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Inside this Issue

July/August 2019

Glimpse into the lives and passions of the diverse group of women who comprise today’s DAR membership.

National Treasures
Take a step inside the DAR Museum for a closer look at its fascinating collection.

More Articles
Learn about the interesting historical articles from this issue.

To Come in Our Next Issue
Preview the exciting stories to be featured in the next issue of American Spirit.


Today's Daughters
Justice for All: Angela Munson

Volume 153, Number 4
By Lena Anthony
Photograph courtesy of Angela Munson

Georgia Daughter relocates to Louisiana to help address surge in immigration court cases

On any given day, U.S. Immigration Judge Angela Munson hears a variety of languages in her courtroom. Spanish is common, given the proximity of the LaSalle Immigration Court in Jena, La., to America’s southern border. Judge Munson also hears Russian, Punjabi and even remote dialects of indigenous Central American populations. She relies on court-certified interpreters to help her communicate with many of the respondents who appear before her. “So far, I’ve heard as many as eight languages in a single day,” she said. 

Judge Munson is one of five judges in a newly established court located inside the LaSalle Detention Facility, the largest immigrant detention facility in Louisiana. The facility is designed to help process the growing backlog of pending immigration cases in the United States—a figure that surpassed 1 million last year. Judge Munson’s job is to determine whether the detainees appearing before her are eligible for deportation or qualify for relief that would allow them to remain in the country.

A challenge, for sure, but one Judge Munson was willing to accept. A former federal prosecutor, she was already used to juggling a heavy caseload. From 1998 to 2018, Judge Munson served as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, working primarily with the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force.

Despite her demanding position, Judge Munson never lost sight of her responsibility to work fairly and give each case its due diligence. “Those 20 years went by very quickly,” she said. “I had the privilege of working for and with remarkable and talented attorneys devoted to doing justice. When I say doing justice, I mean that the focus was always on doing the right thing—not just winning.”

In 2011, Judge Munson spent a one-year stint as resident legal adviser to the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, focusing on restoring the rule of law in the Iraqi court system. There she represented American victims of crimes—mostly U.S. soldiers—and presented criminal cases involving acts of terrorism.

“It was a humbling experience to serve in a civilian role alongside military personnel,” she said. “I have a newfound appreciation and respect for the sacrifices made by the men and women in uniform, as well as their families.” 

It was an experience that led her to the DAR, which she joined in 2016. “Being a Daughter gives structure to the commitment to God, Home and Country already instilled in me by my family,” she said. “Daughters are committed to preserving crucial American principles that would otherwise be grossly overlooked.”

Fellow members from General Daniel Newnan Chapter in Newnan, Ga., made the 700-mile trip to Washington, D.C., to witness her investiture as a U.S. immigration judge. 

“I looked out and saw the wonderful women of the DAR who came all the way from Georgia to share in the moment with me,” she said. “Many Daughters unconditionally cheered me on and supported me every step of the way.”

And when she moved her family—husband, Brennan, and her two younger children—to rural Louisiana, DAR members were there to welcome them to their new hometown. (Her two adult daughters remain in Atlanta.)

“The DAR ladies have circled the wagons around our family and helped us settle in quickly,” she said.

In Georgia, Judge Munson lived on a small farm with cattle, goats and sheep. She traded that lifestyle for an equally demanding one in Louisiana: living in a home that is more than 100 years old. “We exchanged farm chores for restoration projects,” she said.  

When she does have a spare minute, she picks up her knitting needles. “Knitting is something that my grandmother taught me to do,” she said. “I find it therapeutic, and I always have something to knit if I have time to sit.”

For more Today’s Daughters, please click here.

To nominate a Daughter for a future issue, e-mail a description to americanspirit@dar.org.


National Treasures
Up to Speed

Volume 153, Number 4

 

Vibrant textile collages called crazy quilts were popular at the end of the 19th century. Though their overall patchwork appearance was similar, each quilt was personalized by their maker’s choice of motifs that were embroidered, painted or appliquéd on the fabric. Popular culture often inspired these motifs. 

One such crazy quilt was made around 1875–1890 by Helen Dounce of Elmira, N.Y. She featured two sports trends of the period not often seen in quilts: the bicycle and the roller skate. The late 19th-century was an exhilarating time for wheeled travel in the United States, with increasing numbers of men and women alike enjoying biking and skating. 

All four sides of Dounce’s quilt depict the high-wheeled “penny-farthing” or “ordinary.” Likely the first machine to be called a bicycle, it produced many injury-causing falls. After 1890, it was replaced by the equal wheels of the “safety bicycle,” which attracted a wider following.

Also interspersed throughout the quilt are roller skates. Frenchman Monsieur Petitbled first patented the roller skate in 1819, and innovations in skate design throughout the century allowed for easier and safer turning. Cities large and small built roller rinks for skating enthusiasts.

The maker was well into her 40s when she completed her crazy quilt, gifted to the DAR Museum by Virginia Mayo Herrick. Even if Dounce didn’t personally engage in either bicycling or roller-skating, including these sports on her quilt revealed her awareness of modern fads. 

For more National Treasures, please visit the DAR Museum's Featured Objects.


More Articles
FEATURES

Visions of America by Lena Anthony
Front porches help communities become more livable and vibrant by building relationships between the home and the bustle of the street. After falling out of cultural favor for a while, the porch is making a comeback.

The Lafayette Trail by Abbey Dean
As the bicentennial of the Marquis de Lafayette’s 1824-1825 Farewell Tour approaches, a French-American project called the Lafayette Trail is seeking to memorialize Lafayette’s path across the Unites States.   

The People’s Painter by Bill Hudgins
After making a living as a saddle maker, Charles Willson Peale traded a saddle for painting lessons. Not only did he paint portraits of the leading figures of the day, but he also served as a Revolutionary soldier and founder of some of America’s first civic institutions.

The Old Dartmouth Region by Bill Hudgins
The Quaker settlements of early Massachusetts found refuge from religious persecution in the Old Dartmouth Purchase and eventually evolved into a seafaring culture.

The Year Without a Summer by Megan Hamby
The unusual climatic aberrations of 1816 were an agricultural disaster, greatly affecting most of New England, Atlantic Canada, and parts of western Europe.

DEPARTMENTS

Spirited Adventures: Cleveland: City of Connection by Jamie Roberts
Surveyed in 1796, Cleveland was the Connecticut Land Company’s first settlement. Today the city offers a mis of attractions such as the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland Museum of Art and West End Market, and green spaces such as Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Family, Territory, Equality by Courtney Peter
The Bigelow House Museum in Olympia, Wash., is the oldest residence in the city and one of the earliest surviving homes in the Pacific Northwest. Preserving the early history of Olympia and Washington Territory, it focuses on the four resident generations of its eponymous family.

Plus the President General’s Message and Whatnot

 

To purchase an issue of American Spirit, contact magazinesubscriptions@dar.org

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To Come in September/October 2019:

Early American Bookstores

Masonic Buildings

Stephen Hopkins House, Providence, R.I.