Monday, February 23, 2009

He Plowed The Path to African-Americans US Citizenship

5:06 PM 0 Comments
(The Association for the Study of African American Life and History) - the Founders of Black History Month, is a non-profit organization established on September 9, 1915 by Dr. Carter G. Woodson. The 2009 Black History Theme is “The Quest for Black Citizenship in the Americas”. In keeping with this years theme, I’d like to present Dred Scott:

Dred Scott (1799 – September 17, 1858), was a slave in the United States who sued unsuccessfully for his freedom in the infamous Dred Scott v. Sandford case of 1857. His case was based on the fact that he and his wife Harriet were slaves, but had lived in states and territories where slavery was illegal, including Illinois and Minnesota (which was then part of the Wisconsin Territory). The United States Supreme Court ruled seven to two against Scott, finding that neither he, nor any person of African ancestry, could claim citizenship in the United States, and that therefore Scott could not bring suit in federal court under diversity of citizenship rules. Moreover, Scott's temporary residence outside Missouri did not effect his emancipation under the Missouri Compromise, since reaching that result would deprive Scott's owner of his property. source Wikipedia

was a prominent lawyer in St. Louis and also the father of journalist and poet ”. “Field took few slave cases, but when he did, he represented slaves. Even then, however he had but limited experience with the law of slavery when he became Dred Scott's attorney. Scott had filed his freedom suit in the spring of 1846; six years later, after "bitterly fought" (p. 180) and complex litigation, and after the Missouri Supreme Court reversed itself on freedom suits, Field became Scott's attorney.”

“The Eugene Field House was the home of Eugene's father Roswell Field, the attorney who formulated the legal strategy that placed slave Dred Scott's lawsuit for freedom before the U. S. Supreme Court. In Scott v. Sandford, one of the most controversial cases of the 19th century, Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger B. Taney declared that no slave could be a U.S. citizen and that the Missouri Compromise of 1820 (that abolished slavery in most territories) was unconstitutional. The 1857 decision widened the political gap between the North and the South and helped precipitate the Civil War. A very outspoken critic of the decision was Abraham Lincoln, a relatively unknown Illinois lawyer, whose attacks on the case thrust him into the national political scene. Anger over Taney's decision energized the Republican party and led the nation's first antislavery political party to victory in 1860. It took the civil war and post-war constitutional amendments to overturn the Dred Scott decision.”


:"1858 Dred Scott dies of tuberculosis and is buried in St. Louis. He was buried in Wesleyan Cemetery at what is now the intersection of Grand and Laclede Avenues in St. Louis (now part of the campus of St. Louis University). In 1867, Wesleyan cemetery closed and the bodies were disinterred and re-buried at other sites. Dred Scott's body was moved to an unmarked grave in Section 1, Lot No. 177, Calvary Cemetery, in north St. Louis County. In 1957 a marker was placed on Dred Scott's grave which reads":

"DRED SCOTT BORN ABOUT 1799 DIED SEPT. 17, 1858 DRED SCOTT SUBJECT OF THE DECISION OF THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES IN 1857 WHICH DENIED CITIZENSHIP TO THE NEGRO, VOIDED THE MISSOURI COMPROMISE ACT, BECAME ONE OF THE EVENTS THAT RESULTED IN THE CIVIL WAR"



*The back of the tombstone says, "Freed from slavery by his Friend Taylor Blow."

“On its way to the United States Supreme Court, the Dred Scott case grew in scope and significance as slavery became the single most explosive issue in American politics. By the time the case reached the high court, it had come to have enormous political implications for the entire nation. On March 6, 1857, Chief Justice Roger B. Taney read the majority opinion of the Court, which stated that black people were not citizens of the United States and, therefore, could not expect any protection from the federal government or the courts; the opinion also stated that Congress had no authority to ban slavery from a federal territory. The decision of Scott v. Sandford, considered by legal scholars to be the worst ever rendered by the Supreme Court, was overturned by the (1865-1868), which abolished slavery and declared all persons born in the United States to be citizens of the United States.”

Excerpt from the poem “Freedom’s Plow” by

()

BETTER DIE FREE,
THAN TO LIVE SLAVES.
Who said those things? Americans!
Who owns those words? America!
Who is America? You, me!
We are America!
To the enemy who would conquer us from without,
We say, NO!
To the enemy who would divide
And conquer us from within,
We say, NO!
FREEDOM!
BROTHERHOOD!
DEMOCRACY!
To all the enemies of these great words:
We say, NO!

A long time ago,
An enslaved people heading toward freedom
Made up a song:
Keep Your Hand On The Plow! Hold On!
The plow plowed a new furrow
Across the field of history.
Into that furrow the freedom seed was dropped.
From that seed a tree grew, is growing, will ever grow.
That tree is for everybody,
For all America, for all the world.
May its branches spread and shelter grow
Until all races and all peoples know its shade.
KEEP YOUR HAND ON THE PLOW! HOLD ON!


Please visit The Dred Scott Heritage Foundation

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Loves Many Layers

5:18 PM 0 Comments
Valentine by Carol Ann Duffy

Not a red rose or a satin heart.

I give you an onion.
It is a moon wrapped in brown paper.
It promises light
like the careful undressing of love.

Here.
It will blind you with tears
like a lover.
It will make your reflection
a wobbling photo of grief.

I am trying to be truthful.

Not a cute card or a kissogram.

I give you an onion.
Its fierce kiss will stay on your lips,
possessive and faithful
as we are,
for as long as we are.

Take it.
Its platinum loops shrink to a wedding-ring,
if you like.

Lethal.
Its scent will cling to your fingers,
cling to your knife.

More Poems by Carol Ann Duffy at Famous Poets and Poems


Thanks to Classic Poetry Aloud for this tidbit:


"It may be, though, that the time has come for a woman Poet Laureate in Britain. The post has recently become vacant, following the end of Andrew Motion's ten year tenure. Wendy Cope remains among the favourites to be appointed, despite the fact that she has said she doesn't want the job (see here for more) and despite the prestige of the post and the associated £100 and butt of sack (a sort of sherry) given annually to the holder. (For a Classic Poetry Aloud reading of one of Wendy Cope's poems, please see Occasional Miscellany #4.) With Cope out of the race, Carol Ann Duffy is now in the frame, so we may get our female laureate yet."


On a personal note from ndpthepoetress: In re to the The Royal Society of Literature Review comment by Poet Wendy Cope: “Although there is no requirement on the part of the Palace or Whitehall that the Laureate write anything at all, the press and the public expect it and the only way to get rid of that expectation is to abolish the post." I say, to abolish the post would be to put an end to poetry itself. Let poetry live through the press and public. How dare you Wendy Cope try to stifle such a passion that has flourished for centuries throughout the veins of many a heart. If you ‘can not’ do the job Wendy Cope, just say so and let more worthy Poets like Carol Ann Duffy represent what Poetry is truly all about.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

How You Can Help Operation Morning Star

11:44 PM 2 Comments

Quoted: Radio Show on Feb. 5, 1510 AM, the program Total Health Hosted by "Coach K" Rob Kingsbury in Kansas City at 2:15 p.m to talk about Operation Morning Star "Economic Development Program" on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation this summer.

You can listen live, call in with questions, and learn how to help put this program in place by donating monies for purchase of animals and plants for this project. Purchased will be food producing plants, rabbits for meat, poultry for meat and eggs, trout aquaculture, and more. This project will start in one village with the goal of expanding according to resource contributions and participation of the community.

We will have a guest from Pine Ridge to discuss the importance of producing food from a First Nations perspective including how to preserve these foods as well as discussing how healthy food production can combat the epidemic of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.