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The 250th Anniversary: A Commonwealth of Virginia Case Study

On January 30, 2021, the Virginia Consortium of Early Americanists held their seventh annual conference. I had never attended one before. I do receive the notices of the event and other history-related conferences in Virginia. While many of them seem interesting there is a cost factor in time and money given the other conferences I attend. The last conference I attended in person was in March in Manhattan. My travel expenses since then have been zero. In addition, I have had the opportunity to attend multiple conferences and talks that I otherwise would not have attended if they hadn’t been online and often free. For that matter, some of them never would have been held in the first place save for the online nature of the event. For the host organization, there are comparatively limited scheduling issues now and no travel or food expense either.

Of course, by now, many people are zoomed out. The explosion of such events can become even more time consuming. Still there is the opportunity to pick and choose including walking away from the computer when enough is enough.

With this background in mind, I turn to the session in Virginia that did grab my attention:

Keynote: A Conversation with Fran Bradford, Deputy Secretary of Education for the
Commonwealth of Virginia about Virginia’s 250th Commemoration of American Independence

During this time of America’s Third Civil War, the challenges of the 250th commemoration (celebration) of the birthday of the country have not yet been fully realized. The presentation by the Commonwealth of Virginia provided an opportunity to address multiple facets of these challenges from a logistical, organizational, and ideological perspective.

First, the speaker was from the state government and appears to have a significant position. I don’t know how many “Deputy Secretary” positions there are, but it sounds like an important job title. By comparison in New York, the Deputy Commissioner of Education has not participated in any of the 250th anniversary meetings I have attended so far. True, I don’t know what has happened behind the scenes. So far at least, the public face of the 250th has been the State Historian. No disrespect Devin, but the positions are not comparable.


Second, during Bradford’s presentation, she mentioned some private history organizations in Virginia. These are the heavy hitters. They are the organizations with the movers and shakers on their boards, the connections to the state government, and who can generate funding. In the Q&A portion, the topic was raised about the smaller organizations that do not have the full-time staff, expertise, and access even to know about the various funding opportunities and assistance available or how to apply for them. Bradford made a note to bring the subject at the next meeting.

Every state has its own story to tell. In this regard, the situation in New York State is dire, has been for years, and shows no meaningful signs of improvement. The topic has been the subject of multiple blogs particularly related to the defunct New York State Historical Association (NYSHA) leaving the state without a statewide history advocacy organization:

History Professors Protest for Local and State History (November 26, 2017)

NYSHA Responds to Advocacy for Local and State History Post (November 30, 2017)

The NYSHA Saga Continues: Gone but Not Forgotten (December 7, 2017)

Save the History Community: Clone Erika Sanger (December 18, 2017)

The Battle over New York State and Local History Gets Ugly (January 19, 2018)

Create the New York Association for State and Local History (NYASLH) (February 1, 2019).

Despite the efforts of such heavyweights as Ken Jackson and the New York Academy, there has been no real change in the situation in New York. The Museum Association of New York (MANY) led by the aforementioned Erika Sanger has tried to fill some of the void but the organization’s mandate is museums which is not exactly the same thing as history. In Westchester County where I live, a private group has created a non-profit 501(c)3 organization led by Connie Kehoe, the Deputy Mayor of Irvington. Still there is a long way to go.

In Massachusetts, I have seen the Massachusetts Historical Society take a leadership position for that state. The Massachusetts History Alliance has been trying to become a statewide advocacy organization for the history community. I was invited to speak to them in one of their online programs on this topic

Obviously this past year has not been a good one for lobbying for new state funding.

However, once the Federal government gets involved with actual funding and leadership, it will operate through state organizations. Therefore it is absolutely essential for states to begin preparing the 250th anniversary infrastructure if it wants federal assistance.



Third, another topic raised by Bradford in her presentation was anniversary burnout. Virginia has already had a couple of quadricentennials this century and possibly other anniversaries as well. Sometimes anniversaries can involve the same sites that are just recovering from the last anniversary.

Consider the situation in New York:

2024 Bicentennial of the return of Lafayette who toured the state
2024 Centennial of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation which owns historic sites throughout the state
2025 Bicentennial of the Erie Canal with the celebration of the construction already underway
2026 250th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence with the anniversary of Revolution events already underway and events to continue until 2033
2027 Bicentennial of the end of slavery.

In addition there is one important national anniversary which has received no attention or very little:

2024 Centennial of the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924.

Other states may have their own anniversaries they wish to celebrate during the 2020s.

Which do you think is most likely to happen for these multiple anniversaries?

Each one will be treated on an ad-hoc piecemeal reinvent the wheel basis or a coherent, comprehensive, well-thought out approach will be developed with state leadership encompassing all the anniversaries?

I am trying not to laugh as I type these words because we all know what is going to happen.


A fourth issue mentioned by Bradford is tourism. Apparently that topic has been an important in the private discussions held so far. Certainly the Jamestown Quadricentennial was a major tourist event. Given the various American Revolution sites in Virginia, the Commonwealth is right to have big expectations here.

State tourist departments ae not necessarily experts in national and state history. They rely on the history community to identity the locations, events, people, and topics related to a particular anniversary. Individual history organizations do not necessarily have the expertise or time to develop regional, state, or multi-state paths through history.

Consider the situation in New York.

I live in Westchester County. There are American Revolution events which occurred here.

The most famous event in the County perhaps is the capture of John André in Tarrytown. The capture involves West Point in Orange County, André’s fleeing through Putnam and Westchester Counties, his being taken across the Hudson River to Tappan in Rockland County where he was imprisoned (in a restaurant) and hanged (not in the restaurant or in an open field as portrayed in the TV series Turn). An André program then requires four counties to collaborate.

Speaking of André, what about Arnold? He was involved in multiple states and two (three) countries. No one county, state, or even country can do full service to his story.

How about Rochambeau? Imagine programs linking New England, the Mid-Atlantic and Virginia. Or re-enacting John Adams riding by horse from Massachusetts to Philadelphia? Or cannons being brought from Fort Ticonderoga to Massachusetts?

I mention these examples simply to show the need for cooperation and collaboration at multiple levels needed for a successful anniversary. Here is where federal planning would be most useful. Otherwise we may end up simply with fireworks on July 4, 2026, in Philadelphia and uncoordinated events if states simply act on their own.


The final item in the presentation was the one I brought up in the Q&A. If you are a regular reader of my blogs then it should be no surprise that I asked about education. Specifically, I brought up teacher training programs and curriculum. Bradford certainly is aware of these topics but it is too early in the planning process to address them. As a Deputy in the Education Department, she certainly is in the right position to play a leadership role in these areas.

The education situation in New York is more problematic.

Did You Know that There Was a Regents Museum Advisory Council? (November 9, 2017).


I close this blog with the one item not addressed in the presentation. As we were meeting online, the Woke San Francisco school board decided to remove the name of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson among others from its school buildings. Presumably the curriculum will reflect the demoted status as well. The American Revolution discussion now has moved beyond the simple choice of using the word “celebration” versus “commemorate” as a way to further divide the country. It is becoming whether July 4 should be a day of mourning, that we would be better off without people like Washington in the first place, and that we should have remained British colonies rather than be led by these racist slave-owners. But that is a topic for another blog.

March 5, 1720: Reliving the Boston Massacre

Boston Massacre, March 5, 1720 (

The American Revolution is upon us. While at the Federal level, the commemoration is likely to be limited to July 4, 2026, in Philadelphia, the actual 250th anniversaries have already started and will continue until November 25, 2033, when the British finally evacuated New York City and the United States.

This commemoration will be different from others. Not only will we be remembering what happened at the birth of the country, we will be reliving it. How hard is it to identify our King George III and his Loyalists? We already have witnessed the purging of Patriots, of people who placed duty to the law over loyalty to the king. These efforts to cleanse the government of Patriots until only Loyalists remain will continue.

As previously mentioned, the Declaration of Independence is the functional equivalent of an impeachment while the war to remove King George III from office was fought in the Senate (The Gospel According to Rick Perry and the Rule of Law).

Events like the Boston massacre itself contributed to the ultimate break with the crown for abuses of power.  An example of the American Revolution in current terms was expressed recently in an article published on February 15. I clipped it and saved it for March 5 little knowing that the Biden Comeback and Coronavirus would dominate the news cycle. Portions of the article are posted below. Some of the words have been changed but unfortunately not as many as should have been necessary.

The King George administration is deploying law enforcement tactical units from the southern border as part of a supercharged arrest operation in sanctuary cities across the country, an escalation in the king’s battle against localities that refuse to participate in immigration enforcement. Tactical units will be quartered in the disloyal cities that do not comply with the edicts issued by the king.

The move reflects King George III’s persistence in cracking down on so-called sanctuary cities, Patriot localities like Boston and New York, which have placed rights under the law over obedience to the king.

The deployment of the tactical units to be quartered in the disloyal cities will run from February through May, according to messages sent to the British soldiers.

Among the agents being deployed to the sanctuary cities are members of the elite tactical unit known as TRUMPTAC, which acts essentially as the SWAT team of the Royal forces. With additional gear such as stun grenades and enhanced Special Forces type training, including sniper certification, the tactical units will be able to mow down any gathering of Patriots that seeks to hinder the actions of the forces of their Lord and Savior, the chosen one, blessed be his name.

Their presence could spark fear. A former commissioner of these Royal forces said sending the officers to conduct immigration enforcement within cities where they are not trained to work, cold escalate situations that are already volatile. He called the move a significant mistake.

The operation reflects an increasingly hawkish approach by King George III against disloyal Patriots following the firing and resignations of leaders who have been viewed in the White House as unwilling to take the harsh steps King George III and his advisers view as necessary to crush the Patriot movement.

The Royal forces will not be busting down doors or engaging in shootouts, said one official with direct knowledge of the operations. “We are not looking for a repeat of the Boston Massacre.”

A Patriotic spokesman said, “This s about further militarizing our streets. It could actually have deadly effects. We could see Royal officers who are aren’t trained for interior enforcement using aggressive force.”

So far the physical violence and death in the historic Boston Massacre have not yet been repeated in the current reliving of the war between the Patriots and the Loyalists. So far the war has been fought mainly through the courts and in actions not taken. Our King George III will resist doing anything on behalf of New York just as the original King George III focused on Massachusetts. California has replaced Virginia as the biggest state/colony and similarly draws the ire of the King.

Instead of Congresses meeting in Philadelphia, we have states banding together through judicial action to resist the decrees of the King. These efforts often have proved fruitful but such actions only encourage the king to unleash his Attorney General against disloyal states and to seek to appoint more Loyalist judges. It is reasonable to anticipate that at some point, these actions may lead to civil disobedience. Will the Loyalist forces shoot their own neighbors, friends, and family? Will the Loyalist forces consider the targets to be their own neighbors, friends, and family or will they view them as scum and traitors as they repeatedly have been told by the king and his propaganda network? There is a lot riding on this presidential election.

As an example of how overheated the current conflict will become, look at what happened the very day Joe Biden became the likely opponent of Little Donnee Waney. Immediately upon the results becoming clear, the Flying Monkeys, the Senators and Fox sworn to defend the Wicked Witch of the White House at all costs, went into overdrive.

Flying Monkey Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Ron Johnson convened Trumpican members of his committee for a closed-door meeting to discuss issuing subpoenas against the disloyal traitors. Interestingly, the current breakdown of the committee is 7 Trumpicans, 6 Democrats, and 1 Republican, Mitt Romney. In a previous blog (Where Will Mitt Romney Caucus in 2021?), I raised the question of how would Romney caucus in 2021 as the lone Republican left in the Senate: with the Trumpicans or the Democrats? We may have an early preview here of what to expect in the next session. Too early to tell.

Flying Monkeys Johnson and Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Grassley are requesting records that can be used to attack Biden.

Flying Monkey Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham is ramping up his committee’s probe into the FBI’s targeting former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

And then there is the Trumpican propaganda network. Recently it had been foaming at the mouth against the dreaded socialist takeover the Democratic Party and the existential threat socialists pose to the American way of life. Now as the threatened socialist red wave subsides at least for this election, Fox now has to shift gears back to the Bidens. Are you ready for seven months of relentless over-the-top assaults by Duped-again-by-Russia Hannity of the Bidens? Do you have a choice?

Speaking of Duped-again-by-Russia Hannity, let’s not ignore Putin’s effort to re-elect his asset. Putin already has had a bigger effect on the 2020 elections than he had on the 2016 elections. First there was the Seth Rich sting. Then there was the Steele Dossier sting. Now there is the double sting of Ukrainian involvement in the 2016 elections and the Bidens. Trumpicans will believe anything Putin tells them. It is not just King George III choosing Russia over his own intelligence departments, it is the Trumpican Senators and Fox swallowing hook, line, and sinker every single story the KGB concocts. Talk about Bernie honeymooning in the USSR, what about Hannity believing everything Putin spoon feeds America through Ridiculous Ruddy, attack mutt?

So as we commemorate the 250th anniversary of the Boston Massacre, let us recognize that there is a new King George III ruling the country and he will do everything in his power legal or not to ensure that he remains in power. The one saving grace is that Bonespur Boy probably will not pull the trigger even against traitors but if the polls start to show next fall that his reign is in jeopardy, who knows what he might do if he thinks he is going to lose his presidential immunity.