Category Archives: Black & White & Other Colors

Angelina Grimke & Religious Liberty

Angelina Grimke & Religious Liberty

Drawing & calligraphy by Charlotte Lewis.

Maintaining religious liberty within the Religious Society of Friends has not always been easy. For instance, contrary to popular Quaker legend, work in the abolitionist movement was widely unpopular among Friends, and especially repugnant to the entrenched power structure of recorded ministers and elders. Continue reading Angelina Grimke & Religious Liberty

Lewis and Sanders-On Almost Going Viral

Lewis and Sanders-On Almost Going Viral

Thanks to everyone who read & passed along my Feb. 12 post about John Lewis, Bernie Sanders, and the 1960s civil rights movement.

To my great amazement, the post went, if not quite viral, then at least contagious: as of Monday afternoon, it has garnered almost 12,000 hits; the highest total for any earlier post is a bit over 2300. And it may have had an impact.


Continue reading Lewis and Sanders-On Almost Going Viral

Pauli Murray – A Saint For Our Time (And My Neighborhood)

January 11, 2017: Great news for Pauli Murray fans: in the last days of the Obama administration, the Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell,  signed the declaration making Pauli Murray’s home in Durham NC a national historic landmark. The Pauli Murray website is here.

Why is this good news? The post below, from late 2015, begins to sketch out Pauli Murray’s story.:

Yesterday I was reminded that November 20 is Pauli Murray’s birthday — her 105th, to be precise.

And who is Pauli Murray, a few of you may ask? Continue reading Pauli Murray – A Saint For Our Time (And My Neighborhood)

A Call to Quakers: Change That Name– Now!

A Call to Quakers: Change That Name– Now!

Nicholas Kristof writes in today’s Times about 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.” 

John C. Calhoun, Southern statesman, Yale man, staunch defender of slavery.
Calhoun College, Yale.

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!

Quakers & The Klan: The Real Thing, Not The Rumor

Quakers & The Klan: The Real Thing, Not The Rumor

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.


Continue reading Quakers & The Klan: The Real Thing, Not The Rumor

The Day I Didn’t Help Bury Bobby Kennedy

A Facebook Friend said he was writing something about the death of RFK (Bobby Kennedy), and did I have any thoughts or memories? Here’s what came up:

 When RFK was killed, June 6, 1968, I was in suburban DC with my first wife & 3 buddies, working on a book about the Poor People’s Campaign (PPC). It was planned to be a pictures-and-text thing; everyone else was a photographer; I was the writer.

bobbys-grave-june-68 Continue reading The Day I Didn’t Help Bury Bobby Kennedy