Thanksgiving, perhaps our most important holiday, was not always a holiday. Luckily for us, a small group of determined people spent many years advocating for it. Their leader was Sarah Josepha Hale (author of Mary Had A Little Lamb).
Born in 1788 to parents who believed girls should be educated too, she was taught at home and became a writer and poet. Her book about slavery titled A Tale of New England, held that while slavery hurts and dehumanizes slaves absolutely, it also dehumanizes the masters and retards the progress of their world. We are all connected.
Sarah also spent over 17 years trying to convince presidents to create Thanksgiving, until President Abe Lincoln responded to her advocacy in 1863. He liked the idea but had an additional motive – he hoped that a national holiday of thanks might unite the country in the midst of war.
Sarah’s story is an important example of what can happen – indeed what does happen all the time. When once-marginalized people receive education, teach themselves, and benefit from a support system that helps them dodge the arrows of the status quo, great things happen! And for that, we at Isles give thanks.
With gratitude and in community,