Examples of Welsh Influence on America
One that has come to mind includes my own ancestors. My great grandfather's Welsh-born uncle, Evan Stephens was a composer and also one of the first conductor's of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Many welsh mormon emigrants brought over the tradition of community choirs in their independent chapels in Wales, and to this day the tradition is carried on in world wide internationally known way. It's albums are a tribute to that hallowed Welsh tradition and are treasured by many the world over. One of the many traditions that makes me proud to be Welsh:).
i can think of a couple of welsh influences on america with out pandering to the aclu , welsh brought the industrial age to ameica , ie they sunk the first coal mines lit off the first bessmer converters , started harvard and yale and bryn mawr , now they did fall down on teaching the heathens the finer points of rugby , which morped into american football for want of a better term ,
Wow! I wonder if I can find some of that online, I'm going to look. That sounds really fascinating and I'd love to see it.And I was looking for this, apparently Barack Obama may be of Welsh descent, too: http://my.barackobama.com/page/community/post/WelshforObama/gGxdVF
There were two waves of Welsh immigrants to the Colonies/United States. The first wave of immigrants did paticipate in slave ownership if they became wealthy and could afford it while, like most other immigrants, the vast majority never became wealthy enough to become part of the aristocracy. Slavery benefited the rich but made life harder for the poor freemen/sharecroppers who had to compete with the resources and cheap labor of the large plantations.The second wave of Welsh immigrants were very anti-slavery. This is probably due to the anti-slavery movment in England. That second wave which included my great-grandparents avoided slave states and often chose Canada instead of the U.S. because they were so repulsed by slavery.I remember as a lad my uncle coming by one morning in the eary 1960's and asking if I would like to go with him in his truck/lorry to Arkansas. Well, the idea of riding in giant truck with 18 wheels all the way to Arkansas was more than a 10 year old could have ever hoped for! But I was stunned when my grandparents said, "Absolutely not!""Why?" I pleaded..."Because they have Jim Crow laws," they explained, "We do not go states that have such laws!""What about Uncle Bill...and...what's Jim Crow laws?" I grasped at straws as I saw this glorious opportunity slipping away before my eyes."It's different with your uncle, his boss says he HAS to go. Jim Crow...you know...Jim Crow, it's where they make blacks ride in the back of the bus!" they explained.For a 10 year old, "the back of the bus" was considered absolutely the best seats on the bus. It was beyond first class...it was business class! We scuffled over who got to ride in those seats almost every morning. "How odd..." I thought, "They give the best seats to blacks, and because of that, and I don't get to go to Arkansas!"The point is: Earlier Welsh settlers to our Northwest Missouri county brought and owned slaves until after the Civil War. But more recent Welsh immigrants, like my great-grandparents, eschewed slavery and seemed to identify the treatment of slaves with their own treatment by the English.
Living here in Wales we tend to get a number of television programmes from time to time that explore the Welsh influence on certain parts of the world. They range from the trivial to adjuncts of academic works. One of these programmes concerned a black guy named Harris who was searching for his ancestry. A good deal of information about Welsh slave owners came out in that.There were two separate series broadcast here - one by an academic and another by a journalist called The Welsh In America and The Welsh in The U.S. I think. It was quite an eye opener to see how extensive Welsh influence was and suppose is in the States. From the signing of The Declaration of Independence to presidents to slave owners to gangsters to film makers to The Ivy League and all other strata of American life the descendants of Welsh settlers and immigrants had and have a remarkable presence and effect on American life. Hell! It almost went stratospheric again this year; Hillary Clinton's antecedents are Welsh and she often visits them in Llandaff just twenty miles down the road from where I live.
Here's a link to the Library of Congress' "Wales and Welsh" items in the Folklife Collection: http://www.loc.gov/folklife/guides/Welsh.html There are lots of music recordings, including:AFS 24,219A10-11: "Huddersfield" and "Cwm Rhondda" sung by the congregation of the Peniel Church during Gymanfa Ganu. Recorded in Pickett, August 25, 1940. (Seven minutes; RWB 2922)and I love the sound of this and think I'll try and order it someday (bit expensive!):AFS 25,519: One disc containing an interview with Casper L. Leach in which he talks of the Welsh people coming to work in the slate quarries in his area. Recorded in Pawlet, Vermont, August 17, 1934. (Twelve minutes; tape copy on LWO 25,028 reel 58B)
Hmmm, I heard that many freed slaves took the surnames of the people who freed them or helped them along the Underground railway or otherwise helped them or the last names of people who were in the anti-slavery movement and that a lot of those people were Welsh - Welsh Quakers, Welsh traveling preachers, etc. I don't think there were a large number of Welsh slave owners (as they weren't the ones coming over with enough money to buy plantations) but there probably were some. That would make more sense to me than naming yourself after the person who owned you.I haven't researched this really hard so I'm not really sure, would have to do some study and research. Did you read something good on this? I'd love to read it, that's a very interesting subject.I think also that slaves were really expensive and not just everyone could buy one. I had a friend in LA, a black guy from Virginia, who's university dissertation was on the value of a slave and how the slave owner was liable to treat such an expensive asset.I know the Smithsonian has actual recordings of interviews with slaves - in the 1930s, during the depression, researchers went around to interview and record the last surviving slaves in the US about their experiences. I've read a little of that and would like to read more, very fascinating.
Jesse OwensCarl LewisMichael JohnsonFlorence Griffith JoynerLee EvansMarion JonesMike PowellJack JohnsonRay Jones JnrFrank ThomasTony GwynnSerena WilliamsVenus WilliamsDominique DawesErnie DavisArchie GriffinFranco HarrisDeacon JonesBill LewisThurman ThomasFred WilliamsonAll of the above are black Americans successful in one way or another in their own sports. Many other black Americans have Welsh surnames.Not Wales' finest hour I would suggest as there were an inordinate number of Welsh slave owners. Their ' property ' would often take the names of their owners. Of course these slave owners would also father many children. Hence the proliferation of Welsh surnames in the black American community.
I'll start you all off.In 1826 a Welsh woman living in Wales called Felicia Dorothea Hemans came across an article - two years out of date - in a newspaper from Massachusetts. It had been used to wrap up some goods she'd purchased. The article concerned a founders' day celebration in Plymouth in which the Pilgrim Fathers and The Mayflower were mentioned. Inspired she took pen in hand and wrote a poem called ' The Landing of the Pilgrim Fathers ( in New England ).This poem has given millions of Americans the impression that The Mayflower and it's occupants landed on Plymouth Rock. It is, I believe, still a popular image that most Americans associate with the start of the colonisation of America.Check out Bill Bryson's Made in America ( 0 552 99805 2 ) for more information.Can you think of any Welsh influences on America?
updated by @ian-price: 11/11/15 10:36:59PM
updated by @ian-price: 11/11/15 10:36:59PM