Thursday, January 18, 2018

The Dying Year

The Dying Year
by John Irving Pearce

Ring bells! oh, ring bells!
For the dying year-
Dawn cometh swiftly;
Death low-hovers near.

Wake! O ye echoes
Of the days long o'er!
Harbingers mytic
Of days now before.

Though many flowers
Ne'er can bloom again,
Though many hours might
Brighter far have been;

Weep not; Oh! weep not!
Other buds will come;
New loves will blossom
In some fairer home.

Let no regrettings
Mar the peaceful close;
Wrap in oblivion
All your weary woes.

Dream on; Oh, dream on!
Through the misty past,
Mingling hope's smiles with 
Mem'ry's tears at last

To The New Year

To The New Year
by L. Smith

My sweet New Year, I greet you!
Memory's broken toys
I leave with the Old Year--
You bring new life, new joys.

With outstretched hands I greet you!
Your breath is like the morn;
Your smiles cover memory--
Again new hopes are born.

With love I meet and greet you!
Give me your brave strong hand,
And lead me swiftly onward:
'T is dangerous here to stand.

The Old For The New

 The Old for the New
by L. Smith

QLD YEAR,  I've loved you well; too well;
And yet for you I shed no tear,
No more to you my secrets tell:
I 'II whisper them to this New Year;
And Oh, I know he'll do his part
And lock them close within his heart.

Old Year, again I say good-bye;
We've walked together, oh, so long!
You've caused me many and many a sigh,
Yet oft you've filled my heart with song.
This is the parting of the ways;
Good-bye to you, and all your days!

Monday, January 8, 2018

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Left, monument in Birmingham Alabama and
Right, monument in Washington D.C.
       Martin Luther King Jr. was born Michael King Jr., January 15, 1929  and died April 4, 1968. He was an American Baptist minister and activist who became the most visible spokesperson and leader in the civil rights movement. He is best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights using the tactics of nonviolence and civil disobedience based on his Christian beliefs and inspired by the nonviolent activism of Mahatma Gandhi.
       King became a civil rights activist early in his career. He led the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott and helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in 1957, serving as its first president. With the SCLC, he led an unsuccessful 1962 struggle against segregation in Albany, Georgia, and helped organize the 1963 nonviolent protests in Birmingham, Alabama. He also helped to organize the 1963 March on Washington, where he delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech.
       On October 14, 1964, King received the Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial inequality through nonviolent resistance. In 1965, he helped to organize the Selma to Montgomery marches, and the following year he and SCLC took the movement north to Chicago to work on segregated housing. In the final years of his life, he expanded his focus to include opposition towards poverty and the Vietnam War, alienating many of his liberal allies with a 1967 speech titled "Beyond Vietnam".
       In 1968, King was planning a national occupation of Washington, D.C., to be called the Poor People's Campaign, when he was assassinated by James Earl Ray on April 4 in Memphis, Tennessee. King's death was followed by riots in many U.S. cities.
       King was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal. Martin Luther King Jr. Day was established as a holiday in numerous cities and states beginning in 1971, and as a U.S. federal holiday in 1986. Hundreds of streets in the U.S. have been renamed in his honor, and a county in Washington State was also renamed for him. The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., was dedicated in 2011.
Civil Rights Artifacts:
Civil Rights Links:

Emancipation Proclamation

       The Emancipation Proclamation is a state paper issued by President Lincoln, January 1, 1863, by which all slaves in the states or parts of states actually engaged in rebellion and unrepresented in Congress, or not in possession of the Union armies, were declared free. It was justified as a "fit and necessary war measure" and had been contemplated by Lincoln for many months. When, in September, 1862, Lee was checked at the Battle of Antietam, Lincoln issued a preliminary statement announcing his intention of declaring the slaves free on January 1rst if the South in the meantime did not return to the Union. The final proclamation did not legally abolish slavery, but abolition was made effective by the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution.

Emancipation Proclamation by Lincoln.

Reproduction of the Emancipation Proclamation at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Ohio

"Free At Last" Hymn

Way down yonder in the graveyard walk,
I thank God I'm free at last,
Me and my Jesus goin' to meet and talk
I thank God I'm free at last, O [Refrain]

Free at last, free at last;
I thank God I'm free at last;
Free at last, Free at last,
I thank God I'm free at O
Free at last, free at last;
I thank God I'm free at last;
Free at last, Free at last,
I thank God I'm free at last.

Ona my knees when the light passed by,
I thank God I'm free at last.
Thought my soul would rise and fly
I thank God I'm free at last, O [Refrain]

Some of these mornings, bright and fair,
I thank God I'm free at last,
Goin' meet King Jesus in the air,
I thank God I'm free at last, O [Refrain]

Folk Songs of the American Negro (No. 1), 1907

"This is Joyful Noise, a gospel acapella group in the DC Metro area"

"I Have a Dream..." Speech

       "I Have a Dream" is a public speech delivered by American civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on August 28, 1963, in which he calls for an end to racism in the United States and called for civil and economic rights. Delivered to over 250,000 civil rights supporters from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., the speech was a defining moment of the civil rights movement.
       Beginning with a reference to the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed millions of slaves in 1863, King observes that: "one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free" Toward the end of the speech, King departed from his prepared text for a partly improvised peroration on the theme "I have a dream", prompted by Mahalia Jackson's cry: "Tell them about the dream, Martin!" In this part of the speech, which most excited the listeners and has now become its most famous, King described his dreams of freedom and equality arising from a land of slavery and hatred. Jon Meacham writes that, "With a single phrase, Martin Luther King Jr. joined Jefferson and Lincoln in the ranks of men who've shaped modern America". The speech was ranked the top American speech of the 20th century in a 1999 poll of scholars of public address.
"I Have a Dream Speech" from August 28, 1963

       King delivered a 17-minute speech, later known as "I Have a Dream." In the speech's most famous passage—in which he departed from his prepared text, possibly at the prompting of Mahalia Jackson, who shouted behind him, "Tell them about the dream!"King said:
I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.'
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today.
       "I Have a Dream" came to be regarded as one of the finest speeches in the history of American oratory. The March, and especially King's speech, helped put civil rights at the top of the agenda of reformers in the United States and facilitated passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Arbor Day

Portrait if Birdsey Northop.
       The first American Arbor Day was originated in Nebraska City, Nebraska, U.S., by J. Sterling Morton. On April 10, 1872, an estimated one million trees were planted in Nebraska. Birdsey Northrop of Connecticut was responsible for globalizing it when he visited Japan in 1883 and delivered his Arbor Day and Village Improvement message. In that same year, the American Forestry Association made Northrop the Chairman of the committee to campaign for Arbor Day nationwide. He also brought his enthusiasm for Arbor Day to Australia, Canada, and Europe.
       Arbor Day was a day designed by legislative enactment in many states for the voluntary planting of trees by the people. It was inaugurated in 1874 by the Nebraska state board of agriculture, at the suggestion of J. Morton, afterwards Secretary of Agriculture in President Cleveland's second administration. 
       Arbor Day is observed late in April or early in May in many countries other than the United States, around the world during the warm planting months. 
"A people without children would face a hopeless future; a country without trees is almost as hopeless; forests which are so used that they cannot renew themselves will soon vanish, and with them all their benefits. A true forest is not merely a storehouse full of wood, but, as it were, a factory  of wood, and at the same time a reservoir of water. When you help to preserve our forests or plant new ones you are acting the part of good citizens. The value of forestry deserves, therefore, to be taught in the schools, which aim to make good citizens of you. If your Arbor Day exercises help you to realize what benefits each one of you receives from the forests, and how by your assistance these benefits may continue, they will serve a good end."

Theodore Roosevelt.
The White House, April 15, 1907. 

Arbor Day Artifacts:
Art Projects for Arbor Day:
History And Observance: 

The Planting Of The Apple Tree

The Planting Of The Apple Tree
by William Cullen Bryant

Come, let us plant the apple-tree!
Cleave the tough greensward with the spade;
Wide let its hollow bed be made;
There gently lay the roots, and there
Sift the dark mold with kindly care,
And press it o'er them tenderly,
As round the sleeping infant's feet
We softly fold the cradle-sheet;
So plant we the apple-tree.

What plant we in this apple-tree?
Buds which the breath of summer days
Shall lengthen into leafy sprays;
Boughs where the thrush, with crimson breast,
Shall haunt, and sing, and hide her nest;
We plant upon the sunny lea
A shadow for the noontide hour,
A shelter from the summer shower,
When we plant the apple-tree.

What plant we in this apple-tree ?
Sweets for a hundred flowery springs
To load the May-wind's restless wings,
When from the orchard-row he pours
Its fragrance through our open doors;
A world of blossoms for the bee,
Flowers for the sick girl's silent room,
For the glad infant sprigs of bloom,
We plant with the apple-tree.

What plant we in this apple-tree?
Fruits that shall swell in sunny June,
And redden in the August noon,
And drop when gentle airs come by.
That fan the blue September sky;
While children, wild with noisy glee,
Shall scent their fragrance as they pass
And search for them the tufted grass
At the foot of the apple-tree.

And when above this apple tree
The winter stars are quivering bright.
And winds go howling through the night,
Girls, whose young eyes o'erflow with mirth.
Shall peel its fruit by the cottage hearth;
And guests in prouder homes shall see,
Heaped with the orange and the grape.
As fair as they in tint and shape.
The fruit of the apple-tree.

The fruitage of this apple-tree,
Winds, and our flag of stripe and star,
Shall bear to coasts that lie afar,
Where men shall wonder at the view,
And ask in what fair groves they grew:
And they who roam beyond the sea
Shall think of childhood's careless day,
And long hours passed in summer play
In the shade of the apple-tree.

Each year shall give this apple-tree
A broader flush of roseate bloom,
A deeper maze of verdurous gloom,
And loosen, when the frost-clouds lower.
The crisp brown leaves in thicker shower.
The years shall come and pass; but we
Shall hear no longer, where we lie,
The summer's songs, the autumn's sigh,
In the boughs of the apple-tree.

But time shall waste this apple-tree.
Oh, when its aged branches throw
Thin shadows on the ground below,
Shall fraud and force and iron will
Oppress the weak and helpless still ?
What shall the task of mercy be.
Amid the toils, the strifes, the tears
Of those who live when length of years
Is wasting this apple-tree?

"Who planted this old apple-tree?"
The children of that distant day
Thus to some aged man shall say;
And, gazing on its mossy stem,
The gray-haired man shall answer them:
"A poet of the land was he,
Born in the rude but good old times;
'Tis said he made some quaint old rhymes
On planting the apple-tree."

He Who Plants An Oak

       He who plants an oak looks forward to future ages, and plants for posterity. Nothing can be less selfish than this. He cannot expect to sit in its shade nor enjoy its shelter; but he exults in the idea that the acorn which he has buried in the earth shall grow up into a lofty pile, and shall keep on flourishing and increasing, and benefiting mankind long after he shall have ceased to tread his paternal fields. The oak, in the pride and lustihood of its growth, seems to me to take its range with the lion and the eagle, and to assimilate, in the grandeur of its attributes, to heroic and intellectual man.
       With its mighty pillar rising straight and direct toward heaven, bearing up its leafy honors from the impurities of earth, and supporting them aloft in free air and glorious sunshine, it is an emblem of what a true nobleman should be; a refuge for the weak - a shelter for the oppressed - a defense for the defenseless; warding off from them the peltings of the storm, or the scorching rays of arbitrary power. by Washington Irving.

Arbor Day

       Our modern institution - Arbor Day - is a public acknowledgement of our dependence upon the soil of the earth for our daily, our annual, bread. In recognition of the same fact the Emperor of China annually plows a furrow with his own hand, and in the same significance are the provisions in the ancient law of Moses, to give the land its seven-year Sabbath, as well as to man his seventh day for  rest and recreation. Our observance is a better one, because it calls on all, and especially on the impressible learners in the schools to join in the duty which we owe to the earth and to all mankind,  of doing what each of us can to preserve the soil's fertility, and to prevent, as long as possible, the  earth, from which we have our being, from becoming worn out and wholly bald and bare. And we  do this by planting of any sort, if only by making two blades of grass grow where but one grew before, and by learning to preserve vegetation. We give solemnity to this observance by joining in it on an appointed day, high and low, old and young, together.

A Hymn For Arbor Day

By Henry Hanby Hay
(To be sung by schools to the tune of "America")

God save this tree we plant!
And to all nature grant
Sunshine and rain.
Let not its branches fade,
Save it from axe and spade.
Save it for joyful shade -
Guarding the plain.

When it is ripe to fall,
Neighbored by trees as tall,
Shape it for good.
Shape it to bench and stool,
Shape it to square and rule,
Shape it for home and school,
God bless the wood.

Lord of the earth and sea,
Prosper our planted tree.
Save with Thy might.
Save us from indolence,
Waste and improvidence.
And in Thy excellence.
Lead us aright.