Entries in History (3)


Teacher Arrested After Grabbing Student During Anti-Semitic Rant

BananaStock/Thinkstock(BLUFFTON, S.C.) -- A South Carolina teacher is accused of grabbing a student and shoving him under a table last Wednesday as she delivered an anti-Semitic rant in her classroom, one her lawyer said was part of an interactive history lesson on World War II and the Holocaust.

Police in the town of Bluffton said Patricia Mulholland, a seventh-grade social studies teacher at Bluffton Middle School, grabbed a 12-year-old student by the collar as he was getting up to sharpen his pencil, dragged him 10 feet to the back of the classroom, and shoved him under a table, saying, "This is what the Nazis did to Jews. Burn Jew." Police would not say whether the student was Jewish.

The rant came after what police had described as unusual behavior by Mulholland last week. Four students in the class caught the teacher on cellphone videos talking about an upcoming talent show, using obscenities, and falling over as she attempted to sit down on a desk. But the anti-Semitic rant and grabbing of the student was not caught on video.

"There is evidence and indication that she may have been under the influence of drugs of some type," Chief David McAllister of the Bluffton Police Department told ABC News. "Even after the incident, she walked away from the student and ignored him when he asked to return to his seat."

McAllister said the student's parents came to the police department the next day to press charges against Mulholland. She was placed on administrative leave by the school district and turned herself in early Monday morning on misdemeanor charges of assault and battery and public disorderly conduct, but was released later that day.

In a statement released Tuesday, Mulholland's attorney claimed her actions "were intended as an interactive demonstration and not as an insult or intentional assault."

Jim Foster, public relations officer for the Beaufort County School District, told ABC News there had been a lesson on the Holocaust the day before the anti-Semitic rant.

While the student's parents proceed with legal action, the school district is conducting an internal investigation into Mulholland's actions to determine if she broke any professional conduct standards. McAllister said the student's parents did not learn about Mulholland's actions from school officials but were told by their son when he returned home from school.

On Tuesday, two school counselors conducted chat sessions with each classroom at Bluffton Middle School to explain to students why the incident was getting so much attention and why it was a sensitive matter. Foster said the superintendent had also reached out to Jewish community leaders to make certain they had the same facts as the school board and to assure them the board was taking the allegation seriously.

"This is not something that happens anymore," Foster told ABC News. "This is not something that happens in this community anymore, and I think the attention it's getting shows how exceedingly rare it is."

Mulholland has a hearing scheduled for May 22 and could face a maximum 30 days in prison and $500 fine. Foster said the internal investigation by the school board will not be complete until after the end of all legal proceedings.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Breaks Ground on African American History Museum

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Breaking ground on the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, President Obama said Wednesday he hopes the museum will remind future generations of the, “sometimes difficult, often inspirational, but always central role that African-Americans have played in the life of our country.”

The president spoke of what he would like his own two daughters to take away from the long-sought-after museum, which will be the only national museum devoted exclusively to African American life, art and history.

“I want my daughters to see the shackles that bound slaves on their voyage across the ocean and the shards the glass that flew from the 16th Street Baptist Church and understand that injustice and evil exist in the world, but I also want them to hear Louie Armstrong's horn and learn about the Negro League and read the poems of Phillis Wheatley,” he said. “I want them to appreciate this museum not just as a record of tragedy but as a celebration of life.”

The president was joined by his wife Michelle Obama and former First lady Laura Bush at Wednesday’s ceremony. The museum, which is set to open in 2015, will be built between the Washington Monument and the National Museum of American History.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Columbus Day: Five Things You Didn’t Know

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- As Monday’s Columbus Day celebrations are underway, marking Columbus’ 1492 arrival in the New World, here are some little-known facts about the explorer celebrated by Italian-Americans across the U.S.

1. When the Columbus Day Holiday Began

In the U.S., it’s sometimes reported that the national holiday began in 1971, but that’s actually the date when Congress changed Columbus Day to the second Monday of October. In reality, Columbus Day became a national holiday much earlier, in 1937. At that time, President Franklin Roosevelt declared the holiday would take place on Oct. 12 (the date Columbus first landed in the Bahamas). But the first known Columbus Day celebration in the U.S. took place in New York City in 1792, long before it became a national holiday.

2. Columbus’ Journal Was Intended for an Audience

When historians examine primary sources from Columbus’ voyages, they aren’t reading private diaries. They’re evaluating correspondence intended for the explorer’s sponsors, those he refers to as the “Most Christian, High, Excellent, and Powerful Princes, King and Queen of Spain.” In that sense, it’s entirely possible that these journals were embellished, with some facts manipulated in Columbus’ favor.

3. Columbus’ Bones Are Still Shrouded in Mystery

It’s still unclear where Columbus’ bones were finally laid to rest.

When Columbus died in 1506, his remains were taken to a family mausoleum in Seville, Spain. But nearly 40 years later his son requested that the remains be placed in the Cathedral of Santo Domingo in the capital of the Dominican Republic, where he intended to be buried. In the late 1700s the bones were moved to Cuba, and 100 years later they were returned to Seville. But in 1877, bones marked as those of Columbus were found by cathedral workers in the Dominican Republic. Those bones have since been interred in the Columbus Lighthouse in Santo Domingo.

In 2006, the year of the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ death, a forensic team found DNA from bones buried in a cathedral in Seville matched the DNA from Columbus’ brother, Diego. But at the time, the director of the Columbus Lighthouse insisted Columbus’ remains had never left the Dominican Republic.

4. Pope Rejected Bid for Columbus’ Sainthood

In 1882, the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic men’s fraternity, supported Italian Americans who rallied for Columbus to be recognized as a saint because they said he had brought Christianity to the Indians. Pope Leo XIII, however, rejected that request because Columbus had an illegitimate son with Beatriz Enríquez de Harana, his mistress.

5. Columbus Brought Citrus to the New World

The history books note Columbus forcibly scored a lot of loot from the islands he visited, making off with gold, parrots, spices, and human captives from Haiti, an island he later named Hispaniola. The “riches” pleased his Spanish sponsors, King Ferdinand II and Queen Isabella I, who were funding the voyage. During the process, Columbus also carried European items to the New World. In 1493, the year of Columbus’s second voyage, he brought citrus fruit seeds to the West Indies and the trees ended up in the West Indies, Mexico and Florida.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio