A Fiftieth State

Wailua as Seen from Sleeping Giant (LEO Design)

On this day in 1959, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a proclamation dissolving the Territory of Hawaii and declaring that Hawaii was now admitted into the Union.  Congress had previously passed “An Act to Provide for the Admission of the State of Hawaii into the Union”—and the people of Hawaii voted (by 93%!) for statehood.

But the pathway to statehood did not come easily.  A number of Native Hawaiians did not like the idea, though they were vastly outnumbered by the pro-statehood voters. Additionally, Southern Congressmen vigorously fought admission—claiming that a state heavily-populated with racial minorities was antithetical to American values and that they could never be trusted as patriotic Americans.  They disparaged the large population of Japanese Hawaiians (after having recently fought Japan in World War II).  And, furthermore, they cited the election of Governor John Burns, a white Democrat, as proof that Communists were holding the reins of power in Hawaii.

Now, nearly 60 years later, much of this struggle has been forgotten.  Hawaii remains a favorite domestic destination for visitors from the Mainland and the state remains an important strategic defense post in the middle of the Pacific.

Hawaii is also my boyhood home—although, since then, I have lived in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York and Pennsylvania.  I am proud of my birthplace and relish every opportunity to visit.  The photo above— taken during a recent visit—depicts a hazy sunset over Wailua Homesteads, my family's neighborhood.  It was shot from atop the Sleeping Giant mountain—on whose lower slope I grew-up (and upon which my father and brother still live).  I can’t wait for the next visit!


LEO Design's Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed.  While we contemplate our next shop location, please visit our on-line store which continues to operate  (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).

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