A Lynching Near You

In yet another stroke of genius in the fields of reconciliation and redemption, Bryan Stevenson, executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, recently opened a national memorial in Montgomery, Alabama, which, among other things, pays homage to the history of lynching in America. Stephenson and his colleagues have cataloged nearly 4,400 lynchings across the country, and while some historians estimate the total number could be a couple of thousand higher, ...

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Children and Ovens

Arriving at the border seeking asylum is an ancient practice among civilized societies, one that has been legally sanctioned in society for decades, in some cases centuries. If you have found a way to justify children being torn from their parents at our border, rest assured you will find a way to justify when they are all sent to the ovens. You won’t be the first in the crowd to send ...

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Moose Safari

It was not in my youth that I developed a lasting affection for the moose, and that is not unusual, given that I grew up in southern Illinois where any sighting of a moose would have been a harbinger of the apocalypse. It’s possible that my first taste of moose love began in college when I was introduced to Moosehead Beer, my favorite, but I suspect my deep and durable ...

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Collector Extraordinaire #1: Cynthia Elyce Rubin

By the time Cynthia Elyce Rubin had finished the renovations in her Manhattan apartment on the Upper West Side, acting as her own general contractor as she tore down walls and made two tiny apartments into one, she hadn’t thought about her postcard collection in a while. A student in folk art, in fact the first person to receive a Ph.D. in the field from NYU, she’d moved to the ...

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The Mounds and The Arch

I grew up in southern Illinois, near St. Louis, so I went to the Arch dozens of times, but I never went to Cahokia Mounds. The Arch is an amazing architectural structure, and the view from the top is remarkable (even if it is a little unsettling on windy days when you can feel the Arch slightly swaying), and underneath is a fine museum dedicated to Lewis and Clark and ...

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Great Graves: John Hancock

John Hancock. Patriot, revolutionary, President of the Second Continental Congress, first and third Governor of Massachusetts. Also a Mr. Big Bucks, one of the richest men in the original thirteen colonies. Like many of our super-wealthy, he didn’t do diddley to earn that fortune but rather inherited his uncle’s mercantile business. Thus, perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise that he wrote his signature so famously large on the Declaration of ...

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Grandma Moses and the Bennington Museum

Before we get to Grandma Moses, I need to make a public service announcement: If you are driving to Bennington, Vermont, from the west, once you hit Hoosick, New York, you will be told that in that village you can visit a home, not the home but a home, of Chester A. Arthur, America’s 21st president, a portly type who assumed the presidency after the assassination of Ohioan James Garfield ...

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Waffle House Things

Things happen at the Waffle House. A few days ago, a man was shot inside a Waffle House in Norfolk, Virginia, and a couple days before that, in Crowley, Alabama, a man crashed his car into the Waffle House before leading police on a car chase. Also this week: two men in Florida who’d been shot at in their car drove to the local Waffle House for help, and in Memphis, a ...

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Communities and Candlepins

If you’re old enough to remember the 1960’s and 1970’s and think there was more social interaction back in those days—more dinners with friends, more community activities, more clubs, all of them better attended—you’re not wrong. And that increased level of interaction made for a healthier society. How I came to learn this is the result of my peculiar trip last month to Imperial Bowling Center, a candlepin bowling alley ...

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Woody’s Library Restaurant

I was very excited to eat dinner at The Library. It’s located in Carmel, Indiana, an upper-income suburb of Indianapolis, quite probably the whitest city in America though not to be confused with Boston, which only wishes it were the whitest. (I stole that line from a satiric novella about our times called Now Playing by Erik Simon. If you thought it was funny, you should check out the book. ...

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