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Ida B. Wells

Tweet Ida B. Wells was an African-American journalist and a leader in the early Civil Rights Movement.   She was also widely known for her campaign against the practice of the lynching of African-Americans. Born into slavery in Holly Springs, Mississippi in 1862, just a few months before the Emancipation Proclamation freeing slaves was issued by [...]

During the Dark Hours

Tweet DURING THE DARK HOURS Flowers have bloomed During the night. A lovely bouquet this Morning, though the Night before, blooms Were closed, Seemingly dead, Finished growing. Transformation took place During the dark hours. Sometimes we wind our Way up from the depths, There is no light. The hidden sun in our heart Leading the [...]

“Studs Lonigan” & the Great Wall Street Crash of 1929

Tweet “Studs Lonigan”, by James T. Farrell, is one of the great books of American literature.  Written as a trilogy in the 1930s, it tells the story of a young man, William “Studs” Lonigan, growing up in an Irish family on Chicago’s Southside during World War I, the Roaring Twenties, and the Great Depression. Farrell’s [...]

Abolitionist Abby Kelley Foster & “Come-outerism”.

Tweet This is Liberty Farm, a National Historic Landmark in Worcester, Massachusetts, where Abby Kelley Foster (1811-1887) lived most of her married life with her husband, Stephen Symonds Foster. Abby Kelley Foster is a name most of us are not familiar with.  She was one of the many extraordinary women from our American past who [...]

Abraham Lincoln, the “kids”, and Guns

Tweet Stoneman Douglas High School Parkland, Florida _________________ In 1864, President Abraham Lincoln, in a letter to Colonel William F. Elkins near the end of the Civil War, wrote: “We may congratulate ourselves that this cruel war is nearing its end.  It has cost a vast amount of treasure and blood…It has indeed been a [...]

Thomas Paine & The Age of Reason

Tweet This memorial to Thomas Paine stands in the town of New Rochelle, New York, where Paine lived from 1802 to 1806. Many people are aware of Paine’s contributions, especially his authorship of the inspiring pamphlets, “Common Sense” and “American Crisis”, which led to his being called the “Father of the American Revolution.” Not so [...]

Richard Wright, Our Own Native Son.

Tweet Richard Wright (1908-1960) was perhaps the most influential African-American writer of the twentieth century.  His books helped to change race relations in the United States. I was 16 or 17 when I first read Wright’s novel, “Native Son.” I still remember the impact it had on me.  I could only read the novel piecemeal, [...]

The Heart of a Lion

Tweet Death is the failure to unleash the power of your own life.  Death is the stifling of your voice. Dreams incubate in the inner realm of our mind, crying for expression, one after the other, seeking a tongue, seeking to paint the universe beyond in the colors and drama of our own mind. Life [...]

Traveling to a New America – Arts & the World of Napa

Tweet Yesterday, I spent two hours giving a talk and doing readings from one of my books, then holding an open  discussion with the wonderful members of the Arts Association of Napa Valley. Part of the conversation centered around the mood of divisiveness we are experiencing in America at this time.  These were some of [...]

Hubert Harrison

Tweet Chances are you have never heard of someone named Hubert Harrison.  Until this past few months, I know I never had. I’d like to introduce you to a truly remarkable person in our own American history. I came across him in a strange way.  Somehow I clicked onto a page on Google that was [...]