Virtual Program: Indigenous Resilience & Activism

The Richmond Museum of History & Culture is presenting a series of virtual programs through April 2020.

Virtual Program on Saturday April 11, 2020 5:00 PM PST

Indigenous Resilience & Activism in the East Bay

Film Screening & Zoom Room Conversation

Join Zoom Meeting at https://4cd.zoom.us/j/927868536

Meeting ID: 927 868 536

PROGRAM SCHEDULE

Introduction & Part I: Beyond Recognition (2014) a film by Michelle Grace Steinberg

5:00 ? 5:35?PM

About the Film: After decades struggling to protect her ancestors’ burial places, now engulfed by San Francisco’s sprawl, a Native woman from a federally unrecognized tribe and her allies occupy a development site to prevent desecration of sacred ground. When this fails to stop the development, they vow to follow a new path: to establish the first women-led urban Indigenous land trust. BEYOND RECOGNITION tells the inspiring story of women creating opportunities to preserve Native culture and homeland in a society bent on erasing them.

Through cinema verite, interviews, and stunning footage of the land, the film introduces Corrina Gould, Johnella LaRose, and Indian People Organizing for Change as they embark on an incredible journey to transform the way we see cities. The film invites viewers to examine their own relationship to place, revealing histories that have been buried by shifting landscapes.

Film: 24 minutes.

PART II: Zoom Room Conversation with Corrina Gould & Michelle Grace Steinberg

5:45 ? 6:15 PM

Corrina Gould (Sogorea Te Land Trust) and Filmmaker Michelle Grace Steinberg (Underexposed Films)?speak about making Beyond Recognition and the legacy of the film today. Corrina will comment on her continued work and the state of indigenous activism in the East Bay.

BONUS: Watch the trailer for Steinberg?s new film A Place to Breathe (2020).

Do you have a question for Corrina or Michelle? Submit your questions to melinda@richmondmuseum.org

This program is made possible in part by the California Humanities Council.

Richmond & the Spanish Flu-October 21, 1918

Richmond & the Spanish Flu

The Spanish Flu raged through the United States approximately one hundred years ago.? Like all small towns in the United States, daily life in the City of Richmond was deeply impacted by the epidemic.

We found these three articles in the museum archives from the Richmond Daily Independent dated October 21, 1918.

Just like COVID 19 today, essential workers were particularly hard hit by the Spanish Flu. The post office was no exception, the article above reporting the mail carrier and several employees had been out sick because they had contracted the disease.

The newspaper article below reported thirteen deaths in the previous 24 hours. The dead included eight males, three females and two of indeterminate gender with an age range from infant to thirty eight. Limited information about the victims are presented including occupation in some cases. The men were employed at Standard Oil Company (now Chevron), Hercules Powder Works and Wells Fargo Express. The last entry in the list is interesting because it indicates local physicians were in high demand and difficult to engage. Pinole resident Manuel Rodriguez, aged 33, died before he had the opportunity to be seen by a doctor.

The final article we have from October 21, 1918 is full of interesting facts demonstrating similarities between the Spanish Flu and COVID19. The State Board of Health issued formal guidance in local newspapers, equivalent to today’s media advisory. Restrictions to curb the spread of the Spanish Flu include social distancing, self quarantine, masks, hand washing and disinfectant. Thankfully, nurses no longer use bichloride of mercury or liquor cresol, because they’re both harmful substances. The scarcity of gauze is another interesting similarity between the modern and historical epidemics.

Introducing Richmond & the Spanish Flu

Richmond & the Spanish Flu (1918-1919)

The Spanish Flu raged through the United States approximately one hundred years ago. The country had just entered World War I and the first cases of Spanish Flu were reported at military camps in Spring 1918.

Spanish Flu Timeline from the Center for Disease Control

We dug deep into our archives to learn more about how the Spanish Flu impacted the City of Richmond. The newspaper clippings files in the RMHC archives are a trusted wealth of information about all major historical events in Richmond. The file on the Spanish Flu in Richmond includes dozens of articles dating mainly from October 1918 to January 1919. The first article in this series includes fun double meaning and references to popular culture of the time.

For the first time in the history of the City,

Richmond is a bone dry town and

for the first time too old John Barleycorn received a solar-plexus knockout

October 19, 1918, Richmond Daily Independent Newspaper.? ? ??October 18, 1918 Richmond Daily Independent Newspaper

My first response to this headline was “Ok, what?!?”

The headline is a metaphor stating the City Health Commissioner had Richmond Police closed down all the bars in Richmond. Apparently, the many saloons in Richmond had ignored the previous health department orders to shut all non-essential businesses. So heroic Dr. Blake had a police officer personally visit and close down every bar in the City of Richmond. More to come about heroic City Health Commissioner Dr. Blake later!

Let’s break down the langue in the headline. John Barleycorn refers to a historical British folk song about barley, the basis for many alcoholic drinks. Solar plexus knockout means a hard punch to the stomach, likely referring to the popularity of boxing in that period. The solar plexus is an anatomical term referring to a bundle of nerves located in the stomach.

The bars refused to abide by shelter in place and boldly remained open? Wow! How would the public have responded if that happened today?

 

Apparently, there were a lot of bars or saloons in Richmond during the early 20th Century as well. Just check out this partial list of saloons from the 1914/5 Polk’s Directory for the City of Richmond (courtesy of Internet Archive).

The second article in our archives from October 19, 1919 provides more grim details about the Spanish Flu in Richmond. Dr. Blake has closed all the schools, churches and bars, and ordered the community to wear masks in public. He states the apex (or worst) of the flu epidemic is yet to come.? A total of 96 new cases of flu have been reported and four individuals have died in a period of only 24 hours.

Local history is important because it demonstrated people have overcome adversity in the past and inspires people to be strong through their own trials. The City of Richmond has endured epidemics in the past and we will emerge from COVID19 stronger and more resilient.

We hope to bring you more notes from the archives about the Spanish Flu in the City of Richmond. Stay tuned!

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