Category Archives: Profiles

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

The Enslaved Household of the Grant Family

Caricature of Ulysses S. Grant inebriated. (Library of Congress

Women are often overlooked in history for their role in the institution of slavery. First Lady Julia Dent Grant, wife of President Ulysses S. Grant, was a steadfast slave mistress for more than half of her life—an often forgotten part of her identity. Though Grant himself grew up in an abolitionist family in the free state of Ohio, his marriage to Julia Dent led him to become involved in slavery while the two lived in Missouri on Julia’s family estate. As a result, Ulysses Grant was the last U.S. president to have owned an enslaved individual. Grant’s legacy as the respected Commanding General of the Union Army, and his efforts as president to protect black citizenship have long obscured his personal slave-ownership, as well as that of his beloved wife. Continue reading

Lincoln: The Aggrandized Log-Splitter

President Lincoln has been all but deified in America, with a god-like giant statue at a Parthenon-like memorial in Washington. Generations of school children have been indoctrinated with the story that “Honest Abe” Lincoln is a national hero who saved the Union and fought a noble war to end slavery, and that the “evil” Southern states seceded from the Union to protect slavery. This is the Yankee myth of history, written and promulgated by Northerners, and it is a complete falsity. It was produced and entrenched in the culture in large part to gloss over the terrible war crimes committed by Union soldiers in the War Between the States, as well as Lincoln’s violations of the law, his shredding of the Constitution, and other reprehensible acts. It has been very effective in keeping the average American ignorant of the real causes of the war, and the real nature, character and record of Lincoln. Let us look at some unpleasant facts. Continue reading

The US President Who Became a Confederate

While certainly not one of the best-known presidents, John Tyler holds several incredible distinctions. He inherited the Presidency after being elected Vice-President under William Henry Harrison, who famously died only 32 days after taking office. Tyler’s presidency was full of the turmoil that would split the Union decades later, and while an ardent States’ Rights supporter, he did show a willingness to compromise. Continue reading

A Long Farewell: The Southern Valedictories of 1860-1861

This essay was originally published in Southern Partisan Magazine, 1989.

As we conclude bicentennial celebration of the drafting and adoption of the Constitution of the United States, it may be hoped that we have finally arrived at the proper moment for looking back and ap­preciating the importance of those even more heated discussions of the document which occurred in the nation’s capital during what Henry Adams called the “great secession winter” of 1860-1861. Continue reading

Moses… also known as Charlton Heston

Heston and his wife Lydia

Earlier, I watched “The Ten Commandments” on television. That was always an Easter tradition in my family. I was remembering stories I’ve heard about Charlton Heston and his connection to Asheville. John Charles Carter (1923-2008), as he was born, and his wife Lydia Clarke (1923-2018), were married in Greensboro, NC in 1944. (I suspect she was a student at either Women’s College or Greensboro College, but I don’t know that for a fact.) After his service in the Army Air Corps (Air Force) during WW II, they were living in New York, attempting to find work as professional actors. In January, 1947, they were hired to manage the newly founded Asheville Community Theatre here in Asheville. Continue reading

The Difference One Racist Made: Margaret Sanger’s World

“On the other hand, the mass of ignorant Negroes still breed carelessly and disastrously, so that the increase among Negroes, even more than the increase among whites, is from that part of the population least intelligent and fit, and least able to rear their children properly.” ~ W.E.B. DuBois, Professor of Sociology, Atlanta University. “Black Folk and Birth Control.” [Margaret Sanger’s] Birth Control Review, Volume XXII, Number 8 (New Series, May 1938, the “Negro Number”), page 90.

The Early Years
Margaret Sanger was born in 1879 in New York, one of 11 children born into an impoverished family. Her mother was Catholic, her father an atheist. Her mother had several miscarriages and died at an early age. Though the cause of death was listed as tuberculosis, Margaret always attributed her early death to the fact that her mother was weak from bearing so many children. This deep-seated disdain for large families would encompass her life and contribute to a belief that women should limit – or be limited – in the number of children they have. Continue reading

Emma Goldman ~ “Patriotism – a menace to liberty.”

~ Prologue ~
The contention that patriotism is a poison for the minds of free men is the keynote of a recent speech successfully delivered before audiences across the country by Miss Emma Goldman, the Russian immigrant who has become one of the leading voices of anarchism, permitted free rein under the liberties of her adopted country.

Miss Goldman, at age 46, is a well educated Russian woman who came to the United States in 1886 and, after a preliminary period of hard labor in the looms and mills of New York and New England, turned to the movement of radicals that preaches the total destruction of organized society as the means of “freeing” individuals.

She is notable as an anachronism in American development, gaining vast audiences for her spell-binding talks, primarily from amongst the more recently arrived immigrant groups, who are apparently are entertained by her ideas, but who, with few exceptions go from her meetings back to their jobs and their sober political beliefs. Continue reading

Alexander H. Darnes ~ With Remembrance and with Respect

For those Yankees who like to beat the dead horse of “slavery” and “denial” about Blacks in the Confederate Army. Not only did we have numerous colored Brother’s, but imagine how minds would EXPLODE if they knew about our Black CONFEDERATE GENERAL?? ~ M.R.F.

Alexander H. Darnes (c.1840 – February 11, 1894) was an African American who was born into slavery in St. Augustine, Florida and became the first black doctor in Jacksonville, Florida.

As a youth and young man, he served Edmund Kirby Smith, the son of his master, in Texas with the United States Army, and during the War Between the States when Kirby Smith served as a Confederate general. Continue reading

Hammering” Hank – the man who broke the Babe’s record

See the young man in this picture? He was 18 years old when it was taken at the train station in Mobile, Alabama, in 1952. There is $1.50 in his pocket. In that bag by his foot are two changes of clothes. (And if his mama was anything like most other mamas in the South, probably some sandwiches and other snacks.) He was on his way to Indiana to take a job.

He was going to play baseball for the Indy Clowns of the Negro Leagues. Apparently, he was pretty good at it. A couple of years later, he was signed by the (then minor league) Milwaukee Brewers. He played for the Brewers for 2 seasons, then moved across town to the Braves, and later followed them to Atlanta. Eventually, he was the last Negro League player to be on a major league roster. Continue reading

Navajo Student Who Was Homeless and Hungry Throughout College Receives Doctorate Degree

Dakota Kay, 26, receives his doctorate despite the odds. (Facebook/Dakota Kay)

Homelessness, cultural shock and being far from home would be enough to put a damper in anyone’s higher education plans, but this Navajo student was determined to complete his undergrad and graduate degrees against all odds.

Dakota Kay, a 26-year-old doctorate, told that he hopes his story encourages other young Native Americans to follow their dreams.

“We are at a disadvantage,” Kay said. “We are not as lucky as other people, but that’s not a good enough excuse. That’s not how the world works unfortunately. You can feel sorry for yourself, but the world’s not going to feel sorry for you.” Continue reading

Harry Truman: a different kind of President

Harry Truman was a different kind of President. He probably made as many, or more important decisions regarding our nation’s history as any of the other 32 Presidents preceding him. However, a measure of his greatness may rest on what he did after he left the White House.

The only asset he had when he died was the house he lived in, which was in Independence , Missouri . His wife had inherited the house from her mother and father and other than their years in the White House, they lived their entire lives there. Continue reading

Thomas Jonathan Jackson

Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson

Lieutenant-General Thomas Jonathan Jackson was one of those rare historical characters who is claimed by all people–a man of his race, almost as much as of the Confederacy. No war has produced a military celebrity more remarkable, nor one whose fame will be more enduring. He was born January 21, 1824, in Clarksburg, Va., and his parents, who were of patriotic Revolutionary stock, dying while he was but a child, he was reared and educated by his kindred in the pure and simple habits of rural life, taught in good English schools, and is described as a “diligent, plodding scholar, having a strong mind, though it was slow in development.” But he was in boyhood a leader among his fellow-students in the athletic sports of the times, in which he generally managed his side of the contest so as to win the victory. By this country training he became a bold and expert rider and cultivated that spirit of daring which being held sometimes in abeyance displayed itself in his Mexican service, and then suddenly again in the Confederate war. Continue reading

Hindsight Is Not Necessarily 20/20

“If we read the words and attitudes of the past through the pompous ‘wisdom’ of the considered moral judgments of the present, we will find nothing but error.” ~ Mark Twain

“The study of the past with one eye upon the present is the source of all sins and sophistries in history. It is the essence of what we mean by the word ‘unhistorical’.” ~ Herbert Butterfield

The recent Democratic sweep of Virginia’s Governorship, the Va. State Senate, and the Va. State House has emboldened the “Party of Jefferson and Jackson” in ways unimaginable just a decade ago. The Old Dominion is almost entirely “red” geographically, but the extraordinary growth of the Northern Virginia suburbs around Washington, D.C., and the resulting influx of a non-Southern mindset has changed the political calculus for the foreseeable future. Governor Ralph Northam, a surgeon from Accomack County on Virginia’s “Eastern Shore”, was best known nationally for having posed in blackface for his college annual. He apologized for it, but then retracted the apology, saying it probably wasn’t him. But his nickname in the annual was “Coonman”. (I’m not making this up.) Continue reading

Happy Birthday Robert E. Lee

Harper’s Weekly, July 2, 1864

During a tour through the South in 1905, President Theodore Roosevelt told the aged Confederate veterans in Richmond, Virginia, “Here I greet you in the shadow of the statue of your commander, General Robert E. Lee. You and he left us memories which are part of the memories bequeathed to the entire nation by all the Americans who fought in the War Between the States.”

January 19, 2020, is the 213th birthday of Robert E. Lee.

During Robert E. Lee’s 100th birthday in 1907, Charles Francis Adams, Jr., a former Union Commander and grandson of US President John Quincy Adams, spoke in tribute to Robert E. Lee at Washington and Lee College’s Lee Chapel in Lexington, Virginia. His speech was printed in both Northern and Southern newspapers and is said to had lifted Lee to a renewed respect among the American people.

Robert E. Lee, a man whose military tactics have been studied worldwide, was an American soldier, Educator, Christian gentlemen, husband and father. Continue reading

Robert E. Lee

He was a foe without hate; a friend without treachery; a soldier without cruelty; a victor without oppression, and a victim without murmuring. He was a public officer without vices; a private citizen without wrong; a neighbor without reproach; a Christian without hypocrisy, and a man without guile. He was a Caesar, without his ambition; Frederick, without his tyranny; Napoleon, without his selfishness, and Washington, without his reward. ~ Benjamin H. Hill

~ Joshua Cameron
January 19, 2020

Dishonest Abe

He is revered as the man who freed US slaves, yet he never intended to do so and it was he who forced a war for the Union!

Today Abraham Lincoln remains America’s most popular president and its historians devote enormous efforts to ensuring that his reputation survives unscathed. Yet during his presidency he was hated by millions and in 1865 he was assassinated. Even before the Civil War he was loathed by perhaps a majority of his fellow countrymen and in the presidential election of 1860, 61 per cent of the electorate voted against him.

Rather than accept him as president, the South seceded from the Union. The Founding Fathers had indicated that secession was entirely legal. Lincoln should have taken the advice of the Supreme Court, but rather than that, he manipulated an attack on Fort Sumter to give him an excuse for war. Lincoln vetoed an attempted constitutional compromise and got his way by illegally organising a military invasion of Virginia. There, his troops were humiliated. Continue reading

Dr. Gladys West ~ The Woman Who invented the Global Positioning System (GPS)

The movement of people from one location to the other has been the backbone of the interaction between societies and civilizations. Over human history, people have had to move from familiar to none familiar locations, for various reasons.

The movement of people from one location to the other in modern times have increased, and thanks to technology, such as GPS, fewer people miss their way. Thanks to GPS, movement, and life in modern transportation has become seamless. But these are just the simplest applications of the GPS.

Millions of the world’s people use the GPS (Global Positioning System) for their day-to-day lives, but they do not know that it was created by a black woman. Continue reading