A Devastated Dream
On March 6, 1857, Dred Scott held on to a dream. Together with his wife Harriett, he stood before the highest court in the land awaiting a verdict that could change his life. Having been compelled to accompany his enslaver, John Emerson, to the so-called “free” states of Illinois and Wisconsin (then a district), he thought he would have an opportunity to taste that freedom for himself when Emerson died.
I’m not really big on Christmas. I wasn’t always that way. Some of my most precious childhood memories are centered around Christmas in our small family home in South Norwood, London. Hundreds of greeting cards were neatly hung on strings that stretched from corner to corner in the living and dining rooms. These were accompanied with colorful decorations and balloons. As we got closer to Christmas day, we would be comforted each evening with the smell of roasted sweet chestnuts and other baked treats.
I'm not sure how many witnessed Rev. Jesse Jackson patiently giving CNN's Don Lemon a lesson on the Civil Rights Movement. In his comments on the riots in Ferguson, the poorly trained journalist was trying to push a revisionist narrative about the absence of violence in the Civil Rights struggle. Thinking he was posing a “deep” question, he asked the former Director of Operation Breadbasket why today’s African-Americans were not as peaceful in their protests as the Coloreds of yesteryear.
I was the first voter at the polls in my precinct yesterday. My wife insisted that we get up early and brave the seasonal chilly air to avoid long lines and makeshift parking places in the unlikely event that the crowds showed up at our polling station. When we pulled up to the community center and saw that we would have won gold if this were a race, my son decided that he had enough time to get some breakfast from a local fast food restaurant. Not wishing to come back to a transformed scenario, I decided to stay behind and hold our place.
Just in case you missed it, ISIS (aka ISIL) is now IS. This is not the first name change for the political/militant organization that is even too radical and violent for Al Qaeda. Before becoming ISIS (ISIL) the group was known as ISI, but only after abandoning the acronym AQI, which was the name adopted after the organization’s founder decided to drop the original non-acronymic name: al Tawhid wal Jihad.
I am a Hebrew born of Hebrews. Let me explain. Both of my parents passed genes to me that they had inherited from forebears who had descended from Abraham. My deoxyribonucleic acid has confirmed that my ancestral mosaic is comprised of members of the Akan, Igbo and Nguni people—African peoples whose Hebraic identities have attracted the interest of many a scholar. And for those skeptics who question the authenticity of African-Hebrews, my genetic make up also contains Ashkenazi traits on my third, eighth, twelfth and eighteenth chromosomes.
The first two clauses of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” This seems like a simple statement and when read in its historical context the original intent seems quite clear. The European conquerors that were establishing their new outposts on the soil of the Apache and Navaho all came from “Christian” countries where certain brands of Christianity were fused with state identity.
When she spoke, silence overpowered the atmosphere. When she spoke, her spellbound audiences voluntarily surrendered to her hypnotically cadenced and carefully crafted words. When she spoke, sympathizers and critics alike could not help but marvel at her ability to be heard. When she spoke, her probing and penetrating prose proposed powerful potions for improving pressing problems. When she spoke, her unique experience shaped her calm and collected countenance that had countered countless calamities. But she had not always spoken so effectively.
Sticks and Stones
Probably the most famous wolf stories originating from the West are Aesop’s “The Boy Who Cried Wolf,” and Sergei Prokoviev’s “Peter and the Wolf.” The former features an unnamed shepherd boy who repeatedly alarmed the villagers by deceitfully claiming a wolf was about to attack his sheep. On the disastrous night when a wolf did actually sneak up on his flock, the people ignored his shrieks for help until the ferocious canine silenced them.
If you ever visit Masaka, Uganda, and serendipitously meet a boy named Keith Augustus Burton, what is the first thing that would come to your mind? There actually is an infant in the region who bears that name, but if I could borrow some words from the late Michael Jackson, I need you to know that “the kid is not my son!” Then is this just a coincidence? Absolutely not! Well, if it’s not a fluke occurrence, how can it be explained?