Nicholas Kristof writes in today’s Timesabout the impact of “hostile environments”: “Consider an office where bosses shrug as some men hang nude centerfolds and leeringly speculate about the sexual proclivities of female colleagues. Free speech issue? No! That’s a hostile work environment. And imagine if you’re an 18-year-old for whom this is your 24/7 home — named, say, for a 19th-century pro-slavery white supremacist.”
The “white supremacist” Kristof is referring to is John C. Calhoun, the South Carolina politician and chief intellectual defender of American slavery. No resume-padding here– he served as a U. S. Congressman, Senator, Secretary of both War and State & Vice President, and left his mark on all of them. He would have been a southern Civil War hero too, except he died in 1850, a decade before it started; but he got the ball rolling. Continue reading A Call to Quakers: Change That Name– Now!→
There’s a report out there today from hackers claiming to be part of the “Anonymous” network, naming a batch of current American politicians as secret Ku Klux Klan members.
The list’s credibility is unclear, and without solid confirmation we won’t repost any of the names from it here. But whether or not anyone on the list in fact has ties to the KKK, what is beyond doubt is that the spirit of the Klan is still very much alive and active in American society. It rarely shows up in the old robes nowadays; it has found more sophisticated (and effective) means of manifestation, especially via politics.
And while the Klan is back in the news, it’s worth mentioning that there’s a major chapter in Ku Klux Klan history that involves many Quakers. This one is real, solid, and verified — yet Quaker historians have been almost totally silent about it:
Say Hello to Friend Daisy Douglass Barr, Quaker pastor, and “Queen” of the Indiana Women’s Ku Klux Klan in the early 1920s.
It is intriguing to me that, among the many reviews of Go Set A Watchman I have read in the past ten days, none mentioned Harper Lee/Jean Louise’s acerbic reflections in it on her experience as a New Yorker.
A Response to “The Dream World of Southern Republicans,” by Howell Raines, New York Times – July 12, 2015 http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/12/opinion/sunday/will-demographics-transform-southern-politics.html?_r=1
Sorry, Mr. Raines, but from my crossroads perch in North Carolina, this rosy forecast is mostly eyewash. I WISH it was so, but I don’t see it.
Raines is right about demographic change in the region. But does he think southern Republican white supremacist politicians are all illiterate bumpkins, who can’t read the same reports, and take potent countermeasures? Not a chance.
On February 1, 1965, I was arrested in Selma, Alabama with Dr. Martin Luther King and 250 others. Here’s what happened that day, and how I ended up eating Dr. King’s dinner.
I – Blocking the View, Blocking the Road
That morning, I was too tense to eat. Keyed up and ready, my thoughts were full of armies marching to battle.
It was February 1, 1965. I was part of a nonviolent “army” – or at least a battalion – set to march in Selma, Alabama that day. Our objective, the territory we hoped to occupy, was downtown, the Dallas County jail; we planned to capture it by getting arrested.
The Progressive Friends were a group that hasn’t yet got their props from Quaker historians. There isn’t space here for an outline of their fascinating history, except to say you can find out more here and here.
But in sum, they started as liberal rebels in mid-1800s America, who took on a hidebound Hicksite Establishment. And they ended, invisibly but unmistakably, as the seedbed and founders of modern US liberal Quakerism. The fact that almost nobody knows this is a shame, but no surprise given the general ignorance of Quaker history among Quakers. (I’ll rant about that some other time.)