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  • Writer's pictureBrian Powers

Episode 43 - The Swim

If there's a recurring theme throughout this podcast, it's that a lot of non-white-male historical figures wind up getting the shaft. It's not because I'm purposefully choosing stories that end this way - I'm choosing what I think are interesting or just plain cool stories about people that you may not have gotten the whole - if any - story about. It's just that there was a long period of time in this country that was dominated by a mindset that anybody other than white guys were somehow lesser people. This isn't some radical opinion - it's a historical fact, and what's weirder is that it took us a lot longer to get over it than many other countries did, if we even have. It's debatable that we have. But Mr. French's story is another example on top of an impossibly giant pile of examples - his heroic act was of such a magnitude that it's difficult to comprehend, yet he received only the most meager acknowledgment for it, and it was belittled in even that. It's frustrating to think about in 2024, let alone what it was like in 1942. Examples of non-white folks and women being given full respect for just existing are still hard to come by. French received the respect and acceptance of his white peers...but only after saving the lives of many of them by literally swimming all night long in shark-infested waters. That isn't having to work three times as hard for the same recognition - that's having to work 300 times as hard just to be recognized as an equal.


At any rate, apologies for the graphic mental image, but what I really want to know is just how hard did he have to swim towing both a raft carrying 15 sailors and the world's largest set of testicles?


On another note - this episode references a development that took place on January 10th, 2024. It was written on January 16th, 2024, to be released on January 17th, but it was planned as an episode in 2022. The full recognition of Charles Jackson French's legacy continues to this very day, which makes sense - there's a lot of ground to make up.




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