Thursday, November 22, 2007

As American as Pumpkin Pie

'Prior to the mid-1800s, Thanksgiving had nothing to do with the 1621 harvest celebration, Pilgrims or Native People. Thanksgiving started as a traditional New England holiday that celebrated family and community. It descended from Puritan days of fasting and festive rejoicing. ... The Pilgrims, Wampanoag and Thanksgiving were first linked together in 1841, when historian Alexander Young rediscovered Edward Winslow’s account of the 1621 harvest celebration. The account was part of the text of a letter to a friend in England, later published in Mourt’s Relation (1622)....One of the first private organizations to undertake “Americanizing” new immigrants was the Daughters of the American Revolution. As early as 1910, the group published a guide for new citizens...Industries like the Ford Motor Company conducted Americanization classes for their employees. These classes included information about the Pilgrims. At the closing ceremonies of Americanization classes at Plymouth Cordage Company, Plymouh, Massachusetts, employees reenacted scenes in American history, including the landing of the Pilgrims....'

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