Finding out that childhood heroes have feet of clay is nothing new. Sometimes it can actually be reassuring in an odd way, that they too are human. But then you stumble across something like this and you have to completely re-evaluate everything you thought you know about someone.
L. Frank Baum, before he wrote The Wonderful Wizard of Oz ran a newspaper in South Dakota. This was in the early 1890's during the Indian Wars. When Baum heard of the killing of Sitting Bull and the massacre at Wounded Knee, he wrote editorials calling for killing each and every last Native American.
-- Source: JJ Sutherland NPR
But all is not wonderful in Oz. The beloved children’s author did another kind of writing before the Wizard of Oz became a household name. Editorials reportedly written by Baum in the late 1800s called for the genocide of American Indians.
The editorials can be found at various places on the Internet; the two most well known are the Sitting Bull Editorial and the Wounded Knee Editorial. Many people in Indian country may have heard about the editorials, but have never actually seen them.
Wherever the truth lies, L. Frank Baum’s legacy of enchantment and whimsy has been permanently scarred by the two editorials written 10 years before “The Wizard of OZ.” Scholars and historians will continue to debate whether the 1890-91 editorials were merely a mirror of the society in which Baum lived or if he really wanted to see the Great Sioux Nation wiped off the face of the earth.
- Source: Indian Country Today
Thank you Jessica Clark, Lumbee Indian school teacher for bringing this story to our attention.
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