This year, in addition to reading the Declaration of Independence – I’m sure you’ll find it somewhere, consider reading Frederick Douglass’ July 4, 1852 address, only a portion of which has been included here. And if you’re in Albany, NY area, check out a speaker on this very subject this morning:
This, for the purpose of this celebration, is the 4th of July. It is the birthday of your National Independence, and of your political freedom. This, to you, is what the Passover was to the emancipated people of God. It carries your minds back to the day, and to the act of your great deliverance; and to the signs, and to the wonders, associated with that act, and that day. This celebration also marks the beginning of another year of your national life; and reminds you that the Republic of America is now 76 years old. I am glad, fellow-citizens, that your nation is so young. Seventy-six years, though a good old age for a man, is but a mere speck in the life of a nation…. There is hope in the thought, and hope is much needed, under the dark clouds which lower above the horizon. The eye of the reformer is met with angry flashes, portending disastrous times; but his heart may well beat lighter at the thought that America is young, and that she is still in the impressible stage of her existence… Were the nation older, the patriot’s heart might be sadder, and the reformer’s brow heavier…
Continue reading 'What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?' by Frederick Douglass →
As I’ve undoubtedly noted, the name Roger comes from the Germanic roots meaning spear bearer, specifically “famous with the spear.”
When you think of the first name Roger, who are the first people you think of? (I mean besides me, of course.) That was the question in this segment of the TV show Family Feud; I’m sorry it is incomplete.
Here’s a list of celebrities whose first names are Roger. The ones that immediately came to mind are some Continue reading R is for Roger, redux →
Cognitive Deficit: How Budget Cuts Could Prevent Scientific Breakthroughs
“The Higgs boson isn’t just one missed opportunity – it represents how much the U.S. stands to lose if we don’t give our scientists the support they need. The Congress of the early ’90s might have pulled the plug on a $10 billion particle accelerator, but it’s hard to imagine today’s Congress even contemplating such a project when attempts to fund basics like unemployment insurance and infrastructure repair result in partisan gridlock.”
We’re ALL Immigrants, Higgs is Our Common Ancestor.
Why the boson is like Justin Bieber.
Remembering when Francis Scott Key, the man who penned “The Star-Spangled Banner,” defended slavery in court. Continue reading July Rambling: the God particle, and Key's defense of slavery →
First, Chris, in answer to my answer, writes:
You bring up Andrew Jackson and the Trail of Tears. However, my husband is studying for a military exam, and the honors that his company won during the “Indian Wars” is considered part of their venerable history… And then I think of Hitler and Genghis Khan and I wonder, were they genuinely trying to do good by their own?
Which is why I picked him over the more obvious choice such as Hitler. History, at least the history most of us have read, has already assigned Hitler with the “evil” mantle; he doesn’t need me. Whereas Jackson’s place in history is a more of mixed bag. I have an ex who could talk your ear off (probably not literally, though I’m not sure) on the topic. I would submit that GWB’s war in Iraq may have been – OK, probably was, in his mind – initiated by “trying to do good” for his own people; didn’t make it right. I daresay most ethnic cleansing are done to “protect” one group from “the other” (see: Rwanda or Yugoslavia in the 1990s for recent examples). Whether the “good intentions” of mass murder is relevant inevitably will be written by the historians.
Maybe a better question is “What do you consider evil?” What is good and what is evil, really?
Continue reading Evil, President Romney, and my daughter's future →
The one television program the Daughter and I watch together is an NBC show called Who Do You Think You Are? It involves stars looking back at their genealogy. An episode we saw recently featured actor Blair Underwood, which I hope you can find here or here or here at the third notch 21 minutes in, with him walking down the steps.
What Underwood discovers is that one of his ancestors at the end of the 18th century, Samuel Scott, actually owns property in Virginia. He is distressed, though, to discover Continue reading V is for a Virginia Slave Law →
My wife and I got a babysitter last Friday night so we could take the bus – MUCH easier than trying to find parking at the uptown UAlbany campus – and watch Slavery by Another Name, “a 90-minute documentary that challenges one of Americans’ most cherished assumptions: the belief that slavery in this country ended with the Emancipation Proclamation.” Though the film will be premiering on PBS, Monday, February 13 at 9pm ET / 8pm CT (check local listings), the real draw of viewing it early on a bigger screen was to be able to see the director of the film, Shelia Curran Bernard, and the writer of the book upon which the film was based, Douglas Blackmon, who I had seen before.
Narrated by actor Laurence Fishburne, “The film tells how even as chattel slavery came to an end in the South in 1865, thousands of African Americans were pulled back into forced labor with shocking force and brutality. Continue reading Slavery by Another Name PBS documentary →