Letters | Arts & Culture | Smithsonian
Current Issue
November 2014 magazine cover
Subscribe

Save 81% off the newsstand price!

Letters

Letters

Smithsonian Magazine | Subscribe

After reading about Andrew Jackson’s role in the forced relocation of the Cherokees [“The Holdouts”], I recommend removing his image from the $20 bill and replacing it with one of a worthy woman like Sacagawea.
James Faulkner
Lansing, Michigan

Crimes Against Indians
The story about John Ross and Major Ridge [“The Holdouts”], two great leaders of the Cherokee people who tried to work through the governmental system to bring peace and security to their people, reveals a shameful part of our history. This article shows the betrayal and divisiveness by the American government that led to thousands of Native Americans dying on the forced march to Oklahoma. If Andrew Jackson did today what he did in the 1830s, he would be tried for crimes against humanity. As a nation we applaud war crime tribunals that indict the likes of Slobodan Milosevic, but we continue to honor Jackson on our currency. At the very least we should replace him with an American Indian hero.
David Price
Lake Wales, Florida

Andrew Jackson is portrayed as a tough, narrow-minded Indian hater. Yet Jackson adopted a Creek child who was found in his dead mother’s arms at the 1813 Battle of Tallushatchee, in Alabama. It would be interesting to discover how Jackson reconciled his compassionate treatment of the boy, named Lyncoya, with his apparent disdain for Native Americans.
Nancy Mcentee
Madisonville, Tennessee

Saving Gullah Traditions
The article “An African Island in Georgia” [Around the Mall] details the efforts of linguist Lorenzo Dow Turner to preserve Gullah culture. Readers should also know that Lydia Parrish, wife of American artist Maxfield Parrish and a resident of St. Simons Island, one of the coastal islands, studied and collected scores of traditional songs and lore for her book Slave Songs of the Georgia Sea Islands, published in 1942. Turner and Lydia Parrish were good friends and their paths crossed many times in the 1930s as they shared observations, advice and information about the Gullah language and culture.
Peter W. Smith
Plainfield, New Hampshire

I attended high school in Charleston and I’m familiar with the Gullah culture from the South Carolina Sea Islands. Your article mentioned binya and comya, which were defined as native islander and visitor, respectively. In South Carolina, the words would be pronounced as “been-yere” and “come-yere.” Thus the native had been here and the new arrival had come here.
Tom Fetters
Lombard, Illinois

Tube Mail
The article and photograph about a 1950s newspaper [Indelible Images, “Speed Demons”] took me back to a time when my father, a journalist and columnist, worked at the Easton Express in Pennsylvania. It was a huge treat to visit him at the battered newsroom with all the hustle and bustle. One thing not mentioned in the article was the use of pneumatic tubes, some of which are visible at the right side of the photograph. These tubes, which utilized compressed air or a vacuum, were used to send stories and information to various parts of the building and accelerated the speed needed to get out the daily news. As a child I was fascinated watching my father pop a story into a canister, insert it into the tube and send it flying with that unmistakable whoosh! Who needed e-mail!
Kathleen Shelly
Milford, Delaware

Tech Wars
The article about the history of the original Luddites [“King Ludd’s War”] reminded me of a story about the inevitability of technology. Two men were watching the excavation of a building site in New York. As they observed steam shovels gouging the earth, one man, who was unemployed, commented that had it not been for the steam shovels there would have been work there for hundreds of men with picks and shovels. The other man nodded and added, “Or for thousands with teaspoons.” I think that says it all.
Jack H. Fisch
Devon, Pennsylvania

Comment on this Story

comments powered by Disqus