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?

 

Charlottesville White Supremacists Are On the Wrong Side of History | National Organization for Women

Source: Charlottesville White Supremacists Are On the Wrong Side of History | National Organization for Women

Statement of NOW President Toni Van Pelt

08.12.2017
Picture of Toni Van Pelt.

Toni Van Pelt, President of the National Organization for Women

The white supremacists who launched a brutal protest against the city of Charlottesville, Virginia’s plan to remove a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee must be held to account for their violence and hate speech, says Toni Van Pelt, president of the National Organization for Women (NOW).

“Robert E. Lee was on the wrong side of history and so are the Charlottesville racists,” says Toni Van Pelt. “The majority of Virginia voters—like the majority of voters across the U.S., voted for the presidential candidate who defended inclusion over intolerance, healing over division and fairness over bigotry. NOW stands with our courageous sisters and brothers in Charlottesville, who are standing strong against hate and violence.”

NOW has always been committed to eradicating racism. In NOW’s original Statement of Purpose, the group’s founders wrote, “We realize that women’s problems are linked to many broader questions of social justice; their solution will require concerted action by many groups. Therefore, convinced that human rights for all are indivisible, we expect to give active support to the common cause of equal rights for all those who suffer discrimination and deprivation.”

Today’s violent march follows an evening “Unite the Right” rally at the University of Virginia where hate-filled rhetoric from Ku Klux Klan members and other alt-right activists was directed at African Americans, immigrants, and Jewish people.

Charlotte Gibson, president of Charlottesville NOW, said, “The white nationalists, neo-Nazis, armed militias and alt-right extremists who came to Charlottesville and tried to hijack democracy today will not succeed. Their rhetoric is never acceptable in a civilized society, and their embrace of violence must never be tolerated.”

“Donald Trump’s personal reliance on the language of confrontation, combat, and intolerance has alarmed us all in recent days,” says Toni Van Pelt. “Trump may be sending signals and cues to those who would harm peaceful protesters, but the people of Charlottesville are standing up to Trump-inspired bullying and inspiring us all.”

Contact

M.E. Ficarra, press@now.org, 951-547-1241
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Trump Surrounds Himself with White Supremacists

Nel's New Day

It’s the 21st century, and white supremacists are controlling the White House. After World War II, the nation was “great” because the United States had defeated Nazism during World War II. Less than a century ago, neo-Nazis are a key component in leading the country.

steve-bannonSteve Bannon, de facto president, has received a great deal of press, including posts in this blog. Readers of Breitbart.com learned about the high “black crime” and the “Muslim hordes” beating down the gates of “Western civilization.” Readers also learned that women who use contraceptives are ugly, but that’s another story.

stephen-millerSenior advisor Stephen Miller made a huge name for himself on last Sunday’s talk shows by explaining that the supreme power of and last word in U.S. government is DDT—a position of czar. College roommate of Richard Spencer, a major white supremacist leader, Miller fiercely advocates for “ethno-nationalism,” a way of claiming the superiority…

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

Nominee Hearings: Make America Corrupt Again

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

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.”

Some cabinet-level hearings have started. Several others are scheduled over the next two weeks before the presidential inauguration. Most are problematic. Here’s what Nel has to say about these next two weeks.

Check out my other blogs (click here and here) to find the Senate Committee chairs’ phone numbers where you can call to raise your opposition to the problematic cabinet-level nominations.

Meanwhile, here’s what Nel has to say about these next two weeks.

 

Nel's New Day

Writing about the timing for Senate confirmation hearings—at least accurately!—has become almost impossible. A few days, I was bemoaning how Cabinet members are being rushed through without deliberation, but every hour seems to change the GOP game plan. Originally, six Cabinet-level confirmations were scheduled on the same day that the chamber works on the budget (that one that grows the deficit by $10 trillion in the next decade) and Donald Trump (DT) gives his first press conference in six months to divert attention from his nominees. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) said, “There is a whole lot of: ‘Don’t watch what we’re doing here.” Watchers now, however, can see how the GOP is failing at its job.

The inability of Betsy DeVos (Department of Education) put off her hearing until next Tuesday in the hopes that she can finished her required ethics paperwork. Her investment in a for-profit charter school would…

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Farewell, America

Originally published in Moyers & Co., Neal Gable calls upon the media to bear true witness to what is happening since the election of Donald Trump on November 8, 2016, and the consequences that result:

“…[T]he disempowered media may have one more role to fill: They must bear witness. Many years from now, future generations will need to know what happened to us and how it happened. They will need to know how disgruntled white Americans, full of self-righteous indignation, found a way to take back a country they felt they were entitled to and which they believed had been lost. They will need to know about the ugliness and evil that destroyed us as a nation after great men like Lincoln and Roosevelt guided us through previous crises and kept our values intact. They will need to know, and they will need a vigorous, engaged, moral media to tell them. They will also need us.

We are not living for ourselves anymore in this country. Now we are living for history.”

Central Oregon Coast NOW

No matter how the rest of the world looked at us on Nov. 7, they will now look at us differently.

memorial The sun sets behind the Jefferson Memorial in Washington. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

America died on Nov. 8, 2016, not with a bang or a whimper, but at its own hand via electoral suicide. We the people chose a man who has shredded our values, our morals, our compassion, our tolerance, our decency, our sense of common purpose, our very identity — all the things that, however tenuously, made a nation out of a country.

Whatever place we now live in is not the same place it was on Nov. 7. No matter how the rest of the world looked at us on Nov. 7, they will now look at us differently. We are likely to be a pariah country…

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Why I’m Voting for the Women this Fall

Vote Local PA logo

Vote Local. In my case, from top to bottom, this year it’s mostly women!

The idea of having a man who, at minimum, disparages women and people of color, in his campaign for the White House is discombobulating. And dangerous to our society.  I am one of many (in all likelihood the majority of voters) who will not be voting or supporting Donald Trump in November.

Why? I don’t want a racist and sexist despot in the White House.

In a blog on Nel’s  New Day called Trump Loses with Blacks, Women; Nel points out some of the inner workings of Trump— the man, his campaign, and the “can of worms” that his potential leadership of this country could bring forth.

What particularly strikes me in this expose is Donald Trump’s retrograde idea of parenting and women’s “place” in life.  Among these is his idea that parenting is solely the responsibility of women.  His parental leave policy not only is discriminatory towards men, it’s minimalist in its depth and would result in an expanding economic disparity between educated white men and just about everyone else.

As Rebecca Traister reports in her 2015 article in the New Republic, a lack of federal policies supporting paid parental leave for both men and women hurts individual families as well as our society.  She also points out that sexist maternity leave policies result in increasing disparity among our citizenry.  She says:

“The United States and its corporate structures were built with one kind of worker—frankly, with one kind of citizen—in mind. That citizen wage-earner was a white man. That this weakness is being addressed by employers faster than it is being addressed by Congress contributes to the widening of the class chasm. Policies that account for the fact that women now give birth and earn wages on which their families depend—and, for that matter, that men now earn wages and provide childcare on which their families depend—should not be crafted by individual bosses or corporations on a piecemeal basis that inevitably favors already privileged populations. They should be available to every American. But until we see a large-scale, national refashioning of family leave, the economic fates of childbearers will be left in the hands of the private entities that employ them.”

Definitely not Trump’s view of America.  But it is mine.

We need a person in the White House and people in Congress who believe in a compassionate and caring family-friendly workplace and community.  We need people who will craft a strong and national egalitarian family leave policy for all.  For women. For men. For LGBTQIA people. For single as well as married parents and adult caregivers.  And for people regardless of color or source and amount of income.

So in November, I will vote for people  running for policy-making positions who can fit this bill.  Here in PA, they are all women – a first for me.  That’s Hilary Rodham Clinton for President, Katie McGinty for the US Senate, and Kerith Strano Taylor for Pennsylvania’s 5th Congressional District. And at the state level, it’s Melody Fleck for the 171st PA House District  (the same seat I ran for in 2008 when I was the only woman on my ballot that year).

My 2015 annual blog report. Have a Happy New Year!

See the fireworks Civil Rights Advocacy created by blogging on WordPress.com. Check out my 2015 annual report.

Real quick summary for you:

Voting Rights button

Voting Rights

 

Map of where states stood on Medicaid Expansion as of Feb 5, 2015

Medicaid Expansion

 

Rosie the Rivater "We Can Do It!"

Feminism and Women’s Rights

 

Memorial to Helen Bechdel - picture and flowers

Memorials: This one was to Helen Bechdel

 

Picture of the stained glass windows in need of repair at St. Paul's AME church in Bellefonte, PA

Historic Preservation and Preserving Black History

 

NOW Keep Abortion Legal round

Reproductive Justice

 

Picture of a sign that says, "End Rape Culture"

End the Culture of Rape on Campuses

 

NOW "Stop Violence against Women" diamond sign

Stop Violence Against Women

 

Picture of a white pater onf cyberstalking and online threats created by the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women, NOW, and the Nationl Council of Women's Organizations

Cyber-stalking and Online Threats

 

Picture of fireworks associated with my 2015 blogging annual report

Fireworks for 2016. Happy New Year!

 

 

Thank you to all of my readers and have a very Happy, Peaceful, and Prosperous New Year

Source: See the #fireworks I created by blogging on #WordPressDotCom. My 2015 annual report.

Scalia’s Affirmative Action Quote of the Week

US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s recent comment about affirmative action and access to colleges for Blacks by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is as bad, if not worse, than Donald Trump’s comment about banning all Muslims from the US.  Why? Because right now, Scalia has the power of the US Constitution while Trump has the power of the media. The first is enforceable power, the second is that of the bully’s pulpit.  Both are dangerous, but as of right now, Trump can’t enforce his hateful rhetoric; Scalia can.

Nel's New Day

Media pundits have concentrated on Donald Trump’s outrageous statement that he would keep all Muslims from entering the United States. Last month, Justice Antonin Scalia made a connection between LGBT people, pedophiles, and child abusers in a speech to first-year law students at Georgetown. Today he made outrageous—and dangerous—statements during arguments before the Supreme Court. Scalia is much worse than Trump–Scalia’s in control, Trump isn’t.

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is interviewed by The Associated Press, Thursday, July 26, 2012, at the Supreme Court in Washington. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari) Antonin Scalia (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)

In an affirmative action case out of Texas, the high court listened to lawyers debate the use of race in college admissions. Scalia’s statement:

“There are – there are those who contend that it does not benefit African Americans to ­­ to get them into the University of Texas where they do not do well, as opposed to having them go to a less­-advanced school, a less – a slower-track school where they do well.

“One of – one…

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The Real Reason a Million Students Marched

Our son heads off to college next year. Which is what perked my interest in this blog.

The concerns about excessive student debt affect not only the millennials as described her. It also affects the millennial’s entire family. And if this debt burden isn’t brought under control, more and more millennials will decide to forgo higher education which in the long run will hurt our society.

However I do think the #MillionStudentMarch was a march for many issues of concern to youth.  Yes, student debt. But there is also “the racial discrimination, faculty income inequality, and violence” affecting colleges and universities that is mentioned and linked to in this article that is causing this student unrest.

Debt is often higher for students of color.

Violence disproportionately affects women students and students of  color.

And faculty (most often in the STEM fields) can negotiate much higher salaries outside academia. This creates a dearth of highly qualified teachers of our young as these professionals either decide at the outset or later leave academia for a more lucrative career.

A Good Time To Remember Ella Baker

Social Justice For All

ella-bakerIn the wake of the death of Eric Garner and Michael Brown at the hands of white police officers with no indictment, I am looking for hope  somewhere.  After learning of the verdict in New York yesterday morning, there is a very sad heaviness for the United States. We have yet another death of a black mother’s son. For me, I am trying to remember Ella Baker and reflect on how much work we still have do around issues of racial equity and equality.

Baker was one of the most influential players in the civil rights movement. Baker’s grandparents were slaves and she would hear stories from her grandmother about slave revolts. After finishing college and graduating valedictorian, she moved to New York and started her life’s path of social justice. Baker fought for civil rights alongside others such as, W.E.B. Du Bois, Thurgood Marshall, and Dr. Martin Luther King. She…

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