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

andersonlogo

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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JFK’s Dream, A Call to Action

Picture of President John F. Kennedy making a speech that I found on Word Clip Art. Photographer unknown.

President John F. Kennedy

Today is the 53rd anniversary of President John F Kennedy’s assassination. He gave his own “I have a dream” type speech a month before he died.

We need to heed his words and repeat them even louder and stronger now. We need to stand up for all our brethren. We need to peacefully  push back on the hate we see occurring around the United States.

If we don’t stand up now, then JFK’s dream will be lost….

“I look forward to a great future for America – a future in which our country will match its military strength with our moral restraint, its wealth with our wisdom, its power with our purpose. I look forward to an America which will not be afraid of grace and beauty. And I look forward to an America which commands respect throughout the world not only for its strength but for its civilization as well. And I look forward to a world which will be safe not only for democracy and diversity but also for personal distinction.”*

President John F. Kennedy; October 26, 1963

*NOTE, I bolded two sentences above that stand out in this part of his speech that speaks to me about my concerns at this time in our history.

This Needs To Be Said: Americans Look Like Everyone

Americans are a melting pot of people from all over. We come from everywhere. Some are indigenous to the American continent. Most of us are not and in fact are a blend of many different ethnicities.

In response to the senseless bombing that occurred last week in Boston, I became concerned that we might have a hate-filled backlash against Muslims and Arab people much like what happened after 9-11.

I was beginning to put together a new blog posting on our multiethnic, multiracial society in response to the bombing and the aftermath to say that we need to be accepting of people no matter yours or anyone else’s ethnicity, race, or religion. Just as I began my writing, I got an email noting that Erin Matson had said essentially what I was writing.

So instead, I decided to reblog her posting with some additional comments for all of my readers.

Most religions talk about peace, equality, integrity, and stewardship or caring for others. My personal perspective is in agreement with these religions.  That is, no matter what your race, gender, religion (or non-religion), ability or disability, gender identity, or sexual orientation, we all can agree to accept each other in peace and racial harmony.

So take a moment, look at all of your neighbors and all of the people you come in contact with. Take a breath. Smile. Welcome them. And embrace them.

Our diversity is what makes us human. Accepting, celebrating, and embracing others just for whom they are rather than showing hate and fear should be the mantra for all of us.

Welcome everyone. Take care of yourself and those whom you come into contact with either face to face or in any other way.

Erin Matson

Who didn’t watch the news coverage of the senseless terrorist bombings in Boston with a mixture of horror and sadness? After coverage shifted from deaths and injuries to the Federal Bureau of Investigation releasing photographs of the suspects, some news anchors suggested that you couldn’t tell by the pictures if they were American or not.

Clearly, this needs to be said: Americans look like everyone.

Americans come in every skin color, hue, and shade that pigment and sunlight know how to put together.

Americans are girls, women, boys, and men. There is not a gender identity or sexual orientation that doesn’t look American – in military uniform, in scouting uniform, or in casual clothes.

Americans have faith. Americans don’t have faith. The Constitution contains a declaration of faith that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” This means that Atheists, Christians…

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