Steve Stark | Prairie Public Broadcasting

Steve Stark

Theodore Roosevelt made a calculated gesture this week in 1901 that challenged the nation’s racial sensitivity. The president invited a well-known African American scholar, friend and advisor, Booker T. Washington, for dinner at the White House. When Washington, who was the founder of the Tuskegee Institute, shared repast with the Roosevelt family, it sent the Southern press and others into apoplectic furor.

Roosevelt on Books

Oct 4, 2019

October is National Book Month, and TR is the writing champ of all the US Presidents, having penned some 35 books, which also include compilations of his hundreds of essays and articles.

The prolific president with a pen made more income from his prodigious writing than from any of his government jobs. One of his books is entitled “A Booklovers Holidays in the Open.” Two of his books about the West were written while in Medora.  In October of 1913 alone, he turned out four books including his long-awaited autobiography.  He was also an avid reader. Historians estimate that he read 20,000 books in his lifetime.

Theodore Roosevelt’s first step into Dakota Territory was not to western cowboy country, but to Fargo-Moorhead. His first tangle with wildlife was with birds, not bison.

And when 21-year-old Theodore and his 20-year-old brother Elliott left the Red River Valley after ten days of hunting with new shotguns, the area was minus 208 critters – prairie chickens, ducks, plovers, coots, grebes and more. That was acceptable hunting style in September 1880.

The next month he would marry Alice. And over the next few years, Roosevelt became the youngest man elected to the New York State Assembly, published his first book The Naval War of 1812, and shot his first bison in the Badlands.

Theodore Roosevelt’s initial trip to Western Dakota Territory’s badlands was a rollicking adventure of hunting, frustration, and awe for the young New Yorker in his early twenties. In mere days TR was entranced by the beauty and the desolation of gnarled, stunted cedars, miles of plateaus, running rivers, scoria, sandstone and clay.

Roosevelt in Fargo

Sep 9, 2019

The first week of September in 1910, Teddy Roosevelt addressed over 30,000 citizens at Fargo College, which overlooked Island Park. The former Dakota Territory rancher’s tenure as the nation’s youngest chief executive had ended in March the previous year. Here are some of TR’s remarks after being introduced by the college president.

Some 30,000 citizens of every age jammed their way into Fargo’s Island Park to welcome and celebrate “The Medora President” this week in September of 1910.  

Theodore Roosevelt did not disappoint. Among those in the crowd were children, with their stuffed toy “Teddy” bears in tow.

The freshly former president spoke as he lay the cornerstone for the Andrew Carnegie Library at Fargo College, the city’s first college, now long gone, that stood above Island Park.

Election Pledges

Aug 29, 2019

Theodore Roosevelt’s passion for politics included his own insistence on the American public’s quest for truth and honesty. He was known for continually demanding as much for himself, even more so, as a political leader. He abhorred politicians who randomly distributed false promises.

Theodore Roosevelt’s first important speech in North Dakota was before a teaming assembly of citizens in Jamestown in the blazing summer, anxious for their adopted Western son to speak glowingly of Wild West values.

In his first year in office, President Theodore Roosevelt, after the assassination of William McKinley, embarked as “Designer in Chief.” He officially christened the executive mansion The White House, Washington, DC.

Theodore Roosevelt’s adherence to honesty was a golden strength of the 26th president. He held the attribute in his heart, actions, and his speeches. For “Old Four Eyes,” truth was a virtue for a cowpuncher, businessman and most certainly a politician.

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