Wednesday, March 31, 2010

San Jose continues to honor Cesar Chavez

Judy Baca's archway placed at the San Jose State University has been well received by the San Jose public, staff and Students of SJSU

Quetzalcoatl Sculpture

Continuing on with my salute to the city of San Jose, California. I wish to introduce you to QUETZY.

Robert Graham's Quetzalcoatl ascends almost eight feet into the San Jose skyline. The original design called for a three-story edifice of gleaming cast-bronze - it was discarded as being too expensive. The bronze would have echoed the plumage of a Quetzal, as well as the association Quetzalcoatl had with corn.

The statue was commissioned by the city of San Jose in honor of Cesar Chavez.
No one was to see the statue before the unveiling. But oh my when the staue was unvieled there was an uproar from the San Jose public.

As Blogged BY: gsingh
Quetzalcoatl Sculpture
by gsingh
April 10, 2002
From journal People-watching in Downtown San Jose

At the South end of Cesar Chavez Plaza sits a sculpture that enraged folks even before it was erected. The city of San Jose spent $500,000 on a sculpture of Quetzalcoatl (pronounced Ketz-ul-KWAT-il), an ancient Meso-American god/figure of creativity and fertility dating back to pre-Aztec times, in order to honor the city’s Hispanic culture and heritage. However, fundamentalist right-wing Christians took offense and began to distribute apocrypha claiming that Quetzalcoatl is a deity devoted to bloody pagan sacrifice and that the sculpture violated California's constitutional guarantees against state-promotion of one religion over another.

They filed a lawsuit which was subsequently thrown out of court, the judge deciding that the sculpture was a work of art and a cultural artifact, not a religious token.

But the ire continues, even among secular San Joseans, many of whom consider the coiled snake-like sculpture to resemble a gigantic dog turd.

Cost of Quetzy: $500,000. A bit much for an uninspiring pile of composite cement resembling a cowpie.

It is planted across the street from the Fairmont Hotel in a far corner of the Plaza de Cesar E. Chavez - on a tiny disheveled traffic island. The statue is surrounded by Port-a-Potties during the Christmas in the Park Celebration.

Quetzy was constructed by William Kreysler & Associates. Graham provided them with an 8-inch model to work from. The finished snake is charcoal gray and cast in artificial stone - composite artificial cement. Something appears to have gone awry in the construction process - accounting for jagged "lines" and poorly fitting "pieces." The 8-inch model doesn't appear to be flawed.

Infrared Quetzy ala Porta - Potties
Mano-A-Snako with Quetzy
Snake up behind Quetzy

Cesar Chavez

Today I have the day off for Cesar Chavez Day. I do include in many of my genealogy stories pertaining to history, cities and towns. I would be amiss having been born and raised in San Jose, California not to talk about the impact of Cesar Chavez on 1960s San Jose California.
Chevez's family lost their farm in the depression of 1930s in Arizona because they could not pay their taxes.

Encyclopedia of World Biographies explains Cesar Chevez young life as:
Chávez quit school while in the seventh grade to work full-time in the fields, but he was not really educated even to that level—he could barely read and write. In 1944 he joined the U.S. Navy and served for two years. Since he was never allowed to advance beyond low-level jobs, he continued as a farm worker in California upon completing his service. In 1948 he married Helen Fabela of Delano, California. Migrant farm workers at that time worked long hours in the fields for very little money. Sometimes their employers would not pay them at all, and there was nothing they could do—nowhere to turn. Many of the farm workers were not U.S. citizens.

Chávez was an outspoken believer in Gandhi's idea of social change through nonviolent means. In 1968, to prevent violence in the grape strike, he fasted (went without eating) for twenty-five days. The fast was broken at an outdoor mass attended by some four thousand people, including Senator Robert F. Kennedy (1925–1968). Chávez fasted on several other occasions, including twenty-four days in 1972 to protest antiunion laws in Arizona and for thirty-six days in 1988 to call attention to the continued poor treatment of vineyard workers. Chávez grew dangerously weak after this fast. Another protest involved Chávez leading a two-hundred-mile march from Delano to Sacramento, California, to call attention to the demands of the farm workers.

Read more: César Chávez Biography - family, children, parents, story, death, history, wife, school, information, born, time

It was on one of his fasts to boycott pesticides on fruit that he died unexpectedly at the age of 66.

I remember vividly the boycotts of the grapes and later lettuce that had a huge impact on the economy of San Jose, a major producer of fruits and vegetables. The boycotts effected all employment in San Jose. The largest employer at the time was Del Monte Cannery.

As I continue to share OUR FAMILY HISTORY, it will astoning to learn how much the Cannery had to do with our family history. From the Himan's in Sunnyvale, to the Cancimillas of Santa Clara.

In the 1870s and 1880s, California became a major producer of fruits and vegetables. In 1886, the Del Monte name premiered, originally used in the 1880s by an Oakland, California, foods distributor to designate a premium blend of coffee prepared for the Hotel Del Monte on the Monterey peninsula. By 1892, the Del Monte brand was introduced when the firm expanded its business and selected Del Monte as the brand name for its new line of canned peaches. In 1898, the California Fruit Canners Association formed when 18 West Coast canning companies merged. The Del Monte brand was one of several brands marketed by the new company. In 1909 the Del Monte Shield was introduced.[1]

CFCA added two more canners and a food brokerage house, incorporated itself as California Packing Corporation, or Calpak, and began marketing its products under the Del Monte brand. The new company grew to operate more than 60 canneries. In 1917 it acquired pineapple lands and a cannery in Hawaii and, in the 1920s, added canneries in Florida and the Midwest, as well as in the Philippines. After WWII more facilities were constructed or purchased overseas. These multinational operations made the name California Packing Corporation obsolete, and in 1967 the name Del Monte Corporation was adopted.

Needless to say all this production needed fruit and vegetable pickers. The story continues in next blog.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

It's someone's BIRTHDAY! WENDY!

MARCH 27 is Wendy's Birthday --- WHO IS WENDY?????? Wendy is my 12 year old granddaughter------this excerpt from this poem explains my feelings for Wendy----

--I carry your heart By E. E. Cummings

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in my heart) i am never without it (anywhere i go you go,m...y dear..........

I even like the ways he wrote it, small case letters, blank spaces, pauses

;......................just that part of the poem ----- just that heart connection. There are some people in my life I give heart hugs. I tell them as we gently hug. I feel your heart with my heart and it is like our hearts are hugging. Wendy and I have heart hugs.

OH: Why it rains so much in March!!! Just in case you did not know why it rains so much in March.

Here is an abbreviated excerpt of Wendy's Book......

.......So God had a meeting of his littlest angels. “Hello angels”, he said, “I have a lovely lady married to a wonderful man. The wonderful husband wants to make the lovely lady very happy. The lady wants a baby. Yet this baby must have lots of love. This couple is very special and need a special baby to remind them of My love for them. I need a special baby to bring lots of love in their lives.”

The sweetest little angel of all the angels jumped right up and said, “I can love this couple. Please God send me. I will remind them of Your Love for them, God.
I will sing. I will smile. I will be kind and helpful. I will be there for them when they are sad, or hurt, or sick”

All the other angels were surprised. They did not want the sweetest angel to leave heaven. The sweetest angel always came to them when they were sad or hurt or sick.

God knew that this very special angel was the perfect angel for this couple. So it was decided the sweetest angel would become this couples first child born on earth. The time for the sweetest angel to be born was coming. The month was March when the baby was to be born. The angels started to cry as they said their good-byes to the sweetest angel. More and more angel came to say good-bye. More and more angels cried.

Pretty soon, there were too many angels crying. So God had another meeting with the angels. “ There is too much crying. It has caused the earth to have too much rain. If you would please stop crying, when the sweetest angel is born, I will place beautiful flowers on the earth. I will place flowers on vacant lots where no people live. I will place flowers along the roads for people to see. I will place flowers in very unusual places. So instead of crying, I want you to look for these special flowers. So please, I need you to stop crying.”

So every year when the angels remember the day the sweetest angel was born, they begin to cry. More and more angels cry. So every year God has to remind them of His promise. He will tell the angels, “Please stop crying. On the day of the sweetest angels birthday, I will place special flowers all over the world. These special flowers will be a surprise. They will grow in unexpected places. So to help you stop crying, I want you to look all around you to see where I have put these special sweetest angel flowers.”

So every year as God fulfills his convent to place the rainbows to be seen in the cloud, he also plants flowers in special places. He may scatter flower seeds all across a hill side and fill it with flowers. He likes to surprise vacant lots with flowers. Sometimes in well tended gardens--- up pops one of God’s special sweetest angel flowers.

Some may say it was birds or wind that blew the seeds there to grow. But for me and the angels, we know it is God’s promise.

God’s promise that for every good-bye we must say, he will plant special flowers for us to seek and find..........

Just in case you did not know why it rains so much in March.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Slave Records and Genealogy Research

In my research of several of my Southern families, I am privy to a lot of dual lineage information. Much of my research is based on Last Testaments and Wills. When I, in the early 1960s, started sharing this Will information with my family --- my family was appalled. They were very surprised to realize there were slave owners in their ancestry.

This puzzled me because if you came from those states and owned land it was a common practice. My grandmother Etta May Dikes Hayley born in 1905 often talked about her father’s, and grandfather’s slaves of the Dikes. A lot of family folk lore and letters written between siblings and cousins have documented many of these family groups. Of course it is my responsibility, to the best of my ability, to verify and validate this data before sharing these narratives.

Actually it is the Hayley lineage I have the most information to share regarding slave lineage. Even the court records are sometimes vague or inconclusive. “Or just plain tampered with”

I have been waiting for the correct and most respectful way to share data that tells of stories of the past. To this end, I joined a carnival

Restore My Name – Slave Records and Genealogy Research, will kick-off this

African-American Themed Carnival

intended to be a gathering place for the community to share and learn about African-American genealogy.

This first CoAAG theme will deal with how records of slave ownership are handled by the genealogy researcher. Contributors will be asked to write a blog post (at their own blogs) on one or more of the following aspects:

What responsibilities are involved on the part of the researcher when locating names of slaves in a record?

The way I have been handling names of slaves in my research is to develop a separate pedigree chart. This chart indicates the movement of the slaves, their siblings and children as ancestors passed away.

Does it matter if the record(s) are related to your ancestral lines or not?

No, my records indicate many court records, and documentation of movement which can track individuals throughout this nation. The nation grew fast, although there were efforts to document, so sharing of this data is very important.

As a descendant of slave owners, have you ever been pressured by family not to discuss or post about records containing slave names?

Only by myself, my fear is that I do not want to "assume" or speculate about these relationships. I think this research is too important. False leads may cause unnecessary delays and work in this area of identification. I fear for the "bandwagon" effect that may form. Where everyone becomes directly related to Lincoln.

As a descendant of slaves, have you been able to work with or even meet other researchers who are descendants of slave owners?

Have you ever performed a Random Act of Genealogical Kindness involving slave ownership records? Or were you on the receiving end of such kindness?

I have shared with many researchers through class introduction resources for people looking for slave records, ship records, court records. I have not met the correct family to share my specific data.

That is why, this Carnival is very important to me. I want to share these wonderful accounts of family life with descendents of my families "family and friends".

Trophy Girl

1950's San Jose California but actually I think this picture was taken at the Alviso Speedway. The camera is pointed east and the hills in the background are the Milpitas hills.
What I remember of this day. I was allowed to wear my tap shoes to the track. I was allowed to sit in the front seat of the brand new car (seen in background). My dad drove me out to the field after the heat. This gentleman is not my dad, he is the winner of the heats. Before the actual races begun. The heats were to set order of the hard top cars before the "main event". I was prompted to give the man a kiss (?!?) He was not my dad nor any of the drivers I knew. He was sweaty and I did not want to kiss him. I actually have other pictures of me as trophy girl. I even think Aunt Helen was trophy girl a couple of times. I should try to find those photos!!!

I bet her kids would get a kick out of that!

Aunt Doris, my mom, Aunt Helen and myself had our turns as Trophy Girls. We went to the field (pit)and presented the trophy, gave the winner a kiss, and had our pictures taken by the speedway professional photographer!

The photographer would take pictures all night long and sell them after the races. The next week we kids would go down and see if there were any pictures left over for the previous week and he would give us his throw aways.

Another thing I remembered about the races. If my grandmother was not available my parents took all four children to the races. The races were loud and always very long into the night. So I would make myself a bed on the bench of the grandstands. The grandstands were open and did not have sides. I remember getting very sleepy. I would lie down and wrap my arms around the bench and pray I did not fall through the benches if I was to roll in my sleep. I never did roll off. For which I am very grateful.
One thing that did happen often was women would drop their sweaters or purses under the grandstands. They would call to my brothers to go under the stands to fetch whatever they had dropped.

As I locate more pictures of the speedway, I have many stories to share about the speedway. I am positive my brother has even more stories to share. I will try to encourage him to share them with me so I can add them to OUR FAMILY HISTORY.

Until next time, Aunt Ruth