Saturday, February 23, 2013

AFRICAN BURIAL GROUNDSo you know you can’t complete your celebration of Black History Month without first paying a visit to the famed African Slave Burial Ground Memorial in NYC. In May of 1991 the burial ground, widely acknowledged as one of the most significant American archeological finds of the twentieth century, was discovered in lower Manhattan during construction for a municipal building. The discovery significantly raised public awareness of colonial African heritage in the area. For instance, I’ve learned that New York had more enslaved Africans than any other port north of the Caribbean except Charleston, South Carolina. With nearly two decades dedicated to documenting and interpreting data from the site, in October of 2003 the remains of 419 individuals excavated from the site were reinterred during a ceremony called the Rites of Ancestral Return. Followed by a series of events and ceremonies honoring the dead, and the grounds being named a national monument, actvities culminated in the 2007 unveiling of a permanent on-site memorial. Dr. Michael L. Blakey, a physical anthropologist now at William & Mary College, was the scientific director of the African Burial Ground Project. He said of the unveiling,

“It was a good day. I certainly felt that I was nearing the end of a very long, difficult journey with the African Burial Ground that brought me and all of the other researchers very close to the individual and collective stories of the people whose remains we were there to bury. It also brought us close to people in all walks of life who shared that journey with us.”

  And yes, the admission is free, like many National Parks are. Our tax dollars at work for something we know is worthwhile for a change. ♦

airport-delaysNews Flash: in the event of a Sequester, your air travel holiday plans may be seriously interrupted! We can all agree that the whole air travel experience these days is no picnic, and outgoing Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says it could get worse if the sequester isn’t averted. If Republicans don’t get back to the negotiating table to hammer out a deal, the proposed cuts indicated in the plan will eliminate $600 million from the Federal Aviation Administration resulting in more than 100 air traffic control towers closing down. Expect more delays, cuts in service, cancelled flights and waiting in lines longer than the distance to the sunny tranquil beaches you’re trying to get too. Once again President Obama reached out to Sen. Mitch McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner on Thursday, to try and stress the need to continue negotiations, but as usual, his calls went unheeded. Better start calling your congressman ASAP pilgrims. ♦

Want to know what the GOP’s latest attempt to take back women is? Welcome to hashtag #LiberalTips2AvoidRape on Twitter created by conservative mystery blogger SooperMexican. See, it all started with first-term Democrat, Joe Salazar, who, when debating a bill on banning gun-toting students on college campuses, was presented with a counter argument that women could use guns to defend themselves from possible rapists. Salazar’s response was,

That’s why “we have call boxes, it’s why we have safe zones, it’s why we have whistles. Because you just don’t know who you’re gonna be shooting at. Because you don’t know who you’re gonna be shooting at. And you don’t know if you feel like you’re gonna be raped, or if you feel like someone’s been following you around or if you feel like you’re in trouble when you may actually not be, that you pop out that gun and you pop … pop a round at somebody.”  

I can see how he made himself an open target with that statement, can’t you? In enters SooperMexican, who wishing to remain anonymous, said in a telephone interview that he thought what Salazar said was condescending to women and responded with this one tweet under the hashtag which got the proverbial ball rolling,


Conservatives jumped all over it and within 24 hours the hashtag racked up 25,000 tweets! Here’s just a slice of some of the responses…

This past Monday, Salazar issued a formal apology for his statement saying,

“I deeply apologize for how people have taken the statement. It’s not reflective of the point I wanted to make. I certainly know that women know how to defend themselves and know how to discern a threat. I was trying to explain that more guns on campus doesn’t mean that campuses are any safer. I used a really bad example and I apologize for it.”

 Ok. Now disappear for a while Joe. ♦

Our favorite FLOTUS here at, Michelle Obama, appeared on the zany ‘Jimmy Fallon Show’ last night! Along with the madcap skits, Jimmy did take time out to put a serious question to The Lady,

Later pilgrims…

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Amy Conton is a freelance writer and graphic designer living in New York, USA.


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