Saturday, May 28, 2016

Happy Birthday, Cecile!

Cecile Rey was born on this day in 1843, 173 years ago. It's possible that Cecile's Great-Great-Great-Great-Grandchildren, or even Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Grandchildren, are alive and thriving today in a world that would have been entirely unimaginable to Cecile in her time, but there were some amazing things going on in history in Cecile's day too.

Cecile was alive for the Lincoln-Douglass Debates in 1858, and saw Lincoln elected president in 1860. She would have witnessed South Carolina be the first state to secede from the Union, followed by 10 others, including her own state of Louisiana. Jefferson Davis was then elected president of the Confederacy, and the Civil War began when Cecile was 17. Though growing up in the same time period, the Civil War would have been very different for Cecile as a girl in Louisiana than it was for Addy as a slave in the Carolinas.

She would have heard news of the Emancipation Proclamation, would have witnessed the end of the Civil War, and would have read about the assassination of President Lincoln. Cecile would have known of the National Women's Suffrage Association, and would have heard news of the Great Chicago Fire. She may have visited Yellowstone National Park in her lifetime, which was created when she was about 29 years old in 1872. Cecile might have witnessed Aristides win the first Kentucky Derby in 1875, and would have been alive for the founding of National League baseball. She might have made one of the first telephone calls or seen one of the first light bulbs. Cecile might have even been among the first to use the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City or visit the Washington Monument in Washington DC.

Times would not have always been easy for Cecile and her family when she was living in the United States. The Reconstruction period after the Civil War would have been very different for her than her childhood in New Orleans, particularly if she followed her dreams of traveling. I think she would have met any and all obstacles head on though with the love and support of her family and friends. I feel like Cecile would have done a lot of good in her lifetime, and that the things she did would still be bettering the lives of people in today's world.

Happy birthday, Cecile!

Don't forget to check out my post about The Birthday Project. It's a very fun way to learn about American history that happened during Cecile's lifetime, and how she might have reacted to it. 

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