May 2, 2013 |
In the 1840s, Benjamin "Big Ben" Jones of Baltimore was a fugitive slave living in Bucks County. The mountainous Jones - nearly seven feet tall, according to historical accounts - made friends in the region, but in 1844, he was caught by his slave master and forced to return to Maryland. Those friends from Buckingham, however, helped him return. After raising about $700, they bought Jones' freedom, bringing him back to Bucks County, where he lived until his death. Jones' dramatic life has been recounted in books and historical exhibits, and now will be brought to the screen in The North Star , a biopic set to debut at theaters in Doylestown and Newtown this week.
March 26, 2013 |
DETROIT - A former tennis pro accused of fraudulently bringing four children from the African nation of Togo to the United States and forcing them to work as slaves in his Michigan home was sentenced Monday to more than 11 years in federal prison. Jean-Claude Toviave, who didn't apologize when provided the opportunity to speak at his sentencing hearing in Detroit, also was ordered to pay two of the children $60,000 each. Prosecutors asked U.S. District Judge Arthur Tarnow to sentence Toviave to the maximum sentence within the guidelines, and he did, handing down a 135-month sentence, with credit for about two years of time served.
January 25, 2013 |
The entire treatment of slavery in my junior high history books - crack sources of information that they were - consisted of one or two illustrations of nameless black people, in chains, standing on auction blocks or picking cotton. Nary a mention of who the enslaved were, how they felt about their lives, or whether they had any dreams or aspirations. What we were required to memorize was that Abraham Lincoln freed us. Now here we are, 150 years after the Emancipation Proclamation (issued Jan. 1, 1863)
January 24, 2013 |
Federal authorities on Wednesday unveiled a sweeping racketeering indictment against the Philadelphia woman who allegedly enslaved mentally disabled adults to steal their benefit checks, adding hate-crime and murder charges that could expose her to the death penalty. The crimes outlined in the 196-count indictment against Linda Ann Weston and four others include much of the same depravity and sadism that first emerged when police found the dirty, emaciated victims locked in a Tacony basement in October 2011.
December 25, 2012 |
A version of this review appeared in Sunday's Arts + Entertainment section. Neck-deep into Quentin Tarantino's antebellum western Django Unchained , I had this mental image of the über-geek genre filmmaker tapping furiously on his laptop, beaming at the brilliance of every new piece of dialogue he's writ. For all I know, Tarantino works on a typewriter, or longhand on a legal pad (or dictates his copy to a Gal Friday in spike heels), but in any event, as the banter ping-ponged across the dining table in the plantation mansion of slave-master Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio, twirling his mustache)
December 2, 2012 |
Thomas Jefferson The Art of Power By Jon Meacham Random House. 493 pp. $35 Monticello perches on high ground outside Charlottesville, Va., an American version of Olympus, and its rarefied air contributes to the feeling of otherworldliness. From the serene design of the main house to the orderliness of the grounds, Thomas Jefferson's home is a magical place. Jon Meacham breathed a lungful of that atmosphere as he researched his effusive treatment of the most sainted of the Founders.
September 22, 2012
By William C. Kashatus One hundred fifty years ago Saturday, President Abraham Lincoln issued a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, stating his intention to free all slaves in the Confederate states that did not return to Union control by the first of the new year. None returned, and the order took effect on Jan. 1, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation made abolition a central aim of the war. It also presented the Religious Society of Friends with a fundamental conflict: how to further a longtime commitment to human equality without violating their historic Peace Testimony.
August 3, 2012 |
FORMER BLACK slave Benjamin Spaulding, who married a free Native American named Edith and went on to have 10 children and 83 grandchildren, lived to become a prosperous man for his time. But there's no way that Spaulding, born in 1773, could have envisioned what's about to take place in Philadelphia in his name. An estimated 400 family members will converge Friday on the Hyatt Regency Philadelphia at Penn's Landing for a gathering so well-organized that it rivals some professional conventions.
July 31, 2012 |
SALT LAKE CITY - A team of genealogists has found evidence that President Obama could be a descendant of an African slave - but not through the lineage of his black father, the most likely route researchers had followed and exhausted. The link, genealogists with Ancestry.com said Monday, came through an examination of his white mother's family history. "We were surprised and excited to make that connection," said Joseph Shumway, a member of the Utah-based Ancestry.com team. Obama's father was from Kenya and his mother was from Kansas.
May 29, 2012 |
On a frigid, moonlit night in 1860, four horse-drawn coaches pulled up at a small, two-room house in Westampton, Burlington County, and a dozen armed men got out. They were looking for Perry Simmons, a fugitive slave. But Simmons wasn't giving up without a fight. He grabbed two loaded guns and a sharpened logging ax, then climbed a narrow stairway - with his wife and children - to a garret, where he planned to make a stand. Family members yelled "murder" and "kidnappers" to attract the help of neighbors who came to their rescue with guns, knives, and axes that morning of Nov. 30, just months before the outbreak of the Civil War. The men of nearby Timbuctoo, a village with other runaways, drove off the slave-hunters at what became known as the Battle of Pine Swamp, and they were partly inspired by that confrontation to later take up arms as Union soldiers.