What does Alex Haley have in common with. . . . . . . . . .Annapolis?

 

Annapolis? Alex Haley? 

June 24th was a BEAUTIFUL Tuesday.  .  .and it also marked “a week to go” until we leave this great Alexandrian experience. “BEAUTIFUL Tuesday” and our Annapolis visit, occurred at the same time – by design. Since both of us had been to Annapolis before, we waited until the end of our time here to conduct a re-visit.

But why Tuesday? Well, ACCU weather told us that the rest of the week would consist of thunderstorms and high humidity. . .but Tuesday was the star of the week-a beautiful day of low humidity, gentle breezes and moderate temperatures. The perfect combination of weather elements to visit this quaint, fantasy world of: 18th century homes and buildings, maritime tradition, yacht marinas, and of course, the United States Naval Academy. But what’s this about Alex Haley?? Read on. . . .

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Alex Haley reading stories to children

Alex Haley reading stories to children

 As we were taking our tour on the “little red trolley” (which is a great way to learn about a city while saving miles of walking), our tour guide ensured we knew every small detail about this colonial seaport city founded in 1649. 

Suddenly, the tour guide drove by the monument above, which the City of Annapolis officially calls the “Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Memorial”.  For those of you who are too young to remember, Alex Haley wrote the book “Roots”, resulting in a famous 1976 TV mini-series. This mini-series described the history of slavery in his family, starting with his descendent  Kunta Kinte. As it turns out, his research showed that Kunta Kinte arrived at this exact point at City Dock on the slave ship Lord Ligonier in 1767 after crossing the Atlantic.

I don’t want to go into detail on the memorial, but the goal of including this piece of history in this blog is for it to serve as a pointer to the entire story of making the monument (the KKK is part of the story),  and human bondage as it applies to Annapolis. Links are at the bottom of this blog and the story is fascinating.

PS. I understand there will be a remake of Roots!

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Below are miscellaneous pictures of Annapolis.

Louise enjoying  Beautiful Tuesday!

Louise enjoying
Beautiful Tuesday!

Yacht at anchorage in Annapolis Harbor

Yacht at anchorage in Annapolis Harbor

Another harbor view.

Another harbor view.

For our military history buffs, according to our tour guide, the building in the background is where PT boats were made in WWII for two countries, England and Russia. Well, this piqued my interest, so after looking this up, it appears they made 70′ Vosper models, hull #’s 400-429. Apparently the British company, Vosper, contracted several boatyards in the US to make Vosper PT boats. . .one of which was Annapolis.

Smitty at the WWII Memorial

Smitty at the WWII Memorial

The WWII Memorial stands across the Severn River from the Naval Academy. The Academy is in the background. Note the long sleeve shirt?? Hint: It has to do with Deer ticks at the Civil War battlefield Manassas!!

Smitty and Louise having dinner at the Federal House

Smitty and Louise having dinner at the Federal House

Not the greatest picture but we enjoyed a nice dinner in the historic district of Annapolis at the Federal House Bar and Grille est. 1830. Louise had a tasty crab cake sandwich and I had a burger.

McGarvey's is a local icon with a vast history

McGarvey’s is a local icon with a vast history

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US Naval Academy (USNA). The USNA was founded in 1845 by George Bancroft, the Secretary of the Navy. Located where the Severn River meets the Chesapeake Bay, the USNA is a lovely campus filled with  virtually unlimited maritime and US history, such as the crypt of John Paul Jones. For the sake of our readers not familiar with the military, the USNA is one of the major commissioning sources for Navy and Marine Corps officers (in addition to NROTC and Officer Candidate School (OCS)).

We arrived at the Academy a little late in the day so we were only able to take a few pictures and tour the USNA museum. Highlights below . . . . .

Typical on base housing

Typical on base housing

The picture above shows housing for USNA Department Heads (Command Chaplain, Dean of Academics, etc.). What a beautiful row of homes!

Superintendent's home

Superintendent’s home

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USNA Museum. Over 100,000 people visit the USNA museum per year. I thought 45 minutes would be enough time to do a “quick walk-through”. . .WRONG! I’ve never seen a museum that displays so many historical artifacts of a personal nature (uniforms, etc). In addition, it possesses a host of original ship models that are hundreds of years old. Most notable, are the models made by French POWs out of bones!  Bottom line: Here are 3 recommendations:

1.   If you live in the area and haven’t been to this museum, go now.

2.   If you are going to visit the DC area, put this on your itinerary.

3.  In lieu of either, see the links below!

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Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry's famous battle flag

Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry’s famous battle flag

 See the history in the link below on this famous battle flag. In a nutshell, it was Commodore Perry’s and was flown during the Battle of Lake Erie, 10 September 1813 during the War of 1812. It was made to honor Perry’s friend, Captain James Lawrence (1781–1813). Captain Lawrence voiced these famous words, “Don’t Give Up The Ship”, prior to being killed as his frigate USS CHESAPEAKE engaged with the HMS SHANNON earlier in 1813. This is typical of the types of artifacts in this museum. Again, see the link at the bottom of this page on the flag’s history.

Note: Earlier in the year I was conducting some research on “where is the USS CHESAPEAKE now”. The CHESAPEAKE’s wood was used for a water mill in Wickam, England and is now converted into a shopping center! See the link at the end of this blog!

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Below you will see MARVELOUS original models made by French POWs. The museum wall plaque describes these models. It states that during the wars of the French Revolution (1793-1815), thousands of French sailors were imprisoned by the English. They were allowed to hand craft trinkets to sell in the prison yards to the public during open air fairs. The funds could be used by the POWs to purchase soap, food, etc. . .so the English were very open to this. 

French POW model made of bones!

French POW model made of bones!

Another French POW model

Another French POW model

On the top floor the museum houses a world class number of ship models, of which at least 20 are original French POW models, most made of bones. How these made it through all the years is a complete mystery to us! 

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Summary. Our trip to Annapolis was such a great experience! It was also cool to see some of our SPAWAR Reservists (who are USNA alumni and astronauts), featured in astronaut exhibits.

For my USNA friends, don’t hang us from your yardarms or make us walk the plank. . .but we are staying at West Point in July as our base of operations when we visit the Hudson river valley area!

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 Farewell Annapolis!

 

Cheers, Smitty and Louise

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Links:

Kunta Kinte web site-

http://www.kuntakinte.com/memorialartists.html.

USNA Museum-

http://www.usna.edu/Museum/index.php.

Commodore Perry’s Battle Flag-

http://www.portal.state.pa.

USS CHESAPEAKE-(type in browser, we couldn’t set up this link)

http://www.chesapeakemill.co.uk/history.html.

 

 

 

 

 

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