Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Sin of Slavery

According to the National Literacy Project Foundation:
  • There are 45 million adults in America who read below a 5th grade level.
  • 50% of American adults can only read books written above an 8th grade level.
  • 44% of Americans do not read a single book in a calendar year.
  • 60% do not purchase a single book in one calendar year.
Functional illiteracy (1 in every 5 Americans) means that a person can read and write simple sentences (using simple vocabulary-about a 5th grade level)...but can't read or write well enough to function within society.  The inability to comprehend and analyze job applications, notices sent in the mail, newspaper articles, television news broadcasts, bank statements, tax forms, political candidates/ platforms, editorial cartoons, instructions for medicine, orders from the boss, etc. can lead to a variety of potential risk factors in a person's life. Most importantly, education must once again be seen (according to a Mississippi Freedmen) as the "next best thing to Liberty." 

Maybe we should take a lesson from the newly freed slaves (Freedmen) after the Civil War who escaped from slavery with the great desire to acquire the ability to read and man lamented,

"There is one sin that slavery committed against me that I will never robbed me of my education."

Harriet Beecher Stowe commented, they rushed not to the grog-shop (saloon) but to the schoolroom- they cried for the spelling book as bread, and pleaded for teachers as a necessity of life!"


Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Grand Illusion


The Gettysburg Address-November 19, 1863

"Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.  Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.  But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground.  The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract.  The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.  It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

Yesterday in class, we tried to define the word crisis in light of "A New Birth of Freedom" and the possibility that the "reunited" United States could truly pursue "All Men are Created Equal"  and begin a "New Birth of Freedom in Reconstruction"...or return to a country of  "A Few Men are Created Equal" defined by anger, bitterness, hatred, racism, "White Power", Jim Crow violence...and ridiculous "scientific" and Hitler-like eugenics/ "race" categories.

Crisis: A tipping point decision that can lead to positive or negative consequences.

IMO...both the Union and Confederacy allowed themselves/ chose to ignore the real truths of the Civil War (why it was fought...what the results should be...), developed a "Noble Cause" and positive memories of the war, and settled on reconciliation/ reunion in order to keep a firm grip on white economic and political power.

"The New Birth of Freedom" in a "Second America" (1865- ca. 1945) had failed to live up to our principles and ideals.

It is quite clear that as we continue to systematically define our "genetic differences" (U.S. Census Bureau) by race...divide ourselves by neighborhoods...sit at different lunch tables...hate others for the color of their skin...espouse "tolerance and open-mindedness, etc." instead of love...

Their are still many jellyfish to kill!

Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are or what they look like.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Jefferson Davis "Killed" Abraham Lincoln

Of course, everyone knows that John Wilkes Booth assassinated President Abraham Lincoln in April of 1865...but, what most people don't know is that the assassination was part of a much larger plan to disrupt the Union Government and win the war through terrorist activities.

In February of 1864, Confederate President Jefferson Davis adopted a plan to strengthen ($5M) the activities of spies, secret agents, terrorists through the "Confederate Secret Service" mainly based in Richmond, Washington, D.C., Canada, and NYC.

Acts of terrorism that were planned include:

1. Starting arson fires in NYC buildings and hotels.
2. Poison the water supply of NYC.
3. Infect Union soldiers' clothing with small pox and other biological weapons.
4. Attack and blow up the White House.
5. Kidnap (later turned to assassination plot) Abraham Lincoln.
6. Assassinate Lincoln, VP Johnson, Sect. of War Stanton, Sect of State Seward, Gen. U.S. Grant

The Confederate Plan to Kill President Lincoln:

Fall 1864- Booth and other conspirators meet with Confederate Secret Service Agents (CSS) twice in Canada to discuss "activities".

October 1864- Booth receives a secretly coded letter from Richmond (Jefferson Davis) notifying Booth that "their friends would be set to work as he had directed."

November 1864- Booth begins recruiting a team to kidnap Lincoln.

January 1865- Jacob Thompson (Head of the CSS) talks about "a group of blood men" willing to kill Union leaders and "leave the government entirely without a head."

March 1865- large numbers of Confederate troops were sent to protect the planned route of bringing President Lincoln to Richmond.

March/ April 1865- Conspirators have several meetings in Richmond, Washington, D.C. and Canada to finalize plans.

April 19, 1865- Jefferson Davis receives a telegram that announces the death of Abraham Lincoln and responds, "If it were to be done, it was better to be done well...if the same had been done to Andy Johnson (VP), the beast, and to Secretary Stanton, the job would then be complete."

Judge Advocate John Bingham, in his closing arguments (a 1.5 month trial) during the Lincoln Assassination Trials clearly implicates Jefferson Davis as a guilty party to Lincoln's murder...

"What more is wanting (as far as evidence to convict the conspirators)...Jefferson Davis is as clearly proven guilty of this conspiracy as John Wilkes Booth, by whose hand Jefferson Davis inflicted the mortal wound on Abraham Lincoln."

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The First Minnesota's Last 5 Minutes

Last week in class, we studied the contributions of "The First Minnesota" on Day 2 during the Battle of Gettysburg...

Gen. Winfield Scott Hancock saw a gap opening up in the Union line and Confederate troops pouring through...

"Reinforcements were coming on the run, but I knew that before they could reach the threatened point the Confederates, unless checked, would seize the some way five minutes must be gained or we were lost.  I would have ordered that regiment in if I had known every man would be killed. It had to be done."

According to Civil War historian Shelby Foote...

"They had given Hancock his five minutes, plus five more for good measure."

Every man in this regiment "did his whole duty" and gave his last five minutes for his country...

How can we give our whole duty to our in need?

What should we/ would we be willing to "charge into the gap" for today?

Will I give "my five minutes, plus five more for good measure" in everything I do?

"The last full measure of devotion..."

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Lincoln:The Racist Emancipator?

Before Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation (January 1, 1863), he made one final attempt to meet with African-American leaders and ministers (August 1862) to persuade them to go back to their communities and convince the people that colonization was in their best interest:

"Even when you cease to be slaves, you are yet far removed from being placed on an equality with the white race ... The aspiration of men is to enjoy equality with the best when free, but on this broad continent, not a single man of your race is made the equal of a single man of ours. Go where you are treated the best, and the ban is still upon you...we look to our condition, owing to the existence of the two races on this continent. I need not recount to you the effects upon white men growing out of the institution of slavery. I believe in its general evil effects on the white race...See our present condition -- the country engaged in war! -- our white men cutting one another's throats, none knowing how far it will extend; and then consider what we know to be the truth. But for your race among us there could not be war, although many men engaged on either side do not care for you one way or the other. Nevertheless, I repeat, without the institution of slavery, and the colored race as a basis, the war would not have an existence."

When asked "what did Abraham Lincoln do?" most Americans would likely respond..."he freed the slaves!"  This oversimplified answer (that most of us accept) allows us to "deify" Lincoln and find a hero worthy of our "national shrine and mythology". 

Keep in mind...the Emancipation Proclamation had a lot of "fine print" that actually freed a small percentage of slaves "under Union control" and kept a large percentage of slaves in bondage "in the border states and in over 50 counties "not in rebellion against the United States."

Lincoln's true "racist" beliefs:

That slaves should be deported through a system of gradual abolition and colonization.
That this would help protect and create jobs for poor whites (cheap labor vs. free labor).
That the Civil War was a "white man's war" fought to "save the Union".
That the Civil War was the slaves fault...can't they see what they've done to white men?
That slavery was wrong...but, they should never experience political or social equality.
That the "Emancipation Proclamation" was a temporary, wartime act that had no real legal basis.

So why did President Lincoln "free the slaves"?

* Political Necessity- he was being attacked by anti-slavery Radical Republicans for his moderate position on slavery/ black troops and threatened with being removed as their presidential candidate in 1864.

Thaddeus Stevens (a Radical Republican) commented in 1863 that Lincoln was a "dead card" in the Republicans political deck.  He also quipped (as Lincoln went to deliver his now famous "Gettysburg Address") that Lincoln was like "the dead going to eulogize the dead!"

* Military Necessity- the Union Army needed troops. What could be better than thousands of highly-motivated fresh troops?

Freedmen's Monument: Washington D.C.
Dedicated-April 14, 1876
The closest truth on Abraham Lincoln came from a Frederick Douglass speech delivered at the dedication of The Freedmen's Monument:
"It must be admitted, truth compels me to admit, even here in the presence of the monument we have erected to his memory, Abraham Lincoln was not, in the fullest sense of the word, either our man or our model. In his interests, in his associations, in his habits of thought, and in his prejudices, he was a white man.  He was preeminently the white man’s President, entirely devoted to the welfare of white men."

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Confederate Creed

“In history, truth should be held sacred, at whatever cost . . . especially against the narrow and futile patriotism, which, instead of pressing forward in pursuit of truth, takes pride in walking backwards to cover the slightest nakedness of our forefathers.”    
                                                              - Lt. Col. Thomas Aspinwall

In 1894, The United Daughters of the Confederacy (parent organization of the Children of the Confederacy) was formed to:
  • Study the "War Between the States" (us Yankees call it The Civil War)
  • Study the Confederate Catechism (it explains why the Union/ Lincoln/ Radical Abolitionists were fully to blame for the Civil War and that the Confederacy fought for a Noble Cause- States' Rights, Popular Sovereignty, Self-Government, etc.)
  • Study the Flags of the Confederacy...the Christian Character of Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson, battles, the role of women in the war, etc...
  • Deny slavery as a reason for the Civil War
  • Promote the love and defense of Southern Heritage...The Truth of the Southern Cause...A Love of Justice...Memory of the war through statues and memorials, etc.
  • Fight against Northern political correctness...public school/ government "lies" about the war, etc.

The Children of the Confederacy is a youth organization formed in 1897 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy for children from birth to 18 years who have Confederate ancestors. 
The purpose of the organization is stated in their creed:

I readily acknowledge that I too honor my "noble and patriotic ancestors" who fought in the Civil War (Minnesota 6th and 7th Regiments), WWI, WWII, Korean and Vietnam Wars...
But, that doesn't mean that I blindly glorify their efforts, blatantly disregard the truths of history/ false flag causes of war, or whitewash the injustices of war.