Tag Archives: education

Remembering a 1939 sit-down strike

On this date in 1939, Samuel Wilbert Tucker and six collaborators staged what has got to be one of the cleverest civil rights sit-ins of all time. One by one, William Evans, Otto L. Tucker, Edward Gaddis, Morris Murray, and Clarence Strange went to the circulation desk at the Alexandria (VA, US) Public Library and requested library cards. As each was refused a card to use the library his taxes supported, he quietly went to the stacks, selected a book, sat at a table, and began to read it. Then the next followed with the same request, result, and action.

S. J. Ackerman’s 2000 account, published as “Samuel Wilbert Tucker: The Unsung Hero of the School Desegregation Movement” in Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, begins with the priceless description of these events shown at the right. Eventually, of course, library managers and city officials summoned the police. Meanwhile, according to story, Robert Strange (the sixth collaborator) raced to Mr. Tucker’s nearby law office and alterted him about how the events were occuring.

Inside the library, the police arrested the miscreant readers and led them outside. When they emerged from the library, the officers and five collaborators found 300 spectators, according to Mr. Ackerman. Mr. Tucker’s ploy had worked spectactularly on the ground, though it didn’t generate as much press as one might have hoped. According to Mr. Ackerman’s account, “The media paid scant attention to the episode. Preoccupied with the Hitler-Stalin pact, disclosed that same day, the Washington Star missed the story. The Post reported that ‘five colored youths’ had staged a ‘sit-down strike.’ The Times Herald and the African-American Washington Tribune used similar terminology.”

Even if it didn’t make a big splash, the 1939 sit-down strike in a public library sounds like an early incident in something pretty important. Civil rights. Non-violence. Rule of law. Access to public services. The list could go on and on….

There are sequels to this story: Mr. Tucker was later offered a library card for a “colored library,” and he refused it. He later co-founded an eminent law firm in Richmond (VA, US) and argued important civil rights cases, many before the US Supreme Court (including Green v. County School Board of New Kent County). He served for many years as the representative of Virginia’s NAACP. And very much more.

You can read more about Mr. Tucker including Mr. Ackerman’s account and the Wikimedia biographical entry about him.

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Filed under Civil rights, Education, Equity, Justice, Neighborhood, Non-violence, Peace, Politics, Thanks for reading

Vi Hart’s superb analysis of “Happy B’day”

At the beginning of her analysis of the lyrics and music of of the familiar song, Vi Hart refers to recent news by saying, “So you might have heard that you can sing ‘Happy Birthday’ without getting sued….” That’s just the beginning. Click here to watch the video and learn a lot.

ViHartHBsnap

The image is linked, but if you’d prefer, here is a direct link.

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Filed under Amusements, Arts, Birthdays, Free speech, News, Tunes

XKCD survey

http://xkcd.com/1572/. Complete it yourself. Pass it along to others.

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Kansas student to Gov. Brownback: “Tip the schools”

I may be a bit late to the dance, but I still want to admire the provo-like action of Kansas University student Chloe Hough. According to a story by Rochelle Valverde in the Lawrence (KS, US) Journal-World, while working as a waitron in a local restaurant, Ms. Hough served Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback on 2 May 2015; Gov. Brownback has been leading an effort to make substantial reductions in Kansas state spending, including on education, on the argument that lowering government costs and reducing taxes will spur substantial growth in business, industry, and jobs. When Ms. Hough presented the governor with the check, she annotated the check with a personalized message. You can see an image of the check and get the full story in the LJ-W‘s version of Ms. Valverde’s story.

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On teens, bullying, and gay bashing in Iowa

Are teen bullying and gay bashing events in Iowa typical or an aberration? I haven’t had the time to research it closely and compare data in a state-by-state fashion; that’ll have to wait. But, consider the following list.

  • Jan 2014: News sources in Des Moines (WHO-TV 1 and WHO-TV 2; KCCI; Des Moines Register) reported that 16-year-old Nathan Rogers suffered multiple facial injuries from a beating he suffered around New Years Eve at the hands (literally) of several other teens, who have been charged with felonious assault. Continue reading

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What’s your point?

In March of 2008, just a few years after Web 2.0 had really taken hold on the Internet and people were interacting with content (i.e., commenting on blog posts was becoming common; newspapers were opening up fora; social media were launching left and right; etc.), a guy named Paul Graham wrote a commentary about how people often disagree with what they read on the Web (and elsewhere, of course).

The web is turning writing into a conversation. Twenty years ago, writers wrote and readers read. The web lets readers respond, and increasingly they do—in comment threads, on forums, and in their own blog posts.

Many who respond to something disagree with it. That’s to be expected. Agreeing tends to motivate people less than disagreeing. And when you agree there’s less to say. You could expand on something the author said, but he has probably already explored the most interesting implications. When you disagree you’re entering territory he may not have explored.

Mr. Graham anticipated the slapdash nature of disagreement that we’ve become accustomed to reading on the Internet since the first decade of the new millenium. He offered a preliminary seven-level hierarchy of categories of disagreement, ranging from “name calling” to “refuting the central point.”

I shan’t reproduce the details of all seven levels here. Interested readers should review Mr. Graham’s full descriptions on his original page. Also, however, someone sometimes identified as “Loudacris” (AKA: “Rocket000”) from CreateDebate.com created a nice graphic representing these seven levels of disagreement. The accompanying graphic shows them.

We might want to stretch the levels a bit. Those scientifically based readers might refine the top couple of levels of Mr. Graham’s hierarchy by making references to trustworthy or replicated studies. Sure, but maybe that’s included in “explains by it’s mistaken” or “explicitly refutes.”

Those would be good discussions to have, provided we get away from employing name-calling, ad-hominem, responding to tone, and such as our primary forms of argument.

So, what are you arguing?

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Ms. Clinton on religious freedom

Many people who know me will know that I hold little truck with religion. At best, I consider religions woe-begotten variations on reasoned ways to live one’s life humanely. However, as much as I find religions untenable, I shall defend folks’ right to espouse religious—or anti-religious and especially non-religious—views. Thus I was thrilled to hear the US Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton’s “Remarks at the Release of the 2011 International Religious Freedom Report” in which she delivered one of the most inspiring defenses of religious freedom I can remember hearing.

Whether you might agree or disagree with Ms. Clinton’s political positions, I think most people will agree that the core of her remarks are a spirited defense of foundational principles of human freedom. I hope people everywhere, regardless of political stripe, can watch or read this talk. There are, to be sure, the usual segments of the talk that have to do with thanking contributors to the talk, thanking allies, and calling out miscreants. But there are, as I heard it live while driving home from a meeting yesterday AM, sections of the talk that discuss fundamental human aspirations. Reminders of the ideas of principles on which the US and other democracies were based hundreds of years ago.

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Filed under Atheism, Civil rights, Equity, Free speech, Humanism, News, Notes and comments, Peace, Politics, Thanks for reading