Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Car seat education for Hispanic Catholics, from police and St. Edwards

Tennessee was first state with seat belt law in 1978

72% of U.S. parents do not use car seats correctly

The Tennessean reports here that the Metro Nashville Police Department and St. Edwards Catholic Church are teaming up to provide car seat education to Hispanic members of the St. Edwards and Our Lady of Guadalupe congregations.

According to this article in the Murfreesboro Post, before 1978 there were no U.S. state laws requiring seat belt use, and Tennessee was the first state to pass one:
More than 30 years ago, Dr. Robert Sanders of Murfreesboro became a passionate advocate for child safety and led the effort to protect children while riding in automobiles. Senator Douglas Henry, the late Representative John Bragg and former Representative Mike Murphy sponsored legislation to make Tennessee the first state to require the use of safety seats for child passengers. The law became effective on January 1, 1978.
The Murfreesboro Post article also states that, nationwide, "72% of parents are not using car seats correctly."

Photo by Liam Ryan. Licensed under Creative Commons.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Vigil Tuesday for five Chattanooga women held for deportation

Bear-trap bureaucracy sparks statewide outpouring of support

One hour of silence and prayer

"Sold to the public as a way to take dangerous criminals off the streets"

No criminal charges

The Tennessean reported here that women from the recent immigration raids in Chattanooga are being held in Nashville awaiting possible deportation. According to this web page produced by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the detained Chattanooga women are held and will be processed for deportation without being charged with a crime.

Source: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Davidson County public defender Ivan Lopez was quoted in this front-page article in the Tennessean on Sunday as saying that a Nashville-ICE partnership program called 287(g) "was sold to the public as a way to take dangerous criminals off the street" but that "[i]n reality, what's happening is you are breaking up families." The 287(g) program and the Chattanooga raids have in common that ordinary people are being put through extraordinary suffering, primarily for regular work that has been made into an outlaw act.

The detentions are another example of how our immigration system isn't broken; it's a fully functioning bear trap for ordinary immigrants (see stories here and here).

A vigil for the detained women and their families will be held on Tuesday outside the Nashville detention center on Harding Place, in coordination with other vigils in Chattanooga and Memphis. Details about the vigils from the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC):


Join us as we stand in solidarity with the workers affected by these inhumane acts.
Click here for more information

As many of you know, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) performed major raids across the country on April 16th, including one in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The raid in Tennessee—at a "Pilgrim's Pride" Poultry Processing plant—resulted in the arrest of 156 immigrants.

The raids have devastated Chattanooga's immigrant community, and have sent shock waves across the region.

Men in Georgia—women in Nashville. While it should be noted that 32 women who were identified as mothers were released on Thursday, families have still been torn apart and are struggling to reconnect. Immigrant rights groups across the region are attempting to assimilate a complete list of the workers detained. However, many workers are still missing and their locations remain unknown.
“The raids in the poultry processing plants in the southeast are disheartening and immoral. Even worse is the breaking up of families. We will pray for these women and their families."

Rev. Jeannie Hunter, Associate Pastor of the Second Presbyterian Church.

“All workers and their families deserve being treated with dignity. The workers who are detained are victims of the employers and the broken immigration system. It is the federal immigration system that needs to be held accountable. The workers need their rights protected. ”

Megan Macaraeg with Jobs with Justice
Vigil for Worker Rights and Dignity
"All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity." Martin Luther King, Jr.

Vigils will be held in Memphis, Chattanooga, and Nashville.

Click here for printable flier.

When: Tuesday, April 29--- 6:00-7:00pm

Where: Harding Detention Facility (5115 Harding Place, Nashville TN 37211) where five women from Chattanooga raids are being held.

Join us as we stand on the sidewalk in silence and in prayer for an an hour. Organizers will provide signs with the MLK quote.
All people deserve to be treated with dignity.

Information on the Chattanooga and Memphis vigils will be available shortly.

Vigils, Forums, and Organizing has been made possible thanks to the hard work of the following organizations and individuals:

Justice for Our Neighbors

The Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF)—Elise Shore

La Paz de Dios—Sylvia Rangel and Stacy Johnson

St. Andrew's Center—Mike Feely

Coalicion de Lideres Latinos—America Gruner

ACLU of Tennessee—Tricia Herzfeld

The Steel Workers Union

Jobs with Justice

The many immigration attorneys throughout the state and beyond who have offered their advice and assistance throughout this emergency.

All the individuals who have given their time and energy towards helping the familes affected by the raids.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

"Near-wordless" Spanish-language film packs crowd at NaFF

In the City of Sylvia sells out quickly

The Nashville Scene's recap of the first few days of the Nashville Film Festival ("NaFF") mentioned the popularity of a (barely) Spanish-language film:
It was a good sign when a near-wordless art film, Jose Luis Guerin’s gorgeous Spanish-language reverie In the City of Sylvia, sold out its one screening so fast it had to be moved to a larger auditorium.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Two new stories serve as reminder that sloppy immigration response can change Nashville reputation from hospitable to hostile

San Antonio headline says "a haven for refugees, immigrants, but tune may be changing"

National columnist ponders bans of taco carts, Spanish-language books

"Americans in name only"

Karl Dean: "There should be no question that we are a welcoming city"

The San Antonio Express-News web site and nationally syndicated columnist Ruben Navarette both refer to Nashville in recent pieces about immigration. The immigration issue, which is purportedly about the borders, has repeatedly (here, here and here, to name a few) affected the image that Nashville tries to paint for individuals and business looking to visit or relocate to Music City.

The Express-News story points out Nashville's welcoming reputation but wonders aloud if that reputation is at risk with the weaponization of the immigration debate. A Nashville shopowner is quoted as saying that learning the language and following the law will insulate immigrants from animosity, but columnist Navarrette is not so sure. Navarrette focuses on the impact of the immigration debate on Hispanics in general, many of whom are not immigrants. In his column, Navarrette cites at least one and maybe two Tennessee incidents targeting Hispanics in general. The Hispanic Nashville Notebook has documented similar troubling incidents in and around Nashville, in which immigration status is not the sole focus of animosity (see stories here and here).

Many foreign newcomers still find Nashville more open to them than other U.S. cities polarized by immigration controversies — but the honeymoon seems to be coming to an abrupt end.
In Nashville, it's the opening of places such as Super Mercado Latino, Coco Loco restaurant or Salón de Belleza Internacional that's sparking animosity.
One is the Cyber Café, opened four years ago by Gerardo Mendoza. The Mexico City native has lived in Nashville for 14 years — and can't remember a single Hispanic-owned shop when he moved here. He considers it a much better place for immigrants than Houston, where he previously lived.

"Now that there's lots of us, they don't want us here anymore," said Mendoza, 34. "But I don't think it's racism as much as wanting things done right. If you follow the law and learn English, you're fine."
From Navarrette:
You might live in Colorado or New Mexico or Arizona and come from a family that has lived in the United States for several generations. And yet, your citizenship is being challenged by nativists who paint with a broad brush. [Commenters on the Tennessean's recent profile of Ramon Cisneros openly questioned his legal status; those comments and others were later deleted by the Tennessean. -ed.] All they see is your skin color or surname and, from this, they conclude that -- unless you go along with every harebrained scheme to combat illegal immigration -- you're, as one reader recently informed me, "an American in name only." How do you suppose Hispanics will react?
Part of the problem is that the right-wingers weren't content to just attack illegal immigrants. They had to attack an entire culture, which is shared by legal immigrants and U.S.-born Hispanics. And so, a discussion that should have been about exactly three things -- improving border security, smoothing the path for legal immigrants, and deciding the fate of 12 million illegal immigrants in the United States -- became about outlawing taco trucks, limiting the number of people in a home, blasting pizza parlors for taking pesos, banning Spanish language library books, and other nonsense.
When Navarrette speaks of outlawing taco trucks, he is speaking of Nashville. He mentioned Nashville specifically in this previous column on the subject. The reference to bans of Spanish-language books may or may not refer to Middle Tennessee. Nearby Marshall County rejected a local teacher's proposal to eliminate that city's foreign-language collection (story here).

The negativity against Hispanics in general that Navarrette reveals is a poisonous side effect of weaponizing the immigration debate, and it wasn't unexpected. See this earlier story in the Hispanic Nashville Notebook:
At the national and even the local level, there were warnings about the cost of a spiraling negativity towards Hispanics in general in the context of immigration. In 2005, U.S. Representative Jim Cooper (D-Nashville) called on Nashville's business community to "stand up and make a difference, otherwise the debate on this could get out of control in a hurry" (story here). That same year, former Bush White House official Leslie Sanchez warned Republicans against fanning the intensity of immigration politics "into an anti-Hispanic free-for-all" (story here). Acknowledging and apologizing for that free-for-all in Nashville last Saturday was U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Sam Brownback (R-Kansas), who "[asked] a Hispanic man onstage for forgiveness for the negative tone Washington's immigration debate has taken," and said, "'We want you in America. We love you and ask you to forgive us for these negative comments'" (story here).
Early in 2007, Governor Phil Bredesen condemned the spillover:
"Illegal immigration is bad. It is OK to fight it," he said. "But when that starts slopping over into ‘We’re opposed to anybody who speaks Spanish or we’re opposed to anybody who’s not American-born,’ I think you get into very, very bad territory. And there’s been some of that."
Nashville mayors have consistently promoted Nashville's reputation of hospitality. Former Mayor Bill Purcell said in February 2007, "The great overarching truth in our success in this still new century is that we are a welcoming, inclusive, and friendly people and place." Current Mayor Karl Dean said in October 2007, "There should be no question that we are a welcoming city."

Whether those mayoral statements register outside of Nashville appears to be subject, in part, to ongoing local behavior and speech regarding immigrants and the laws that apply to them, and regarding Hispanics in general.

May we all heed these Nashvillians' calls to resist negativity, be neighbors and love our neighbors, and speak out instead of being silent.

Photo by Nick Wheeler. Licensed under Creative Commons.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Cinco de Mayo Fair: April 30-May 4

The Nashville Fairgrounds will host a Cinco de Mayo Fair April 30 through May 4.

More information at

Monday, April 21, 2008

Tennessean interviews Ramon Cisneros of Tennessee Hispanic Chamber

The Tennessean posted this interview of Ramon Cisneros, president of the Tennessee Hispanic Chamber of Commerce*.

Here is an excerpt:
In 1975, I came here to attend college. I was fresh out of high school. I stayed at UT-Martin for a couple of years, and then in 1977 I moved to Orlando, Florida, and graduated in environmental engineering from Central Florida.

I was in a very small town at UT-Martin. But because they had a big English as a second language program at the time, there were about 600 international students there, about 120 of them from Venezuela. At first, it was a pretty big cultural shock, because it's a rural area there, and the people weren't used to having foreigners around. But when we started buying in the stores, and things like that, the businesses started realizing this was an interesting group of people.

Right after graduation, or a couple of weeks later, I moved back to Venezuela and worked there for 11 years, until 1991. I started working with Exxon in the area of oil spills and environmental issues. I also attended college in Venezuela and got a master's degree in marketing during that time.
Cisneros was also profiled by the Nashville Business Journal in 2003 (story here).

how many Hispanic chambers are there in Nashville?

Friday, April 18, 2008

Raids denounced as immoral, double standard, threat to society

Arrests in Chattanooga, some detained in Nashville

"We will pray for these women and their families"

"Not one good old anglo saxon name amongst them"

In the aftermath of recent, nationwide immigration raids that netted 300 arrests, some of which occurred in Chattanooga, with some of the arrestees being sent to Nashville for holding pending deportation, the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC) issued the following press release denouncing the practice. TIRRC Policy Director Stephen Fotopulos (and others) also condemned local immigration enforcement as too broad in this recent editorial.

The text of the press release is here:
Yesterday, while Pope Benedict XVI asked President George W. Bush for the humane treatment of immigrants in the United States, ICE raided Pilgrims Pride Chicken Plants across the nation. At the time when President Bush spoke about freedom in a ‘spirit of mutual respect,’ over one hundred and fifty immigrant workers were rounded up and subjected to detention and interrogation at the Pilgrims Pride chicken plant in Chattanooga. The Tennessee Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition denounces yesterday’s harsh raids and calls on ICE and President Bush to treat all people with dignity and respect.

"Rounding up hardworking parents and spouses and imprisoning them does not make this country stronger. Rather, it shatters families and sows fear, trauma and isolation, weakening the moral and social fabric of our society," said David Lubell, Director of the Tennessee Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC). “Let’s stop tearing families apart. Let’s be compassionate and stop this tragedy of separating parents from their children, and wives from their husbands. Instead, let’s have our federal government fix the broken immigration system” said Mr. Lubell.

Although hundreds of workers were rounded up at Pilgrim’s Pride yesterday, it should be noted that no one at the managerial or executive levels of the company were detained or even charged. In response to this disturbing double standard, Megan Macaraeg with Jobs with Justice had this to say: “Investigating unscrupulous hiring practices is one thing, but we don’t need to be punishing the workers for trying to support their families. All workers and their families deserve being treated with dignity,” Macaraeg said. “The workers who are detained are victims of the employers and the broken immigration system. It is the federal immigration system that needs to be held accountable. The workers need their rights protected, and the children need their parents back,” said Macaraeg.

Many in the Nashville community see the recent raids as morally reprehensible, and the wrong approach to addressing the immigration issue. “The raids in the poultry processing plants in the southeast are disheartening and immoral,” said Rev. Jeannie Hunter, Associate Pastor of the Second Presbyterian Church. “Even worse is the breaking up of families, mothers from their children, which is happening as a result. Christians should urge lawmakers to return children to their parents. We will pray for these women and their families,” said Rev. Hunter.
Local blogger Aunt B. recently lamented here the view expressed by Mack that American factories losing workers will lead to American suffering, and that
it’s going to take this suffering and more to get people to change their minds–that it’s going to take folks losing their nurseries or not having anyone to help them clean up after a tornado or businesses leaving or refusing to come here in order to get people to realize that, in their efforts to hurt others, they’re also hurting themselves.
It's similar to sentiment I expressed here in 2006 (with a favorable review by Kleinheider):
A thought for the executive branch in Tennessee and D.C.: enforce the laws to the letter until we Americans feel how harsh our immigration system is. As commentator Sean Brainsted said in a different context here, "The more that rich and powerful people are held accountable to the same laws that poorer people are, the more likely we are to get rid of ridiculous laws."
There are two categories of victims of current U.S. immigration policy. My comments and Mack's comments address what would happen when the people writing the laws feel the pain of full enforcement of those laws. Currently, the suffering of those subjected to the laws but not able to directly influence them is much more prevalent. It's only a matter of time before the misery strategy moves the Doomsday Clock to the time when we wake up and see how awful we have become.

If we are willing to listen, however, we can be inspired to change our laws without such suffering. From USA Today:
"The pope can't change the laws of our country," [Bishop Thomas] Wenski says. "Hopefully he will touch the hearts of many people in our country."
Judging by one of the comments following the editorial authored by Fotopulos, Renata Soto, Elliott Ozment, Gregg Ramos, Rick Casares and Salvador Guzman, however, we need some divine intervention:
Look at those names of contributors to the article. Not one good old anglo saxon name amongst them.
Photo by Ian Broyles. Licensed under Creative Commons.

Author speaks Monday on Mayan immigration to Rhode Island

Patricia Foxen, formerly with Vanderbilt University and now with University of Toronto's Anthropology Dept. and an Anthropologist and Scientific Associate at Toronto General Hospital, will speak Monday evening 5-7 p.m. at Vanderbilt's Buttrick Hall about her recently published book, "In Search of Providence: Transnational Mayan Identities."

The book "is a fascinating analysis of the experiences of a community of K'iche' Mayans, the largest indigenous group in Guatemala, who have been migrating to Providence, RI over the past two decades," according to Manuel Angel Castillo, Colegio de Mexico. These immigrants live "in a context of growing hostility toward undocumented migrants in the country of settlement, and in the face of turmoil at home--both of which have left deep marks" and are described by one reviewer, Francisco Goldman, as "one of the most complex and tragic immigrant communities in the United States: the Guatemalan highland Maya of Providence, Rhode Island, for whom coming to the U.S. hardly means leaving Guatemala's horror or cultural pathologies behind."

And, "With her in-depth case study of Guatemalan K'iche migrants from Xinxuc to Providence, Rhode Island, Patricia Foxen has filled a significant gap in the literature on Guatemalan migration to the U.S. This beautifully nuanced account captures the complexities of reproduced, changing and multiple K'iche identities in new settings, and of Mayan transnational practices. It also provides a window for seeing the contradictions of post-war rural Guatemala." --Susanne Jonas, University of California, Santa Cruz

More reviews here

Patricia Foxen (PhD 2002; MA 1994, McGill University; MPH 1990, Columbia University) is an expert on Latin American violence, post-war reconstruction and development; migration and forced displacement; cultural identity and psychosocial well-being; and questions surrounding health and gender in the Americas. (Full Bio available at:

Speaking Monday, April 21, 5-7 p.m. in Buttrick Hall on Vanderbilt Campus; Buttrick is West of the Central Library, off the Library Lawn -

Parking is available off 21st Ave. South near the library, plus metered parking on West End is Free after 6 p.m.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Cine Latino at 2008 Nashville Film Festival

"Que Viva La Lucha," "The Mother Hen," "Cornered," "Two Embraces"

The Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (NAHCC)* announced its sponsorship of the 2008 Cine Latino at the Nashville Film Festival (NaFF), which runs April 17 to 24 at the Green Hills Regal 16 Cinemas:
Ticket holders will be invited to attend a VIP party hosted by the Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce with special guest "Que Viva La Lucha: Wrestling in Tijuana" director Gustavo Vazquez prior to the screening of the movie on Wednesday, April 23, 5-6:30pm. Admission to VIP reception is FREE to "Que Viva la Lucha" ticket holders and NAHCC members. Delicious coffee provided by Pallette Gallery 2119 Belcourt, Nashville, TN 37212

ANNOUNCING: "The Mother Hen" the new picture from local Hispanic filmmaker Carlos Griffin will be screened on April 22nd at 7:00PM, April 23rd. at 7:15 PM and on Thursday the 24th. at 2:30 and at 9:00PM.

Members and friends of the NAHCC can get a discount when ordering online at make sure to use the promo code available at the end of the NaFF video spot or on our website at:
A search in the "Hispanic" category at the NaFF web site pulls up two additional films: "Cornered" (Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 5:30 PM) and "Two Embraces" (Thursday, Apr 17, 2008 8:00 PM).

how many Hispanic chambers are there in Nashville?

Fiesta Belmont: Latin Music Street Fair scheduled for May 3

Fiesta Belmont, Nashville's Latin Music Street Fair, is scheduled for Saturday May 3, 2008 from 11AM-7PM at Belmont University's Center Campus at 17th Ave South & Wedgewood Blvd. For information about how to become a sponsor or how to have a booth at this event, call David Herrera at 615-460-6908 or visit

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Nashville Diocese ordered Spanish Mass 20 years ago

The Chattanooga Times Free Press notes in this article that Spanish Mass was a priority in Nashville at least 20 years ago:
The Rev. George E. Schmidt, pastor of Sts. Peter & Paul Church, said the then-Diocese of Nashville recognized the influx of immigrants more than 20 years ago when it assigned a priest to hold a monthly Spanish Mass in Nashville, Knoxville, Chattanooga and the Tri-Cities.
Photo by Jerry "Woody". Licensed under Creative Commons.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Volunteer tax preparer says illegal immigrants among Hispanic clients

The Associated Press interviewed Martha Pantoja, a volunteer tax preparer for the non-profit Nashville Wealth Building Coalition. According to the article, Pantoja said that illegal immigrants are among her Hispanic clients filing tax returns:
[S]ome illegal immigrants choose to file taxes and write a check come April 15, using an alternative to the Social Security number offered by the IRS so it can collect income tax from foreign workers.

"It's a mistake to think that no illegal immigrants pay taxes. They definitely do," said Martha Pantoja, who has been helping Hispanic immigrants this tax season as an IRS-certified volunteer tax preparer for the non-profit Nashville Wealth Building Coalition.

Among those she has assisted is Eric Jimenez, a self-employed handyman who has worked in Nashville for several years. He feels obliged to pay taxes — even though, as Pantoja said, "nothing would happen" to him if he did not.

"I have an idea, a mentality, that to be a good citizen you have to pay taxes," he said. "Also, I'm conscious of the fact that the money we pay in taxes supports the schools and all the public services."

Pantoja said she has helped a number of construction workers who, because they are classified as independent contractors by their employers and have no taxes withheld, owe big tax bills come April. Beyond income tax, they have to pay the full Social Security and Medicare taxes due.

The Social Security Administration estimates that about three-quarters of illegal workers pay taxes that contribute to the overall solvency of Social Security and Medicare.
Photo by paul stumpr. Licensed under Creative Commons.

Monday, April 14, 2008

William Walker, the Nashville invader who claimed presidencies in Mexico and Nicaragua

"As widely known as that of any other living man in the Old World or in the New"

"He ought to be hanged for making so many attempts, causing so much bloodshed and never succeeding"

April 19 auction includes Walker portrait and related books, letters

The Saturday, April 19, auction of items from the estate of Margaret Lindsley Warden features a portrait of once-famous Nashvillian William Walker.

In the years leading up to the U.S. Civil War, Walker went from being a Nashville schoolboy to claiming the office of President in both Mexico and Nicaragua and making enemies of entire nations and even Cornelius Vanderbilt (see this article in the Vanderbilt Register).

Walker was the subject of this sentence written by the New York Times in 1857:
The name of William Walker is, by this time, as widely known as that of any other living man in the Old World or in the New.
and this sentence, also by the New York Times, in 1860:
If he be a brigand, and an enemy of the human race, as most civilized people now consider him, he has merited the gallows a dozen times over for divers[e] robberies, murders and piracies; and if he be a hero and philanthropist, he ought to be hanged for making so many attempts, causing so much bloodshed and never succeeding.
as well as this sentence by Nicaraguan poet Ruben Dario in 1912:
The defense against the famous Yankee has remained as one of the most brilliant pages of the history of the five Central American republics.
Walker's history is commemorated by this Nashville historical marker, a picture under this Wikipedia article for the original meaning of the word "filibuster," and a 1987 Ed Harris movie called "Walker," which featured the tag line, "Before Rambo... Before Oliver North..."

From the Tennessean:
The upcoming auction is scheduled in Knoxville in conjunction with three other estate auctions, Eberling said. Among Warden's family treasures to be sold are also a 1505 book from the Lindsleys' family book collection, a portrait of William Walker — one of Nashville's most colorful residents and president of the Republic of Nicaragua in the mid-1850s — family jewelry and silver.

Jim Hoobler, senior curator of art and architecture at the Tennessee State Museum, said he hopes some of the items find a home in the downtown museum.

"She's probably the last in a line of great families," said Hoobler, who knew Warden since the 1970s.

"This is history of Nashville. Our hope here is that we can acquire some of the important items of this collection like the William Walker portrait. These sort of things need to be in public collections where everybody can look at them, not in someone's living room with only one person looking at it."
From the auction description:
Important portrait of William Walker, "The Grey Eyed Man of Destiny", by Nashville artist, George Dury (1817-1894).
The painting is signed on the back, "Dury 1858".
Oil/gouache on paper.
This painting had previously been attributed to artist Washington Cooper in John Edwin Woodrow's book, "John Berrien Lindsley" (illustrated on page 85).

William Walker was a physician, lawyer, and journalist. A Nashvillian, Walker was the only Tennessee born president of another country, the Republic of Nicaragua.

At age 14, Walker graduated from the University of Nashville. He was then awarded a medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania at age 19. He became qualified to practice law in New Orleans in 1847 and later became editor of the New Orleans Crescent. In 1848, he became the editor of the San Francisco Herald.

The "manifest destiny" vision of the time reflected Walker ambitions. In California, He began the efforts of organizing a filibustering expedition to conquer Lower California and the State of Sonora. He invaded Mexico in 1853 and proclaimed himself President of Lower California, violating U.S. neutrality laws. Later in 1853, Walker organized a small expedition of men to conquer Nicaragua. Within five months, he was made commander in chief of the new coalition provisional government of Nicaragua. In 1856, William Walker was elected as the President of Nicaragua. In the summer of 1856, Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, and San Salvador declared war on Nicaragua.

Cornelius Vanderbilt viewed Walker as a threat to his American Transit Company in Nicaragua and aligned Costa Ricans against him, forcing him to surrender to U.S. Naval Authorities. In 1857, Walker planned his return to Nicaragua with a force of 240 volunteers. Elements of the U.S. Navy demanded his surrender for violating U.S. neutrality acts. Walker was brought back to the U.S. where President James Buchanan and several Senators castigated him for his filibustering activities. Walker became bolstered by a wave of Southern support and unsuccessfully attempted subsequent expeditions to Nicaragua.

In 1860, The blockade maintained by British and American cruisers in the Caribbean forced Walker to take another route to Nicaragua through the east coast of Honduras. He was pursued by a large force of Hondurans and a British war ship. After surrendering to a British captain, Walker and his men were turned over to the Honduran authorities. Walker was given a trial and executed by firing squad on September 12th, 1860.

Note - William Walker was a close friend of Dr. John Berrien Lindsley, and this is the only portrait known painted from life of him. Original frame. Condition - very good condition for age, small tear to upper margin. Dimensions sight 7 1/2" x 9 1/2", frame 13 1/4" x 16 1/4". Circa 1858. Lindsley Warden estate.

Note - Nashville artist, Friedrich Julius George Dury was born in Wurzburg, Bavaria and exhibited at the Munich art Association. He arrived in Nashville in 1850 and painted several prominent Tennesseans including Felix Grundy and Civil War officers including General P.G.T. Beauregard, General William Rosecrans, General George Thomas, Governor Brownlow. He also did bust portraits of Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson.

Additional items with this lot - Four books related to William Walker: "The Southern Dream of a Caribbean Empire, 1854-1861" by Robert E. May, 1973 (signed and inscribed to Margaret Lindsley Warden), "Destiny and Glory" by Edward S. Wallace, 1957 (ex-library copy), and "El Filibustero" by Clinton Rollins (paperback, 1976), with author's signature and inscription to Margaret Lindsley Warden, which reads "The first volume of a set to be enriched by her generous contribution of Walker's letters to Dr. Lindsley (which will be reproduced in a succeeding volume) -- with cordial greetings from the author.", and "Freebooters must die: The Life and Death of William Walker.." by Frederick Rosengarten.

Additional items - a period photo showing two soldiers in a Central American setting standing in front of a fortified building with sandbags surrounding it. Stamped on the back, "MI BOHIO CIENFUEGOS".

Additional item - an eight page letter dated March 1872 Nashville written by J.C. Thompson in which Thompson gives a biographical summary of Walker's life to Scribner's Monthly, New York.

Last item - a letter from Nicaragua by Dr. Alejandro Bolanos Geyer in 1974 transcribing and translating to Spanish articles written by William Walker.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Español in country music was WSIX's April Fools joke

Angry listeners don't see through prank and bemoan supposed change

A Nashville radio personality tested the limits of the April Fools' art form with a fake format change supposedly designed to attract Spanish-speaking listeners. CMT's Country Music Blog describes the April Fools' joke crafted by WSIX's Gerry House this year, which was that the country music station would try to broaden its listener base by playing some Spanish-language songs in the rotation.

After issuing the phony announcement and playing some songs en español, here is what happened:
House opened his phone lines and listeners started calling in. Did they ever. And most of them were angry. Angry that another culture was being "forced" on them. Vowed to leave the station and never return. Forget the fact that Spanish-language singers and writers are a big part of country music history. I guess House waited too long to remind his listeners that it was April Fool's Day. Oh - and then he played the new single by Gone Country winner Julio Iglesias Jr. and invited listeners to vote on that song.
This particular joke comes during an increasing push to fight negativity against Hispanics, African-Americans, immigrants, and/or Spanish-speakers (see this round-up or today's Tennessean story). According to this article about April Fools Day in the Altoona (PA) Mirror, an artful prank does two things: it builds comraderie, and it doesn't hurt anyone. Reader comments on the CMT Country Music blog post criticize both House and his listeners for the negativity generated by the stunt.

As the CMT blog points out, however, the fake news at the heart of the prank was not entirely unimaginable, since Spanish-language songs are a part of country music's past and present. See previous Hispanic Nashville Notebook stories on Freddy Fender and Julio Iglesia's Gone Country win.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Hispanic Nashvillians judge U.S. President candidates

Tim Chavez, Gregg Ramos, Fabian Bedne, Raul Lopez, and Dennis Nunez weigh in

"Both parties have betrayed Hispanics"

"I remain hopeful that this country will be better, more tolerant, and more accepting of those who may be a bit different"

The Hispanic Nashville Notebook asked some local voters who they support for U.S. president, and why. Here are the responses that came in.

Tim Chavez, columnist:

I'm neither a Republican or Democrat. Both parties have betrayed Hispanics.

Locally, Democrats and liberals were denying English language instruction to Hispanic children in kindergarten when I was investigating Nashville public schools in 2000 and 2001 following complaints by ESL teachers. I took that wrong and others to an official with the Clinton administration who was working for the Al Gore campaign. She sought me out as to why I was criticizing her candidate and party in my column for betraying Hispanic children. Yet she did nothing. Now Janet Murguia is the head of NCLR.

Overall, the Democratic Party is first beholden to the African-American political lobby. So it has been interesting to watch the split of this partnership by the Clinton-Obama race. And ironically, it was Hispanics in California, Nevada and Texas who rescued the floundering campaign of the wife of the supposed "first black president."

Only the election of George W. Bush brought action locally when I took the ESL wrongs to his administration during a White House visit. The district was subsequently found by the U.S. Department of Education to be out of compliance with a federal agreement on ESL education.

But now the Republican Party is driving anti-immigrant legislation in Congress and at the state Capitol. Their efforts have stigmatized all Hispanics, citizens or not. Republicans refuse to recognize the contributions of undocumented workers to this economy and their wealth. Half of undocumented workers initially enter the U.S. on temporary work visas. American businesses need Hispanics either because citizens here are too lazy to work or the businesses are paying too little for too much work. So Republican efforts smack more of bigotry than protecting the security of this nation. I can't be one of them either.

So I look at the candidate. I reject political labels of parties or ideologies. Labels just allow the other side to dismiss you.

I fought the TennCare cuts in my column. That would be considered a liberal position. I have opposed abortion, except in the case of rape, incest or the life of the mother immediately endangered. That's considered a conservative position. I oppose capital punishment; liberal. I like George Bush for No Child Left Behind, his humanitarian efforts in Africa and for trying to pass comprehensive immigration reform instead of punitive measures proposed by most Republicans; conservative. I support universal health care; liberal. I believe the mainstream news media has a liberal bias; conservative.

I could go on. But I've written too much.

Gregg Ramos, attorney:

I am supporting Senator Barack Obama of Illinois. This was a very difficult decision for me to make since I think highly of both Senator Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton of New York. I am incredibly impressed with their intellect, knowledge of the issues and communication skills. I also believe they are very similar from an ideological point of view. What tipped me in favor of Senator Obama however, is that for whatever reason Sen. Clinton seems to rub more people the wrong way. That is, her negative ratings are considerably higher than are Senator Obama’s. I believe this is quite unfair but is just the way it is for reason(s) I can’t pretend to understand. Since I believe this election may very well be decided by Independents and disgruntled Republicans who are tired of the status quo, it is my judgment that Sen. Obama will stand a better chance of attracting these crucial voters than will Senator Clinton. Hence, I am backing Sen. Obama.

I will add that although I disagree with Republican Senator John McCain on several issues, especially his stance on the war, I have the utmost respect and admiration for him. He was extremely courageous in my opinion regarding his efforts to reach across the aisle to try and achieve bipartisan, meaningful and comprehensive immigration reform. He also remained steadfast in his support for the war in Iraq at a time when the war was not going well and was hugely unpopular with most of the country. This, to me, demonstrated the strength and sincerity of his convictions, even when “smart” politics may have dictated a different position. How can you not respect and admire a person who stands up for what he believes notwithstanding the political consequences? I also appreciate Senator McCain’s ethics reforms and his unequivocal stance against the use of waterboarding by the CIA. John McCain is a true American hero in my opinion and would be a President I could be very comfortable with should he manage somehow to prevail over either one of the above-referenced Democrats in November.

Regardless of which of the above candidates ultimately prevails in November, I remain hopeful that this country will be better, more tolerant, and more accepting of those who may be a bit different.

Fabian Bedne, architect:

I support Obama, not because I think badly of Clinton, I just think that Obama will be less likely to compromise on core ethical issues as he seems to nurture his politics from core convictions. The Clintons have a tradition of pragmatism that may have worked well in the past, but in a moment where certain things need to absolutely get done I feel better with Obama.

Raul Lopez, business owner:

No matter who the Democrats nominate as their candidate, never have the differences on the issues been more stark than today:

Lower taxes vs tax increases
Success in Iraq vs surrender in Iraq
Strict constructionist judges vs judges who legislate from the bench
Health care for American families vs government-run health care
Fiscal discipline vs continued pork, wasteful government spending and earmarks

The future will look very different if we do not nominate and elect John McCain

Dennis Nunez, attorney:

I am a Democrat and I voted for Barack Obama. Although I like Hillary Clinton, I am concerned that Hillary will be another polarizing figure in the White House. Personally, I think Hillary Clinton has better credentials than both Barack Obama or John McCain. However, I am looking for a candidate that strongly desires to get us out of Iraq and that can swing independents and moderates to the Democrats.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...