Knitting Teaches History Lessons
February 19th, 2017–next Sunday–is the 75th anniversary President Franklin Roosevelt’s executive order that led to the incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II. On that date, I’ll be at the FDR Presidential Library & Museum in Hyde Park, New York for an special even commemorating this tragic decision by one of my favorite presidents. The special exhibit, “Images of Internment: The Incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II,” featuring over 200 photographs taken in the internment camps will be opening on the 19th. In the afternoon, the library is hosting a discussion with George Takei and Kermit Roosevelt, a University of Pennsylvania Law Professor who is the great-great-grandson of President Theodore Roosevelt. (Sorry it was only open to library members, it’s sold out, and I only get to go because my cousin works there and invited me. But you can learn more about the Japanese Internment camps here.) It’s so important to remember history and understand our mistakes, sins, and crimes for what they were. I love most of what FDR did as president, but creating Japanese internment camps and turning away Jewish immigrants and refugees who ended up in Nazi concentration camps were two incredibly wrong decisions. Now the current administration has completely misread history and is tearing apart what’s left of FDRs best programs and emulating his worst sins. We must resist. We must persist. In Stories In Stitches 3, Ava and I, along with guest Rohn Strong, wrote about knitting during the First and Second World Wars, with stories about our families, historical figures, and every day knitters who were the craftivists of their day. The book also, features my Hiroshima Peace Socks, which are a tribute to all of the civilians–children, women, and men–who were killed by the atomic bombs dropped when Harry Truman was president. Again, a lesson to recognize as a crime against humanity, one of the biggest mistakes our country has ever made. Although Truman did have as sign that said “The Buck Stops Here” on his desk, a sentiment that the current occupant of the Oval Office should take to heart. If you like learning about history and culture through knitting, check out the Stories In Stitches books, my latest book, Lithuanian Knitting: Continuing Traditions (on sale for $24.99 now), and sign up for my new book club, Our Knitting Roots, which is kicking off later this month.