Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Gulf Oil Spill


The ongoing disaster in the Gulf of Mexico not only threatens fishing, wildlife and beaches, it also impacts Civil War history. The coastline is home to fortifications including Fort Jackson and Fort St. Philip in Louisiana, Fort Gaines and Fort Morgan in Alabama, and Fort Pickens and Fort Barrancas in Florida. Tourists flocking to the once pristine beaches take a break from sunbathing to visit these historic sites and learn about the Civil War. The empty beaches and restaurants will drastically reduce needed revenue for the maintenance of these areas.

As a veteran of the oil and gas industry, I am enraged at BP's disregard of safe operations. The problem is evidence of BP's emphasis on profitability at all costs. We can only hope that our government will force BP to restore beaches and rescue the endangered species including those who earned their livelihood from the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

We recognize the inherent risk associated with exploring for oil and gas, but believe that a moratorium on drilling penalizes the industry for the actions of one poorly operated company, hurts the local economy by adding oil field employees to the list of those Gulf Coast residents hurt by the disaster, and increases our dependence on Middle Eastern oil. We applaud the decision of the New Orleans judge who put aside the ban.

The environmental disaster caused my family's vacation plans at Gulf Shores to be cancelled. I can only wonder when I will be able to return to the Alabama coast to enjoy the beach and take my grandchildren to Fort Morgan and Fort Gaines.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Juneteenth


On June 18, 1865 Union General Gordon Granger and 2,000 troops landed at Galveston, Texas to take control of the state and to enforce the emancipation of its slaves. On June 19th General Granger stood on the balcony of Ashton Villa and read "General Order 3."

General Granger was a veteran of the Mexican American War and had fought in battles in the Western Theater of the Civil War at Wilson's Creek, New Madrid, Corinth, Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, Mobile Bay and Fort Blakely.

"The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection hertetofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain in their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere."

The original document was probably handwritten and copies were made for distribution throughout Texas. The Dallas Historical Society has the only known copy of the document. Please see copy of the document courtesy of the Dallas Morning News.
Today at 2:00 pm in Dallas City Hall, a member of the historical society will read the order and lead of discussion of the Emancipation Proclamation.

Please see Dallas Historical Society article in the Dallas Morning News to learn more about this event.