There’s A Secret In Washington County, Texas, You Should Know About

When you think of Texas, you might find yourself collectively thinking about the stand-by stereotypical things such as cowboy boots, big hair, and a lot of people using the word, “y’all”. And while these little quirky things may be all in fun, it can be easy to lose track of the things about Texas that are really something, and this is certainly the case with Washington County, Texas.

It may seem oddly specific to point out one of the many counties in the Lone Star State, but when you dig a little deeper into Washington County, it becomes pretty clear that it is, arguably, the most important area of Texas.

Take a look at a map of Texas & find Washington County tucked in the eastern part of the state. The first thing that stands out is the proximity to some of the major cities of Texas. In fact, you’re a short drive away from cities such as Austin, Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas. As such, Washington County has done its best to build up its reputation as a tourist hub for day-trippers looking to leave the big-city behind if only for a short time.

Washington County is also brimming with Texas history. Washington-on-the-Brazos in the county is where the Texas Declaration of Independence was signed in 1836 and is named after George Washington, one of the nation’s founding fathers. In fact, Washington-on-the-Brazos even bears the tagline “Where Texas Became Texas”. Visitors can also interact with the home of the last president of the Republic of Texas before statehood with the U.S.. History fanatics will be blown away, and even if you’re not the biggest history buff, it’s not everyday you have the chance of getting up close to such a unique state’s background.

One would be remiss if there was no mention of the staggering amount of modern flair and artistic value of Washington County. The primary thoroughfare in the area is U.S. Highway 290, and as such, there is an established scavenger hunt aptly named #Adventure290. It’s a family-friendly activity that gives folks the chance to check out communities along the way, collect information for your ‘passport’, and a completed adventure lets you collect a prize! The area is also famous for its prominent role in geocaching in Texas. There’s also the very popular WineTrail which gives visitors the chance to visit prominent, award-winning wineries. As if this weren’t all enough, there is also the Bluebonnet Trail & Wildflower Watch, as well as the #BrenhamArtWalk, which gives visitors a chance to explore some of the best mural works anywhere in the state.

Washington County, Texas may seem to some as nothing more than just another bump on the log. The truth is, though, is that these folks are missing out on some of the finest historical, cultural, and artistic offerings that the state of Texas has to offer. There certainly is a secret to know about Washington County, and one you’ll be glad you’re in on.

Debunking Three Myths About George Washington

George Washington, our nation’s first president is one of the most dominant figures in American history. For many Americans, he is known as the “Father of our Nation” because he became the greatest American legend involved in the freedom and development of our country in numerous ways: military hero, first president, a signer of the American Declaration of Independence, just to name a few.
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What happened to such men like Washington is that myths were created that enhanced fame and honor. However, most myths become such tall tales that they become exaggerations or lies. Such is the case with three of the most popular myths about Washington’s life.
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1. The Cherry Tree: Young George Washington used his new hatchet and chopped down his father’s prized cherry tree. When his father found his tree had been cut down, he asked his son if he was the perpetrator. George said that he did indeed chop it down and his father embroidered him as an act of forgiveness.
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This story is probably the most popular myth about Washington, but it is a fable. This tale originated in a book written by a minister named Mason Locke Weems, or “Parson” Weems who was an American author who wrote several biographies of historical figures.
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His most famous biography was The Life of Washington, written in 1800. Weems also wrote about other less-known myths about Washington. Most who read the book thought they were absent.
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2. False Teeth Made of Wood: Washington’s false teeth were not made of wood. Our first president appeared to be cursed with chronic problems with his teeth most of his life. He wore denture made of human, and probably cow and horse teeth, ivory, lead-tin alloy, copper alloy (sometimes brass), and silver alloy.
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So, it seems he was just about every alternative type of element that could have been made into a tooth. At his home in Mount Vernon, visitors can see a display of his last set of dentures, apparently made of ivory. Interestingly, these dentures are the most prominently displayed items there.
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3. The Silver Dollar Thrown Across the Potomac River: Did Washington throw a silver dollar across the Potomac River? The width of the river runs from 1,300 feet to 11 miles. It is humanly impossible to throw a coin from one side to another.
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Also, the colonial government did not mint silver “dollars” until 1794. Before that date, the Spanish dollar, or “Piece of Eight” had circulated in the original colonies. Beside Washington was 67 years old when he died in 1799. So he would have been a fairly old man, at 63, when the first dollar was released.
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Myths about famous men and women are invented to make their lives seem greater and more interesting than they already are. Whatever myths begin as tales written in books, or are created among drunken men in taverns, it is unnecessary gossip.
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Washington was such a famous American figure, creating myths that did little to enhance the deeds that made him such a legendary American hero. These three myths spread about him certainly pale in comparison to his enumerated list of achievements.

Domestic Violence No Contact Orders in Washington State

In Washington State, there is no crime of Domestic Violence. Rather, Domestic Violence is a tag that is put on other crimes indicating that there is a family or household relationship between the parties involved. Most jurisdictions will impose a No Contact Order that violates the defending in a Domestic Violence (“DV”) case from having contact with the alleged victim of the crime. The order will often prohibit contact with the victim’s children, residence and place of work too.
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Family or household relationship

According to RCW 10.99.020 (3), family or household members is defined as:

[S] pouses, former spouses, persons who have a child in common regardless of whether they have been married or have lived together at any time, adult persons related by blood or marriage, adult persons who are currently living together or who have survived together in the past, persons sixty years of age or older who are already residing together or who have maintained together in the past and who have or have had a dating relationship, persons sixty years of age or older with someone a person sixteen years of age or older has or has had a dating relationship, and persons who have a biological or legal parent-child relationship, including stepparents and stepchildren and grandparents and grandchildren.
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As you can see, this definition is extremely broad. It is far more inclusive then what most people would expect it to be. The same is true for the types of crimes that are labeled “Domestic Violence.” Most people only think of Assault when it comes to domestic violence, however there are many other crimes that can carry the DV tag.

Mandatory Arrest
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According to RCW 10.31.100 (2) (c), an officer must make an arrest if: The person is sixteen years or older and within the precedent four hours has asserted a family or household member as defined in RCW 10.99.020 and the officer believes:

(i) A felonious assault has occurred;

(ii) an assault has occurred which has been substantiated in bodily injury to the victim, whether the injury is observable by the responding officer or not; Egypt

(iii) that any physical action has occurred which was intended to cause another person reasonably to fear imminent serious bodily injury or death. Bodily injury means physical pain, illness, or an impairment of physical condition. When the officer has probable reason to believe that family or household members have assailed each other, the officer is not required to arrest both persons. The officer shall arrest the person who the officer believes to be the primary physical aggressor. In making this determination, the officer will make every reasonable effort to consider:

(i) The intent to protect victims of domestic violence under RCW 10.99.010;

(ii) the comparative extent of injuries inflated or serious threats creating fear of physical injury; and

(iii) the history of domestic violence between the persons involved.

If you get arrested for a crime involving domestic violence, a No Contact Order will slam into place almost immediately.

No Contact Orders

There are two types of No Contact Orders in Washington State: Pre-Trial and Post Conviction. Both types of orders prevent the defender from having contact with the accused victim. However, neither type follows the victim from trying to have contact with the defender, since only the defensive goes to jail if the order is violated. In other words, the No Contact Orders limit only the defensible’s behavior.

Pre-Trial

Pre-Trial Orders are issued against the defender (sometimes called a Respondent) before he or she is denied of having done anything wrong. These orders can preclude contact between the Respondent and the accused victim of the crime, the victim’s children (even if they are the Respondent’s children too), the victim’s place of work and the victim’s home (even if it’s the Respondent’s home too).

In other words, these orders can force you away from your home and your kids before you have even been convicted of a crime. This is true even if the victim says that nothing happened or that whatever did happen was blown all out of proportion.

Pre-trial orders stay in place until there is a resolution to the criminal case or until a Judge lifts it.

Post-Conviction

A No Contact Order issued after conviction can carry the same types of restrictions that a Pre-Trial order does. Post-Conviction Orders are generally good for a year, however a judge can extend that if he or she fees that the fact warrants it.

Civil Standby

Since a No Contact Order can preclude you from going to your own home, the Courts will generally allow you one trip home to get clothes and a few personal items. However, you must be accompanied by a Law Enforcement Officer. This process is called a “Civil Standby.” You must contact the law enforcement agency and schedule a time for the Civil Standby. Be aware, however, that this is a low priority action for most law enforcement agencies, so the civil standby will only be done when they have the time to spare.

Violating a No Contact Order

A willful violation of a No Contact Order is a gross misdemeanor; which means that you can get up to a year in jail and a $ 5,000 fine. Since violating a Domestic Violence No Contact Order is itself labeled a crime of domestic violence, your rights to own or possess firearms will be forfeited upon conviction – even if no gun was used, possessed, stated or in any other way used or contemplated. This is true even where the underlining criminal case, which caused the No Contact Order to be issued, is dismissed.

Being in a public place, even the courthouse, is not a defense to violating the order. This means that if an order is issued against you and you see the protected person at a grocery store then you must leave. Inadvertent contact may technically not violate the order, but you may well have to go in front of a Judge to defend yourself. Besides the stress involved, you may have to spend more money in order to hire an attorney.

Even if the victim invites the contact, the respondent can face jail time if the order is violated. What I see most often in my cases, is the following scenario:

Two people have a relationship. Something happens and the police are called. Because of everyone’s sensitivity to “Domestic Violence” the police err on the side of charging someone. A No Contact Order then slams into place, preferring the two people from having contact with one another. It may also make one of them unexpectedly homeless – but that is a different issue. People, being people, want to work the problem out and the accused victim contacts the defendant and says something to the effect of “I’m so sorry that all of this is coming. Come home and I’ll make it worth your while. ” The problem, of course, is that the defensive takes the injured victim up on the offer. Generally, legal problems multiply for the defender shortly thereafter as the happy couple go out to celebrate their rekindled relationship only to pull a “slow and go” at a stop sign – or some other minor traffic infraction. They then get stopped by the police. When the officer runs the occupants’ information, up jumps the No Contact Order and the defender is arrested then taken to jail where he is now facing an additional charge.

Removing the Order

It is very difficult to remove a Pre-Trial No Contact order once it is in place. Even if the victim comes in and testifies before the Judge that the order is not needed, most Judges will leave the order in place.

One strategy is to have the defensive evaluated by a Domestic Violence Treatment Agency. If a counselor is willing to tell the Judge that the defensive would not pose a danger to the victim if the order is removed, then the Judge can eliminate the order. The Treatment Agency may want to get the defender into classes before agreeing to make a recommendation to the Judge.

Another strategy is to ask the Court to modify the No C0ontact Order to allow marriage counseling. Some Judges will require that contact only be allowed while monitored by a third party from the treatment agency.

Once a No Contact Order has been modified to allow conditional contact, a Judge is more likely to remove the order later, unless there is a new problem.

Victim Rights

Most Prosecutors’ Offices have a Domestic Violence Advocate. It is this person’s job to help the victim of a domestic violence oath understand what services are available to them and help keep them informed as the court process moves along.

I have seen numerous cases where the victim does not want the No Contact Order to be in effect. Going through the victims advocate person can sometimes be helpful.

Most courts have a form that the accused victim can fill out requesting that the Judge drop the No Contact Order. In my experience, most Judges will maintain the order even after the victim requests to have it dropped. Even though the order remains in place, having the victim ask for it to be removed is still valuable, since it may be useful on a later attempt to remove the order.

Gun Rights

Conviction for a crime claimed Domestic Violence will cause you to loose your right to own or possess firearms. This is a lifelong ban.

Example

In one case I had, the husband was arrested for a Domestic Violence charge when, during an argument, he thread a bowl into their kitchen sink, chipping it. The argument was overheard by a nearby neighbor who called the police. The police arrived and when they looked in the sink, they found the chipped bow and arrested the husband for domestic violence malicious mischief. There was no allegation that the husband tie the bow at, or even near, his wife. Since Washington is a Community Property state, both the husband and the wife had an ownership interest in the bowl, thus by chipping his bowl, the married damaged property belonging to another (ie his wife) and was there before liable under Malicious Mischief. Without counsel, the husband (who had no prior criminal history) pled guilty at arraignment. He was given a one year No Contact Order which preverted him from going home for a year or having any contact with his wife.

Had the husband contacted an attorney prior to pleading guilty, he may not have had a conviction at all. Even if there was a conviction, an attorney could have helped him avoid such a long No Contact Order.

Copyright (c) 2007 The Cahoon Law Office – All rights reserved.

Spring In Washington, DC – Our Top 10 Things To See

1 NATIONALS PARK

This isn’t your dad’s baseball stadium, the Washington Nationals play in one of the nation’s top state-of-the-art parks that make everything very convenient and memorable. The biggest feature that stands out is the digital displays used for the park’s concession stands. Orders come in faster and with less mistakes, which means less time standing in lines and more time spent watching the game.

2 NATIONAL CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL

There is no central location for this particular festival, as there are events and festivities carried out all over the city during the spring. The hues of pinks and whites fill the peripheral view, making even the grayest of paved tourist spots look happy.

3 TRUCKEROO

Foodies unite! Truckeroo is fast food done right. Food trucks gather around every spring to show off their menus while music and entertainment kicks off the fun as you feast on new and delicious eats. There’s something for everyone here, not just fried foods and hamburgers.

4 DRAGON BOAT FESTIVAL

Take a trip down the Potomac River to experience a great showing of Chinese arts and cultural demonstrations, culminating with the main event of competitive dragon boat races.

5 WHITE HOUSE EASTER EGG ROLL

This spring tradition speaks for itself. Each year, tens of thousands of people converge at the White House lawn to take part in the annual egg roll, as well as games and activities for the whole family.

6 PASSPORT D.C.

This is what Washing D.C. should be most known for: multi-cultural celebration. Each year in May, there is a collective “festival” that brings embassies together and teaches the public about various cultures and relations with a sampling of various arts and traditions.

7 SMITHSONIAN JAZZ APPRECIATION

There’s almost always something going on at the Smithsonian, but in the spring they dedicate the month of April to the art and heritage of Jazz. You’ll find plenty of special guests speaking and performing, it’s a must for any fan of music, let alone jazz.

8 USA SCIENCE & ENGINEERING FESTIVAL EXPO

Held at the Washington Convention Center, this festival holds hundreds of activities and workshops for anyone even remotely interested in science and technology. The envelope of what science and engineering can accomplish is constantly being pushed, you can get a glimpse of what the future may hold at this expo.

9 FILMFEST DC

The oldest and most popular film festival in DC comes around every year at the end of April to bring audiences the most anticipated and newly discovered gems from around the world. Some venues are cheaper to get into than others, so don’t think it is a festival only open to the elite.

10 FREDERICK DOUGLASS NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE

This is another must-visit place while you’re in Maryland. The famous slave who escaped slavery to become one of the most revered black scholars and activists, step into the humble home that once housed one of America’s strongest minds.

Slave and Slave’s Literature: Booker T Washington and Lorraine Vivian Hansberry

Slavery refers to the condition in which individuals are owned by others who control where they live and at what they work. Simply, to be a slave is to be owned by another person who is known as his master. A slave is a human being classed as property and forced to work for nothing. Slavery had existed throughout the history in many places and many times. The ancient Greeks, the Romans, Incas and Aztecs all had slaves.

Slavery in United States of America began during the colonial period in 1619 when 19 black Africans were brought to the North American colony, Jamestown, Virginia by Dutch traders as labourer to work mostly in the production of tobacco crops and later, cotton. Slavery was practised in American colonies throughout the 17th and 18th century and it prevailed almost 250 years.

According to the historians David Brion Davis and Eugene Genovese, the treatment of slaves in America was harsh and inhumane during the work and outside of it. Slaves suffered physical abuse and the striking fact is that the government allowed it. Though the treatment of slaves varied by time and place; but it was generally brutal and degrading. Most masters viewed their slave as objects like their lands, a thing to be “worn out, not improved”.

Slaves were allocated on area of the plantation for the living in quarters. On some plantations the owners would provide the slaves with housing, while on others slaves had to build their own houses. They lived crowded together in rough cabins. One recalled: “We lodged in log huts, and on bare ground wooden floors were an unknown luxury. In a single room we were hurdled like cattle, ten or a dozen persons, men, women, and children… we had neither bedsteads, nor furniture of any description and our beds were collection of straw and old rags”.

Slaves wore clothes made of coarse material and were often ill-fitting. Moreover, slaves were punished by whipping shackling, beating, mutilation, and imprisonment. Punishment was often meted out in response to disobedience but masters sometimes abused or punished them falsely to assert their dominance. The ill-treatment didn’t end here; it also included rape, the sexual abuse of women, beating the pregnant women, and such type of cruelties were more prominent in Southern States than in North.

Teaching slaves to read was discouraged. However in the 18th century, the abolitionist movement began in the North and the country began to divide over the issue between North and South. In 1820, the “Missouri Compromise” banned slavery in all new western territories, which Southern States saw as a threat to the institution of slavery itself. In 1857, the Supreme Court’s decision known as the “Dred Scott Decision” said that the Negroes were not the citizens and had no right of citizenship; hence the slaves that escaped to the free States were not free but remained property of their owner and they must be returned to them. The election of Abraham Lincoln, a member anti-slavery Republican party, to the Presidency in 1860 convinced many Southerners that slavery would never be permitted to expand and therefore, it should be abolished. Some Southern States reacted against it and this led to the Civil War. During the War, Abraham Lincoln issued his famous “Emancipation proclamation” freeing slaves in all areas of the country that were at that time in rebellion. Ultimately, the 19th Amendment to the Constitution officially freed the American slaves.

African-American literature is literature written by, about, and sometimes specifically for African-Americans. The vogue began during the 18th and 19th century with writers such as poet Philis Wheatley and Orator Frederick Douglass reached on early high point with the Harlem Renaissance and continues today with authors such as Toni Morrison and Maya Angelou being among the top writers in United States. African-Americans literature tends to focus on themes of interest to black people, such as the role of African-Americans within the larger American society and issues such as African-American culture, racism, religion, slavery, freedom, and equality. The focus began with the earliest African-American writing, such as the slave narrative, a type of literary work that is made up of written account of enslaved Africans. The slave narrative contains a detailed account of the aforesaid conditions of slaves.

The first prominent African-American author, poet Philis Wheatley published her book “Poems on Various Subjects” in 1773, three years before American independence. Born in Senegal, Africa, Wheatley was captured and sold into slavery at the age of 7. Brought to America, she was owned by a Boston merchant. Even though, she initially spoke no English, by the time she was 16, she had mastered the language. Her poetry was praised by many of the leading figures of American Revolution

Despite this, many white people found it hard to believe that a Black woman could be so intelligent as to write poetry. As a result, Wheatley had to defend herself in court by proving she actually wrote her poetry.

To present the true reality of slavery, a number of former slaves such as Harriet Jacobs and Frederick Douglass wrote slave narratives. After the end of slavery, a number of African authors continued to write nonfictional works about the conditions of African-Americans in the country. Among the prominent witers is W.E.B Du Bois. Another prominent author of this period is Booker Taliaferro Washington(1856-1915) who in many ways represented opposite views from Du Bois. He was from the last generation of black African leaders born into slavery and became a leading voice of the former slaves and their descendants. He is well-known for his speech “Atlanta Compromise”. He called for black progress through education and entrepreneurship, rather than trying to challenge directly the “Jim Crow” segregation and disenfranchisement of black voters in the south.

In contrast to Du Bois, who adopted more confrontational attitude towards ending racial strife in America, Washington believed that Blacks should first lift themselves up and prove themselves the equal of whites before asking for an end to racism. His autobiography ” The Story of My Life and Work” was published in 1900 for a largely African-American audience. Meanwhile, during the years 1900-1901, Washington began publishing “Up From Slavery” a serialised account of his life in the popular magazine ‘Outlook’. “Up From Slavery” traces his journey from slave to educator. The book opens with Washington’s boyhood hardship, beginning with his life as a slave on a Virginia Plantation where the lack of family name and a history that would give identity to his existence was painful and difficult to understand. He mentions the slaves’ fidelity and loyalty to the master, but he stresses brutality of the institution: a lack of refinement in living, a poor diet, bad clothing, and ignorance were the slaves’ lot. A struggle for literacy is the focus in the immediate chapters. In the final chapter of “Up From Slavery”, Washington describes his career as a public speaker and civil rights activist. He was an educator and the founder of Tuskgee Institute, a black college in Alabama. Among his other published works are “The Fortune of American Negro”(1899), “Tuskgee and its People”(1905) and “My Larger Educ”(1911).

Lorraine Vivian Hansberry was the first black woman to write a play performed on Broadway. Her best-known work “A Raisin in the Sun”, highlights the lives of black Americans living under racial segregation in Chicago. Hansberry’s family struggled against segregation, challenging a restrictive covenant and eventually provoking the Supreme Court case Hansberry Vs., Lee.

In New York city, Hansberry work at the pan-Africanist newspaper ‘Freedom’ where she dealt with intellectuals such as Du Bois. Much of her work during this time concerned the African struggle for liberation and their impact on the world. Hansberry has been identified as a lesbian, and sexual freedom is an important topic in several of her works.

Her play “A Raisin in the Sun” was translated into 35 languages and was being performed all over the world. “A Raisin in the Sun” is rife with conflicts: generational conflicts, gender conflicts, ideological conflicts, and perhaps most important, conflict of dreams which are at the center of the play. Dream is one of the characteristic theme of the play. Each character in the play has a very specific dream. Walter dreams of success, Mama dreams of a proper home for her family to thrive, Beneatha dreams of becoming a doctor. These dreams both spur the characters on and frustrates them, as each passing day fails to bring about a plan to achieve these dreams.

African-American people, who suffered a lot physically and mentally produced fantastic literary works that earned honor not only in America but also all over the world. Their works reflect mostly their suffering and struggle for achieving an identity in the white society. They rendered immense service to English Literature and are continuing to do the same.