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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Oct. 17, 2013/ 13 Mar-Cheshvan, 5774

Henry Louis Gates returns with 'The African Americans'

By Cal Thomas




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Can something as tragic and immoral as slavery become, if not less tragic, then noble, even righteous, in the telling? It can and it does in the capable hands of Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., whose brilliant and compelling new six-part series for PBS called "The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross" premieres Oct. 22 (check local listings).

Gates, whose previous series, "African American Lives," chronicled the heritage of some famous and notable African Americans, takes us on a new journey that begins 500 years ago. While some of the history is familiar, Gates re-tells it in a way that will sound new to many people, especially the young. What I admire most about Gates' approach in this series and the previous one is that he is not a polemicist. He doesn't dwell on blame so much as he conveys documented history, leaving it to viewers to draw their own conclusions.

What many will find shocking is that the first slave traders were Africans who, Gates says, based their prejudices on "ethnic differences" while using "brute power." In episode one, Gates takes us to Sierra Leone where "300,000 Africans were taken." It was only the beginning.



When Europeans entered the slave trade, they deprived their slaves of last names, making family roots difficult to trace, making self-identity all but impossible. Slaves were considered chattel, not people; a commodity, no more significant than a mule, a plow, a wagon or a sack of cottonseed. As such, nothing but the most basic of identifiers was necessary.

One woman in the series, "Priscilla," had a family tree, chiefly because her "master," John Ball, who owned several plantations in South Carolina, kept meticulous records. Priscilla was taken from Sierra Leone at age 10 and purchased by John Ball of Charleston. A descendant, Edward Ball, shows Gates those records. Gates interviews a descendant of Priscilla. It is a rarity, he notes, for African Americans today to trace their ancestry in an unbroken line back to Africa.

At least two character qualities come through in this series: determination and hope. African slaves and their descendants never lost their vision that freedom and opportunity were possible, if not for them, then for those who came after them. Lynchings in the South occurred almost daily. During the Civil War, Confederate soldiers were permitted to hunt and kill any runaway slave who joined the Union Army. Despite this, slaves never lost hope of a better future.

"Hope brought these people through," says Gates. "Love and family would be their brick and mortar."

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What has happened to that courage and motivation?

This film series should be required viewing for every African American, especially students. For those who are trapped in cycles of poverty, out-of-wedlock births and absentee fathers, incarceration and violence, someone should ask them: Do you think your ancestors would be proud of you? Did they sacrifice in order for you to sell drugs and behave irresponsibly? Did they die in bondage so that you could squander the freedom you enjoy by becoming slaves to other things?

Just as the Great Wall of China was built with forced labor, so was much of America, including the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. "America probably would not have a culture if it weren't for black people," says one interviewee.

"The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross" will serve as an eye-opener for many of us. It should also send the message that despite any leftover discrimination from the past, African Americans face nothing today that approaches what their ancestors endured. If they overcame, then African Americans today can too.

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Cal Thomas Archives

JWR contributor Cal Thomas is co-author with Bob Beckel, a liberal Democratic Party strategist, of "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America". Comment by clicking here.

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