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The Amelia Earhart Kimono That Spikes a Racist Legend

Added 06-25-22 11:49:01pm EST - “The kimono helped launch an unkillable conspiracy theory that the Japanese kidnapped Earhart. The garment hasn't been seen for decades?"until now.” - Thedailybeast.com

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Posted By TheNewsCommenter: From Thedailybeast.com: “The Amelia Earhart Kimono That Spikes a Racist Legend”. Below is an excerpt from the article.

The kimono helped launch an unkillable conspiracy theory that the Japanese kidnapped Earhart. The garment hasn’t been seen for decades—until now.

This color photograph, of a historic garment unseen by the public for decades, shows Amelia Earhart's kimono-like robe that she wore before taking off on her record-breaking flight from Honolulu to California in 1935. Earhart would vanish two years later on an epic attempt to circle the world near the equator. Only glimpsed in black-and-white photos by most historians until now, the vibrant silk garment once stood in the middle of an ugly controversy, not so different from today’s “fake news” fights, between those who fabricated stories about the beloved aviator after she disappeared and those seeking the truth.

When Amelia Earhart's last message was heard at the start of July 1937, she had been flying for 20 hours and 13 minutes from Lae, New Guinea towards a pinprick island in the Pacific Ocean called Howland Island. Earhart had estimated this leg of her highly publicized round-the-equator trip would take 18 hours, so when she sent her last dispatch, on July 2, she was two hours overdue at her target. After that last message—“We are on the line 157-337 flying north and south”—she vanished.

For the next two weeks, the shocking disappearance of Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan dominated headlines in American newspapers. There was extensive worldwide coverage, too, including empathetic news coverage from Japan. Captain Fred Noonan was not a second pilot, nor was he ever licensed to fly. He was, however, one of the few seasoned navigators of the 1930s Pan Am clippers that flew affluent customers to South America and across the Pacific. In 1937 there was no GPS, of course—it was all just dead reckoning and celestial navigation that relied on Noonan's skillset. Working radio equipment would have helped.

After Earhart and Noonan disappeared, President Franklin D. Roosevelt quickly signed an order allowing Navy Secretary Claude A. Swanson to authorize the most expensive sea hunt ever, involving a quarter of a million square miles of the Pacific Ocean.

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