The Black Death, the Coronavirus Pandemic, & the Renaissance of America.

During the 14th century, the plague, or Black Death, ravaged all of Europe, Asia, and northern Africa, causing enormous upheavals in all areas of society.

Its peak occurred around the years 1347-1350. During these years, upwards of two hundred million people died of the plague. Europe, alone, lost perhaps half of its population. The most fatal pandemic in recorded human history, it marked the end of an era.

Yet out of this wide-spread devastation, there slowly emerged a new world, and a new world-view.

From Florence, Italy, in the Tuscany region, there issued forth the Italian Renaissance, one of the greatest epochs in human history that transformed existing social structures and led to wide-ranging social, economic, cultural and religious changes, along with monumental achievements in painting, architecture, sculpture, literature, music, philosophy, science, technology, and exploration. The Renaissance spawned a new birth of humanism, based on reason and a belief in the boundless potential of the human spirit, that eventually spread out to other countries and transformed the world.

Today we are facing a world-wide pandemic, unprecedented in scope in modern times, whose impact is impossible to predict at this time.

At the same time, as with the period of the Black Death and the ensuing Renaissance, we are entering a time of deep, transformational change.

Out of the worldwide fracturing of identities, out of the old dying politics, dying economics, dying beliefs, something new – barely recognizable as yet – is emerging.

It is a vision of who we are together on this planet Earth.

We are divided now, of necessity isolated by this virus, separated into six-foot living spaces; but a new world is coming, with America at the center.

It is the great Dream that is now, and has always been, at the heart of America – the dream of justice and respect and compassion and utter remembrance of the dreams of countless others who have come before – the unnoticed, the oppressed, the voiceless – a dream of the heart and of the world’s peoples as one that has been aching for expression since the dawn of sun in the very first day of the first light.

This is the unremitting mission of America, to foster and bring forth this Dream and be a beacon of hope to the world.

Together, with hope and conviction, there is nothing we cannot do.


James Hilgendorf is a filmmaker, speaker, poet, and the author of eleven non-fiction books, his latest titled “Capricorn & Cancer”.

In their 50th year of marriage, both the author and his wife, Elizabeth, waged an ongoing two-year battle against Elizabeth’s pancreatic cancer and stroke.

Meanwhile, America itself was waging a war of it own – political, economic, and social division and a devastating viral attack – that was tearing apart the fabric of our nation, threatening the end of our national identity.

“Capricorn & Cancer is available in paperback or ebook format from, and in ebook format from other major online booksellers.

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