Actions Must Speak Louder….

Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964…. the most significant piece of civil rights legislation in our history.  No President in the 20th century more eloquently expressed the fight for civil rights as Johnson did in 1965,

“There is no Negro problem. There is no Southern problem. There is no Northern problem. There is only an American problem. And we are met here tonight as Americans—not as Democrats or Republicans—we are met here as Americans to solve that problem.”

A noble gesture

A noble gesture

Johnson also signed the Voting Rights Act… in 1965.  Johnson’s administration created the Department of Housing and Urban Development to oversee equality in public housing and all his Great Society programs were color blind.  He appointed Thurgood Marshall to the Supreme Court in 1967.  Johnson acted where his predecessors had only given lip service to the issue of civil rights.  Yet, his legacy is in doubt today, largely due to his off-color language and perceived personal prejudice. 

"I will have your support."

“I will have your support.”

Conservatives cite Johnson’s racial feelings... as proof that Democrats have never cared about minorities; that the GOP remains the party of Lincoln, the true civil rights champion.  Johnson’s civil rights record is just another conspiracy to dupe the ignorant masses into voting Democratic.  Reconciling personal feelings with our public actions has never been an easy task.  The 24 hour news cycle is driven by a culture dependent on sound bytes as the only acceptable measure of public figures.  Perhaps it’s time we start judging a person’s actions rather than snippets of their personal conversations…?

 

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Justice

Martin Luther King’s words ring as true today as they did in 1963… justice is relevant and must never be taken for granted.

Battling the "tranquilizing drug of gradualism"

Battling the “tranquilizing drug of gradualism”

“We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct action campaign that was “well timed” in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word “Wait!” It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This “Wait” has almost always meant “Never.”  We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that justice too long delayed is justice denied.”

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Myth #144: Fidel Castro and the Baseball Tryouts Myth

History Myths Debunked

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As a young man before the Cuban revolution, Fidel Castro tried out for the New York Yankees, almost making the team. 

I believed this! Until I read the debunking on NPR, I thought this was true. Something in the same vein as Hitler having been rejected from art school. An “if only” sort of feeling washes over you as you contemplate the way the world would have gone had Hitler been accepted, or if Castro had made the team.

fidel_castro_baseball

But it’s not true. Adrian Burgos Jr., University of Illinois history professor and author of Playing America’s Game: Baseball, Latinos and the Color Line, says it simply didn’t happen. One way he knows that is because the Yankees didn’t scout in Latin America until the 1960s and the Cuban Revolution began in 1953 and ended in early 1959. 

“He didn’t try out for the Yankees,” Burgos tells NPR’s David Greene. It’s possible…

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Review of “Eisenhower: A Soldier’s Life” by Carlo D’Este

My Journey Through the Best Presidential Biographies

Eisenhower: A Soldier’s Life” by Carlo D’Este was published in 2002 and remains one of the most frequently read books on the thirty-fourth president. D’Este is a biographer, a military historian and a retired Lt. Colonel in the U.S. Army. He is best known for his critically acclaimed biography “Patton: A Genius for War.”

Excellent in many respects, D’Este’s biography of Eisenhower is regrettably not comprehensive. Its scope extends from Ike’s birth only through mid-1945 (the end of WWII in Europe) and therefore misses not only his two-term presidency but also his service as Army Chief of Staff and NATO Supreme Commander.

The fifty-five years of Eisenhower’s life which D’Este does cover are handled with considerable skill – from both a literary and analytical perspective. And his treatment of these years is extremely thorough with 705 pages of text and more than 100 pages of end-notes.

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ECW Weekender: Ulysses S. Grant Boyhood Home and Schoolhouse

Emerging Civil War

ECW Weekender-Headergrant-statue-wbase01Today, we are please to welcome guest author Adam Curtis, a trustee with the Ulysses S. Grant Homestead Association in Georgetown, Ohio.

In the spring of 1823, a short, stubborn man drove a buckboard wagon down the muddy roads of southern Ohio. The small hamlet he crossed into, Georgetown, was slated to be the county seat of Brown County, a jurisdiction only four years old. In the wagon were $1,100 in cash, a small bundle of furniture and possessions, the man’s wife, and their eleven-month-old baby boy. Buying a plot of land for fifty dollars, the man built a tannery along the swift-running Town Creek, and then a brick home across the street. That small boy would later grow into an accomplished painter, renowned horseman and, among other things, 18th President of the United States.

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On the Press

President-Elect Trump continues his war on the free pressclearly what he seeks is capitulation and endorsement from America’s media.  No doubt, he envies Putin’s veneration from the docile Russian press.

Only those who approve

Only those who approve

Not only does power corrupt, it causes us to forget our most basic principles…  Jefferson said to Washington in 1792:

The virtuous will not fear a free press

The virtuous will not fear a free press

“No government ought to be without censors, and where the press is free, no one ever will. If virtuous, it need not fear the fair operation of attack and defense. Nature has given to man no other means of sifting out the truth whether in religion, law or politics. I think it as honorable to the government neither to know nor notice its sycophants or censors, as it would be undignified and criminal to pamper the former and persecute the latter.”

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Healing Words Required

Thomas Jefferson and John Adams waged a bitter and divisive Presidential campaign in 1800… deeply dividing their countrymen.  Adams’ party was swept out of power and many expected Jeffersonians to settle scores.  The speech Jefferson gave on March 4, 1801  was barely heard by those in attendance, but his call for political unity and patriotic harmony, resonated with his people…

Unite with one heart and one mind

Unite with one heart and one mind

During the contest of opinion through which we have passed the animation of discussions and of exertions has sometimes worn an aspect which might impose on strangers unused to think freely and to speak and to write what they think; but this being now decided by the voice of the nation, announced according to the rules of the Constitution, all will, of course, arrange themselves under the will of the law, and unite in common efforts for the common good. All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression. Let us, then, fellow-citizens, unite with one heart and one mind. Let us restore to social intercourse that harmony and affection without which liberty and even life itself are but dreary things. And let us reflect that, having banished from our land that religious intolerance under which mankind so long bled and suffered, we have yet gained little if we countenance a political intolerance as despotic, as wicked, and capable of as bitter and bloody persecutions.”

 

“But every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle. We have called by different names brethren of the same principle. We are all Republicans, we are all Federalists. If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this Union or to change its republican form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it.”

140 Characters or less...

140 Characters or less…

News of Donald Trump’s efforts at writing his own Inaugural Addressshould worry us all.  Can a man whose literary record consists only of insulting other celebrities and the media in less than 140 characters be expected to unite a deeply divided nation?

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