Category Archives: 19th century

Edward M. Bannister’s Providence, RI, Home

This is the house where the 19th-century black painter Edward Mitchell Bannister and his wife, Christianna Carteaux Bannister, lived in Providence, RI. It was long left derelict and was in danger of being demolished. It’s a long story, but this is a happy outcome.


UK Article. “Commemorating Sarah Parker Remond: Pioneering abolitionist and anti-racism campaigner”

Source: Commemorating Sarah Parker Remond: Pioneering abolitionist and anti-racism campaigner

Go Huddle Somewhere Else






25 states, so far, ask the icon of Liberty to turn away from what she represents.

I remember the days when, if you wanted to teach at an American state university, you had to take a loyalty oath. Of course, if you were determined to “overthrow the American government,” as the phrase had it, the least of your problems was signing an oath to the contrary.

I just don’t see how letting in or keeping out Syrian refugees will in any way impede determined Daesh terrorists from getting into the country. Setting up shop in the US is the least of their problems.

I do understand the visceral fear that murderers could walk through the front door with false documents or credentials calling themselves refugees. But vetting is really hit or miss when the huddled masses in question come from a country where there are few if any reliable ways to get background info on anybody — so many administrative buildings have been destroyed, much of the bureaucracy no longer exists. Excellent fake passports are a new Turkish cottage industry.

It seems to me that Islamophobia has clouded clear thinking about security measures.

New Edmonia Lewis Article!


Really nice piece on Edmonia Lewis (even if I’m not totally objective, of course). Talia Lavin writes so beautifully, and she packs a great amount of information into the article


An important discovery has been made of a Bust of Christ by the Afro-Indian sculptor Edmonia Lewis (1842-1907). It is in a collection in Scotland for which she also created a Madonna and Child With Angels.

A work by her of this name was auctioned in London in the latter part of the 19th-century, but with no illustration and little other information.

For a quick intro to Lewis, her life and career, Google “Marilyn Richardson” “Edmonia Lewis” both in quotes.

To Early To Forgive, If Ever…

Still wrestling with the forgiveness question.

Sitting here listening to the statement read by Tsarnaev at his sentencing this afternoon apologizing to the dozen or more victims and survivors of the Boston Marathon bombing who chose to give victim impact statements. And to the lengthy responses of some of them to reporters outside the courthouse. (The court proceedings are neither televised nor broadcast.)

They expressed anger, disgust, dismissal, rejection of his contrition and apology. In their statements they told of their continuing struggles with the losses they suffered, the death of loved ones, or their own loss of limbs, hearing, partial sight, continuing trauma and more. Their lives will certainly never be the same.

While we in the general public have had two years to learn about many of those lives and their stories, I will admit that the immediate horror for me was hearing the description of the judge imposing the death penalty.

No one even brought up the concept of forgiveness. I am all the more uneasy about the Charleston professions of forgiveness to the disembodied video feed of the murderer less than 72 hours after the massacre. Yes, I understand how offering forgiveness might open a path to moving forward, but I’m thinking two things at the moment.

One is that, while people should certainly be open to expressing a religious sentiment wherever they wish, perhaps the spiritual task of letting go of the burden of hatred deserves a sacred space rather than a courthouse.

The other is that I just can’t get past the dynamic of black people forgiving racist murder, at all, but particularly before the bodies of their slaughtered parents and children have even been buried. A courtroom full of white people of all religious persuasions stood able to move through horror and begin to reclaim their lives without taking responsibility for the perp’s soul. Immediate forgiveness just does not feel to me to be the act of a free person. It feels like a theological construct that removes some of the agency of righteous rage that fights off helpless despair and depression. Perhaps it is a way of repudiating the devil and all his works, an act intended to reduce and marginalize the psychic hold of the killer on their minds. I get that. But I wonder, not standing in their shoes, if I could bear the bitterness, the ashes, of those words in my mouth.

The grace of forgiveness might or might not enter into the hearts of some of those in the Boston court today. Some might even choose to invite it. To assume they are called to that goal seems an added burden.



Screen Shot 2015-03-04 at 2.37.09 PMTurns out some folks started a Twitter #MariaWStewart a while back. Shall we bring it back to life? Add your favorite quotes, your thoughts, research discoveries. Other ideas, suggestions? And maybe we can also get enough people in on the search to actually find a documented picture of her!

My Book on Maria W. Stewart

A nice shout-out for my Stewart book; a bit of call and response:


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