Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Airship Legacy - Part 2

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            The Imperial Rocket Force began testing with animals in 1956, sending a dog, named Blondie, into space in March of that year, and then a cat, named Helga, in July. At the end of the year, the IRF announced that they were ready to send the first human being into space. On April 1, 1957, Luther Rotschild became the first human being to go into space. Dr. von Braun exclaimed that by 1965 there would be a man on the moon, and that, with any luck by 1970 there would be a man on Mars. A wave of fasinaction in all things outer-space swept the German Empire and Europe, and later spread to the United States.
            The American Rocket Agency launched it’s first satleite from the new launch site at Cape Canavral, Florida, on March 1, 1957. Americans were very proud of their Orbiter 1 Satelite, which broadcasted a loop of the Star Spangled Banner and In the Mood back down to Earth. In 1959,  Alan Shepard became the first American into space, and only the 5th human being ever to do so. America’s space program was greatly assisted by the election of President Joseph Kennedy in 1956. He continued and increased the support that Rogers had given the American Rocket Agency, something that Eisenhower had been leery of doing.
- Williams, Dr. Hugo. Into Space. New York, New York: American Press Company, 1996.

NEW YORK, The PanAm company has announced that they will be starting recreational cruise flights to the Carribean Islands this summer, with the launch of their newest ship, the Carribean Jewel. These cruises will sail from New Orleans to Havanna, where the ship will dock and allow the passengers to enjoy a day there. Then it’s on to Jamaica and then to the Bahammas before returning to New Orleans. These pleasure cruises will last about 10-12 days, and the cost will be in the hundreds of dollars per ticket.
-“PanAm to Start Recreational Flights in the Carribean,” Air Travel Magazine, January 1, 1957.

HAVANA, JAN 1- Communist revolutionaries led by Fidel Castro have risen up in rebellion agianst the Cuban government, and Cuban President Batista has fled the capital city. The rebels are attacking American-owned plantations and businesses around Havanna, which has become the heart of this revolt. Part of that distruction includes the bombing of the Carribean Jewel, PanAm’s recrational cruise ship that was launced less than two years ago. The Revolutionaries detonated the bomb early this morning, just after the ship arrived, and many of the passengers and crew were killed, although the exact numner remains unknown.
            President Kennedy has ordered the Armed Forces on high alert, and is planning on declareing war on the Revolutionary government forming in Havana. The President declared, “while I am not fond of interveening in the affairs of other nations, this revolt in Cuba threatens the entire Carribean region, and could negatively affect the United States and therefore must be stopped.” The Navy has already started to blokade the island nation, and the Army Air Corp. has ordered all of it’s pilots to be ready for war.
-“War in Cuba,” The New York Times, January 1, 1959.

            The Cuban War of 1959 was a very successful campaing for the United States, though there was a heavy loss of life for such a short conflict. Starting on January 3, the U.S. Army Air Corps began heavy bombardment of the city of Havana, and on January 6, troops landed at several points on the island. January 6 saw most of the casualties of the war, an estimated 1,500 servicemen died on the invasion beaches. Castro was confirmed dead from a bomb blast in Havana on January 8, and from there the revolution began to decintigrate. However, before Cuba was fully under American control, the revolutionaires did manage to kill President Batista on January 12. By the end of the month, the revolution was finished, and the Americans had a firm control over the Island.
            Initially, there was talk of annexing the island, but President Kennedy rejected such proposals. The Federal Republic of Cuba was declared on March 10, 1959, and Juan Alejandro became Cuba’s new president. American forces would stay on the island until 1962, to ensure that the new government would be safe from any future attempts at revolution, and to ensure that Alejandro’s governmetn did not slip into a dictatorship like Batsista had operated.
-Maxwell, Dr. Samuel. A History of the United States. Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press, 1999.

            My father and mother and I had been looking forward to this Carribean trip for over a year, My father had said it had been his dream to get to fly in an airship since he was a little boy. He and my mother had been saving for years, and this was to be our trip of a life time. We boarded the Spirit of 1776 in New York on Jun 9, 1962, and enjoyed the overnight flight to New Orleans. When we arrived, the staff from the Zeppelin treated us like any other passenger, and we disembarked and went to the hotel my father had pre-booked in the African Quarter of the city. However, the next day, when we went back to the Air Harbor, it was a different story.
            The Taxi pulled up at the main entrance, and my father got out and helped my mother do the same. I helped the driver get our bags out of the trunk, and then we walked up to the main entrane of the Air Harbor Terminal. We walked up and prepared to enter, when the man at the door stopped us and said, “Sorry, you can’t come in here.” When we inquired as to why, the man rudely informed us that those of color weren’t allowed in the terminal. When my father stated that we had tickets, the man laughed and laughed and called my father a liar, and told us to “run along.” At that point my father had had enough, and tried to walk past the man and go on in. The man then grabbed my father and jerked him back, and when my father tried to break free of his grip, the security guard proceeded to punch my father.
            At that point, I reacted the way I think any good son would. I punched the guard square in the jaw, and knocked him off his feet. Thinking back, I think the reason I was able to do this was because he didn’t see it coming. Otherwise I think he’d have come back and hit me instead. As it was, another guard saw what happened, and came over and tackled me. The New Orleans Police showed up soon after, and I was arrested.
-Clarkson, Thomas. The New Orleans Incident. New York, New York: American Press Company, 1977.

NEW YORK, JUNE 11- Officials from PanAm have decried the actions of police officials in New Orleans, who arrested a negro boy at the New Orleans Air Harbor on June 10. The boy, Thomas Clarkson, punched a security guard at the Air Harbor after the man assulted the boy’s father, Samuel Clarkson, a negro business owner from New York. The guard was refusing the Clarkson family entrance to the air harbor terminal, even though the Clarksons had tickets to board the Spirit of the Carribean.
            PanAm has offered to pay for the Thosmas Clarckson’s bail money and for any court costs, and has offered one of their lawyers to help in the case. In addition, the airline is demanding that the officials at the New Orleans Air Harbor issue an appology to the Clarkson family. None has been forthcoming as of yet.
-“PanAm Decries Racist Officials in Big Easy,” The New York Times, June 11, 1962

NEW ORLEANS, JULY 1- The officials at the New Orleans Air Harbor refused to appologize to the Clarkson family for their treatment last month, and the officials in the Big Easy went so far as to say the Clarksons are petty criminals and liars. Because of this, PanAm today announced that they would be pulling all service to New Orleans, and went on to state that the company would not operate at ANY Air Harbor that discriminated against passengers based on race. The Air Harbors in Dallas, Houston, and Atlanta have all anounced that they will comply with PanAm’s new policy.
            In New Orleans, the PanAm offices were vandalized by a group claiming to belong to the KKK. City officials say they are also seeking possible jail time for Thomas Clarkson. However, the Clarkson family are now on board the Spirit of Havana, paid for by PanAm, and will be returning to Dallas and then New York. Officials in Albany have stated that the Clarkson’s will be safe back in New York, and that the state government will not honor any extradition requests concearning the Clarksons.
-“PanAm to Pull New Orleans Service,”  The New York Times, July 2, 1962.

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