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Posts Tagged ‘abolition

“After all, Ginger Rogers did everything that Fred Astaire did. She just did it backwards and in high heels.”*…

 

A Victorian-era mathematical genius, [Ada] Lovelace was the first to describe how computing machines could solve math problems, write new forms of music, and much more, if you gave them instructions in a language they could understand. Of course, over the ensuing 100-plus years, dudes have been lining up to push her out of the picture (more on that below).

Lovelace is hardly the only woman to be erased from the history of her own work…

From computer programming to nuclear fission to the paper bag machine, it’s time to stop erasing these women from their great works.  Mother Jones restores eight female creators from their undeserved obscurity: “Ladies Last: 8 Inventions by Women That Dudes Got Credit For.

* Ann Richards

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As we give credit where credit is due, we might recall that it was on this date in 1851, at the Ohio Women’s Rights Convention in Akron, that Sojourner Truth electrified the gathering with an extemporaneous talk that has come to known as the “Ain’t I a Woman?” speech.

Born (c. 1797) into slavery in New York, Belle Baumfree (as she was born) escaped with her daughter to freedom in 1826.  She went to court to recover her son in 1828, and became the first black woman to win such a case against a white man.  She gave herself the name Sojourner Truth in 1843 after she became convinced that God had called her to leave the city and go into the countryside “testifying the hope that was in her”– a hope that she expressed as a fervent abolitionist and champion of women’s rights.

In 2014, Truth was included in Smithsonian magazine’s list of the “100 Most Significant Americans of All Time.”

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Written by LW

May 28, 2018 at 1:01 am

A thousand words, and then some…

Eighteenth-century abolitionists used every propaganda tool in the book, but one of their most widely circulated visual aids was an innovative diagram of the Liverpool slave ship Brookes, first published in 1788…

Thanks to a parliamentary survey that year, detailed measurements of the Brookes were available and a group of Plymouth-based campaigners had accurate deck plans, cross-sections and side views drawn up. Into these were added hundreds of prone black figures, not dissimilar to Isotype figures, drawn to the dimensions laid down in the Regulated Slave Trade Act of 1788 (‘6ft by 1ft 4in to each man, 5ft 10in by 1ft 4in to each woman, 5ft by 1 ft 2in to each boy, 4ft 6in by 1ft for a girl’).

Under the act, which was designed to reduce the overcrowding that led to so many deaths on the transatlantic crossing, the Brookes was permitted to carry a maximum of 454 slaves. The engraver managed to fit 400 in. At least one earlier voyage had carried a human cargo of 609 African people.

London abolitionists had it printed on 7000 posters (in one run), and, in the years that followed, the diagram was widely copied in broadsheets, pamphlets and books in Britain, France and the United States. ‘No one saw it but he was impressed,’ wrote the tireless abolitionist Thomas Clarkson, who was partly responsible for the original. ‘It spoke to him in a language which was at once intelligible and irresistible.’ Art critic Tom Lubbock described it as ‘perhaps the most politically influential picture ever made.’

Read the whole story (and click through to an enlarged version of the graphic) at Eye Magazine.

[TotH to CoDesign]

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As we shudder, we might send melodious birthday greetings to John Newton; he was born on this date in 1725.  As a young man, Newton put to sea on a slave ship; subsequently, he was himself enslaved in West Africa.  Rescued in 1748, Newton returned to England, and on the voyage home had a spiritual conversion to Evangelical Christianity.  He tried returning to slaving, but couldn’t stomach it.  So he supported himself as a tide surveyor, applying unsuccessfully to the Methodists, Independents and Presbyterians for curatorial positions until finally, via an influential friend, he was ordained an Anglican priest in 1764.  In 1788 Newton began to speak out against slavery, and became an ally of William Wilberforce.

But many years earlier Newton what may be made his best-remembered contribution to the cause:  In 1767 the poet William Cowper moved to Olney, where Newton was Curate.  Cowper worshipped in the church, and collaborated with Newton on a volume of hymns, which was eventually published as Olney Hymns in 1779– a collection that had great influence on English hymnology.  Among its songs of worship:  “Faith’s Review and Expectation,” which has come to be known by its opening phrase, “Amazing Grace.”

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me….
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see.

T’was Grace that taught…
my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear…
the hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares…
we have already come.
T’was Grace that brought us safe thus far…
and Grace will lead us home.

The Lord has promised good to me…
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be…
as long as life endures.

When we’ve been here ten thousand years…
bright shining as the sun.
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise…
then when we’ve first begun.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me….
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see.

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Written by LW

July 24, 2012 at 1:01 am

Up, Up, and Away…

Your correspondent is headed to the other side of the International Blog-Post Line; so, while occasional missives may emerge over the next several days, regular service will resume on or around Memorial Day.

Lest readers be under-occupied in the meantime, the illuminating illustrations of Nathan Pyle:

Danger Quiz!

The Other Numbers

More at Pyle.

As we commit to continued self-improvement, we might recall that it was on this date in 1856 that a pro-slavery posse led by Sheriff Samuel J. Jones burned the Free-State Hotel, destroyed the equipment of two anti-slavery newspapers, and looted several other businesses in Lawrence, Kansas– an attack known as the “Sack of Lawrence.”  Abolitionist John Brown’s nearby Pottawatomie Massacre is believed to have been a reaction to this attack.

Five years earlier– on this same date in 1851– the nation of Columbia abolished slavery.

Ruins of the Free State Hotel after the attack

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