Category Archives: Journal

150 years of the Black Family

150 Years of the Black Family

I believe in families, in the strength of families, and that the strength of a people can be determined by the strength of the families within that people. In December of 2015 the black family will have been established legally in the United States for 150 years. It was December, 1865, that the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery became part of the United States Constitution.

What I proposed to my family was an exhibit, to run in the fall of 2015 outlining the trials and triumphs of the American black family in documents. We have the shortest family span of any nation on earth and our understanding of that time since we were first brought to this country is something we should all examine. I came up with eight core documents of the black family during slavery, most of which I have in my own archives, and so it looked like a project worth undertaking. The first documents were the insurance forms for a slave ship coming from Africa. The capturing of slaves being a clear interruption of black life. The second document was evidence of dockside slave sales directly from ships from Africa of which there is ample evidence. I have dozens of documents of slave sales, showing that people were sold without regard to whatever family ties they claimed. Continue reading 150 years of the Black Family

War from a distance

One of the most interesting things I’ve done recently is to interview ex-soldiers who participated in the Invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944. The guys were in their late eighties and nineties, so the interviews weren’t particularly easy. The trouble is that people not only remember participating in events, they have a need to put their involvement into a mode which is different than the one they were in when actually experiencing the event. For example, when I interviewed prisoners, the guys who had murdered people wanted to explain how the blame for the murder event should be at least shared with the victim.

Continue reading War from a distance

The Worst of Times

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…. And sometimes there’s a clash that can drive me up the wall.  Like now.   Let’s start with the worst of times. I’ve just about finished my new novel, the working title is On a Clear Day.  Not finished, mind you, but just about finished. Which means I am working my way through the book crossing t’s and dotting I’s.  Was my character’s hair blond on page 22 and brunette on page 141. Did I have Dahlia, my central character, thinking Michael, the ex-band leader was in pretty good shape on page 52 and on page 123? She’s hugged him twice, couldn’t she figure it out?   And my wife thinks that I shouldn’t suggest that the tech guy who was killed was a cross dresser. Why do I need to think about that?

Continue reading The Worst of Times