Category Archives: Profiles

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

The Undeniable Sean Connery

The following has less to do with history or education, but a superb Profile of a very gifted actor. Do enjoy this – as I have. ~ Ed.

Behind the actor’s characters, you sensed something hard, immutable, and crystalline that belonged to him alone.

Sean Connery looking at the camera with a cigarette in his hand. Photograph by John Downing / Getty

With the passing of Sean Connery, who has died at the age of ninety, we have lost perhaps the very last movie star who was known and revered for playing himself. Continue reading

John Jay: The Nation’s most forgotten Founding Father

On December 12, 2017, one of America’s most prominent, yet forgotten, Founding Fathers would have turned 272 years old. John Jay, a native of New York City, had among the most impressive resumes in American history, especially among the Founding Fathers who never became president. Jay served in the Continental Congress, as a diplomat representing the United States in the Treaty of Paris, an author of the Federalist Papers, America’s first chief justice, acting secretary of state under George Washington, and governor of New York. Continue reading

Hank Aaron: Home Run King Who Defied Racism… Dies at 86

Publisher’s Note: I awoke Friday morning to the news that one of my boyhood hero’s had passed on to the great Field in the Heavens. I spent most of my youth during the summers where I had been born – lees than an hour from Milwaukee – sitting on the lawn in front of my Grandfather’s home – with Uncle Charlie, where we would listen to Hank, Lew, Eddie, Warren and the rest of my favorite team “play ball.” Save me a seat in the Heavenly Bleachers and I will be along soon enough Mr. Aaron. RIP ~ Jeffrey Bennett

He held the most celebrated record in sports for more than 30 years.

Hank Aaron was among the greatest all-around players in baseball history, earning his home run record in the face of hate mail and even death threats.Credit…Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics, via Getty Images

January 22, 2021 ~ Hank Aaron, who faced down racism as he eclipsed Babe Ruth as baseball’s home run king, hitting 755 homers and holding the most celebrated record in sports for more than 30 years, has died. He was 86.

Playing for 23 seasons, all but his final two years with the Braves in Milwaukee and then Atlanta, Aaron was among the greatest all-around players in baseball history and one of the last major league stars to have played in the Negro leagues. Continue reading

Walter Williams: Suffer No Fools

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. ~ Thomas Sowell

On the major social and political issues of our time, Walter Williams was one of America’s most important and provocative thinkers. He was black, yet he opposed affirmative action. He believed that the Civil Rights Act was a major error, that the minimum wage actually creates unemployment and that occupational and business licensure and industry regulation work against minorities and others in American business. Perhaps most importantly he had come to believe that it has been the welfare state that has done to black Americans what slavery could never do: destroy the black family. Walter Williams expressed all of these provocative ideas and more in this public television documentary produced by Free To Choose Network. Continue reading

President Jefferson in the White House

She was a new bride in the fall of 1800. Immediately following her wedding in Philadelphia Margaret Bayard Smith and her husband traveled to Washington to make a new home. He had just started the Washington Intelligencer newspaper. Mr. Smith and his newspaper supported Thomas Jefferson in his bid for the presidency in the election of 1800. After his election and throughout his eight years as President, Jefferson often invited the Smith’s to the White House or visited their home on Capitol Hill. Continue reading

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