Tag Archives: Columbia

National Women’s Day: Bree Newsome

The confederate battle flag was not just the banner flown by an army fighting for the right to own black people, it was also the banner that was revived and waved by those who opposed desegregation and civil rights.Bree

In honor of the centennial celebration of the Civil War in 1961, South Carolina decided to raise the confederate battle flag over the state house. No black people were on the commission that made that decision.

Not only were they not on that commission, but South Carolina did not allow any black people to participate in their hosting of the national festivities. JFK tried to force the South Carolinians by moving the festivities to an integrated Navy base in Charleston, but the white people led a walk out and held their own official celebration in a segregated hotel. In that celebration Strom Thurmond gave a speech saying integration was evil and that the US Constitution never promised racial equality.

That is when that flag went up on the South Carolina capitol building. Black people (and some allies) have been asking for that flag to come down ever since. Those in authority continually refused.

On June 17th, 2015 a white supremacist murdered 9 black worshipers in a Charleston church. In the subsequent outcry against violent racism, there was some talk of the flag coming down. Those in authority thought they might allow it.

On June 27, 2015 a full 54 years after that flag went up, a black woman named Bree Newsome climbed the 30 foot flag pole and tore the flag down in defiance of the police who waited below to arrest her. She refused to wait for some democratic action to recognize her humanity when God had granted it from birth.

She was of course arrested when she came back down.

On July 9th the SC House of Representatives voted to remove the confederate battle flag in some seemingly gracious act of conciliation. It was an act that came not only 23 days too late, but 54 years overdue.

Bree, in her act of theater, gave America a symbol illustrating  bravery and self determination in blackness.

Here is my nod to you Bree Newsome.2

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Growing Ivy, Columbia; Little Sprigs

Columbia University was founded in 1754 in New York City.  Since that time the school has produced 4 U.S. presidents, 15 Heads of foreign countries, 94 Nobel Prize winners, 101 Pulitzer Prize winners, and 1 undersized capitalist named Alexander Hamilton.  In the spirit of undersized overachievers, I brought my children along.  

Daughterhammas 2.0 and Daughterhammas 1.0 respectively.

 

Unlike other Ivies, Columbia is deep in the heart of urban hustle and bustle.  Its gilded towers of ivory are well overshadowed by towers of glass and steel.  Because of this, it is easy to forget the schools pre Revolution past, or better yet, it is easy to forget the school all together.  To help remedy this, the school was sure to have a stop on the red line named after it, along with the number they felt best describes the schools appropriate ranking.  

Take the red #1 to 116th.

 

Nobels and Pulitzers are what any child should aspire to and fortunately the Columbia Bookstore is on board with early recruiting efforts.  

Banners and stuffed animals... start 'em young.

 

Now lest one get the idea that this school is a mere blip on Gotham’s radar, it does possess all the architectural grandeur and flourishes of ironwork that all its peers posses. 

the Columbia campus

 

the Gates to Columbia's Barnard College.

 

Despite all this, the school is still not the tourist attraction that that other school up north in Beentown is.  Maybe it’s because right next door is this: 

Good luck finding Waldo here.

 

Now perhaps I jest too much.  It’s in my nature, a native cheery temperment, but this school is in fact not a joke.  I know it’s not a joke by the price of both the schools parking and its parking tickets.  In the name of sustainability the institution is stamping out both cars and tourists. 

What it isn’t stamping out is what a true education should be.  I know this not because I attended, but by this illustrative gem I found. 

the Columbia Man 1902

 

Not only is the Columbia man a natty dresser, but anyone associated with a true gentleman’s game would easily recognize the passing form of the athlete depicted directly to the right of the young man. 

Yes, it always comes back to that.

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