PATCHWORK COUSINS: The Religious Quilt of Our Nation

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.  (U.S. Constitution, Amendment 1, “Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression”) Coming

FROM SACRED TO PROFANE: “Echoes of a Whimpering Nation”

Alabama’s gotten me so upset…  Tennessee made me lose my rest…  And everybody knows about Mississippi Goddam…  Hound dogs on my trail…  School children sitting in jail…  Black cat crossed my path…  I think everyday’s gonna be my last.      (From “Mississippi Goddam,” Nina Simone, Carnegie Hall Concert, 1964) Most African-Americans can remember exactly where they

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 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