Dawn Comer Jefferson (L) and Dr. Rosanne Welch (R) present on their book, The Promise
On Friday March 21st my co-author, Dawn Comer Jefferson and I had the pleasure of making a presentation on “Slavery and the Oregon Trail” based on our book The Promise to the 3rd, 4th and 5th grades of Carpenter Avenue Elementary School as the guests of the non-profit Parents For Carpenter.
Comer Jefferson: We want to deal with American Expansionism. Doesn’t anyone know what that means? Yeah!
Student: It means America wants to expand to new lands
Welch: Exactly. The concept of “from sea to shining sea.” Right? There’s also the concept of Manifest Destiny, which meant that we had a right to own all the land from one end to the other side.
Comer Jefferson: Thought we had a right to it.
Welch: That’s what it means, yes. Exactly. So, this is what started the idea of the Oregon Trail. Right? Somebody like Jefferson felt that we had have land and every person should own there own plot of land and grow their own food on and this is going to make them a good citizen because they cared for the place because they owned it. Right? So, as we ran out of land on the East Coast, because more people got married and had children and pretty soon it was very busy. They kept moving west. And West. And West. That’s why we’re all here in California. How did you think we ended up in California? This wasn’t originally part of the Founding Fathers land, so the Oregon Trial helped move Americans west and that’s what the Holmes family we wrote about imagined. You lived in beautiful place. Yet, he wanted more so he figured “I’ll try going over there and get even more land.” But sadly, along the way. he lost most of what he had.