Archive for the ‘Witch Hunts Through History’ Category:
Last year Kemal Argon, a contributor to Huffington Post, wondered What Can The Salem Witch Museum Teach American Muslims? . Yet this spring after the Boston Marathon bombing a few of our staff, reeling with the aftermath of the horrific events so close to home and family, expressed apprehension about discussing religious, cultural, sexual, gender and racial tolerance in our second exhibit.
Fear + Trigger = Scapegoat
Our second exhibit Witches Evolving Perceptions looks at the evolution of folklore and stereotypes that lead to scapegoating, especially of those accused of witchcraft in Essex County 1692. The formula for a witch hunt fits to explain other scapegoating events, for example the McCarthy hearings in the United States in the 1950’s.
Trigger: Dr. Griggs
Scapegoats: 150 Townspeople
Fear: Imperial Japan
Trigger: Pearl Harbor
Scapegoats: 100,000 +/- Japanese Americans put in internment camps
Trigger: HUAC / Senator Joseph McCarthy
Scapegoats: Blacklisted citizens
Scapegoats: Gay community
There are many other examples of witch hunting in the United States and elsewhere in the world throughout history. Using the formula, it could be said that the treatment of law abiding Muslim-Americans as terrorists in a post-9/11 environment certainly follows.
When the Boston Marathon bombing occurred this spring, one unforeseen result was that tourists visiting the city were rerouted elsewhere, including to Salem; the Salem Witch Museum hosted several unscheduled tour groups, even as the Boston police were chasing down the suspects, and most people in the area were single-minded in their concern. It was a surreal day where citizens of the metro Boston area were unified in prayer of sorts, while political and social tensions were escalating.
A couple members of our staff struggled with discussing tolerance in our second exhibit that day. While there were those who felt that Muslims as a whole should not be allowed to immigrate to the United States, others believed that this was the precisely the time to hold fast to our commitment to teach the lessons of intolerance.
To address the conflict, staff members researched various media for a broad sample of opinions on the subject of Muslims in America: some pro, some con. We realized that this complicated issue brought to mind the very real conflict between our moral ideals and our naturally occurring human fears and prejudices. Today as much as in 1692.
We found the research and following discussions somewhat unsatisfying, as none of the opinions expressed were coming from the very people whose presence in our midst we were examining. Museum director, Tina Jordan, reached out to our Education Director Emerita, Alison D’Amario, to help us get a more personal view of the issue. Alison has taught English at the Immigrant Learning Center, Malden, MA through which she’s been afforded a genuine familiarity with – unedited by mass media – the daily lives and stories of people, including Muslims, who have decided to live in the United States.
. . . . . to be continued. . . . .
In part II, we’ll recap a moving evening of discussion on the topic of the treatment of Muslims in the Boston area after the fateful marathon bombing of this spring.
Boyer, Paul and Nissenbaum, Stephen. Salem Possessed.
Demos, John. Entertaining Satan.
Hall, David. Witch Hunting in 17th Century New England
Hansen, Chadwick. Witchcraft in Salem.
Hill, Frances. A Delusion of Satan.
Hill, Frances. The Salem Witch Trials Reader.
Hoffer, Peter Charles. The Salem Witch Trials, A Legal History.
Karlsen, Carol. The Devil in the Shape of a Woman.
Mappen, Marc. Witches and Historians.
Norton, Mary Beth. In The Devil’s Snare.
Richardson, Katherine. The Salem Witch Trials.
Roach, Marilynne. The Salem Witch Trials, A Day by Day Chronicle.
Robinson, Enders. The Devil Discovered.
Rosenthal, Bernard. Salem Story.
Starkey, Marion. The Devil in Massachusetts.
Rosenthal, Bernard, ed. Records of the Salem Witch-Hunt
Boyer, Paul and Nissenbaum, Stephen. Salem Village Witchcraft.
Trask, Richard, ed. The Devil Hath Been Raised.
Breslaw, Elaine. Tituba, Reluctant Witch of Salem.
Demos, John. The Enemy Within
Hill, Frances. Hunting for Witches, A Visitor’s Guide.
Miller, Arthur. The Crucible.
Tapley, Charles. Rebecca Nurse, Saint but Witch Victim.
Roach, Marilynne. Gallows and Graves.
Russell, Jeffrey. A History of Witchcraft.
Weisman, Richard. Witchcraft, Magic and Religion in
17th Century New England.
Aronson, Marc. Witch-Hunt (young adult)
Duble,Kathleen. The Sacrifice (grades 5-8)
Jackson, Shirley. The Witchcraft of Salem Village (grades 5-6)
Rinaldi, Ann. A Break with Charity. Fiction (grades 6-8)
Stern, Steven. Witchcraft in Salem . (grades 4-6)
Yolen, Jane. The Salem Witch Trials, An Unsolved Mystery
“A Map of Salem Village & Vicinity in 1692”
This map shows Salem Village, primary location of the Salem
witch trials history, as it looked in 1692. Sites of houses and public
buildings are noted. The map is drawn by Marilynne Roach, a
Salem witch trials expert.
“Three Sovereigns for Sarah”
A partly fictional account of the trials focusing on the three
Towne sisters, two of whom were hanged. The production
was filmed at locations connected with the trials. 2 1/2 hrs
“Days of Judgment: The Salem Witch Trials of 1692”
A film designed for school and home viewing that answers
many of the questions raised by the trials. 1 hour
The 1995 film version of Arthur Miller’s play. Screen play by the author.
Filmed on location in Essex County. 2 hours
Gordon Hirabayashi was a student in the 1940s when he challenged the internment orders for Japanese Americans during World War II. Opposing the wartime removal of more than 100,000 Japanese-Americans and Japanese immigrants from the West Coast to detention centers, Mr. Hirabayashi involved himself in a debate that echoed throughout the remainder of the century.
In February 1942, two months after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, approved the establishment of ‘military areas’ to ‘exclude therefrom any or all persons.’ In March a curfew was instituted along the West Coast for people of Japanese ancestry, and in May 1942, the West Coast military command ordered their removal to austere camps in isolated locations.
Hirabayashi was imprisoned from March to October, 1942 after refusing to obey curfew and internment orders. In the 1980s a professor of political science at the University of California, San Diego, Peter Irons, found documents revealing that in presenting to the Supreme Court the federal government had held back its own assessment that Japanese-Americans on the West Coast were not dangers to national security. In September 1987the federal appeals court in San Francisco overturned Mr. Hirabayashi’s conviction. He died in January at age 93.