In Ohio, popular fantasies about Tecumseh, and Native Americans more generally, are everywhere to be seen. In the mid-twentieth century, local histories, outdoor dramas, poems and comic books memorialized Tecumseh with increased frequency. Historians and playwrights joined forces with politicians, revisiting and rewriting Tecumseh. What explains the non-Native interest in the Shawnees’ most famous warrior? Between 1926 and 1953, I have found that Ohioans used Tecumseh to work out their own anxieties about the Black freedom struggle and the perceived threat of Communism. Recreations of frontier-era violence affirmed both the rejection of inter-racial love and the racial caste system of the mid-century Midwest. In 1953, the Ohio Sesquicentennial became the apogee of a decades-long effort to align the Midwest to the nation at a time when the Great Migration, and an emerging civil rights movement, were transforming the region, and the nation as a whole.
Meeting starts 6 pm Aril 8th with no registration. Click the Join Here buttons to join the meeting on April 8th.