Category Archives: Profiles

Biographical commentary on famous people – of note – and maybe not so.

Walter E. Williams 1936-2020

I awoke early on a December morning and was shortly put into a state of shock – and great sadness. It has taken me nearly thirteen days before I could bring myself to publish this tribute to a GREAT human being – by another man, who I feel as strongly about – Thomas Sowell. Both men have had a tremendous impact on my life for this past quarter-century plus. R.I.P. Mr Williams. As with music that has been left to me by many artists throughout my life, I also will be left with your wisdom through your writings. ~ Jeffrey Bennett, Publisher

Walter E. Williams 1936-2020

Walter Williams loved teaching. Unlike too many other teachers today, he made it a point never to impose his opinions on his students. Those who read his syndicated newspaper columns know that he expressed his opinions boldly and unequivocally there. But not in the classroom.

Walter once said he hoped that, on the day he died, he would have taught a class that day. And that is just the way it was, when he died on Wednesday, December 2, 2020.

He was my best friend for half a century. There was no one I trusted more or whose integrity I respected more. Since he was younger than me, I chose him to be my literary executor, to take control of my books after I was gone.

But his death is a reminder that no one really has anything to say about such things. Continue reading

Her name was not ‘Hedly

November 9, 2020 marked the 106th birthday of Hollywood actress and inventor, Hedy Lamarr (image circa 1930) was often dubbed the “most beautiful woman in the world.” But there was far more to her story, as she was also the co-inventor invented a device that helped make possible the development of GPS, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi technology! Continue reading

The Real Story of Ben-Hur’s ‘Tale of the Christ

CRAWFORDSVILLE, Ind. – For many, watching the movie “Ben-Hur” has become an Easter tradition. The 1959 blockbuster, starring Charlton Heston, made history with a record 11 Academy Awards.

Now, the 1925 silent version is making a comeback. But what many may not know is that Hollywood didn’t create this classic story.

The idea came from the best-selling novel, Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ, published in 1880. The book tells the story of a life-altering encounter between a first-century Jewish prince and Jesus of Nazareth.

The author is Lew Wallace – a true renaissance man. Continue reading

Was John Brown Sane?

The exploits of John Brown have long fascinated historians. His actions, for better or worse, certainly had a significant effect on the country prior to Southern secession, but the fascination with Brown is largely driven by the enigma the man himself has proven to be. In trying to explain his actions and motives, historians have wrestled with questionable and biased testimonies by the people who knew him, and many of the mysteries surrounding John Brown have been explained – then and now – by mental disorders. Continue reading

Davy Crockett’s Death at the Alamo Is Now a Case Closed – Or Not?

The details of legendary pioneer Davy Crockett’s death have been told by many sources — Some Questionable!

Each year around March 6, the anniversary of the 1836 Battle of the Alamo, the question arises as to how Davy Crockett died. It is not enough to know that he died. We need to know exactly how this legendary American lost his life in one of our nation’s most famous battles. Thankfully, there were eyewitnesses. Continue reading

Whitey Ford, Beloved Yankees Pitcher Who Confounded Batters, Dies at 91

‘Take me out to the Ballgame…’ ~ when it was still a ‘sport.’

An irrepressible son of New York City, Ford joined the pantheon of baseball legends who dominated the 1950s and ’60s.

Whitey Ford pitching batting practice at the Yankees’ spring training camp in 1971, four years after retiring. A Yankee for his entire career, he won 236 games, the most of any Yankee, and had a career winning percentage of .690. Ernie Sisto/The New York Times

Whitey Ford, the Yankees’ Hall of Fame left-hander who was celebrated as the Chairman of the Board for his stylish pitching and big-game brilliance on the ball clubs that dominated baseball in the 1950s and early ’60s, died on Thursday night at his home in Lake Success, N.Y., on Long Island. He was 91. The Yankees announced his death. Continue reading

The Mike Wallace Interview with Ayn Rand

Sixty years later, we are on the brink of financial collapse and dictatorship. She correctly anticipated the trajectory of the United States, and was a visionary.

Wallace: “Do you actually predict dictatorship and economic disaster for the United States?”

Rand: “If the present collectivist trend continues and if the present anti-reason philosophy continues, then yes, that is the way the country is going.”

Josiah Henson: The forgotten story in the history of slavery

His life partly inspired Uncle Tom’s Cabin. He was entertained at both Windsor Castle and the White House. He rescued more than 100 enslaved people. But barely anyone has heard of him.

Josiah Henson, photographed in Boston, 1876

From its very first moments, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s debut novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin was a smashing success. It sold out its 5,000-copy print run in four days in 1852, with one newspaper declaring that “everybody has read it, is reading, or is about to read it”. Soon, 17 printing presses were running around the clock to keep up with demand. By the end of its first year in print, the book had sold more than 300,000 copies in the US alone, and another million in Great Britain. It went on to become the bestselling novel of the 19th century.

Before reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin, I only knew that Stowe’s novel had been credited with influencing the debate at the heart of the American civil war. I had an expensive education, but sadly I learned very little about black history at school; by my early 20s, only names such as Frederick Douglass or Harriet Tubman still rang a bell. All that changed when I discovered that Stowe’s novel was based on the life of a real man, named Josiah Henson, whose cabin in Ontario was just a few hours from my home… Continue reading

H.L. Mencken Quotes on Government, Democracy, and Politicians

Today (September 12th) is H.L. Mencken’s birthday. The “Sage of Baltimore” (pictured above) was born in 1880 and is regarded by many as one of the most influential American journalists, essayists, and writers of the early 20th century. To recognize the great political writer on his birthday, here are 12 of my favorite Mencken quotes: Continue reading

David Crockett

The modern actor Billy Bob Thornton once said David Crockett in the film The Alamo was his favorite role. John Wayne played him, too. Every boy who grew up before the 1970s wanted to be Crockett. He was the “king of the wild frontier,” the man who wrestled bears and jumped rivers, the man with the sharpshooter’s eye who tamed the wilderness. He was larger than life; as one historian wrote, “His life is a veritable romance, with the additional charm of unquestionable truth. It opens to the reader scenes in the lives of the lowly, and a state of semi-civilization, of which but few of them can have the faintest idea.” Crockett was so popular because he was one of us, a common man without advantages who achieved great things on his own merit. He was the quintessential American. Continue reading

Hey, useful idiots: Karl Marx was a racist and anti-Semite

Walter E. Williams: His devotees who destroy property also don’t care about people of color.

Most people who call themselves Marxists know very little of Karl Marx’s life and have never read his three-volume “Das Kapital.” Volume I was published in 1867, the only volume published before Marx’s death in 1883. Volumes II and III were later edited and published in his name by his friend and collaborator Friedrich Engels. Most people who call themselves Marxist have only read his 1848 pamphlet “The Communist Manifesto,” which was written with Engels.

Marx is a hero to many labor union leaders and civil rights organizations, including leftist groups like Black Lives Matter, Antifa and some Democratic Party leaders. It is easy to be a Marxist if you know little of his life. Marx’s predictions about capitalism and the “withering away of the state” turned out to be grossly wrong. What most people do not know is that Marx was a racist and an anti-Semite. Continue reading

George Armstrong Custer… and All That

Years ago I saw a bumper sticker for a car that said “Custer died for your sins.” I don’t know who put it out, some Indian group or what, but I felt it was a bit on the blasphemous side. Jesus Christ died to pay for my sins and then He arose from the dead on the first Easter morning. Custer had nothing to do with it, thank heaven! He would have been a pitiful savior.

Quite awhile back now someone gave me a book by Stephen E. Ambrose called Crazy Horse and Custer. The paperback version was published in 2003, so I assume a hardback version came out sometime previous to that. Continue reading

Activist, Brigitte Bardot

Last year, singling out screen legends such as Marilyn Monroe and Marlene Dietrich, who died alone, Bardot told Dalya Alberge: “The majority of great actresses met tragic ends. When I said goodbye to this job, to this life of opulence and glitter, images and adoration, the quest to be desired, I was saving my life.”

However, Bardot’s views and her strong opposition to Islam in France have led to her being condemned by French courts for anti-Muslim comments, and fined. She faced French judges five times for “incitement to racial hatred” between 1997 and 2008.

In 1996, she pointed to her grandfather and father’s battles against German invaders in two world wars, and to her own rejection of lucrative Hollywood offers during her “cinematic glory.” Ms Bardot wrote: “And now my country, France, my fatherland, my land, is, with the blessing of successive governments, again invaded by a foreign, especially Muslim, overpopulation to which we pay allegiance. Continue reading

Descendants of Frederick Douglass Read From One of the Greatest Speeches in American History

Without leadership, the mob may win and the resulting chaos will benefit no one except those who foment it.

Americans used to have great reverence for the spoken word. Before radio and TV, there were political speeches and the great orators were prized for their ability to move audiences to laughter, to tears, or to rage.

It’s ironic that some of the most famous and beloved Americans were terrible public speakers. Jefferson stammered his way through his first inaugural. Washington hated to speak in public — partly because his teeth kept slipping.

Abraham Lincoln’s speaking voice was a high-pitched, nasally whine. But what he said moved mountains. The Gettysburg Address redefined freedom and liberty in a way that everyone understood and believed. His second inaugural address (the shortest in history) — “With malice toward none and charity for all” — became public policy the minute he uttered it. Continue reading

JFK’s Cold War Chains

President John F. Kennedy and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev took the measure of each other when they met for the first time, in Vienna in 1961. (Google Images)

Editor’s note: The past is prologue. The stories we tell about ourselves and our forebears inform the sort of country we think we are and help determine public policy. As our current president promises to “make America great again,” this moment is an appropriate time to reconsider our past, look back at various eras of United States history and re-evaluate America’s origins. When, exactly, were we “great”?
Continue reading

Don’t Cheer Woodrow Wilson’s Cancellation

Rather than taking scalps of our own, what the right needs is an arms-linked defense of our history, culture, art, and institutions, imperfect though all that might be.

First things first: Woodrow Wilson was a deplorable bigot and one of the worst presidents in American history. He re-segregated the federal government, glamorized the Ku Klux Klan, screened The Birth of a Nation at the White House, and opposed Reconstruction and black suffrage (Dylan Matthews has more on Wilson’s racism). In common with many progressive intellectuals of his time, he was a champion of eugenics. He sank the United States into the pointless carnage of World War I. He viewed the Constitution as outmoded and sought to snap its restraints on executive power. Continue reading

Charles Mason: A Voice of Reason

Charles Mason

Today, as it was a hundred and sixty years ago, America stands on the edge of an ever-widening chasm of cultural, ideological, political, racial and sectional divisions. In 1860, there was at least one prominent voice of reason that cried out to end the nation’s mad rush into the abyss, that of Charles Mason of Iowa. Mason was a Northern Democrat who not only understood the conflicting issues that were then pulling the nation apart, but reasonably viewed the rights and wrongs of both secession and slavery, as well as strongly opposing Lincoln’s invasion of the South to militarily force the departed States back into the Union. Like many others in both the North and South, Mason did not approve of secession, but felt that as there was nothing in the Constitution to bar a State from abrogating its contract with America and peacefully withdrawing from the Union, that it was solely a matter for the people of each State to decide on their own. His fervent hope though was that if secession did become a reality and a new Southern nation created, that the two countries could then begin to negotiate their differences in a peaceful manner, somehow resolve them and ultimately reunite. Continue reading