Jewish lessons and activities for Hanukkah

This article was written about Passover (pesach) activities. But each applies to Chanukah and other Jewish holidays as well. Websites listed offer activities for all the Hebrew holy days. Jewish Passover lessons and activities for families

Occupy Wall Street Apes Guy Fawkes or Mardi Gras Lord of Misrule

I've got a weird mash-up of history details floating in my head. My husband shares this savant-ish trait. And we passed it on to our kids. No wonder we all get a kick out of "Drunk History." When my daughter's AP History teacher made it homework to figure out "Remember, Remember the 5th of November" she was the only one to know already it was Guy Fawkes Day. Which might not sound like much, but in my insular, ethnocentric US town, it nothing short of genius.   Guy Fawkes, Occupy Wall Street or Mardi Gras Lord of Misrule?

Victorian Pre-Raphaelite Ghost Halloween Costume Guide for Gothic Horror

Zombies are not a new invention. They've walked the pages of horror fiction for centuries. The undead have plagued generations of Devil's night, Samhain and Walpurgis revelers. Looking to recreate some of those vintage creeps of yore? Here's a DIY guide to make Gothic Revival Victorian costumes for women--dead bride, jilted lover, Lady of Shalot, Ophelia all the darkly repressed ladies.Gothic Victorian Pre-Raphaelite Ghost Halloween Costume DIY Guide

Labor Day, Unions and the Rebel Girls

Labor Day isn't about BBQs and parties. It's about union workers who sacrificed, sometimes in the ultimate way, to get better working conditions. The real world Labor Day isn't even in September. It's May 1--May Day. And it's thanks to the Rebel Girls in large part, that we celebrate Labor Day at all. Rebel girls don't drive pink jeeps. They organize! Happy Labor Day from an IWW Rebel Girl 

Vintage Text Message (in a Bottle) Surfaces Almost 100 Years Later

And now for your daily dose of feel-good. Fellow historatis, you're going to love this story I wrote for Yahoo! Growing up near one of Michigan's Great Lakes, a favorite summer pastime was sending messages via bottle. I was weaned on lake lore. My grampa Kinney took me to the beach almost every day in summer. We were the original beachcombers. My best friend and I heard of olden-days kids bottle-messaging and made our own. Grampa helped us write messages, stuff and seal our bottles. We'd toss them into Lake Michigan, wondering where they'd wash up and who would find them. Two other Michigan girls had the same idea. Their message in a bottle turned up recently in Detroit -- 97 years after it had been sent.   Vintage Text Message (in a Bottle) Surfaces Almost 100 Years Later

Free Printable May Day, Labor History, Union Organizing Lesson Plans

Spring is poignant for labor. March 25, 1911 lost 146 workers in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. April 28 is Workers Memorial Day, honoring fallen in workplace accidents or in organizing struggles. May 1 is May Day, International Worker's Day. May 4 commemorates casualties at Chicago's Haymarket riot in a 1886 labor rally. On May 19, 1920 saw the Matewan massacre of coal miners. On May 26, 1937 union organizers were beaten at Ford's River Rouge plant "Battle of the Overpass." Labor history is American (and world) history: it impacts every industry, occupation and person. Teachers and homeschoolers, why not educate students about unions with these free printable labor history lesson plans? I've listed websites, activities, worksheets, movies and books.Free Printable May Day, Labor History, Union Organizing Lesson Plans

Ford River Rouge Plant, UAW-CIO Battle of the Overpass History

Mention Henry Ford and you'll get mixed responses from people. Whether you think Ford was a sinner, saint, or both, he did open doors in Michigan, particularly in Detroit. Ford's assembly line, auto industry jobs, $5 daily wage, working man's car, 1943 Detroit race riots, village industries, "give them any color they want, as long as it's black," anti-union brutality, UAW Battle of the Overpass - all of these are part of the Ford legacy.
At the Henry Ford in Dearborn, visitors get to see, feel, hear, touch, and experience Ford's vision as it moves into the new millennium. Each day, visitors to the Ford Dearborn Truck Plant, known locally as "the Rouge," watch as vehicles of the future are designed and built.Built on the confluence of the Detroit and Rouge rivers south of Detroit, the plant is located near the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village in Dearborn. Here is a profile of the original Rouge plant complex, by the numbers:  Trucks Still Roll Off Ford River Rouge Assembly Line in Dearborn 

West Michigan's Grand River Runneth Over, After Years of Drought

 Spring 2013 has been a game-changer for West Michigan so far. Rain is deluging our parched region, particularly along the Grand River, from Grand Rapids to her mouth in Grand Haven. On Sunday night, the Grand crested at 22 feet (4 feet above flood level), says NewsChannel 3. The National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration says we'll see more rain. Flood alerts remain. West Michigan's Grand River Runneth Over, After Years of Drought

Titanic Exhibit Salvaged Artifacts, Human Remains Photos--Why Can't Victims Rest in Peace?

This is an article I wrote around the time of Titanic's 100th anniversary, April 12, 2012. At the time, I couldn't conceive that anyone would seriously want to salvage Titanic remains. Since then, "Titanic: the Artifacts Exhibit" venues cropped up in various museums. One is touring at our local Grand Rapids Public Museum (aka VanAndel Museum, as city baron Jay VanAndel bought up the old museum and now runs the "public" one for uber personal profit!)

In total, some 5,500 artifacts have been dredged up from the ocean floor and debris field around Titanic. My daughter and I went to see the exhibit. It was chilling to view letters, wallets, kitchen utensils, state room decor, fixtures and personal effects from deceased passengers. When you're done gawping, the tour feeds you through a gift shop with "commemorative" replicas of unearthed remains--a jam pot like one found and shown, White Star Line dishes, steerage bed linens, reprints of effects. It's like a circus freak show. I'm surprised they didn't clone little passenger dolls.

And worse than the ghoulish profiteering on Titanic legacy, I have to wonder whose human remains were jostled to bring them up. Sure nothing is visible but DNA doesn't cease to exist. They're there, under silt. And if we needed proof, this article provided it. Updated photos taken in 2004 of the Titanic shipwreck have been released to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the ship's sinking. Originally only part of the picture was shown. Shown complete, it's clear that what looks like miscellaneous clothing is actually what was left after bodies decomposed. It's sparked debate about whether the Titanic wreckage and debris field should be scavenged or left as a memorial. I can't see that any discussion is necessary. The disaster site is a cemetery and should be honored as such.  Titanic Human Remains Photos Mean We Should Let Them Rest in Peace.

How Detroit's Historic Black Bottom Neighborhood Got Its Name

Detroit's Black Bottom neighborhood has faded into history as a specific burb. Many of the buildings are gone. But the legacy it left Motown is felt everywhere. So how did this iconic area get its name? Probably not in the way you might think.How Detroit's Historic Black Bottom Neighborhood Got Its Name

WWII Detroit Black History: War Work Fomented 1943 Race Riots

A pivotal event in Detroit history marks its 70th anniversary. There won't be celebrations or parties, but they'll likely be eulogies. The event: the 1943 race riots. Ironically, the conflagration was torched by things U.S. history would deem positive: employment and victory in World War II. WWII Detroit Black History: War Work Fomented 1943 Race Riots 

Black History in Detroit: Sojourner Truth Housing Project Riots

Picture Detroit in 1942. 700,000 people are working round the clock to keep factories churning out war machines. This workforce includes 500,000 itinerant southerners driven north in search of employment. The city is doing more than its share to equip and transport American troops in World War II, covering 30 percent of the nation's war demand. This earns Detroit the distinction "arsenal of democracy." But it comes at a painfully high cost as the Sojourner Truth Housing Project riots showed.  Black History in Detroit: Sojourner Truth Housing Project Riots

WWII Detroit: America's 'Arsenal of Democracy'

Prior to the United States' entrance into World War II, President Franklin Roosevelt challenged the nation to become the world's "arsenal of democracy," to arm itself and so protect other democratic nations against the onslaught of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. One city in particular picked up that thrown gauntlet: Detroit. Detroiters worked round the clock in defense plants to produce 30 percent of U.S. war machinery, equipment, and munitions. Jobs were plentiful. In fact, there were more jobs than workers to fill them. WWII Detroit Answered FDR's call for America's 'Arsenal of Democracy'

Organizing Ford Motor Company: Black Detroit Autoworkers, Communism, Cadillac Square

For the last 100ish years, the word "communism" has held negative connotations. Even now, saying you're a Communist will quiet the room fast. In 1930s Detroit, being a Communist wasn't necessarily considered a bad thing, though -- at least not for 60,000 black American autoworkers. Here's the story of how black autoworkers helped turn the union tide at Ford Motor Company. Organizing Ford Motor Company

'Battle of Running Bulls' Flint Sit-Down Strike Anniversary

Jan. 11 marked the 76th anniversary of the Michigan labor struggle known as the "Battle of Running Bulls." On February 1, we remember the turning point of the strike which led to GM being forced to sign a contract on Feb 11. Violence erupted at General Motors Fisher Auto Body plant No. 2, during the Flint sit-down strike, reports the Flint Journal. The event would come to be called the "Gettysburg" of the CIO (Congress of Industrial Organizations) and was pivotal in organizing auto workers, says Solidarity. Here are details about that historic event. Michigan Sit-Down Strike Marks 75th Anniversary

Exposed Shipwreck in Grand Haven, Mich., Reveals Maritime History

For years, Michigan's waterways have been drying up. Exposed muddy shoals and riverbeds are yielding up fascinating treasures. In Grand Haven, Michigan, the now-visible shipwreck Aurora connects the state's east and west side maritime history. Here's her story.  Shipwreck Appearing in Grand Haven, Mich.

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Freelance writer, Top 100 Yahoo! Voices, Yahoo! News, Shine, Michigan, Detroit), blogger, teacher, mom of 4, happily married 25 years. Graduated GVSU 1986, psychology/general education and special education. continuing ed up to present. Certified MI teacher. Writing Michigan history mystery, children's Gothic fantasy. Areas of expertise: education, relationships, mental health, nutrition, history, world cultures. Passions: faith, Catholic church, sustainable living, interfaith initiatives, living simply that others might simply live. Working on MA in EI education.