Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Missouri v. Celia


Before the very famous Dred Scott decision...Celia fights against slavery and institutionalized/ legalized rape of black women.

In 1855, the state of Missouri (a slave state) had a law that made it a crime to "take any woman unlawfully against her will and by force, menace or duress, or compel her to be defiled" aka raped.  It should be noted, there was also a law that married women could not refuse sex to their husbands and husbands could not be convicted of rape.

In the same year, Celia (a 19 year old slave) was convicted of murder and executed (an execution delayed until after the birth of her child) for killing her master (Robert Newsom) in self-defense after being assaulted repeatedly for over 5 years.

The judge explained the case "against" Celia:

Celia, being a slave was her master's property and while the rape of a slave woman by someone other than the master could be considered a trespass, an owner had the right to do what he wanted with his property.

The judge further instructed the jury to only consider whether or not Celia murdered Newsom and not the self-defense argument, since by law Celia was not considered a woman.

The only "historical memory" (omitting the sins of the master from the story-line) of this event printed in newspapers across America characterized this as a senseless and brutal killing at the hands of a slave, calling it...

"one of the most horrible tragedies ever enacted in our county." 

Wednesday, December 7, 2016


December 7, 1941...a day we should never forget.

So much of my life has been influenced by the men and women who served our country during WWII...relatives, friends of the family, teachers, coaches, etc. all who left an indelible mark on my life. 

I am forever grateful for their service to our country over the past 75 years and for their love, toughness, sacrifice, and intelligence that helped mold me into the man I am today!

Ray Chavez (age 104 and pictured above) is the oldest surviving Pearl Harbor veteran and will return to Pearl Harbor with many others for the 75th anniversary and commemoration of the most infamous day in our history.

His words echo my emotions and hope for my students today.

"I hope people never forget...they can't."