Monthly Archives: May 2014

Phillis Wheatley or Dido Elizabeth Belle?

Now that we have the fascinating story of Dido Belle, let’s take another look at this supposed portrait of Phillis Wheatley in evening dress. Image Published in a French review in the 1830s, long after Wheatley’s death, there is virtually no documentation to establish the subject’s identity. I’d say it is far more likely a depiction of Dido Belle. Image

Detail from double portrait of Elizabeth Murray and her cousin, Dido Elizabeth Belle by an unknown artist (formerly att. Johann Zoffany).

Scotland (1779). Oil on canvas.

Scone Palace, Perth (private collection of the Earl of Mansfield



Engraved portrait of Phillis Wheatley, used as the frontispiece to her collection of poems, Reflections on Various Subjects Religious and Moral (London, 1773). Attributed to the poet and visual artist Scipio Moorhead, a slave in Boston, Massachusetts, and a friend of Phillis Wheatley. One element of the identification of the  portrait as Wheatley might have been a mention of the subject’s finger held to her cheek.

— Marilyn Richardson


54th Massachusetts Volunteer Regiment

On this day in 1863 the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Regiment marched through Boston to the waterfront where they shipped off for South Carolina.

[Account of departure is from The Liberator, 5 June 1863. Story about Biddle, who enlisted at age 17, is an unidentified clipping, probably from a Boston newspaper.]







Remond Plaque Essay For Women’s Review of Books

Remond Plaque Essay For Women’s Review of Books




First Mothers Day 1870

Mother’s Day originated as a call for #peace in the wake of the #CivilWar. Learn more via @ZinnEdProject:


Mother’s Day Proclamation, 1870

By Julia Ward Howe

Arise, then, women of this day!

Arise, all women who have hearts, Whether our baptism be of water or of tears!

Say firmly: “We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies, Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience. We, the women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”

From the bosom of the devastated Earth a voice goes up with our own. It says: “Disarm! Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.” Blood does not wipe out dishonor, nor violence indicate possession. As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil at the summons of war, Let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel.

Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead. Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means Whereby the great human family can live in peace, Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar, But of God.

In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask That a general congress of women without limit of nationality May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient And at the earliest period consistent with its objects, To promote the alliance of the different nationalities, The amicable settlement of international questions,

The great and general interests of peace.



images 11.01.19 AM


Happy Mothers Day

Happy Mothers Day

Cliff camera



An Iconic Moment

An Iconic Moment


Gloria Richardson  [not an immediate relative as far as I know] was a major activist in the Civil Rights movement, she led the early 1960s Cambridge Movement in her hometown of Cambridge, Maryland. She turns 92 today. (Photo: Gloria Richardson pushes away a National Guard bayonet, 1963.)

This is one of the bravest gestures in American history. Why is this not an iconic picture? Put this on a stamp. Put it in all the history books about that era.

Or from this angle:


Holocaust Remembrance Week 2014


[In those days, the Afro-American was a national newspaper with nationwide coverage and distribution.]

 Baltimor AfAm 2014-05-02 at 6.40.44 PM

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