I admit, I am kind of a history geek. I have spent many hours buried in archives, looking at books that few people have perused, trying to tease events out of figures and think through the narrative of an area or a people.
So maybe I am more geeked than most people about this find:
In the spring of 1964, the Department of Labor, worried that American-born entertainers were facing unfair competition, tightened the rules allowing foreign talent to enter the United States.How cool is that?
The actual law allowed for entertainers of special talent to apply through the Immigration and Naturalization Service for exemptions, so the Beatles weren’t shut out of the United States forever. Unfortunately for Labor Secretary W. Willard Wirtz, several poorly worded newspaper articles led teenagers to believe otherwise. Adolescents from across the United States wrote to the Labor Department in protest.
Janelle Blackwell’s arguments in this letter rested mostly on her own health and wellness. (“I and three other girls were so upset we couldn’t go to school today.”) Blackwell asked that her letter be treated as a business letter, though she acknowledged that she wasn’t quite sure how to write one: “This letter I know is not in good form of any kind … but I feel terrible. I’m 15 and I feel like 80.”