Posts Tagged: ‘slavery’

Surely you’ve heard the term cake walk, used to describe some sort of challenge or task that is reckoned to be pitifully easy. Surely you have, please, please don’t lie. That figurative definition has been around since the early 19th century, as long as the literal one; in fact it appeared in print first. But did you know that the term is actually pretty racist? I’ll bet you didn’t. Nor did I until I looked into the origin of the term and found it has roots in the Antebellum South of the early 19th century.

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The story of Ellen and William Craft had me hooked from the start. Daring, ingenuity and a 1,000-mile escape — compelling stuff indeed, especially when you throw in a top hat and green-colored glasses.

Tired of slavery in Macon, Ga., and unwilling to face the prospect of bringing children into a family that could be torn apart at any time, William Craft hatched a plan: his light-complexioned wife would disguise herself as a young, sickly, but well-off white man, and travel by train and steamer to freedom in Philadelphia. William would tag along as her solicitous slave, securing her medicine, making her comfortable and steaming the poultices that hid Ellen’s smooth cheeks.

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Girolamo Savonarola wasn’t the typical Dominican friar. He began protesting moral corruption in the clergy at a young age. Eventually he came to Florence, the dominion of the powerful and decadent Medici clan. Tune in and learn what happened next.

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So you may have heard about the Supreme Court’s recent decision to reverse longstanding limitations that banned corporations from directly contributing financially in elections. It’s kind of a big deal.

As reported in the Washington Post, for a few decades now, corporations have been limited to contributing to political action committees, which have set limits of $5,000 per calendar year, and kept corporations away from contributing to a candidate directly. Of course, there are always loopholes: Corporations have a way of strongly suggesting to its rising stars that contributing to a certain campaign would probably be good for the old career. Maybe even those employees’ bonuses later in the year will reflect an additional amount of the same sum they contributed. So you’ve got a few execs writing $5,000 checks to a Political Action Committee. It’s disingenuous, but tolerable. The limits for individual campaigns are even narrower: $2,400 per candidate, per election.

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There’s been a glaring omission from the SYMHC blog topics in the past few weeks. Let’s deduce what it is. For one, Jane and I blog regularly about history, politics and history-in-the-making. Secondly, I have a strong affinity for Thomas Jefferson. And thirdly, is headquartered in Atlanta. Haven’t guessed the hot topic yet? It’s the Georgia Senate Resolution 632 — a resolution that “[a]ffirm[s] states’ rights based on Jeffersonian principles; and for other purposes.”

So why the sound of silence? Well, from what I’ve observed on other news sites and blogs, it’s nearly impossible to discuss the resolution and get intelligent feedback. “Forget Iran, we may need to nuke Georgia!” is just one of many hot-headed responses to news of the resolution, which, I’ll admit, is quite radical.

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