Catching Up with Dr. Gerald Horne

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The Brecht Form, a “place for people working for social justice, equality and a new culture,” features a lecture by Dr. Gerald Horne, “The Counter-Revolution of 1776?

Live event tomorrow:

Double Book Party

Distinguished Professor Gerald Horne’s latest publications: Fighting In Paradise: Labor Unions, Racism, and Communists in the Making of Modern Hawaii (University of Hawaii Press) and Negro Comrades of the Crown: African Americans and the British Empire Fight the U.S. Before Emancipation (NYU Press)

Friday, January 13th. 68pm
25 Broadway, 7th floor. Directions: One block
from the 4, 5 Bowling Green Stop, and the R Rector Hall Stop.
Reception and book signing to follow book talk.

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Fighting In Paradise

Powerful labor movements played a critical role in shaping modern Hawaii, beginning in the 1930s, when International Longshore and Warehousemen’s Union (ILWU) representatives were dispatched to the islands to organize plantation and dock laborers. They were stunned by the feudal conditions they found in Hawaii, where the majority of workers–Hawaiian, Japanese, Chinese, and Filipino in origin–were routinely subjected to repression and racism at the hands of white bosses.

The wartime civil liberties crackdown brought union organizing to a halt; but as the war wound down, Hawaii workers’ frustrations boiled over, leading to an explosive success in the forming of unions. During the 1950s, just as the ILWU began a series of successful strikes and organizing drives, the union came under McCarthyite attacks and persecution. In the midst of these allegations, Hawaii’s bid for statehood was being challenged by powerful voices in Washington who claimed that admitting Hawaii to the union would be tantamount to giving the Kremlin two votes in the U.S. Senate, while Jim Crow advocates worried that Hawaii’s representatives would be enthusiastic supporters of pro-civil rights legislation.

Hawaii’s extensive social welfare system and the continuing power of unions to shape the state politically are a direct result of those troubled times. Based on exhaustive archival research in Hawaii, California, Washington, and elsewhere, Gerald Horne’s gripping story of Hawaii workers’ struggle to unionize reads like a suspense novel as it details for the first time how radicalism and racism helped shape Hawaii in the twentieth century.

Negro Comrades of the Crown

While it is well known that more Africans fought on behalf of the British than with the successful patriots of the American Revolution, Gerald Horne reveals in his latest work of historical recovery that after 1776, Africans and African-Americans continued to collaborate with Great Britain against the United States in battles big and small until the Civil War.

Many African Americans viewed Britain, an early advocate of abolitionism and emancipator of its own slaves, as a powerful ally in their resistance to slavery in the Americas. This allegiance was far-reaching, from the Caribbean to outposts in North America to Canada. In turn, the British welcomed and actively recruited both fugitive and free African Americans, arming them and employing them in military engagements throughout the Atlantic World, as the British sought to maintain a foothold in the Americas following the Revolution.

In this path-breaking book, Horne rewrites the history of slave resistance by placing it for the first time in the context of military and diplomatic wrangling between Britain and the United States. Painstakingly researched and full of revelations, Negro Comrades of the Crown is among the first book-length studies to highlight the Atlantic origins of the Civil War, and the active role played by African Americans within these external factors that led to it.

Mance Lipscomb Statue has been installed in Navasota

From Dr. Michael Birnbaum:

Dear Bryan:

I think you will be happy to learn that the statue of Mance Lipscomb 
has been completed and it has been installed in “Mance Lipscomb Park” 
in Navasota, Texas.

Here are some links from which you can see something of the dedication:

Here is a link to a YouTube video showing the unveiling and dedication 
of the Mance Lipscomb statue by sculptor, Sid Henderson.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V63AFa4iKDI

As you can see, the sculpture looks wonderful;  it was well received 
by the Lipscomb family and by the Blues fest organization.  Sid is the 
young man who unveils the sculpture.

Here is a link to the local newspaper’s article on the unveiling:

http://www.navasotaexaminer.com/news/article_4ef32c72-c379-11e0-884d-001cc4c002e0.html

I was very happy to see this project brought to successful 
completion.  Many people had to come together to rename the park, to 
agree to the plan, to raise the funds, and to see it through to 
completion.  We had to place our trust in a young artist to be able to 
complete this project successfully and he came through for us, working 
many long days to see that the bronze was properly cast, welded to 
reassemble the pieces, and patina finished.  The work was delivered on 
time so that the dedication happened on the morning of the first day 
of the annual Navasota Blues fest.  Some of the Lipscombs came from 
Houston and Dallas to attend the dedication, and of course, there were 
some people from the West coast and East coast who were there.  
Mance’s surviving son, John, is the man wearing the white hat, who 
also has quite a strong resemblance to Mance. He spoke at the 
dedication, as did one of Mance’s grandsons, Jimmy. The Lipscombs were 
very happy with the sculpture and the dedication.  I think this work 
will outlive those of us who remember Mance and help keep alive his 
history for those who come after us.

Best wishes,
Michael

Michael Birnbaum, PhD
Professor of Psychology and
Director,Decision Research Center, Fullerton
CSUF H-830M
Fullerton, CA 92834-6846

 

Related Links:

Michael Birnbaum on the Mance Lipscomb sculpture project

Sid Henderson: Mance Lipscomb Sculpture Project
Last month had wonderful news about Blues man and songster Mance Lipscomb from Dr. Michael Birnbaum:

Dear Folks interested in the Mance Lipscomb Sculpture project:

Here are pictures of the head of Mance Lipscomb in the sculpture as sent me by the sculptor, Sid Henderson. As you see below, he feels the work is now complete from his perspective.

He has asked for criticism and suggestions for improvement. If you have suggestions, please send them to me, and I will try to combine them with my own judgments and relay a summary to him.

I think that he as done an excellent job on the head and face, but I will have some adjustments to suggest. These will involve the eyelids, the veins on the sides of
the throat, tendons in the neck, and some other small changes. Mance had an interesting face that looked different from different angles, and his sculpture
similarly has these variations with viewing angle. I think photographers will enjoy taking pictures of the final work to see these effects.

I will also request that Sid send me some new pictures that include scenes that you have seen before, including the hands and the Harmony Sovereign guitar. It will help us to see
the complete picture, now that the head is finished, to see how the facial expression combines with the body posture and hand positions.

I would like to get some more input from you to make sure that we try to address anything that we can all agree on that should be changed before the next phase of the project
begins. The next phase, of course, is to construct the mold and cast it in bronze.This will require paying the foundry bill in advance. We are not quite ready for
that phase yet, but we are close. When I have heard from those concerned, I will forward the suggestions to him and work with him until I think it is ready and then
send it back to the main parties for a final approval before we trigger the next phase.

At the last Bluesfest in August, I got a report on the fund-raising for the project. I have sent an additional contribution since then, and I imagine that there have been other
recent contributions. Has the fundraising yet reached the level required to start the next phase of the project? How is the fund at this point? As I recall, you still needed about $18,000 as of last year to complete the whole project, except for the stone bench in Mance Lipscomb Park, by the little creek, where the sculpture will be seated.

Have you heard about that movie project that Mance’s grandaughter is trying to promote?

Included are some pictures of Mance to refresh your memory. These also show what the sculptor was working from. The last pictures below show the current version of the life-size sculpture.

Best wishes,
Michael

Related Links

What the hell does Microsoft litigation with some Canadian company have to do with my writing tools?

I’m sure I was wearing headphones with the sound going directly into my ears while Paul Thurrott in some episode of Windows Weekly mentioned in passing that “Microsoft complies with court, strips Word of custom XML.” It was a jury in Texas that decided that my digital life should be intimately disrupted as “Microsoft has issued updates for Word 2007 and Word 2003 that strip those applications of a feature that infringes on the patent of a tiny Canadian software company, i4i.” And I’m flippantly sure that Paul Thurrott said that this change will have an “insignificant” impact on whatever he continually says “whatever” about… so, speaking of bad comedy, here’s a picture from a previous post showing just how much I’m into “custom XML”:

One important finding of mine disagrees with the use of the word “strip” in sentences like:

So what do you do if you have custom XML in your Word documents? If you don’t use the custom XML, then there’s no problem, just open the files and Word will strip it out, leaving you the rest of the document. Same if your use can be switched to using another feature. You will lose your existing markers but otherwise can continue.

What’s actually happening (according to my copy of Word 2010) is that word is not altering the contents of my documents simply because it contains “custom XML.” This apparently “illegal” content is not displayed in Word 2010. The XML defining the “custom XML” is still stored in the document.

What this suggests (after many hours curled up on the floor sobbing, Why me!) is that the Open XML SDK can be used to reach those fragments of “custom XML”—once there one could:

  • Brutally copy the contents of the document (with a VSTO add-in) and paste it back into Word. This might coerce the “custom XML” tags to show again because (according to my copy of Word 2010) the commands and tools related to “custom XML” work as expected—you simply can’t display your work in a future editing session.
  • Stop using “custom XML” and use the Content Control instead. In “What is ‘Custom XML?’ … and the impact of the i4i judgment on Word,” this suggestion is made. The first subtle problem here is that Content Control visuals don’t appear in draft mode—which is my favorite mode to work in Word.
  • Assume that Microsoft will not let some judge in Texas and some company in Canada stop them from “innovating” with Word. It may take them years but they’ll come out with some kind of “embrace and extend” trick.

In the summer of 2009, Mary Jo Foley reported that Microsoft appealed the decision. Since I’m writing this very, very late to the party, clearly the appeal failed. In fact, in the winter of 2009 we find Tim Bray saying:

I see that Microsoft lost an appeal in the “Custom XML” litigation, and may be forced to disable that functionality in Microsoft Office. This is a short backgrounder explaining what “Custom XML” is about, and why nobody should care.

Hey, let’s drive this issue into the ground (deeper) with Stéphane Rodriguez (in 2008):

It’s interesting that Microsoft bloggers don’t even seem to be [embarrassed] by ridiculous expressions such as “Custom XML”. Custom XML is indeed just as silly as “Office Open XML” : the reason is X in XML already means Custom.

“Navasota Texas has renamed a park in honor of Mance Lipscomb”

Mance and Mike
This is a 1/31 email from Michael Birnbaum about blues great Mance Lipscomb:

Dear Bryan:

I thought that you might be interested to learn that Navasota Texas has renamed a park in honor of Mance Lipscomb.

This event shows that there is indeed some progress in the world, slow though it appears at times. In his lifetime, Mance would not have been allowed to enter a restaurant via the front door, but now there is an effort to erect a bronze statue of him in the park that has been renamed for him.

To see information about the statue project (which is currently raising funds for the statue), visit the Navasota Bluesfest Web site, and follow the links to the “Mance Lipscomb Sculpture” page.

http://navasotabluesfest.org/

A small model of the proposed statue is shown on the page that is soliciting donations. If you know people who might want to donate to this project, which should help preserve the memory of this worthy man, please pass this information along. The Bluesfest organization is nonprofit and does a great job of keeping track of all receipts and outlays. Every dollar donated for this work will go straight to this project. I have already donated enough for the sculptor’s fee, but funds are still needed to pay the foundry for the bronze casting, welding, and finishing.

Best wishes,
Michael

Michael Birnbaum, PhD
Professor of Psychology and
Director,Decision Research Center, Fullerton
CSUF H-830M