18th Century, 19th Century, 20th Century, Agriculture, farming, History, Intercession, Minnesota

Sugar Beets and Migrant Labor

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Beta Vulgaris

1917 to 1919
Labor shortages in the U.S. during World War I and political unrest in Mexico draw many Mexican workers north to the sugar-beet fields of the Red River and Minnesota River valleys. Many return year after year; others move to the Twin Cities to find permanent jobs.*

As a backstory, the sugar beet came to prominence in 18th century Silesia through experiments subsidized by Frederick William III (the King of Prussia) to extract sugar. These findings were furthered by scientists Andreas Marggraf and his star pupil Franz Karl Achard. Their work led to the selection of ‘Weiße Schlesische Zuckerrübe’, meaning white Silesian sugar beet, and boasted about a 6% sugar content.**

The Red River Valley of northwestern Minnesota and eastern North Dakota had perfect conditions for the growing of this specis of beta vulgaris. Mexican migrant workers entered the scene just as local sugar beet growers and the American Crystal Sugar Company had need for their hand-harvested crop. The Great War had commandeered local labor, leaving room for displaced Mexicans.

Jim Norris, a local expert on these relations, stated the following in his book “North for the Harvest”:
“Though popular convention holds that corporations and landowners invariably exploited migrant workers, (the author) reveals that these relationships were more complex. The company often clashed with growers, sometimes while advocating for workers. And many growers developed personal ties with their migrant workers, while workers themselves often found ways to leverage better pay and working conditions from the company.”

And so, Lord of the Harvest, we find ourselves in a triune relationship; the company, the farmers, and the field workers. We invite Your illumination of these events, and Your insights. Come and lead our meditation!

We thank You for beta vulgaris and the sweet taste it brings to our lives. We thank You for the research done for centuries that yielded such fine results, and provided an alternative to sugar brought into existence by the slavery of the sugar cane fields! We thank You that You provided opportunity for Mexicans amidst the tragedy of the Great War!

Next, we thank You for Your example of a three-sided relationship creating balance. Your roles incorporate our experience of simultaneously living out three roles, yet being one person. We are mothers, daughters, and wives simultaneously! We are fathers, sons, and husbands at the same instant!

Therefore, we can find security that companies, farmers, and fieldworkers can play three roles that serve one united purpose in sugar beets or the production of any commodity. Will You be the guardian of these relationships in Minnesota? Will You forgive our offenses to You in our imbalances in these relationships?

Will You forgive us as field workers for negating the needs of our farmers to produce results without fail? Will You forgive our farmers their dehumanization of laborers? Will You forgive those that own the company of their drive to power and market position? Will You forgive us as farmers and field workers our fearful judgments of Wall Street? We do not know the pain of finding a buyer or fair price for huge quantities of a perishable product. Have mercy on us!

May we find sweetness in being a three-legged stool! May we see the imbalance should we remove one leg of our relationships! May we be one in purpose regardless of position: migrant, farmer, or president!

 

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
**https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sugar_beet
***Dig deeper on the impact of migrant workers in Minnesota and the Midwest in this excellent book. “Mexican Workers, Growers, and the Sugar Beet Industry” by Jim Norris
http://muse.jhu.edu/book/5421

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19th Century, 20th Century, Business, Environment, History, Intercession, Minnesota, Shipping, Transportation

Split Rock Lighthouse Opens

Unknown

Jul 31, 1910
Shipwrecks from a mighty 1905 November gale prompted this rugged landmark’s construction. The construction was an engineering feat in such a remote location. The lighthouse was completed by the U.S. Lighthouse Service in 1910.*

Why is it that pain elicits an active response that “normal” life doesn’t? Why is it that we do not neglect action after a certain level of loss? Why do we wait to become creative problem solvers?

Will You guide this writing to elucidate the reader to the level of shipwrecks in this era of iron ore, grain, lumber, and fish shipments across Lake Superior and the Great Lakes? In a single season of November 1905, there were 78 fatalities and 29 disabled or destroyed ships.** When one adds in the frigid water, rocky coastline, and tendency of these shippers to overload their vessels it is easy to empathize with the concerns of sailors.

In response, United States Steel Corporation lobbied Congress to build a lighthouse with a foghorn. This effort was executed by engineer Ralph Russell Tinkham of the U.S. Lighthouse Establishment. All building materials had to be hoisted up the 110 foot cliff from lakeside either by steam-powered derick, or
railed up on a freight tram. Workers spent 13 months living and working on the cliff in tents with a brief respite during the coldest months of winter.

This day we remember the names of these lost vessels and their unnamed crews to You, Lord of All Seas: the A.C. Adams, Alice Vivian, Amboy, Bob Anderson, Lotta Bernard, A. Booth, E.T. Carrington, Charley, City of Winnipeg, Comet, Belle P. Cross, F.L. Danforth, Donna Marie, Duluth, Elgin, Samuel P. Ely, U.S.S. Essex, Fayling, E.P.Ferry, Fiorgyn, Thomas Friant, F.W. Gillet, R.F.Goodman, Criss Grover, Harriet B, George Herbert, Hesper, B.B. Inman, Isle Royale, John H. Jeffrey Jr., J.C. Keyes, Lafayette, Lewie, Liberty, Madeline, Madeira, Mary Martini, May Flower, Mentor, Niagara, Benjamin Noble, Oden, Onoko, Osprey, G. Pfister, Rebel, George Spencer, Ella G. Stone, Stillman Witt, Stranger, Robert Wallace, Thomas Wilson, and the Six Dredge Scows.

Will You forgive any judgments of these lost seamen, their wives, families and friends, and employers towards each other and towards You? Will You cleanse Superior and the Great Lakes of its vast depths of unforgivenness? Will You especially release the pain caused by the urgency of the timber, iron mining, and taconite industries to expedite these shipments to world markets? Will You forgive us our industriousness that broke with Your Sabbath? We have missed Your wisdom when we work too much.

We remember also the efforts of Ralph Russell Tinkham and his construction workers. We thank You for their superhuman efforts to build Split Rock Lighthouse. Will You bless them, their progeny, and those who follow in their footsteps? Will You give us strength and acceptance when we face storms beyond our control? Will You make us beacon and horn today to lead our peers away from the rocks and towards safe harbor?

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!

**http://www.mnhs.org/splitrock/learn/shipwrecks

***http://www.mnhs.org/places/nationalregister/shipwrecks/list.php

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20th Century, Christian, Civics, History, Minnesota, State Government

Governor Johnson Dies in Office

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Sep 21, 1909
John A. Johnson was the state’s first governor to die in office, following surgery.*

My first question to You is; “Why do we exalt our political leaders?” Does a governor’s death hold more weight and import than one his constituents? Perhaps our Johnson’s death connotes the identification Minnesotans had with him; he was one of us.

Lord, thank You that Minnesotans did indeed relate with Governor Johnson! Thanks for the gift of empathy one feels for a fellow countryman. Thank You that we were created with a longing and value of our sense of place. Our geography imprints on our soul whether: city streets, a warehouse, open roads, or open fields.

We seem to own what our eyes often take in. A street we frequent becomes our ‘stomping grounds’. A forest we hunt we know “like the back of our hand”. May our leaders continue Johnson’s legacy of being “one of us”.

Good Governor of All, will You remember us when we lose a head of state, or maybe even a hero? Will You help us deal with losing a key leader or mentor in our lives? Will You honor the memory of Governor Johnson? Will You keep us from the extremes of guilt through creating a cult of personality around politicians, or neglecting to groom and constantly call forth the headship of the next generation?

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!

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19th Century, Agriculture, Business, Civics, Culture, government, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, State Government

State Fair Finds a Home, Ramsey County Poor Farm Loses

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1885
The Minnesota State Fair finds a permanent home in the Midway area of Saint Paul.      (The 1885 fair was the 27th annual state fair.)*

Lord, it does help to have more information when interceding; and most facets of life. Even with my limited research, I see a few things: 1. The Fair was a positive statement by the city of St. Paul and MN. 2. There were poor people who were displaced. 3. There was a sense of rivalry between Minneapolis and St. Paul. 4. The shift of care for poor from the county to the state to the Federal government.
To begin, I want to announce to the land formerly known as the Ramsey County Poor Farm the jubilee and blessing of the Lord Jesus Christ! Thank you for this example of caring for the the elderly and poor! I want to bless those generations attached to the Poor Farm whether as employees or residents, and ask that any bitterness on their part be forgiven and removed.
Lord, will you forgive our lack of relationship with those in need? Will you heal the rift over HOW we do charity, and WHAT it looks like? Each election, we still battle over WHO gets the credit for being charitable; the State or individuals!?! May this land that is now called the state fair be a place where we iron out these differences! May we find Your way of blessing each other; rich to poor, in any state of health!
Also, will you forgive the political and business rivalry between Minneapolis and St. Paul? Jesus, will you make these “Twin Cities” live at peace with each other? Holy Spirit, will you inhabit this property now known as the State Fair and bring your life there? Will You dignify the poor and show them their potential for society, and most importantly, their eternal value to You?

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org , is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!

More on how the poorhouse was transformed into the Minnesota State Fair:
**http://www.postcardy.com/msf.html

Competition between cities for a fairgrounds:

***http://www.mnopedia.org/structure/industrial-exposition-building-minneapolis

Alternative means of providing for the poor:

****https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poorhouse

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Art, Intercession, music

My Wrestling Match is Prayer

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Don’t know why, but call it whimsy. Maybe reading and pondering Mike Scott’s book this morning, (“Adventures of a Waterboy”), brought me courage to share a common battle of an artist, or an intercessor? On the one hand, being assured one has something good, meaningful, and necessary to say or contribute to the human race, and having moments of uttermost uncertainty that confuse like the overcast winter skies of Minnesota; all is grey, so where am I, who am I to think I have answers, am I snow-blind ?

12-7-11 Wednesday
Lord, Tonight I’m searching these questions: “Who is my audience?” and “What is my message?”
I can make rational decisions about ‘to whom’ am I sent based on history, interest, etc. However, I don’t know if I’ve ever put the question directly to You ; “Who is my audience?”
I want to believe that You are my first and greatest audience regardless of how often I forget that I am living free because of You. I am really beginning to believe that being loved by Your INFINITY is superior to any and all mechanisms or relationships I have, would, or will devise to gain a sense of acceptance.
I’ve pursued You in a religious way, imposing the shortcomings of my dad, LeRoy, on You. I’ve pursued You with a sense that You are an unpleasable father, and therefore, I must be an unacceptable son. I’ve imposed the manipulations that were prevalent in my relationship with my dad on You. “Dad, if I martyr myself enough, try hard enough, will You speak peace to me? Will You be pleased with the shape and content of my life?” Or “Father God, will You send me relief? I need an answer to my anxious questions that have been building for decades. If I humble myself in prayer and fasting for a day, a week, a month or longer, will I be able to see and hear and know You then?”
I wrestle at times at the vanity of this project. Who am I to think that I can call on the omnipresent nature of God? Who am I to think that simply and specifically acknowledging the separations, sins, broken relationships of my forbearers before You will change things in the present, and future generations? Is this my idea, or Your idea?
Jesus, You knew that You were sent to the children of Israel. Paul knew he was sent to the Jews first, and the Gentiles second. What about me? Right now, I spend the most time with room sets, walls, props, and furniture for photo shoots, not people. I don’t get it. Help my unbelief!
It is easier that You have planted themes into my life:
“Wash the inside of the cup, and the outside will also become clean…”
“Every pot and dish will be HOLY TO THE LORD…”
“Love your enemy…”
What I don’t get is this: how do I pursue these life themes in the context of a family? Do I make money in unrelated work, and follow these passions on the side? I’ve tried that for years with varying results, but have felt constantly torn between undesirable outcomes:

-taking time and attention from my family (disappointing family)
-being chronically half-hearted, lacking courage (disappointing myself)
-feeling unfaithful, distrustful of You and Your abilities to provide the practical needs of my family (disappointing You)
All this being said, I believe in the GOODNESS of Your character! I believe that I am a child of the Most High! I believe that the covenant given to Abram, and fulfilled by Jesus, has been passed down to me. Even me?! (And to whomever will receive their reception in You.)
Overcome the idols of my life! Overcome my fears! Overcome the rebellion in my heart! If these choices are mine, confirm it to me! Cause me to choose wisely! If these decisions are Yours, let me hear again and again and again Your thoughts. Good night!
Isaiah 42:17 “…Those who trust in idols will be turned back in utter shame.”
Psalms 8:2-8 “From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise…

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19th Century, Energy, History, Industry, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota

First Hydroelectric Central Station

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1882
The falls of St. Anthony power the first hydroelectric central station operating in the United States. People had been using water to run machinery for thousands of years, but those machines were located alongside the water. Now, water can generate power for machines far from the river. The new technology changes the shape of the city. Minneapolis industries that had clustered along the waterfront gradually move away. In 50 years, downtown will have turned away from the river to face the inland financial district; the streets closest to the river will be slums.*

We are part of an heritage of innovation: as both your children, and the citizens of this state. Thank you! Because You are present to all times, I ask this blessing on those who conceived, built, and operated the Hydroelectric Central Station.                                             May all be blessed in the name and authority of Jesus. May you, your generations past, present, and future be blessed with the infinite power of the Holy Spirit of Hydraulics! May your heritage of science, engineering, and any other technologies flourish in this state and bless the whole world.
Conversely, may our expertise have a balance of humility. May our Hydro-technologists be in awe of Your technology: creation, creatures, and the universe. May they treat each other respectfully and not quash new technologies before they are developed. Amen!

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org , is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!

**More detail? http://www.mnopedia.org/event/hydroelectricity-minneapolis-september-5-1882

 

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19th Century, Art, Culture, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota

Oscar Wilde Speaks in Twin Cities

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“Hear no evil, speak no evil-and you’ll never be invited to a party.” Oscar Wilde

Mar 15, 1882
The quotable Oscar Wilde takes his American lecture tour to the Twin Cites. The young Irish writer’s affected speech and knee breeches fail to impress local newspaper reporters who label him an “Ass-thete.” “Speaking at the Opera House, his subject “”was ‘art,’ consisting of a sort of lament that there was so little ‘art,’ especially in this country…. He was shocked by our buildings, by the mud in the streets, and especially by the rooms and furniture in the hotels…. The lecture was well worded, and at times quite poetical. It was certainly harmless and does not entitle Mr. Wilde to either abuse or ridicule. It was simply the smooth sentences of a languid poet, which strike the ear somewhat melodiously without arousing any overwhelming enthusiasm or creating sufficient excitement in the listener to cause him or her to burst a blood vessel.””
-St. Paul Daily Globe, March 17, 1882″

Lord, thank you for poetry and writing! Thanks for the “music of the spheres” and of the universe of words! Thank You for the talents of Oscar Wilde! How You must enjoy Your audacious children, especially Mr. Wilde?!
We often love our heroes, perhaps even worship them, and then are disappointed when to find out they’re human. Was this the case when Wilde toured here? Lord, will You forgive the artists and writers of Minnesota any judgments of Mr. Wilde? Will You forgive his assessments of our state, art, and writers? In any case, may we grow in forbearance to appreciate the creators of this world, and to see Your light in their talents though they stretch our provincial aesthetics?
Lord, I confess that we as a people love to put artists on a pedestal. We invest lots of time, energy, and treasure in those who move us. I believe You are the first artist, and that those who are talented in that arena move us because they wake our slumbering spirits. Jesus, we have made artistic brothers and sisters into gods. Will You forgive us this offense? Will you bless the artists of this state, their generations, and their creations?

Note: I once was a member of a much-beloved local band called “Romantica”. Check out the link to hear their tribute to Oscar Wilde?
https://romantica.bandcamp.com/track/oscar-wilde

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org , is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!

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