American History in Black and White – part 3 of 3

And finally, the last video in the series.

So what have you learned? What do you think? Frankly, the scrubbing and silencing of American history makes my blood boil.

Video

Quote of the day

320px-theodore_roosevelt_by_john_singer_sargent_1903

In consideration of the impending presidential elections, a quote by former President Theodore Roosevelt.

“Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official, save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country. In either event, it is unpatriotic not to tell the truth, whether about the president or anyone else.”
Theodore Roosevelt

 

On a rather unrelated note, it seems, a bonus of excerpts from a speech he gave at Carnegie Hall, March 12, 1912. Recorded August 1912 by Thomas Edison. Duration 4:07., “The Right of the People to Rule.”
[This is neither an endorsement or disagreement with what he said, just some political history to give some perspective by showing that strong disagreement and widespread dissatisfaction is not new.]

Text of this speech:

THE great fundamental issue now before [the Republican party and before] our people can be stated briefly. It is: Are the American people fit to govern themselves, to rule themselves, to control themselves? I believe they are. My opponents do not. I believe in the right of the people to rule. I believe that the majority of the plain people of the United States will, day in and day out, make fewer mistakes in governing themselves than any smaller class or body of men, no matter what their training, will make in trying to govern them. I believe, again, that the American people are, as a whole, capable of self-control and of learning by their mistakes. Our opponents pay lip-loyal to this doctrine; but they show their real beliefs by the way in which they champion every device to make the nominal rule of the people a sham.

[As regards the dean’s last paragraph, I can only say that I wish somebody else whose suggestions would arouse less antagonism had proposed it; but nobody else did propose it, and so I had to.] I am not leading this fight as a matter of aesthetic pleasure. I am leading because somebody must lead, or else the fight would not be made at all. I prefer to work with moderate, with rational, conservatives, provided only that they do in good faith strive forward towards the light. But when they halt and turn their backs to the light, and sit with the scorners on the seats of reaction, then I must part company with them. We the people cannot turn back. Our aim must be steady, wise progress.

It would be well if our people would study the history of a sister republic. All the woes of France for a century and a quarter have been due to the folly of her people in splitting into the two camps of unreasonable conservatism and unreasonable radicalism. Had pre-Revolutionary France listened to men like Turgot, and backed them up, all would have gone well. But the beneficiaries of privilege, the Bourbon reactionaries, the short-sighted ultra-conservatives, turned down Turgot; and then found that instead of him they had obtained Robespierre. They gained twenty years freedom from all restraint and reform, at the cost of the whirlwind of the red terror; and in their turn the unbridled extremists of the terror induced a blind reaction; and so, with convulsion and oscillation from one extreme to another, with alternations of violent radicalism and violent Bourbonism, the French people went through misery toward a shattered goal.

May we profit by the experiences of our brother Republicans across the water, and go forward steadily, avoiding all wild extremes; and may our ultra-conservatives remember that the rule of the Bourbons brought on the Revolution, and may our would-be revolutionaries remember that no Bourbon was ever such a dangerous enemy of the people and of freedom as the professed friend of both, Robespierre. There is no danger of a revolution in this country; but there is grave discontent and unrest, and in order to remove them there is need of all the wisdom and probity and deep-seated faith in and purpose to uplift humanity we have at our command.

Friends, our task as Americans is to strive for social and industrial justice, achieved through the genuine rule of the people. This is our end, our purpose. The methods for achieving the end are merely expedients, to be finally accepted or rejected according as actual experience shows that they work well or ill. But in our hearts we must have this lofty purpose, and we must strive for it in all earnestness and sincerity, or our work will come to nothing. In order to succeed we need leaders of inspired idealism, leaders to whom are granted great visions, who dream greatly and strive to make their dreams come true; who can kindle the people with the fire from their own burning souls.

The leader for the time being, whoever he may be, is but an instrument, to be used until broken and then to be cast aside; and if he is worth his salt he will care no more when he is broken than a soldier cares when he is sent where his life is forfeit in order that the victory may be won. In the long fight for righteousness the watchword for all of us is “spend and be spent.”

(I am currently finding it difficult to find a source which concisely explains the Turgot and Bourbon historical references in the correct time frame, but they are all French references, not American. If anyone finds one, let me know.)

Text of the FULL speech.

 

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American History in Black and White – part 2 of 3

Now for Part 2 of the video “American History in Black and White.”

Tune in at this time next week for the third and final part.

American History in Black and White – part 1 of 3

For me, this is now “old news,” because as a homeschooling family we have always sought out a better and well-rounded history, but for many people, this will be new, and astonishing, information!

If you find history interesting, if you don’t, or just think you know the history of slavery in America, this video will blow your mind.

Points in this part:

  • American revolution – black soldiers, fully integrated armies. Famous revolutionaries: James Armistead, Peter Salem, Prince Whipple.
  • Paintings with surprises
  • Historic Black Writers about blacks in history: William Nell, Carter Woodson, Benjamin Quarles, Joseph Wilson, Booker T. Washington, Edward A. Johnson
  • The Constitution and the “3/5 clause” arguments, origins, intent.
  • Frederick Douglass – history, education, writings, discovery that 3/5 clause is anti-slavery.
  • 1789 – Northwest Ordinance passed, forbidding slavery in new areas
  • 1792 – Democratic National Committee founded
  • 1808 – Congress abolished slave trade (Rev. Absalom Jones, first black bishop in Episcopal Church, gave sermon in Philadelphia commemorating it)
  • 1820 – Jefferson’s Democratic Party now in majority. Their Congress passed Missouri Compromise (reversing Northwest Ordinance), permitting slavery in almost 1/2 of federal territories. Several states then admitted as slave states and, for the first time since the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, slavery officially promoted by Congressional policy.
  • 1850 – Fugitive Slave Law, passed by Democratic Congress. A disaster for free blacks and Underground Railroad at its peak in this time.
  • 1854 – Kansas-Nebraska Act, passed by Democratic Congress, allowed slavery to be introduced into parts of new territories where previously forbidden.
  • May 1854 – Anti-slavery Democrats in Congress formed the (new) Republican party to fight slavery and secure equal rights for black Americans. One founder: Sen. Charles Sumner (had championed desegregation of Boston public schools).
  • 1856 – Sumner’s 2-day long speech in U.S. Senate against slavery. Preston Brooks (Rep – D) from South Carolina clubbed down Sumner on floor of Senate, nearly beating him to death. Many Democrats thought it amusing and that he deserved it. Sumner recovered enough after 3-1/2 years, to return to Senate and give another anti-slavery speech.
  • 1856 – Republicans’ first Presidential election. First party platform had 6 of the 9 planks with bold declarations of equality and civil rights for African-Americans. Democratic Platform was boldly opposite.

Some people may continue on their own to watch the 2nd and 3rd parts, but I will be posting those out next week at this time, anyway.

There is an associated book: “Setting the Record Straight: American History in Black & White” which is “a unique view of the religious and moral heritage of African-Americans.”

Black American Founders

This video is Glen Beck’s May 28, 2010’s Founders’ Friday in which he talks about black American founders with David Barton (of Wall Builders) and Lucas Morel (professor at Washington and Lee University). I would be willing to bet real money that unless you follow Glen or read books written by David Barton, MOST of this will come as a complete surprise to you. If not, let me know so I can congratulate you!

He observes that moving media has typically portrayed blacks in historical shows and movies in subservient / slave / victim roles, and is incensed. Then he shows period paintings (Battle of Bunker Hill, Battle of Lexington, Washington Crossing the Delaware, Marquis de Lafayette, etc.) and points out key black people in the paintings, who were very important, or even that should have been there but were NOT. Things that NOBODY mentions…anymore. Though they used to be taught, until history was scrubbed and re-written in order to promote the victim narrative.

He reveals Black history that most people don’t know and the audience is surprised (first black Speaker of the House was in…1789), then appalled and outraged. So was I. There is so much more that will blow your mind. Watch it and let me know what you discovered and surprised you the most, and your reactions.

 

“One Night in Bangkok” – video, back story and lyrics

One of my favorite music videos is “One Night in Bangkok” by Murray Head. The title might raise eyebrows, but it’s not what you think. It is a tale about a world chess tournament in Bangkok and the speaker’s opinion about the location and what goes on outside of the tournament. I am fond of music that tells a story, and this video does it well. (If there are any problems with the video here, just leave a comment and I will do my best to fix it.)

HISTORY / BACK STORY:
The song was originally sung by the British actor and pop-dance singer Murray Head (verses) and Swedish singer and songwriter Anders Glenmark (choruses) on the 1984 concept album for the musical “Chess.” Its music was composed by former ABBA members Benny Andersson and Björn K. Ulvaeus, and its lyrics were written by Tim Rice and Ulvaeus.

In the musical for which it was written, it is sung by the former American champion, who lost the previous year to the Russian. He is now in Bangkok as a TV commentator on (some say the referee for) the tournament between the defending Russian champion and a new Russian contender.

Tim Rice was interviewed about “Chess” and they asked about the location. He replied that he had noticed that other major world competitions were held in either the great capitols of the world or big cultural centers, while world chess tournaments seemed to be set in fairly unfashionable places or, at least on first glance, slightly odd places for events of such importance.

His aim was to contrast highbrow intellectual chess culture with the distinctly lowbrow attractions of Bangkok. Thus the American actor mocks those who only come to Bangkok for the sexploitative nightlife and other mundane attractions, looking down on what goes on, for he is there for the beauty of the game. This is shown by at least one double-entendre about Chess compared to the Bangkok nightlife -“I would invite you, but the queens we use would not excite you.” After all, it does seem a rather unusual place to have such a tournament if you understand that, at the time, chess was seen as a metaphor for the Cold War superpower struggle.

LYRICS:
Bangkok, Oriental setting,
and the city don’t know what the city is getting –
the crème de la crème of the chess world,
in a show with everything but Yul Brynner!

Time flies, doesn’t seem a minute
since the Tirolean Spa had the chess boys in it.
All change, don’t you know that when you
play at this level, there’s no ordinary venue.

It’s Iceland,
or the Philippines,
or Hastings,
or, or this place!

One night in Bangkok and the world’s your oyster,
the bars are temples, but the pearls ain’t free.
You’ll find a god in every golden cloister,
and if you’re lucky then the god’s a “she.”
I can feel an angel sliding up to me.

One town’s very like another
when your head’s down over your pieces, brother.

It’s a drag, it’s a bore, it’s really such a pity,
to be looking at the board, not looking at the city!

Whaddya mean?!
Ya seen one crowded, polluted, stinking town…

Tea girls, warm and sweet, (warm, sweet)
some are set up in the Somerset Maugham Suite.

“Get Thai’d!” You’re talking to a tourist
whose every moves are among the purest.
I get my kicks above the waistline, sunshine!

One night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble;
not much between despair and ecstasy.
One night in Bangkok and the tough guys tumble;
can’t be too careful with your company.
I can feel the Devil walking next to me.

Siam’s gonna be the witness
to the ultimate test of cerebral fitness.
This grips me more than would
a muddy old river or reclining Buddha!

But thank God, I’m only watching the game, controlling it.

I don’t see you guys rating
the kind of mate I’m contemplating.
I’d let you watch, I would invite you,
but the queens we use would not excite you.

So you’d better go back to your bars…
your temples…your massage parlors…

One night in Bangkok and the world’s your oyster.
The bars are temples but the pearls ain’t free.
You’ll find a god in every golden cloister,
a little flesh, a little history.
I can feel an angel sliding up to me.

One night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble;
not much between despair and ecstasy.
One night in Bangkok and the tough guys tumble,
can’t be too careful with your company.
I can feel the Devil walking next to me.

========

For anyone who is interested, here is a link to the Musical: Chess, the original recording (audio, not videos, and has more storyline). A different production from the next link.)

This link is to a playlist which is just the music (the Broadway version is different than the original): Chess – Original Broadway Cast

And finally, here is a link to a review of the musical: AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann

If George Orwell wasn’t a prophet, what would you call him?

Do any schools still require students to read 1984, or is that too dangerous to those who seek to gain power by dumbing us down?

Bloggers, never:

  • lower your standards and use the too-easy profanity,
  • forget how to use logic and thought,
  • use ad hominem and straw man attacks, or
  • cave into “political correctness,”

…lest you become a mindless slave of the system.

Keep learning, expand your vocabulary, and continue honing your literary skills, even when people don’t understand you and mock you for it.

“I may be sitting down on the outside, but I am standing up on the inside!”

Image

Bachelor’s Shanty – the original “tiny home”

Tiny Homes are a part of a movement towards a simpler, less expensive, existence, but if you are following the blogs, Pinterest board and the like, it becomes apparent that true simplicity is an uncomfortable ideal for we still tend to get drawn back toward complexity and our familiar comforts.

In Helen (Beckley), West Virginia in the 1920’s coal miners, single or married and living away for the week, would live in one room “Bachelor Shanties” and when you visit the museum there you can see one as it was lived in. As it says on the sign, this was truly an example of living with only the bare necessities. The “Tiny Homes” of today are luxurious!

I am not good at estimating measurements, but I think I would be fair to say that this shanty is no more than 80 square feet, if that.

Bachelor shack 1

This sign shows an actual photograph of the inside of a miner’s shanty (bottom) and (at the top) the mining camp with miner’s houses for those who lived there with their families.

Bachelor shack 2

A more specific description of the miner’s shack and his situation.

Bachelor shack 3

And outside view of the shanty. That washtub hanging outside was used for washing themselves and for washing clothes.

Bachelor shack 4

A peep inside. If you look up near the top of the picture, you can just see a single light bulb, although they would not have had them at that time, thus the kerosene lantern on the shelf above the stove. In the top left corner of the picture is a cast iron wooden-match holder hanging on the wall for lighting the lantern and the stove. There is a luxury/necessity in sight – a rug on the floor. The walls and ceiling are of old-style bead-board.

Bachelor shack 5

Now you can see in. It’s completely basic. The washpan on the wall would be for washing dishes. A coal stove (with a small coal shovel) for cooking and heating with some cookware on the wall and on the stove. A few dishes, some utensils in a pitcher and a Bible. A rocker, 2 chairs and a bed can be seen. In the corner is a washstand for shaving / basic upper body cleaning (see the mirror above it?). You can also see another touch of home – homemade curtains at the windows.

Bachelor shack 6

From this angle you can just see a chamber pot on the floor next to the stove. Yes, that is the toilet. I didn’t ask where they had to take it to empty it everyday. You can see a suitcase at the end of the bed.

Image

Lack of knowledge engenders fear, thus people fear Islam.

Since 911 many things have changed in our knowledge of Islam. There are now people who have studied and explain what Islam teaches and, many Muslims have started to read the Quran in their own language…huh? They have haven’t been? No. Like Catholics of many generations ago (Latin-only liturgies and Biblical readings), Muslims only read/memorize the Quran in archaic Arabic (there is a reason, but not going into it here). Since then, translations have been made available in local languages and when Muslims read what it actually says, it can be…surprising, to say the least, and many are making unexpected decisions.

This is the archive of a recent live-stream event called “Answering Jihad: A Better Way Forward” with Nabeel Qureshi (almost 2 hours.) This picture you see is his latest book of the same name, but this video opens with 30 minutes of his story. It’s gripping. He tells about his Muslim upbringing, how he responded to a friend’s questions and what he learned. At least listen to his first 30 minutes.

“The Future of Language: American Sign Language for everyone but the Deaf”

That is the subtitle of a blog post: Sara Nović: Sign of the Times. She writes about the struggle between “deaf culture” and the clinical approach to attempting  to eradicate biological deafness, and how deaf people perceive it. Very enlightening and interesting, particularly if you know any deaf/hearing-impaired people.

The Future of Language: American Sign Language for everyone but the Deaf

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