Blame My Timid Soul

“A few months ago I thought the slaughter of the Civil War, and the agitation of the violent Abolitionists who helped bring it on, were evil. But possibly they had to be violent, because easy-going citizens like me couldn’t be stirred up otherwise. If our grandfathers had had the alertness and courage to see the evils of slavery and of a government conducted by gentlemen for gentlemen only, there wouldn’t have been any need of agitators and war and blood.

“It’s my sort, the Responsible Citizens who’ve felt ourselves superior because we’ve been well-to-do and what we thought was ‘educated,’ who brought on the Civil War, the French Revolution, and now the Fascist Dictatorship. It’s I who murdered Rabbi de Verez. It’s I who persecuted the Jews and the Negroes. I can blame no Aras Dilley, no Shad Ledue, no Buzz Windrip, but only my own timid soul and drowsy mind. Forgive, O Lord!

“Is it too late?”

It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis

  • Biography from Nobel Lectures, Literature 1901-1967, Editor Horst Frenz, Elsevier Publishing Company, Amsterdam, 1969

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Visualizing Emancipation is a map of slavery’s end during the American Civil War. It finds patterns in the collapse of southern slavery, mapping the interactions between federal policies, armies in the field, and the actions of enslaved men and women on countless farms and city blocks. It encourages scholars, students, and the public to examine the wartime end of slavery in place, allowing a rigorously geographic perspective on emancipation in the United States.

Visualizing Emancipation (Map) (About) (Crowd Sourcing)

This map shows the cities where black abolitionists lectured in Britain. It’s by no means an exhaustive list, but it gives some idea of how far these men and women travelled – literally the length and breadth of the country!

Black Abolitionists Speaking Locations (Map) (About) (Home)

This map shows the cities where Frederick Douglass lectured in Britain. It also shows the emerging industrialism within Britain – a railway boom was sweeping the nation in the 1840s, and the routes Douglass travelled align almost exactly with new railway lines. For example, the line from Bristol to Exeter via Taunton in the South West, and the route from Sheffield to Edinburgh. In some parts of Scotland, transport was fairly limited, and you can see Douglass hugged the coastline around Aberdeen – he was speaking so often that it was necessary to reach places easily and as quickly as possible.

Frederick Douglass Speaking Locations (Map) (About) (Home)

The animated thematic map Slave Revolt in Jamaica narrates the spatial history of a large-scale slave uprising in 18th-century Jamaica.

The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database has information on almost 36,000 slaving voyages that forcibly embarked over 10 million Africans for transport to the Americas between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries. The actual number is estimated to have been as high as 12.5 million. The database and the separate estimates interface offer researchers, students and the general public a chance to rediscover the reality of one of the largest forced movements of peoples in world history.

The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database

An interactive map created from this database can be seen in many places.

Dainty Ladies, Civil War and Thanksgiving

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“Never underestimate dainty little ladies.”

Thank You Sarah, written by Laurie Halse Anderson and illustrated by Matt Faulkner

“Whenever Sarah found a spare moment, she wrote. But this time it wasn’t for the thrill of seeing her work in print – it was to keep her family from starving. Soon Boston magazines began to feature Sarah’s writing. Much to Sarah’s delight, with many publications came payment.”

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“Sarah made sure Ladies’ Magazine was different. She published articles on history and science and new schools for women.”

“When Lincoln received Sarah’s letter, the nation was in the middle of a civil war. Lincoln understood that sometimes it was hard to remember good things in bad times. People needed a day to be thankful for food on their tables, roofs over their heads, and the blessings in their lives. Thanksgiving was exactly what this nation needed.”

Sarah Gives Thanks, written by Mike Allegra and illustrated by David Gardner

 

Slavery and Sugar

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Bruce gave me his short talk on the history of the maple syrup industry in the United States. It peaked around the time of the Civil War, when maple syrup was associated with the abolitionist movement. “No sugar made by slaves,” went the slogan. Sugarmakers actually made sugar then, dry or partially wet. For most families in those regions maple sugar was the primary sweetener. After the war, when the tariff on white sugar was reduced, dry maple sugar could no longer compete broadly in the marketplace.

-The Sugar Season: A Year in the Life of Maple Syrup, and One Family’s Quest for the Sweetest Harvest by Douglas Whynott