As President Woodrow Wilson in August of 1917 declared war on Germany saying, “The world must be made safe for democracy,” the United States would enter the war in Europe. That statement would particularly resonate at home to America’s African American citizenship, where the basic ideals of Democracy where all citizens can equally enjoy social, economic, educational and political freedoms seemed unfulfilled. Continue reading
2013 is a special year for Newport, for Rhode Island and for the nation. It is the 350th anniversary of the Rhode Island Colonial Charter, one of the nation’s earliest compacts to affirm religious toleration and freedom. It is the 250th anniversary of the completion of Newport’s Touro Synagogue, the oldest synagogue in America and the place in 1790 where President George Washington reaffirmed the importance of civil liberties and citizenship regardless of religion. And 2013 is the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Peace. The connecting theme between these three historic anniversaries is the recognition of all people’s inherent rights of personal and civil freedoms.
As we celebrate the importance of our cherished freedoms in America, we should also recognize that well before civil and human rights leaders such as Abraham Lincoln, Fredrick Douglas, and Martin Luther King, there was a bold minister in 18th century Newport who had the audacity to believe – and preach – that all men were created equal. Continue reading
The September 27, 1856 edition of the Richmond Times Dispatch ran what might have been for most readers at the time an amusing story concerning stolen chickens from the farm of one of the city’s prominent citizens. The news story describes a slave named Brittan belonging to a George Turner being under arrest and sentenced in the Mayor’s Court for the theft of a number of valuable hens from Richard Forrester’s farm. The article (extracted) entitled, “A Chicken Fancier” dripped with sarcasm and amusement as it described: Continue reading