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Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington

Al-SharptonRacism terrifies me.  Ever since I was a little kid I was aware of the brutality of what racial hatred – or any other baseless prejudice – could cause because we lived in a neighborhood of blacks and whites.  It always seemed so crazy to me, even then.  I guess that’s why the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington – which my mother actually remembers and still talks about – is so important to me.   It is scary for me to think that at one time in our history women and blacks didn’t have the vote.  But Abraham Lincoln was fighting for this.  In a letter in the possession of the Shapell Manuscript Foundation to Michael Hahn, (the first Jew who was elected governor in American history), Abraham Lincoln “gently but firmly pushed for Black suffrage – and surprisingly, without making any distinction between the free-born and the freed…”

I am planning to board the PennLive bus to Washington with the others on Saturday.  It’s so weird to think that it’s been 50 years since the march on Washington for Jobs and Freedom took place.  What’s even weirder for me is that we’re still encountering racism and prejudice.  All in all it is expected that around 100,000 will be at the march and rally for this commemoration, in part sponsored by Rev. Al Sharpton and his National Action Network (Martin Luther King III’s eldest son).  According to AP, the event is meant to be a tribute to “the significance of the original march and the ‘galvanizing’ of support for civil rights during that time,” the result of which was laws to protect people’s rights.

But as Homer Floyd, Chairman of the Labor and Industry Committee of the Greater Harrisburg NAACP and Pennsylvania NAACP, accurately noted that this event is “to kind of celebrate the successes and, at the same time, recognizing that there are many challenges that remain.”  And a Harrisburg resident, Junior Howard said that the march marked “another step on a long journey to the final destination” of racial equality and freedom. It’s a part of history.  It’s a part of who I am.”  And, truthfully, that’s exactly how I feel.

Happy Father’s Day!

fathers-dayToday is Father’s Day.  It’s a little tough for me as the ex-wife had asked a while ago if she could have this weekend (which was scheduled as hers anyway) as her boyfriend had planned a family trip for them.  Although I did feel a bit put out and like he’s taking away my role as a father – especially on this day – I agreed as I need to keep things as smooth as possible  So I’ve been spending a lot of the day reading all the papers and I came across this random piece about Abraham Lincoln as a father.  I found it particularly interesting as all I ever heard about his personal life was his reputation as “honest Abe.”  I knew nothing about his relationship with his kids though.

Abraham Lincoln was like me in one way at least – he was the father of three boys.  Unfortunately though, tragedy struck, and the middle one passed away at 11-years old.  He was apparently the one who was most like him.  I cannot imagine going through something like that, losing one of my boys.

Anyway, he became very close to his other boy, Tad.  No matter what the boy did – and it sounds like through documentation archived in The Shapell Manuscript Foundation that he was quite the troublemaker – daddy Abraham would come to his defense.  Tad would come and interrupt meetings; go along with him to the White House and even share his bed.  One of the pieces archived at Shapell is a letter Abraham wrote three days after his second Inauguration saying: “Will Gen. Delafield please allow the bearer, my son, to have a map or two for which he will ask? A Lincoln.”   This letter was written just five weeks before Lincoln was assassinated.

So really, having read all of this, being on my own for Father’s Day didn’t seem so bad at all. In fact, after I read Lincoln’s tales I realized just how fortunate I am.  I am even more excited to spend next weekend with my kids!