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There were heroes back then–before, during and after the Civil War. Some of them were black and some white. They saw color but that didn’t stop them from seeing more than just that. The American Missionary Association (yeah, the founders were Christians) formed when the other main missions groups refused to take a stand on slavery and accepting money from slaveholders.
Their board was integrated from day one. Did they want to preach the gospel? Hell, yes. Back then the good news that God loved all people despite their failings was seen as–well, good news. Back then most people (in America) believed that a lie was a lie and no amount of self-improvement was ever going to make us perfect on our own.
There was a time when muscular Christianity (unafraid of IRS thugs and misguided mayors) spoke and acted in politics. And why not? The Constitution states that the practice of religion is to be protected from government interference or punishment. In the Old World believers were taxed out of churches and told to sit down and shut up–or maybe just killed.
So The American Missionary Association set up shop. They fought slavery in word and deed. They didn’t wait for the government to step in as they sang lofty songs all day. No. They recruited free blacks and sympathetic whites to go teach–in war zones at first and then all over the South. And, damn, those emancipated souls were hungry for education. They packed the schools.
And while the Freedmen Bureau of the US government slowly set up a new world for the ex-slaves the AMA set up over FIVE HUNDRED new schools and colleges, spending more money than the US government on their mission to quickly elevate humanity.
“Among the eleven colleges they founded were Berea College and Atlanta University, (1865); Fisk University, (1866); Hampton Institute (1868) and Tougaloo College, (1869); Dillard University, Talladega College, LeMoyne/LeMoyne-Owen College, Tillotson/Huston-Tillotson University, and Avery Normal Institute (1867) (now part of the College of Charleston). Together with the Freedmen’s Bureau, the AMA founded Howard University in Washington, D.C. in 1867. In addition, the AMA organized the Freedmen’s Aid Society, which recruited northern teachers for the schools and arranged to find housing for them in the South.” Wikipedia
Taking every penny from the school treasury to pay for their traveling expenses the Fisk Jubilee Singers set out on a mission to ensure the continuance of the school they dearly loved.
Only a few months after the end of the Civil War John Ogden, the Reverend Erastus Milo Cravath, and the Reverend Edward P. Smith (their stories are inspiring in themselves) founded the Fisk School in Nashville–so named for the Tennessee Freedmen’s Bureau General Clinton B. Fisk who donated Union army barracks to be used as the first facilities to educate the impoverished people of the South aged 7 to seventy.
The school was open to all races, but quickly attracted ex-slaves only a few years after emancipation. Always teetering on bankruptcy the school decided to let the spiritual songs of God determine its fate.
After a rough start the singers rose to stardom bringing US Grant, Mark Twain and Queen Victoria to tears. The school survived, but more importantly their faith and music remains a testament to the power of music to win hearts and minds and to the selfless generosity of the founders of Fisk University.
October 25th-26th at Amazon.com
When morphine-addicted John Weldon marries into the comfortably suburban McCullough family on the eve of Reconstruction and the Indian Wars, life gets complicated. How will Weldon hide his addiction from the family he resents and admires, keep his standing in the army and find the strength to survive the tragedies that come with loving others? John Weldon spends a lifetime journeying across the frontier only to find that he already has a home. Historical Novel Society Editor’s Choice
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http://www.nationaljournal.com/white-house/white-house-sheep-a-history-20141017 Bizarre History of White House Pets Presidential Pets
Is private property a good thing? I happen to think it is. Have you ever noticed how public beaches are always disgusting? No one takes pride of ownership. I’ve heard people say after throwing some trash around, “that’s why we pay taxes.”
Since at least Biblical times there’s been a tension in history between communitarian-ism and private ownership. People have written songs and novels about this tension. People have gotten into university debates and great wars over this tension.
We bemoan the loss of Indian hunting grounds even as we sit in our comfortable highrises or suburban ranches. We feel vaguely guilty because that’s what we’re told to do. Yet a study of the Iroquois nation quickly reveals that their dominance of a vast territory of the US and Canada came at the expense of other weaker tribes. They didn’t just sit around being peaceful. They were into conquest. It didn’t matter if some tribes were all about sharing.
We can say it’s primitive not to share, but the tragic thing about history is that, search as we may for a progressive walk towards enlightenment, it’s always just out of reach. I’m not celebrating “might makes right,” just pointing out that despite lofty ideals everywhere in the world the human tendency is towards this behavior. No matter the style of government or organization or friendship, might often makes right.
I lived with American communists for a while. They worked their “interns” (indentured servants) like dogs for the good of the community and the ecology. They had the land and the power to make our lives miserable. They made sure they had a voice on the local radio station and in the town council. They preached peace and love, but might makes right pushed their interns and neighbors.
Once we see this tendency to push each other around we then can see that it’s not them over there or us over here. We can stop expecting our governments to present us with good new schemes to cover our moral failures. The reason why private property is important is because without it we’re at the whim of people who could care less about us and use their might to do whatever they want. Private property gives us a stake in the game. (This doesn’t for a second mean there are perfect systems on Earth)
We can be charitable or not based on the knowledge that what Jesus said about the poor always being with us is true and no amount of second-rate political thought is going to change that. Some people are always going to be stronger, smarter and more evil than others no matter how well we institute Common Core or apologize for winning wars.
Private property means I get to keep my mind as well as my responsibility. With that I must answer to a higher power.