It’s been nearly 400 years since the holiday began. Here are five things we know about the first Thanksgiving:1. MORE THAN 100 people attended: The Wampanoag Indians who attended the first Thanksgiving had occupied the land for thousands of years and were key to the survival of the colonists during the first year they arrived in 1620, according to the National Museum of the American Indian. After the Pilgrims successfully harvested their first crops in autumn 1621, at least 140 people gathered to eat and partake in games, historians say. No one knows exactly what prompted the two groups to dine together, but there were at least 90 native men and 50 Englishmen present, according to Kathleen Wall, a colonial foodways culinarian at Plimoth Plantation. They most likely ran races and shot at marks as forms of entertainment, Wall said. The English likely ate off of tables, while the native people dined on the ground.
2. They ate for three days- The festivities went on for three days, according to primary accounts. The nearest village of native Wampanoag people traveled on foot for about two days to attend, Wall said. “It takes so long to get somewhere, that once you get there you stay a while,” she said.
3. Deer topped the menu-Venison headlined the meal, although there was a healthy selection of fowl and fish, according to the Pilgrim Hall Museum, which cited writings by Plymouth leaders Edward Winslow and William Bradford. There was a “great store of wild turkeys” to be eaten, as well as ducks and geese, wrote Bradford, who was the governor. Winslow said Massasoit, the leader of the Wampanoag people, contributed five deer to the dinner.
4. It wasn’t called Thanksgiving- There’s no evidence that the 1621 feast was called Thanksgiving, and the event was not repeated for at least a decade, experts say. Still, it is said to be the inspiration behind the now traditional annual gathering and a testament to the cooperation of two groups of people. It showed “two communities that are diplomatically connected coming together,” said Richard Pickering, Plimoth Plantation’s deputy executive director. Abraham Lincoln officially declared Thanksgiving a national holiday by proclamation in 1863.
5. The peace was short-lived -Early European colonizers and Native Americans lived in peace through a symbiotic relationship for about 10 years until thousands of additional settlers arrived, Pickering said. Up to 25,000 Englishmen landed in the New World between 1630 and 1642, after a plague drastically cut the native population by what’s believed to be more than half, he said.
The arrival of new settlers prompted a fight for land and rising animosity. War exploded in 1675, years after Massasoit and Bradford died and power fell to their successors.
Many Native Americans have long marked Thanksgiving as a day of somber remembrance.
Jacqueline Keeler, a member of the Dineh Nation and the Yankton Dakota Sioux who lives in Oregon, observes Thanksgiving with her family but doesn’t think of it as a national holiday the way the rest of the country does.
“Thanksgiving tells a story that is convenient for Americans,” Keeler said. “[But] it’s a celebration of our survival. I recognize it as a chance for my family to come together as survivors, pretty much in defiance.”
Edgar ‘Dooky’ Chase Jr., who with his wife, Leah, turned the family’s Treme sandwich shop into a world-renowned restaurant and a beacon of civility, died Tuesday (Nov. 22). A family member confirmed the death. Mr. Chase was 88.Mr. Chase, born March 23, 1928, in New Orleans, grew up in a musical family. A jazz trumpeter, Mr. Chase delivered sandwiches for his parents’ shop while honing his musical skills, according to a bio posted by the Chase Family Foundation.
After attending Booker T. Washington High School, Mr. Chase, only 16 at the time, founded Dooky Chase’s Rhythm Playboys, a jazz band. Later, he create the Dooky Chase Orchestra, a 16-member big band that included his sister, Doris, on vocals. The band traveled throughout the region. Members included trombonist Benny Powell, who played with Lionel Hampton and Count Basie, and drummer Vernel Fournier, who was a member of Ahmed Jamal’s trio.
Mr. Chase, according to the foundation’s page, also became active in the Musicians Union and helped increase the pay of local performers. When he was only 19, Mr. Chase promoted the first racially integrated concert performed at the Municipal Auditorium.
In 1945, the Dooky Chase Orchestra played a Mardi Gras ball, where Mr. Chase met Leah. The couple married a year later.
The orchestra played its last show in 1949, but Mr. Chase remained devoted to music. It was only in the last decade that he stopped playing his trumpet for family members. At Leah’s 90th birthday party in 2013, Mr. Chase sang for the crowd.
“We remember him vividly playing his trumpet. That was his first love,” said Kimberly Reese, Mr. Chase’s granddaughter.
He would recommend songs for his grandchildren and great-grandchildren and test them to see if they had musical ability (most didn’t).
Mr. Chase, however, early in his life focused his main attention on the family business. Mr. Chase and Leah went on to turn the humble restaurant into a white-tablecloth restaurant admired and celebrated around the world.
The restaurant became a meeting place for civil rights leaders. In an upstairs room, the Chases allowed black and white civil rights activists to eat and plan, in violation of the law. The Rev. Martin Luther King Sr., James Meredith and Thurgood Marshall all passed through the doors on Orleans Avenue.
“He was a man who took his obligations seriously,” Reese said.
African-American musicians, who were barred at the time from white establishments, also frequented Dooky Chase’s Restaurant. The list of notable customers included Lena Horne, Count Basie, Sarah Vaughan and Ray Charles, who mentioned the restaurant in his song “Early in the Morning.”
Later, presidents would come to the Treme restaurant for gumbo and hospitality.
The world in which we work is changing fast. Don’t be caught not knowing, or committing a fair housing violation. Transgender Bathroom Access: What Should a Property Manager Do?
One issue that gained national attention in 2016 is how to address questions surrounding transgender bathrooms – and specifically, who gets to use which restroom. One such case has even made it to the U.S. Supreme Court. The case of Gloucester County School Board v. G.G. involves a transgender male student and his fight to use the bathroom of his choosing. While the Court plans to hear arguments in the future, business owners and property managers are scrambling to ensure they are in compliance with all federal, state, and local laws in offering appropriate accommodations for the transgender community.
IREM has just updated its Gender Identity Discrimination in Public Accommodations white paper, (http://www.irem.org/File%20Library/Public%20Policy/TransgenderWhitepaper.pdf) filled with information on transgender bathroom rights, various statutes requiring accommodations, and suggested strategies for accommodation. Of course, laws are ever-changing so please be sure to check all local and state laws when drawing up various policies.
If you are concerned about this issue, check out IREM’s public policy programs, including our new Federal Action Center and State and Local Action Center which allow you to have your voice heard by your elected representatives with just a click of a button. The world in which we work is changing fast. Don’t be caught not knowing, or committing a fair housing violation.