Bellefonte’s Civil Rights Legacy

My town. Bellefonte. I’m proud of its legacy on civil rights. We were a significant part of the Underground Railroad in the 19th Century.

Serge Bielanko posted an article about Martin Luther King and Bellefonte’s history associated with civil rights on our local website.  There are a couple of paragraphs from this article that I’d like to share:

In the early 19th Century, Bellefonte rose up from nothing on the hardworking backs of the iron workers who sweated away in the forges that dotted the landscape. Many of those workers were African-American. And later, before the Civil War- when slavery was becoming a hotly contested issue- Bellefonte was a vital stop along the infamous Underground Railroad. The name Bellefonte was whispered in hushed tones among men, women, and children who were fleeing a life of servitude in search of true freedom.

Think about that for a moment.

Bellefonte once literally meant ‘one step closer to freedom’ to human beings in a way that none of us will ever truly understand or fathom. That’s something for each and every one of us to be proud of in this town. I’m not blowing smoke. It’s a heavy notion, but one which I suspect Dr. King would have tipped his own cap to if given half a chance.

Around the time Civil War broke out, Bellefonte’s very own, Andrew Curtin, became Governor of Pennsylvania. This native son was a fierce champion for equality and a close confidant of President Abraham Lincoln’s throughout the war. Governor Curtin was in staunch opposition to slavery and fought fiercely to wipe it off of the American map. He was an important man in United States history, and one that represented a side of Bellefonte that so many current residents still stand strong for.

Among the several stops on the Railroad were the Saint Paul AME Church, the Linn House (which now houses the Bellefonte Art Museum), the Samuel Harris House (home to Candace and Bob Dannaker; she’s a former mayor of Bellefonte), and the William Harris House (aka, “The Wren’s Nest,” home to Ted and Carla Conklin ). Here are some pictures of these stops on the Underground Railroad.

IMG_9809 St. Paul AME Church-001

St. Paul AME Church

IMG_9812 Wren's Nest-001

William Harris House: aka The Wren’s Nest

IMG_9815 Samuel Harris House

Samuel Harris House

IMG_9813 Linn House-001

Linn House

Standing up for equality on Martin Luther King Day and every day, as was done here in the 1800’s, is the legacy we need to perpetuate here and across the country.

I’ll do my part. Will you?


8 years of “suffering” under Barack Obama

Take a moment and think. What have/did we “suffer ” under 8 years of President Obama? An improving economy. Kindness and outreach to all. No scandals in the White House…. 

I say, “Let’s have more of this. Not more of 45’s junk, scandal, and fear mongering.”

Teri Carter's Library


3C54DC7D00000578-4140672-Barack_Obama_waves_as_he_boards_Marine_One_and_departs_the_Capit-a-77_1484945371469 Photo credit: The Associated Press

The sentence I hear most from well-meaning, conservative friends since President Trump’s election is this: “We suffered 8 years under Barack Obama.”

Fair enough. Let’s take a look.

The day Obama took office, the Dow closed at 7,949 points. Eight years later, the Dow had almost tripled.

General Motors and Chrysler were on the brink of bankruptcy, with Ford not far behind, and their failure, along with their supply chains, would have meant the loss of millions of jobs. Obama pushed through a controversial, $8o billion bailout to save the car industry. The U.S. car industry survived, started making money again, and the entire $80 billion was paid back, with interest.

While we remain vulnerable to lone-wolf attacks, no foreign terrorist organization has successfully executed a mass attack here since 9/11.

Obama ordered the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden.

He drew down the number…

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black sign with a flag at the top. Underneath the flag are the words, "Democracy is Dissent."

What to Do This Week of Jan 8, 2017: Actions for Democrats, Independents, & Republicans of Conscience

black sign with a flag at the top. Underneath the flag are the words,

Democracy is Dissent. A statement declaring that we have a 1st Amendment constitutional right “of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress.”

As promised, I am once again reblogging Jennifer Hofman’s weekly “To Do” list.  This week’s actions focus on more Cabinet-level nominees. These include

  • Ben Carson for Health and Human Development
  • General John Kelly for Homeland Security
  • Scott Pruitt for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • Former Texas Governor Rick Perry for Energy
  • Wilbur Ross for Commerce
  • General James Mattis for Defense
  • Mike Pompeo for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

After making your calls, read the links at the end of the blog to see the good news she lists.  As a teaser, here’s some of the good news she includes:

  • President Obama bans drilling in the Atlantic and the Artic Oceans (for as long as this can last under the new administration).
  • Several senators introduces legislation that would ban discriminatory registries.
  • Charles Feeney, the “James Bond of Philanthropy” gives the last $7,000,000 of his multi-billion dollar fortune to Cornell University to support students doing community service. Other donations over the years have spanned the fields of education, human rights, peace, scientific research, and public health
  • and more…

So read on, make your calls, and enjoy the good news.

What to Do This Week of Jan 8, 2017

Actions for Democrats, Independents, & Republicans of Conscience

The intention of this weekly document is to make clear suggestions for action backed with well-considered research. Although these actions are intended to be helpful, they are still subject to human error. Please do your own research!

If you’d like to subscribe to this weekly action list, please go here:

The most important thing this week: Senate confirmation hearings

This is a second dense action list in a row, but I promise you a ton of good news at the end as your reward.

In yet another unprecedented action, most of djt’s cabinet appointment hearings are stacked together starting Tuesday this week. Some will have hearings without a completed ethics review from the Office of Government Ethics. Even if you don’t think this is evasive and creepy, this schedule will make it hard for the OGE, the press, and the American public to understand who the new cabinet leaders are and assess their conflicts of interest.

What you can do is put pressure on the Senate committees so they know we’re paying attention.Yes, making calls can be stressful, but it’s working. Staffers are telling us they’re hearing from lots of people. Never underestimate the power of your voice.

Edited: If you oppose djt skipping the ethics process for the first time in four decades, go to Wall of Us for very clear instructions on how to protest this creepiness.

Here’s their link (and I suggest following them too!) Today (Sunday) Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said no votes would be permitted until ethics paperwork is filed. It is good new, however, depending on when they’re filed, it doesn’t allow committees review the materials before hearings (the way Obama’s administration did eight years ago).

Your voice matters

For each cabinet appointee you feel is unfit to serve, take two specific actions:

  1. Tell the Senate committee chair (Republican) you oppose the nominee.
  2. Tell the Senate ranking member (Democrat) you oppose the nominee.
  3. Optional: Call your own two senators to oppose–especially if you are a Republican.

Note: Do leave a message if you get voicemail or call after hours/weekend.

Make the calls

  1. Oppose Housing and Urban Development Secretary appointee, Ben Carson.

Committee: Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs

Call: Chair Richard Shelby 202-224-5744

Call: Ranking member Sherrod Brown 202-224-2315 (may be full?)

Script: I am calling Sen ____ in his role as the Chair/ranking member of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee. I would like him to know I oppose Ben Carson for HUD Secretary. I’m concerned about Carson’s lack of experience and opposition to this department. (source)

  1. Oppose Homeland Security Secretary appointee, Gen. John Kelly.

Committee: Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

Call: Chair Ron Johnson 202-224-5323

Call: Incoming ranking member Claire McKaskill 202-224-6154

Script: I am calling Sen ____ in his/her role as the Chair/ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee. I would like him/her to know I oppose General John Kelly for Secretary of Homeland Security. Not because he is unqualified, but I oppose militarizing the US cabinet. (source source)

  1. Oppose Environmental Protection Agency appointee, Scott Pruitt.

Committee: Senate Environment and Public Works

Call: Chair John Barrasso 202-224-6441

Call: Incoming ranking member Tom Carper 202-224-2441

Script: I am calling Sen ____ in his role as the Chair/ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. I would like him to know I oppose Scott Pruitt for EPA Administrator. I’m concerned about his climate denial, anti-EPA lawsuit, and ties to the energy industry. (source)

  1. Oppose Energy Secretary appointee, Rick Perry.

Committee: Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee

Call: Chair Lisa Murkowski 202-224-6665

Call: Ranking member Maria Cantwell 202-224-3441

Script: I am calling Sen ____ in her role as the Chair/ranking member of the Senate Energy Committee. I would like her to know I oppose Rick Perry for Energy Secretary. I’m concerned about his ties to oil, climate denial, and history of opposition to this agency. (source)

Only three more! You can do it!

  1. Oppose Commerce Secretary appointee, Wilbur Ross.

Committee: Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation

Call: Chair John Thune 202-224-2321

Call: Ranking member Bill Nelson 202-224-5274

Script: I am calling Sen ____ in his role as the Chair/ranking member of the Senate Energy Committee. I would like him to know I oppose Wilbur Ross for Commerce Secretary. I’m concerned about his deep financial ties to Russia. (source)

  1. Oppose Defense Secretary nominee, Gen. James Mattis.

Committee: Senate Armed Services

Call: Chair John McCain 202-224-2235

Call: Ranking member Jack Reed 202-224-4642

Script: I am calling Sen ____ in his role as the Chair/ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. I would like him to know I oppose General James Mattis for Secretary of Homeland Security. He may be qualified, but we at a dangerous precedent when militarizing civilian cabinet posts. (source source)

  1. Oppose CIA Director appointment, Mike Pompeo.

Committee: Senate Select Committee on Intelligence

Call: Chair Richard Burr 202-224-3154

Call: Vice chair Mark Warner 202-224-2023

Script: I am calling Sen ____ in his role as the chair/vice chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. I would like him to know I oppose Mike Pompeo for CIA director. I’m concerned about someone who supports government surveillance, torture, and religious oppression leading this vital agency. (source)

Still have time?

Last week’s email had seven additional cabinet appointees to oppose–some of whom will have a hearing this week. If you haven’t yet called to oppose them, here’s the link to last week’s document.

Good news

You did it! Here’s your reward: news of actual humans being kind, supporting each other, and standing up for what’s right. We are still a fantastic, diverse country (in case you needed a reminder).

  1. Some Rockettes choose to sit out on inauguration (story from Rolling Stone)
  2. Vermont governor pardons 192 non-violent marijuana convictions (story from NYT)
  3. A&E cancels plans for Escaping the KKK documentary (story from WaPo)
  4. Obama vaporizes anti-Muslim NSEERS program (story from Vox)
  5. A bunch of awesome senators introduce legislation blocking discriminatory registries (press release)
  6. Obama bans drilling in Arctic and Atlantic oceans (story from The Guardian)
  7. Adorable reaction of bystander to lesbian wedding proposal (from HuffPo)
  8. Billionaire donates the last of his fortune to charity (story from NYT)
  9. This will make you tear up. There are GOOD people in the world. (from newsner)

TOLD you there was good news!

Final action

  • Please share any or all content in this message today (no attribution needed).
  • Tweet: Oppose djt’s cabinet appointments before hearings start Tues! Deets:
  • Facebook: Cabinet hearings start on Tuesday and this list makes it easy to oppose them. Take action today!


  • If you’d like to subscribe to this weekly message, please visit this link.
  • To see archives of What To Do checklists, click here (and scroll to the bottom)
  • If you’d like to contribute, click here.

We’re stronger together!