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Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Déjà Vu All Over Again

I have what I think is a real treat today. It’s an article from a 1971 issue of the El Paso Herald-Post about restaurants in the area. Some will serve barefoot patrons, some won’t.

But it is something any of us could have written today. I’m 40 years obsolete!

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Many of you are probably too young to remember Jerry Rubin. He was one of the founders of the Youth International Party (the “Yippies”) to protest the Vietnam War.

He’s also probably at least partly one of the instigators of the proliferation of “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service” signs.

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Half-Shod Athletes

This just strikes me as odd. In the 1940s there was a sudden fad of going barefoot among high-jumpers and and pole-vaulters.

But only half-barefoot.

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Beating the TOMS-TOMS

There’s a fairly new Op-Ed on the website of The Business of Fashion. It casts doubt on the TOMS Shoes “one-for-one” business model of giving away a product to a needy third world child every time a customer buys one.

It’s not a bad op-ed, but the op-ed itself, and all of the comments miss one important feature of giving away shoes.

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Too Too Twain

My trip is winding down. I left Bryce Canyon driving through southeast Utah, which is really desolate. Then it’s into Colorado, through Denver, and across the Plains states.

But I did have one more place I really want to stop.

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Where is the Barefoot Boy?

Here’s an op-ed that appeared in a rural Iowa newspaper back in June of 1957.

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The Barefoot Boy, Modernized

Last week we heard the story about the Children in a Democracy report cover that was torn off because it depicted 3 barefoot children on their way to school, and the government offical thought that reflected badly on the United States.

In one of the newspapers of the time there appeared a poem that mocked that decision.

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Children in a Democracy

I have a picture for you to take a look at. See if you can figure out what was wrong with it, so much so that it was ripped off the cover of an official governmental report.

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R-E-S-P-E-C-T

I recently saw a conversation in which a barefooter was chastised by family for being “disrespectful” to them. It was said that being barefoot was traditionally a disrespectful action. Others countered that bare feet have traditionally been considered respectful, and that it’s only fairly recently (and mainly in the U.S.) that many have considered bare feet disrespectful.

So, have bare feet traditionally been considered respectful?

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Let me finish of with what happened with our barefoot schoolboy in 1903. We found out about his father’s request in A Barefoot Schoolboy. We saw the letter his father sent to the Board of Education, and some of the motivation in More on the Barefoot Schoolboy.

How did the Board rule?

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Yesterday I presented the New York Times story about Harold Smith, whose father Victor petitioned the Jersey City Board of Education to allow Harold, age 10, to go barefoot to school there.

Here’s another story, also from before the Board met to decide his fate, with a bit more information.

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A Barefoot Schoolboy

These days practically all schools require shoes. That’s just the way it is, and I suspect it is that way just because . . . that’s just the way it has been.

A lot of that is just cultural. Here’s a story from the September 12, 1903 New York Times about a father petitioning the school to let his son attend his Jersey City school barefoot. Just the thought was enough to make the news . . . in New York City. Meanwhile, in rural districts all over America, large numbers of children were attending school barefoot without their school districts batting an eye.

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Animous to Bare Feet

Here’s a story from June of 1969, from the time when hippies and bare feet were in full swing.

And those in authority were not reluctant to arrest you for going barefooted, even if they had to make stuff up.

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A Remembrance of Times Past

As barefootedness disappeared back in the early 1900s you would see all sorts of essays bemoaning the trend. Going barefoot really was considered one of life’s great pleasures.

Here is a remembrance from the fall of 1936.

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At the White House

Can you tour the White House barefoot? Well, you could back in the 1960s, but I doubt it would succeed today.

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