Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Those darned socialists

Via TPM, this look at the writer of the GOP's new favorite song - America the Beautiful.
Bates (1859-1929), a well-respected poet and professor of English at Wellesley College, was part of progressive reform circles in the Boston area, concerned about labor rights, urban slums and women's suffrage.

For decades Bates lived with and loved her Wellesley colleague Katharine Coman, founder of the college's economics department, who authored The History of Contract Labor in the Hawaiian Islands and The Economic History of the Far West. Coman was also a poet. She and Bates jointly wrote English History as Taught by English Poets.

Although they lived together for 25 years in what was then called a "Boston Marriage," they could not publicly acknowledge their intimate relationship. When Coman died, however, Bates published Yellow Clover: A Book of Remembrance that celebrated their love and their involvement in the radical and social reform movements of their day.

Were Bates and Coman alive today, they would probably have taken advantage of Massachusetts' law allowing same-sex couples to marry -- a law that folks like Limbaugh find appalling.

Bates' circle of reformers and radicals -- including union activists, feminists and housing crusaders -- were strong advocates for immigrants. Bates and Coman volunteered at Denison House, a Boston settlement house that worked to improve the lives of immigrants who lived in Boston's slums and worked in its sweatshops. Denison House was founded by their Wellesley colleague Vida Scudder, another radical socialist, feminist, and lesbian. It was modeled on Hull House, founded by Jane Addams in Chicago.
They point out that other iconic American songs, not to mention the Pledge of Allegiance (!!), were written by socialists.

It's great.

ps - as some have pointed out, Chik-Fil-A only serves Coke products! What's a radical rightist to do?

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