The Dred Scott Case Said Blacks Had No Rights the “White Man Was Bound to Respect.” But in the West Things Turned Out Differently. –

We need more works like this that highlight the agency of the racialized.

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The Dred Scott Case Said Blacks Had No Rights the “White Man Was Bound to Respect.” But in the West Things Turned Out Differently

HNN   March 8, 2015

On March 6, 1857, in the infamous Dred Scott decision, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that African Americans “had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.” St. Louisans Dred, Harriet, Eliza and Lizzie Scott would stay slaves.

And yet, by March 1865, Congress had passed the 13th Amendment, forever banning slavery, as Union armies marched through the Confederacy. Surprisingly, the shape of the freedom that followed emerged more in the Civil War West than from the battlefields of the South.

Most people ignore the West during the Civil War. Yet the conflict engulfed Missouri, Kansas and Indian Territory (today’s Oklahoma); it spilled over the borders into British Columbia and Mexico. The Confederacy had high hopes…

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The Man Who Stole Puerto Rico

I just love the prose in which this article is written, but most of all, I love Nelson A. Denis’ scholarly work. The original article has pictures:

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A000116“When we think of robber barons, the usual suspects include John D. Rockefeller, J.P. Morgan and Cornelius Vanderbilt. But one robber baron has gone underappreciated: the man who stole Puerto Rico.” So writes Nelson A. Denis, who explores the role of Charles Herbert Allen in Puerto Rico in the early twentieth century. He says: “By the time Allen left Puerto Rico, the entire island was a crime scene.” [Many thanks to Michael O’Neal for bringing this item to our attention.]

His name is Charles Herbert Allen, the first U.S. civilian governor of Puerto Rico. He served only 17 months, but that was all he needed to perform one of the most spectacular crimes of the 20th century. By the time Allen left Puerto Rico, the entire island was a crime scene.

Allen hailed from Lowell, Massachusetts—famous for child labor and textile mill sweatshops. Though he never served in the armed services, he…

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Centuries-old DNA helps identify origins of slave skeletons found in Caribbean

Innovations in the DNA technologies are opening the Caribbean past in ways we never imagined.

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Researchers at the Stanford University Medical Center have extracted and sequenced tiny bits of DNA remaining in the teeth of 300-year-old skeletons in the Caribbean. From this data, they were able to determine where in Africa the individuals likely lived before they were captured and enslaved. Here are excerpts:

More than 300 years ago, three African-born slaves died on the Caribbean island of Saint Martin. No written records memorialized their fate, and their names and precise ethnic background remained a mystery. For centuries, their skeletons were subjected to the hot, wet weather of the tropical island until they were unearthed in 2010 during a construction project in the Zoutsteeg area of the capital city of Philipsburg.

Now researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine and the University of Copenhagen have extracted and sequenced tiny bits of DNA remaining in the skeletons’ teeth. From this data, they were able to…

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Tourism and Time Zones: Turks and Caicos Changes Zone for Later Sunsets

It is fascinating how much are the islands of the Caribbean willing to bend for the tourist industry: even changing their time zone.

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Suzy Strutner says that “Some people will do anything for the perfect beach vacation.” I had no idea that one could do this, but the islands of Turks and Caicos swapped time zones on Sunday to give tourists more daylight time to swim, shop, and explore the Caribbean paradise.

Previously, Turks and Caicos followed Eastern Standard Time. The islands switched to Atlantic Standard Time, which they’ll share year-round with eastern Caribbean islands and sections of Canada. In Turks and Caicos, the sun used to set around 5 p.m. in winter. Now, daytime will extend until almost 7 p.m., at least for the spring season.

This isn’t the first vacation spot to jump time zones in favor of tourism. Last month, Mexico’s state of Quintana Roo — home to the beaches of Cancun and Tulum — switched to give tourists more time on beaches and to better match the East Coast, its…

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Dominica changes designation of indigenous people from Carib to Kalinago

This is relevant to my Colonial Latin American History course. The Caribbean Sea should remind every one of the power to name that the European sojourners exercised here.

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The country’s prime minister says the change seeks to right a historical wrong in the life of the Kalinago people, TeleSur reports. Our thanks to Peter Jordens for bringing this item to our attention.

Five years after embarking on a campaign to change the name of the 3,700-acre Carib Territory to the Kalinago Territory, Dominica’s indigenous people are to get their wish.

The Government of Dominica announced that the name change is an urgent matter and will be down for consideration at the first sitting of parliament since the December 2014 general election.

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit says as well as renaming the territory, the government intends to ensure the Carib Chief will be known as the Kalinago Chief.

This is a vital issue for Dominica’s indigenous people, who say the term “Carib” dates back to Christopher Columbus and is a derogatory term with connotations of cannibalism. For years, several chiefs have said the…

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MLK: this is always inspiring


Martin Luther King Jr. > Quotes > Quotable Quote

Martin Luther King Jr.

“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

Myth, Reality and the Underground Railroad

Thanks, Norberto, for sharing this article. Kytle and Geissert make a terrific comparison between the Anti-slavery memorialists and the “Lost Cause” ideologues, and warn us about how easy is to fall into the “End of History” (not a term they used) mentality: “a mythos of accomplished glory, a history of emancipation completed.”

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Myth, Reality and the Underground Railroad

New York Times      February 27, 2015

disunion45On Feb. 24, 1865, William Lloyd Garrison, the editor of the antislavery weekly The Liberator, published an odd column – odd, because the piece, written by the New York minister Thomas Jefferson Sawyer, had already appeared in the paper, less than a year before. But Garrison believed that the article’s point – about collective memory, and collective forgetting – was an important one, and with the war’s end in sight, he wanted to make sure his readers saw it.

“It is a very curious fact in the history of public opinion,” Sawyer wrote, “that the mass of people who never think or act with early reformers gradually come to persuade themselves, as the reformation goes on and grows popular, that they were always of that party, or at least sympathized with its spirit. … Twenty years…

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“‘Vicente Guerrero Is Not North America’s first black president who predates Obama by 180 years’: A Response to Ronda Racha Penrice’s article”

Good job! at calling out the much needed contributions of this article, and to use the occasion to correct, or better said, to informed the readership of how the record should read if we are going to measure history’s “firsts” in terms of titles. Once more, you helped us see how Haitian history has been and continue to be “silenced” to the detriment of our own wellbeing.

Bahamian distance runner writes book on social emotional empowerment

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Dr. Marilyn Simmons Bowe, PhD. Educator, Trainer, Motivational Speaker, Researcher, and Marathon Runner was born a child of poverty in Nassau, Bahamas, in an urban low socioeconomic area.  She was the sixth of eight children who were raised by a single divorcee. She and her siblings were raised in a shack, but were told that education would be their way out, The Bahamas Weekly reports.

Defying the odds, Dr. Marilyn graduated from R. M. Bailey High School at the age of 15.  She attended College of The Bahamas and earned an AS in biochemistry at the age of 17. After an initial career as an industrial lab chemist, she earned a B.Sci. in premedical biology with minors in chemistry and education, from Barry University in Miami, Florida and graduated Magna cum laude. Subsequently, she earned an M.Sci. in biomedical sciences with some course work in educational leadership, also at Barry…

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When Americans Lynched Mexicans

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20carriganwebb-articleLarge Credit Rachel Levit

When Americans Lynched Mexicans

The New York Times    February 20, 2015

THE recent release of a landmark report on the history of lynching in the United States is a welcome contribution to the struggle over American collective memory. Few groups have suffered more systematic mistreatment, abuse and murder than African-Americans, the focus of the report.

One dimension of mob violence that is often overlooked, however, is that lynchers targeted many other racial and ethnic minorities in the United States, including Native Americans, Italians, Chinese and, especially, Mexicans.

Americans are largely unaware that Mexicans were frequently the targets of lynch mobs, from the mid-19th century until well into the 20th century, second only to African-Americans in the scale and scope of the crimes. One case, largely overlooked or ignored by American journalists but not by the Mexican government, was that of seven Mexican shepherds hanged by white…

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Quality Control: a short story by Edwidge Danticat

A must read!

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11_16 FictionDANTICAT

This story by Edwidge Danticat appeared in The Washington Post.

On the plane, she dreamed two sniper rifles were being pointed at her head.

The landing announcement jolted her awake.

Joseph Salvador Airport was surrounded by barbed-wire-topped walls. Everything outside was dangerous. Or so the concrete, bunker-like immigration and customs building seemed to indicate. She might be better off taking the next plane back, she thought. But she’d already agreed to write a feel-good story on the island’s first lady, an old college roommate.

It was late afternoon on New Year’s Eve and a roasting 98 degrees. The other passengers standing on line with her were mostly expats, some dragging bags bursting with barely hidden American produce for the island’s famous New Year’s Day stew.

In the past, she might have interviewed her few fellow passengers while waiting for the delayed flight. But a recent case of malaria —…

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Tweet from NY Public Library (@nypl)

c32fb13e160ee7cd17848e8cacbbcfc5_normal.jpeg NY Public Library (@nypl)
11/15/14, 5:48 PM
Marjane Satrapi on the importance of intelligence and humor.

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Sent while on the move

At the West AJ

So, yesterday (October 30, 2014), I went to the faculty office at the West AJ for my first office hours here and look what I found: a big bag of chocolate kisses. With incentives like this, who would not come again?

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