Category: frederick douglass

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The “True” American History?: Part I

Speaking at the White House Conference on American History, Trump stated, “On this very day in 1787, our Founding Fathers signed the Constitution at Independence Hall in Philadelphia. It was the fulfillment of a thousand years of Western civilization.” In this statement, and throughout the entire event, speakers railed against the the destruction of the “true” history of America’s founding and growth. They spoke … Read More The “True” American History?: Part I

Reflections on EJI Legacy Museum and Memorial for Peace and Justice

Every semester, I try something new in my classroom. Recently, I’ve been working on decentering my courses in various ways, specifically through the use of active learning assignments. These involve assignments such as my archives project  or creating more student centered discussion through the questions I pose in class. This summer, I taught a minimester course in early American literature. Essentially, we met 24 … Read More Reflections on EJI Legacy Museum and Memorial for Peace and Justice

“I play Monopoly with refugees”: Romans 13 and Immigration

Last week, while speaking in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Attorney General Jeff Session referenced Romans 13 as he defended the administration’s policy of separating immigrant children from their families at the border. He said, “I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of government because God has ordained them for the purpose … Read More “I play Monopoly with refugees”: Romans 13 and Immigration

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Illuminating the Truth in Ethiop’s “Afric-American Picture Gallery”

Last post, I wrote about William J. Wilson’s motivation for writing the “Afric-American Picture Gallery (1859). Today, I want to expand on that conversation some and show how Wilson, under the pen-name Ethiop, challenges the master narratives of American history in much the same ways that David Walker, John Russwurm, Samuel Cornsih, Frederick Douglass, Solomon Northup, and others did during the early to mid-nineteenth … Read More Illuminating the Truth in Ethiop’s “Afric-American Picture Gallery”

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Frederick Douglass’ Rhetorical Rebuttals of Stereotypes

Over the past couple of semesters, I have taught Frederick Douglass’ What to the Slave is the Fourth of July? instead of teaching his narrative. I do this for a couple of reasons. One, I assign Solomon Northup’s Twelve Years a Slave, and during discussions about Northup, I bring in Douglass’ narrative and Harriett Jacobs’ Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl because … Read More Frederick Douglass’ Rhetorical Rebuttals of Stereotypes

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Frederick Douglass’ “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” and How We Need to Think About the Past

On July 5, 1852, Frederick Douglass gave a speech entitled “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” Last week, I wrote about a small section of this speech, and today I want to expand that discussion some more, looking at what Douglass says about what we should do, or shouldn’t do, with the past. The entire speech, of course, focuses on America’s … Read More Frederick Douglass’ “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” and How We Need to Think About the Past

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The Transmission of Racist Thought in Solomon Northup’s “Twelve Years a Slave”

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post entitled “Why can’t we just move on? The past is the past.” In that post, I examine how Thomas Jefferson, David Walker, and Solomon Northup all argue that it is nurture, not nature, that produces within us thoughts of discrimination. I wrote about Northup’s descriptions of William Ford and Edwin Epps’ son in that post, … Read More The Transmission of Racist Thought in Solomon Northup’s “Twelve Years a Slave”

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Fireworks, hot dogs, music, and inequality on the Fourth of July

Why you ain’t march on Selma? Why you ain’t tell the refugees “please stay with me”? Why when you take communion, it don’t remind you of your union? That you too were once undocumented too Why do you love your guns more than our sons? Why you patriots first? Why you worshipping the flag?–Propaganda Today, we celebrate the Fourth of July, America’s independence. We … Read More Fireworks, hot dogs, music, and inequality on the Fourth of July

"O Holy Night" and the Abolitionist Movement

Note: Interminable Rambling will be taking a break for the next two weeks. We will see you again January 5th. Did you know that “O Holy Night,” a Christmas carol we sing every year, has ties to the abolitionist movement? I didn’t realize this until recently when I heard the song sung. Typically, performers only sing the first or maybe the first two verses; … Read More "O Holy Night" and the Abolitionist Movement