Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Keeping it rolling


Title: Black Hawk War

Location: Anywhere on the isthmus - the episode detailed here happened “somewhere along the Monona shore of today’s Marquette neighborhood” – but we could probably put it anywhere.

Text: In the spring of 1832, the native Sauk Indians, led by a chief named Black Hawk, launched a series of attacks against the frontier outposts of settlers that were encroaching on their homelands in Wisconsin and Illinois. The settlers quickly formed militias and called in support from the regular army. The Sauk, unable to gain the hoped for support of other local Indian tribes, were soon outnumbered and on the run. On July 20th, a thousand Sauk warriors streamed across the isthmus you are standing on, closely pursued by three thousand mounted militiamen. One of the militiamen found an elderly Sauk man hiding in the thicket that covered the isthmus at that time, grabbed the man’s knife and scalped him with it. Unfortunately, the knife was rather dull and the man screamed terribly. The soldier retorted, “If you don’t like being scalped with a dull knife, why don’t you keep a better one?” The remark quickly became the slogan of the militia, who caught up to and slaughtered the fleeing Indians twelve days later. [Is this one too long? Maybe we can do it next to the plaque and take some of the history out of our text, assuming that they will get it from the plaque.]


Challenge: Scalp somebody.

Media: Picture of Black Hawk



Title: Eyesores

Location: Everywhere – maybe this one can be given just as they leave the convention center

Text: Madison was not always the beautiful city you see around you. In the early years, it was essentially a dirty frontier town. As the city grew in population and significance, cleaning things up became an important civic goal. Newspapers in the 1850’s ran articles condemning homes that were not well kept and urging their owners to clean them up for the betterment of the entire community: “Nothing can be more disgusting than a shabby house with two or three fence posts in front, a few remnants of boards or rails giving the outline of a lot, some of the aquatic races sporting in a frog pond under the window, and a long-shanked porker snoozing on the doorstep. Such a specimen of domestic felicity passes all our comprehension…”

Challenge: Deteriorating fences and snoozing hogs are no longer much of a concern to Madisonians, but that is only because they have been replaced by more modern eyesores. Take a picture of the ugliest building you can find.

Media: Photo of a run down cabin.



Title: Breaking the Rules

Location: The terrace at Memorial Union, or anywhere along the lakefront.

Text: The University of Wisconsin’s students, like all young people, are occasionally prone to bending and even breaking the rules. This photo from 1935 depicts just such an occasion. In Madison at that time, men’s bathing trunks were perfectly legal, but both straps had to be on the shoulder if a man wore a tank suit. The fellow in the middle of this photo is clearly a rebel!

Challenge: Photograph someone doing something illegal, forbidden, or just plain morally reprehensible.

Media: Swimmers on the pier.

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