Thursday, January 22, 2015

How to Join the Daughters of the American Revolution

Those of you who were raised on the west coast may not be as aware of the higher forms of society that exist in this country. But those of us who grew up on the east coast and, in particular, the Commonwealth of Virginia, are certainly aware of organizations, bodies, clubs, societies, what have you, that are for people who are of better breeding than the lower classes.

First among these elite societies is the Daughters of the American Revolution which is an organization of the women who are descended from those who fought on the side of liberty in the American Revolution. To the best of my knowledge no men can be a member of this club and I am uncertain about the status of transgendered people but I doubt that they are eligible. I guess you can always apply.

Eligibility is a big deal to these women, and to be a member, you have to demonstrate “service” of an ancestor, and show a clear line of descent to that person. To that end, and to be of assistance to those who would join this worthy society, they have prepared a guide to establishing service for purposes of joining the DAR.

What surprised me, but perhaps should not have, is that the guide contains a wealth of information about the American Revolution and who fought when. Its worth a glance and I have included a few representative pages here.

The guide goes by the provocative name of “Is That Service Right?” and is available via Google Docs at the following URL:

I have three stories/comments about the DAR which I think are amusing.

1. When FDR addressed the national society of the DAR he began his speech with “Fellow Immigrants....”. This of course annoyed the hell out of people.

2. Strom Thurmond was the senator from the state of S. Carolina for many years, first as a Democrat and then as a Republican, changing allegiance in response to the 1964 Civil Rights Act. In other words, a well-known Southern racist. What everyone in DC knew, and most people in the South as well, is that Strom had fathered a child by his family's young black maid when he was a young man. He always supported the woman and her daughter and appearances were maintained until Strom passed away, at which time his daughter went public. In order to avoid embarrassing her father she waited until he had passed away before she applied for membership to the DAR. I never heard whether she became a member.

3. Until recently, I did not realize how many black Americans fought in the American Revolution. But quite a few did. I wonder how the DAR deals with this, because, in case you had not guessed, the DAR is very definitely one of those famous racist clubs that only admits whites and looks down on blacks, jews, and other types.  This must be quite a problem for them.

Strom Thurmond

and his lovely daughter, Essie Mae

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