Month: August 2011

Month: August 2011

THE RAID ON HARPER’S FERRY: BY TREASON OR REASON?

John Brown’s body lies a-mouldering in the grave…        He’s gone to be a soldier in the army of the Lord!  …Glory, Glory, Hallelujah, His soul’s marching on! (From “John Brown’s Body,” circa 1861, authorship disputed) As a child, I recall many little jingles which helped me to remember significant events.  But, I never fully

BEFORE THE NAACP: “The Niagara Movement”

  “By every civilized and peaceful method we must strive for the rights which the world accords to men, clinging unwaveringly to those great words which the sons of the Fathers would fain forget:  ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with

BEFORE JAMESTOWN… Before Christopher Columbus?

“In fourteen hundred ninety-two… Columbus sailed the ocean blue…” So went the 5th-grade, jingle which launched some of the Columbus Day classroom excursions, at the Rosenwald Elementary School, across the road from Kentucky State College (Frankfort, KY, circa 1954, ’55). And, I still recall the catchy names of those ships:  the Nina, the Pinta and

OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF BIGOTS? “Amazing Grace…”

“Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,That saved a wretch like me.I once was lost but now am found,Was blind, but now I see…”  (John Newton, 1725-1807) Growing up mostly in the segregated south, on the cusp of the tense and often violent school integration years, I thought I knew for certain what bigotry and prejudice

TALE OF TWO CITIES? Slave Rebellion in Virginia

 “Gabriel’s cause- the end of slavery and the furtherance of equality of all people- has prevailed in the light of history…  It is important to acknowledge that history favorably regards Gabriel’s cause while consigning legions who sought to keep him and others in chains to be forgotten.”  (Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, during the 2007 pardon

Australia’s Stolen Children: And the Aesthetics of Political Apology

”Today we honour the Indigenous peoples of this land, the oldest continuing cultures in human history. We reflect on their past mistreatment.  We reflect in particular on the mistreatment of those Stolen Generations—this blemished chapter in our nation’s history… For the pain, suffering and hurt of these Stolen Generations, their descendants and for their families