The keeping of journals and diaries became an almost everyday pastime for many Americans in the nineteenth century. Adeline and Julia Graham, two young women from Berrien Springs, Michigan, were both drawn to this activity, writing about the daily events in their lives, as well as their 'grand adventures.' These are fascinating, deeply personal accounts that provide an insight into the thoughts and motivation of two sisters who lived more than a century ago. Adeline began keeping a diary when she was sixteen, from mid-1880 through mid-1884; through it we see a young woman coming of age in this small community in western Michigan. Paired with Adeline's account is her sister Julia's diary, which begins in 1885 when she sets out with three other young women to homestead in Greeley County, Kansas, just east of the Colorado border. It is a vivid and colorful narrative of a young woman's journey into America's western landscape.
African Americans, as free laborers and as slaves, were among the earliest permanent residents of Michigan, settling among the French, British, and Native people with whom they worked and farmed. Lewis Walker and Benjamin Wilson recount the long history of African American communities in Michigan, delineating their change over time, as migrants from the South, East, and overseas made their homes in the state. Moreover, the authors show how Michigan's development is inextricably joined with the vitality and strength of its African American residents. In a related chapter, Linwood Cousins examines youth culture and identity in African American schools, linking education with historical and contemporary issues of economics, racism, and power.
Focusing on the intersection of African Americans' nineteenth-century cultural values and the changing social and political conditions in the first half of the twentieth century, Jelks pays particularly close attention to the religious community's influence during their struggle toward a respectable social identity and fair treatment under the law. He explores how these competing values defined the community's politics as it struggled to expand its freedoms and change its status as a subjugated racial minority.
Driving the rural roads of Michigan one might suddenly come upon a black buggy driven by a bonneted woman or a bearded Amish man. In 1955 there were fewer than five hundred Amish in Michigan—in 2000 there were more than seven thousand. The Amish, with their unique life-style, are found only in North America where approximately 170,000 live in twenty-four states and one Canadian province. This sensitive and fascinating volume explores the Amish historical background, immigration into Michigan, occupations, marriage patterns, cultural conflicts, community-financed schools, medical practices, and cultural survival.
The state of Michigan hosts one of the largest and most diverse Arab American populations in the United States. As the third largest ethnic population in the state, Arab Americans are an economically important and politically influential group. It also reflects the diversity of national origins, religions, education levels, socioeconomic levels, and degrees of acculturation. Despite their considerable presence, Arab Americans have always been a misunderstood ethnic population in Michigan, even before September 11, 2001 imposed a cloud of suspicion, fear, and uncertainty over their ethnic enclaves and the larger community. In Arab Americans in Michigan Rosina J. Hassoun outlines the origins, culture, religions, and values of a people whose influence has often exceeded their visibility in the state.
Since 1970, a growing number of Asian Indians have called Michigan home. Representative of the “new immigration,” Asian Indians come from a democratic country, are well-educated, and come from middle- and upper-class families. Unlike older immigrant groups, Asian Indians do not form urban ethnic enclaves or found their own communities to meet the challenges of living in a new society. As Arthur W. Helweg shows, Asian Indians contribute to the richness and diversity of Michigan’s culture through active participation in local institutions, while maintaining a strong ethnic identity rooted in India.
A skeptical follower of James Jesse Strang once wrote: "No man can serve two masters. You cannot serve a temporal king and a republican government at the same time. The thing is preposterous." And yet, under Strang, such a system survived in Michigan for six years. This book traces the life and assassination of King Strang, the extraordinary Mormon leader who, in the 1850s, created a literal kingdom on Beaver Island, in Lake Michigan.
As a young man, Strang was a dreamer of grandiose dreams---dreams of power, of royalty, and of fame. For him, the dreams came true. But in his pursuit of those dreams, Strang walked a tightrope to avoid ever-impending doom. Strang's kingdom flourished despite perennial conflicts with non-Mormons, including a gun battle with mainlanders, and despite a major prosecution by the federal government. His kingdom was designed to be totally independent of the state and nation. And yet, he was a shrewd political tactician who took advantage of Michigan law to be twice elected to the state legislature and become what one Detroit newspaper called the most powerful politician in the state.
Here is Strang the man of contrasts and contradictions, the strident opponent of polygamy and the husband of five wives, the astute editor and the incendiary propagandist, the prophet and the scoundrel, the man who through the sheer force of his personality made his followers a group to be feared in his region.
Vast amount of fresh information, including contemporary journals, documents, and letters never before used by biographers help draw a portrait of one of the most complex and resourceful leaders in American history.
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