History is Personal

History was never my favorite topic in school. It always seemed you had to remember dates and places, and men. Always about the men. I preferred subjects like math, very black and white, binary, no emotions, no discriminations. You either solved the equation or you did not. The sooner you were done with the problem, the sooner you were on to something else, like the playground.

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As I’ve become older, I have a new interest in history as I make it more personal. One of my hobbies is genealogy, and learning more about where I came from – how did I get here, in Southern California. More importantly: Where are all my ancestors from and what kind of lives did they lead that allowed me to enjoy the freedoms that I have today?

One story that I stumbled on really made history personal.

I believe if we can allow our children to explore their own family trees and find historical events occurring in their ancestor lives, history can be personal and more interesting to students. I feel that I missed out on a lot of history because it was so impersonal and quite frankly boring in school.

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So what did I find that was interesting?

Apparently, just before the Revolutionary war, there was this event that happened in Boston, some tea party event. A lot of people know about this as it caused quite a ruckus in Britain. Boycotting British products, and tea, an every day drink for privileged folk was quite a story to hear about back then.

But did you know about the women in Edenton, NC?

The Edenton Tea Party was a landmark, not because of the stances taken—boycotts were common across the Thirteen Colonies—but because it was organized by women, who at this time were very much absent in politics, the Tea Party was one of the first instances of political action.” Source:https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edenton_Tea_Party

News of the Edenton Tea Party quickly reached Britain.  During the 1770s, political resistance was common.  But an organized women’s movement was not.  So, the Edenton Tea Party shocked the Western world.  From England, in January 1775, Arthur Iredell wrote his brother, James Iredell, describing England’s reaction to the Edenton Tea Party.  According to Arthur Iredell, the incident was not taken seriously because it was led by women.  He sarcastically remarked, “The only security on our side … is the probability that there are but few places in America which possess so much female artillery as Edenton.”  The Edenton women were also satirized in a political cartoon published in London in March 1775.  Even though the Edenton Tea Party was ridiculed in England, it was praised in the colonies.  The women of Edenton represented American frustrations with English monarchical rule and the need for American separation and independence.” Source: https://northcarolinahistory.org/encyclopedia/edenton-tea-party/

These Edenton wives and mothers realized that, by signing this petition, they were committing an act of treason against British rule. Whereas the rebellious men in Boston hid their identities by dressing as Native-Americans, these bold women proudly identified themselves with their signature. This brazen act of civil disobedience was one of the earliest organized women’s political actions in United States history.” Source: https://www.bostonteapartyship.com/tea-blog/the-edenton-tea-rebellion

Back to why this is personal to me…

While researching my genealogy, I discovered one of the signers of this early resistance group was in fact my sixth great grandmother, Sarah (Blount) Littlejohn.

Source: http://ncgenweb.us/nc/chowan/signers-of-the-resolutions-of-the-edenton-tea-party/

With October 25th approaching, I plan to celebrate a little history in memory of my ancestral grandmother by maybe drinking a nice warm cup of (American) tea.