Back in 1910, C. T. Howard wrote in St. Nicholas Magazine: "The world has changed more in the last 100 years than in any 1000 years that have gone before."[Thanksgiving In 1810, November 1910] (Thanks to the lawbloggers at Abnormal Use for reproducing this piece of nostalgia.)
Howard also wondered what might come "a hundred years hence". Since he was in 1910, and noting the new technology—telephone, telegraph, transatlantic steamers, and even flying machines, he wondered what might be the changes in 2010.
What would strike the American of 1910 is not just the social and technological changes, but the demographic ones. America in the early 20th Century was undergoing one of its periodic influxes of immigration, and patriots were working to pass immigration restriction, (they eventually succeeded) and businessmen were trying to stop it. The businessmen lost some enthusiasm after a huge bomb was set off by immigrant anarchists literally on Wall Street. Israel Zangwill's play The Melting Pot was produced in October, 1908, and almost all of the immigrants undergoing the process of assimilation(or not) in New York were white. Whites were 88 percent of the American population, Asians two-tenths of one percent. [PDF]
African-Americans were about ten percent of the population, but they were almost all not African immigrants but Americans, descendants of slaves brought to America before the Civil War because of an earlier generation's obsession with cheap labor. And there were almost no Asians at all. If a man from 1910 were to be set down on a modern New York street, he might not know he was in America.
"For the first time since he moved to the United States six years ago, Kojo Ampah has decided to celebrate Thanksgiving.
"Ampah, an African graduate student at Fordham University, is one of a growing number of immigrants in the Bronx who are getting into the holiday spirit—while still incorporating traditions from their native countries.
"'We felt that for the first time, we have to come together to celebrate, because this is our home now,' said Ampah, 35, who is completing his master's degree in communications.
"'There is more of Ghana in the Bronx—wherever you go, you see Ghanaians. We feel very comfortable here,' he said." [More]
(Immigrant Kojo Ampah puts own spin on his first Thanksgiving holiday, by Corinne Lestch, New York Daily News, November 24th 2010)
Just like the Pilgrims, really. While it's the politically correct thing to call the Pilgrim Fathers immigrants, they were actually colonists and settlers, moving in and taking over. And that's what the Ghanaians are doing in the Bronx. Lestch continues happily:
"Instead of picking up extra shifts at their jobs as they normally do during the holidays, Ampah and about 12 Ghanaian friends—fellow students, cab drivers, home health aides and a lawyer—plan to each bring a dish that reminds them of their homeland for their Thanksgiving feast tomorrow. They will have tilapia, collard greens and fufu—a dish of dumplings served in peanut butter soup.
"'We are going to have a turkey just for decoration,' said Ampah, laughing. 'I don't like turkey.'
This reminds me not at all of Peter Brimelow's first Thanksgiving. But if you think about it, it's much like what the Puritans did when they settled in North America, doing their own thing, worshipping their own God, and not caring much about the traditions of the Indians. It's the difference between immigrants and settlers. It turned out kind of hard on the previous inhabitants of the New World, but that's life.
The Wampanoag, who were the Pilgrim-friendly Indians, come in for a mention in President Obama's 2010 Thanksgiving Proclamation:
"A beloved American tradition, Thanksgiving Day offers us the opportunity to focus our thoughts on the grace that has been extended to our people and our country. This spirit brought together the newly arrived Pilgrims and the Wampanoag tribe — who had been living and thriving around Plymouth, Massachusetts for thousands of years—in an autumn harvest feast centuries ago. This Thanksgiving Day, we reflect on the compassion and contributions of Native Americans, whose skill in agriculture helped the early colonists survive, and whose rich culture continues to add to our Nation's heritage. We also pause our normal pursuits on this day and join in a spirit of fellowship and gratitude for the year's bounties and blessings."
He would mention the Indians. The Wampanoag were the ones who helped the Pilgrims—in return for the Pilgrims' help fighting the Naragansett Indians, who were hostile. It was the Pilgrims' skill with muskets that helped the Wampanoag survive. But eventually the Wampanoag turned on the colonists and tried to slaughter them.
Still, Obama did give credit to God—that being who Thanksgiving is thankful To.
"As Americans gather for the time-honored Thanksgiving Day meal, let us rejoice in the abundance that graces our tables, in the simple gifts that mark our days, in the loved ones who enrich our lives, and in the gifts of a gracious God. Let us recall that our forebears met their challenges with hope and an unfailing spirit, and let us resolve to do the same."
And he once again ends the message in the traditional style:
" IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-third day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand ten, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fifth."
Happy Thanksgiving to all VDARE.com readers—in the hope that we may never have to write "and of the Independence of the United States of America the last".
Previous VDARE.Com Thanksgiving Coverage Below:
09/25/03—Pressure On The Pot [Blast from Past! A 1989 Peter Brimelow column from the London Times.]