Yeah, yeah, yeah. The Pilgrims, the Indians, the feasting — we learned all that stuff in school. But what’s the real story?
Check out American as Pumpkin Pie: A History of Thanksgiving (website, iTunes), a recent episode of the podcast BackStory – With the American History Guys. There you’ll hear about Sarah Hale, 19th century editor of a leading women’s magazine, who campaigned for more than 30 years to convince Americans that they needed a national Thanksgiving holiday. In Hale’s view, such a holiday would celebrate rural virtues, help Americanize immigrants and unite the country. It also showcased the role of women, Hale’s readers, who would produce the feast for their families, and by extension, fill their homes with love and domestic peace.
If you want to learn more about Sarah Hale’s campaign for Thanskgiving, read Pilgrims and Progress by religion scholar Anne Blue Wills of Davidson College, who is interviewed on the show.
American history lite