one Charles Hatfield, arrived on the scene, and convinced the public he could make it rain, but the distraught citizens would need to fork over $10,000 for it.

Be reminded that most of the county was watershed at the time, and the end of the line watershed was low lying Mission Valley, where rainwater from all directions ultimately found its way, and emptied into the sea downstream.

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‘Once Upon A Time’ in San Diego

January 20, 2020 by Source

By Colleen O’Connor

Trying to recover from the flu? Or avoid the wall-to-wall Impeachment imbroglio?

This is a pleasant, fun, and perfect distraction for anyone older than thirty.

Remember all those amazing San Diego gifts once readily available — and mostly free — but, now long gone. Try.

For example, once upon a time, kids could go the publicly-owned pitch and put golf course and learn to swing a club for free. Tap, ballet, and swim classes were also available — for free — from the City’s Park and Recreation Department.

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This Martin Luther King Jr. Day Is Not a Day to Celebrate.

January 20, 2020 by Jim Miller

The United States at Present is an Affront to the Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

By Jim Miller

With the election of Barack Obama, many hoped that the United States had finally taken a decisive step away from its racist past and was perhaps on the road to more fully embodying Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream of a truly democratic and racially and economically just America.

Sadly, only a few years after the end of Obama’s tenure, it’s clear that nothing could be further from the truth. Rather than bending the arc of history toward justice, it seems that the first black president’s two terms, politically moderate as they turned out to be, ironically did much to fuel the fire of white backlash and emboldened reactionary plutocrats to roll back the clock in a myriad of other ways as well.

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When Tiki Invaded San Diego – by OB Historical Society, Thurs., Jan.16

January 16, 2020 by Source

The Ocean Beach Historical Society Presents: When Tiki Invaded San Diego by Diane Kane, PhD, at Water’s Edge Faith Community, 1984 Sunset Cliffs Blvd., O.B., onThursday, Jan. 16, at 7 pm.

Join the OBHS for a lighthearted romp through the immediate post-war period to explore how the allure of the South Seas became synonymous with San Diego.

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‘Kochland’ – the Secret History of the Koch Family – Is Timely Look into Corporate Capitalism

January 7, 2020 by Source

By Thomas Ultican / Tultican

This may be the finest book thus far in the twenty-first century. Kochland; The Secret History of Koch Industries and Corporate Power in America is the second book by former agribusiness reporter for the Associated Press, Christopher Leonard.
Kochland is uniquely special. It is an economic history of America since 1967 that shows the deep changes in our economy that have given rise to a new kind of capitalism. Kochland is told through the lens of Koch Industries whose “annual revenue is larger than that of Facebook, Goldman Sachs, and US Steel combined.”

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The People’s House Impeaches the 45th President

December 19, 2019 by Frank Gormlie

In only the third time in US history, the House of Representatives – the People’s House – impeached a president, this time the 45th president, Mr. Donald Trump. In a historic vote, the House impeached Trump on two counts, abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The Articles now go to the Senate for a trial.

Article one, abuse of power, was passed by 230 to 197

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Starting the Holidays with a Bit of History and Food from the Garden

December 5, 2019 by Staff

by Kathy Blavatt

The season changed as cold weather has arrived.

In November, my husband and I attended a Congress of History San Diego and Imperial County board meeting at Barona Indian Reservation. After the meeting was adjourned, we toured the school and the children’s native garden, which included a lovely mural.

After our visit to the native garden, we headed over to the Barona Museum.

The museum showcases Indian utilitarian and fine artwork displays, maps, and historical displays.

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Thanksgiving and American Mythology

November 25, 2019 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

As we head into the holiday season in the midst of one of the most divisive cultural and political moments in U.S. history, many people might be looking to the long American tradition of Thanksgiving as a moment of solace that evokes national unity.

Unfortunately, just like the wholesome fantasies of the Golden Era of bipartisanship that never existed being sold in some political quarters, the story of the first Thanksgiving is equally mythological. It’s not just that tales of the first Thanksgiving that many of us learned in school or around our family dinner tables are largely inaccurate,

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The Legend and Lore of the O.B. James Gang – Thursday, November 21, 2019

November 19, 2019 by Source

As Ocean Beach celebrates the 40th Annual Ocean Beach Christmas Tree and Holiday Parade, here is your opportunity to meet the family that not only started this holiday event but were instrumental in other cherished O.B. traditions as well – the OB James Brothers & Family, referred lovingly as “the OB James Gang”.

Join brothers Ron, Greg, Mike, Pat, and sister-in-law Susan as they reminisce about the trials and tribulations of working together in a family business while also trying to make a positive impact on the community.

For over four decades, the James family has been an integral part of the Ocean Beach community. They were instrumental in the founding of the Ocean Beach Merchants Association (now the O.B. Mainstreet Association) and the Ocean Beach Historical Society.

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November 5th: Guy Fawkes Day

November 5, 2019 by Frank Gormlie

Guy Fawkes maskNovember 5th is Guy Fawkes Day.

Many Americans know Guy Fawkes through the movie “V for Vendetta“, or at least recognize the mask, popularized by the film, and which then used by activists in the Occupy Wallstreet movement back in 2011, which was modeled after his face.

We have a basically positive view of Fawkes.

But in England, it’s the other way around. Fawkes is seen by many as a traitor and they celebrate his death.

You’re familiar with the John Lennon song, “Remember” where he sings “remember, remember, the 5th of November….”? Listen to the rest of the words.

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