Category Archives: Profiles

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

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

Rose Wilder Lane: Pioneer of Educational Freedom

My eight-year-old daughter Abby recently started reading Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder. It was prompted, in part, by watching the Little House on the Prairie television episodes with her great-aunt. Coincidentally, I have been reading more lately about some of the key women in history who promoted the ideals of individual freedom, limited government, non-coercion, and voluntary cooperation through trade. Rose Wilder Lane is one of these women. She was born on this day in 1886.

Liberty Should Always Trump Coercion
The daughter of Laura Ingalls Wilder and Almanzo Wilder, baby Rose is the child many of us remember from the ninth Little House book, The First Four Years. Continue reading

Jesse Jackson’s Surprising Harsh Words for Schools in 1977

In an interview with Ebony magazine, the reverend diagnosed the problems in American schools and offered some surprising solutions.

As someone who slides into the back-end of the Gen-X generation, my view of the Rev. Jesse Jackson has always been basically the same. My charitable view of Jackson had been that he is a gifted speaker with a great deal of media savvy; that he cares deeply for people, but sometimes offers dubious solutions to social problems because he can misdiagnose the cause of a given social affliction.

My more cynical view has been that he is a typical politician: a person who will use his cause to get on television to promote his own brand. These types of politicians usually “believe” in their causes, but at some point the cause becomes secondary to their own star and spotlight. Continue reading

Ira Hayes – Sad Fate of the Native American who Helped Raise the Flag at Iwo Jima

Falling Cloud (aka PFC Ira Hamilton Hayes)

“There they battled up Iwo Jima’s hill,
Two hundred and fifty men
But only twenty-seven lived to walk back down again. And when the fight was over,
And when Old Glory raised
Among the men who held it high, Was the Indian, Ira Hayes ~
Johnny Cash, “The Ballad of Ira Hayes

Fear, without a doubt, is everyone’s inner struggle. When confronted and an ordinary human stands up, rises against the odds and faces the challenge, this ordinary man becomes a hero. For “being terrified but going ahead and doing what must be done―that’s courage” (Piers Anthony, Castle Roogna), and heroes are nothing other than ordinary people who by acting in the heat of the moment can make themselves extraordinary. Continue reading

The Stirring Elocution of Frederick Douglass

It’s worth our time to reflect on the life and words of this great man born over 200 years ago…

Frederick Douglas ~ American

American history abounds with great orators whose eloquence roused the people and shaped events. Names like Patrick Henry, Daniel Webster, William Lloyd Garrison, Abraham Lincoln, William Jennings Bryan, Susan B. Anthony, and Martin Luther King come to mind.

The best of them spoke with passion because their words gushed forth from wellsprings of character or experience or righteous indignation—and in the case of the great 19th-century American abolitionist Frederick Douglass, all three. He could pierce the conscience of the most stubborn foe by what he said and how he said it. Continue reading

Benjamin Banneker

Benjamin Banneker (1731-1806) was an African-American mathematician, surveyor, astronomer, and publisher of a popular almanac. Banneker wrote a now-famous letter to Thomas Jefferson on August 19, 1791, arguing eloquently that “…however variable we may be in Society or religion, however diversifyed in Situation or colour, we are all of the Same Family, and Stand in the Same relation to him [God].”[1]

In his reply to Banneker on August 30, Jefferson wrote,

No body wishes more than I do to see such proofs as you exhibit, the nature has given to our black bretheren, talents equal to those of the other colours of men, and that the appearance of a want of them is owing merely to the degraded condition of their existence bot in Africa and America…I have taken the liberty of sending your almanac to Monsieur de Condorcet…because I considered it as a document to which your whole colour had a right for their justification against the doubts which have been entertained of them.[2] Continue reading

NFL Quarterback Drew Brees Promotes Our Founders Approach to Education

Every October 3rd, students in schools all across America celebrate what is called “Bring Your Bible to School Day” This year legendary NFL quarterback Drew Brees made a video affirming Christian students: “I want to encourage you to live out your faith on Bring Your Bible to School Day, and share God’s love with friends. You’re not alone.”

This is a tender, amiable message from a professional athlete that we should all value considering how often we see the adverse and negative behavior of so many high paid sports icons.

Tragically, encouraging ethical and loving behavior is sometimes met with antagonism. Many critics opposed Brees for making this video stating the New Orleans Saints quarterback was somehow “anti-gay.” Continue reading

Aaron Burr, US Vice President had a son of color

Abolitionist John “Jean” Pierre Burr, believed to be one of two children of color fathered by US Vice President Aaron Burr, was buried in an unmarked grave at Eden Cemetery near Philadelphia

Aaron Burr, the US vice president who shot dead Alexander Hamilton in a duel, had children of color with an Indian servant – and one went on to be an abolitionist and was buried in an unmarked grave near Philadelphia

Burr’s descendants said they are convinced he fathered abolitionist John Pierre Burr with Mary Emmons, a servant who was from Calcutta, India.

The couple also are believed to have had an older daughter, Louisa Charlotte.

On Saturday, descendants of both father and son laid a black marble gravestone at Eden Cemetery in Collingdale, Pennsylvania, just outside Philadelphia, where the younger Burr is buried, reports the Daily Times. Continue reading