Many Thanks to Give…

May 3, 2021 by · Leave a Comment 

My family often jokes with me (maybe about me ) when they say, “she can use Disney World as an example for anything.”  They aren’t wrong and have accurately pegged me as a bit of a Disney fanatic.  I won’t bore you with all the reasons I have for loving this place but I will tell you how it came to mind today as I was perusing an issue published by Frederick Douglass.  For those of you who have visited Disney World or more specifically Epcot, I hope you have experienced Spaceship Earth.  I never tire of riding this attraction and hearing Dame Judy Dench recount mankind’s history of communication to me as I gaze at the vignettes on each side of  my “time machine”.  At one point, she is describing how, since the invention of papyrus, knowledge is able to be kept and shared more easily and so civilization advances more rapidly until …

“Rome falls, and the great Library of Alexandria in Egypt is burned. Much of our learning is destroyed—lost forever… or so we think. It turns out there are copies of some of these books in the libraries of the Middle East, being watched over by Arab and Jewish scholars. Call it the first backup system. The books are saved, and with them our dreams of the future.”

I get shivers every time I hear those words… so much knowledge… so much history… so many pages.  Just now, as I pause to admire this precious Frederick Douglass paper lying on my desk, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for all the people we, the collectors of historic newspapers, have to thank for watching over the issues that later end up in our hands.  Precious treasures of knowledge and history handed off to us, if even for a moment, to guard for future generations.

The Woman’s Tribune & Frederick Douglass…

July 27, 2020 by · Leave a Comment 

Many people who have faced difficult challenges in their personal lives become, in turn, sensitive to the struggles of others.  It might be a similar difficulty, but it isn’t always.  In the history of discrimination, a less-than-equal status has been designated to individuals or groups for reasons of socioeconomic status, color of skin, or gender.  Specific publications sprang up to give a voice to the unrepresented, and, at the very least, the power of the pen documented the demand to be heard.  Within the newspapers of early America are the abolitionist papers and the working men’s papers and the women’s papers.  The writers and editors called for equal status under the law, the right to own property (starting with the freedom of an individual over his or her own life) and the right to vote.

It’s this last one that has me looking intently at the front page of The Woman’s Tribune from March 2, 1895.  In the first place, I noticed that the paper is much better quality than, say, the New York Times from this era.  It seems the publishing board of this newspaper did not make the downgrade from rag paper.  But mostly I noticed that the masthead “EQUALITY BEFORE THE LAW” is followed by the column heading “Frederick Douglass“.  There is a poem written by Mary Lowe Dicks in honor of the great abolitionist, followed by a tribute/obituary that fills two columns delineating his impact for the cause of freedom.  The ending portion is particularly poignant:

In him the hopes of his race were realized; in him humanity was dignified.  The world is poorer because he is gone; humanity is richer because he came.  The legacy of his life and service attests the truth that God keepeth watch above His own, that He shall turn and overturn until injustice dies and the right eternally triumphs.

I like this honoring of another who had a different set of obstacles to overcome, but was admired for the battle he fought and the way he waged it.  I picture the huddled masses of abolitionists, suffragists, laborers — not pitted against one another, but rooting for the common goal of “liberty and justice for all.”

They Put It In Print… Black Americana……

February 25, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

Few nations can boast of a peaceful trek from being a slave state (at least in part) to the enslaved people-group holding the highest position in the very land that had once enslaved their ancestors. Whereas there is still much work to be done, the United States’ governmental structure allows, and even promotes such progress. Since much of these historic events were put in print, the link below is able to provide a chronology of many of the highlights of this amazing, albeit bumpy road. Since the link only provides a snapshot of each issue’s content, in order to view the related coverage you may need to click on the item number of several in order to view the item’s full description.

BLACK AMERICANA (and more)

Note: While perusing the issues shown in the link above, one might wonder why a link to a chronology of “Black Americana” issues includes those from outside the United States. Answer? Life rarely happens in a vacuum – and this is equally true with the trek shown above. Both the related tragedies, atrocities,  and eventual progress which transpired outside the U.S. were often foundational in the thinking of those within. As a result, they have been included.