Sunday, January 1

143 years ago today

Today's the last day of Kwanzaa and the last day of Hanukkah (this year, anyway). I guess it's time to prep for the next holiday, about two weeks away: Martin Luther King Jr's birthday.

Whenever I drive to downtown Dallas on 75-Central Expressway, I pass the Dallas Freedmen's Cemetery, although I haven't stopped for a visit - yet. I vaguely recall stories about this in the local newspaper, after I moved to Dallas (1993). Freedmen is a generic term used after The Rebellion (Civil War, etc.) to describe freed slaves. New to me: the Confiscation Act of 1862 preceeded Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation (143 years ago today).

While seeking information on Dallas Freedmen's Cemetery, I found a reference to the Texas Black Codes, which were enacted after The Rebellion and before the Jim Crow era (the Radical Republicans of the 1860s are extremely different than the Radical Republicans of the Bush regime). About 16 months ago, I mentioned the item in my own Deed Restrictions (dated June 1961, before JFK's assasination):
All of said property shall be occupied and used for residence purposes only and by white persons only, not excluding bona fide servants of any race in the employ of the owners or occupants of the tracts respectively owned or occupied by them ...
It appears that Black Codes were common in 1865-1866, although I'm surprised at the term itself, since Negro (or even "colored person") was the common term in those days.

Now, 140 years later, the modern Radical Republicans look back at those days with a tear in their eyes. Most (including Bill Frist, Tom DeLay, Rick Santorum and others of their ilk) have fond memories of the days when their families owned large number of non-voting Coloreds, who danced merrily around the campfire at night and didn't concern themselves with things like Equal Rights.

Completely unrelated: yesterday, Beta and I sat down and watched Death to Smoochy (2002) mainly because the cast includes Jon Stewart (of The Daily Show fame). My review: what a fine, fine motion picture. Like so many others, this makes Gone With The Wind (1939) pale in comparison.

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