Happy Indigenous People’s Day!
Some call today Columbus Day but more and more, many Americans are honoring the Native Americans who were here before the Italian explorer sailed the “ocean blue” in 1492. Here is a statement from Joe Biden, Democratic Candidate for President:
“On this Indigenous People’s Day, we must both recognize the past that has brought us here, and commit to one another to write a new future of promise, partnership, and equal opportunity for the proud Tribal Nations of our country.”
In other interesting news, the Mexican Government has asked both the nation of Spain and the Catholic Church to apologize for their roles in the Spanish Conquest.
Read the article HERE
As we continue our readings on Benjamin Franklin and the American Enlightenment, another controversy emerges: when should we date the start of our country? Should it be 1776, the date of the Declaration of Independence? Or should it be 1619, the date the first 20 African slaves were sold to the colony of Jamestown in Virginia?
The New York Times has produced the 1619 project that argues that all Americans need to be more aware of the horrors of slavery that accompanied America’s birth as a new nation in 1776.
- Please listen to the first 20 minutes of this podcast by Nikole Hannah-Jones to get you thinking more about his topic. HERE
- Read the opening paragraphs to the Declaration of Independence (July 4, 1776). Written by Thomas Jefferson (and edited by Benjamin Franklin), this document declares that the 13 colonies of America will no longer be subjects of the British Empire:
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
(The remainder of the Declaration lists these grievances).
3) Read about America’s first published poet, Philliss Wheatley (and her poem “On Being Brought From Africa to America”) HERE
4) Read The Autobiography of Venture Smith HERE
5) Post a comment in response to one of these readings and/or podcasts. Due: Saturday, Oct. 17.