July 5, 1852

Mr. President, Friends and Fellow Citizens

Fellow-citizens, I shall not presume to dwell at length on the associations that cluster about

this day. The simple story of it is, that, 76 years ago, the people of this country were British

subjects. The style and title of your “sovereign people” (in which you now glory) was not then

born. You were under the British Crown. Your fathers esteemed the English Government as

the home government and England as the fatherland. This home government, you know,

although a considerable distance from your home, did, in the exercise of its parental

prerogatives, impose upon its colonial children, such restraints, burdens and limitations, as, in

its mature judgment, it deemed wise, right and proper.

But, your fathers, who had not adopted the fashionable idea of this day, of the infallibility of

government, and the absolute character of its acts, presumed to differ from the home

government in respect to the wisdom and the justice of some of those burdens and restraints.

They went so far in their excitement as to pronounce the measures of government unjust,

unreasonable, and oppressive, and altogether such as ought not to be quietly submitted to. I

scarcely need say, fellow-citizens, that my opinion of those measures fully accords with that of

your fathers. Such a declaration of agreement on my part, would not be worth much to

anybody. It would, certainly, prove nothing, as to what part I might have taken, had I lived

during the great controversy of 1776. To say now that America was right, and England wrong,

is exceedingly easy. Everybody can say it; the dastard, not less than the noble brave, can

flippantly discant on the tyranny of England towards the American Colonies. It is fashionable

to do so; but there was a time when, to pronounce against England, and in favor of the cause

of the colonies, tried men’s souls. They who did so were accounted in their day, plotters of

mischief, agitators and rebels, dangerous men. To side with the right, against the wrong, with

the weak against the strong, and with the oppressed against the oppressor! here lies the

merit, and the one which, of all others, seems un fashionable in our day. The cause of liberty

may be stabbed by the men who glory in the deeds of your fathers. But, to proceed.

Feeling themselves harshly and unjustly treated, by the home government, your fathers, like

men of honesty, and men of spirit, earnestly sought redress. They petitioned and

remonstrated; they did so in a decorous, respectful, and loyal manner. Their conduct was

wholly unexceptionable. This, however, did not answer the purpose. They saw themselves

treated with sovereign indifference, coldness and scorn. Yet they persevered. They were not

the men to look back.

As the sheet anchor takes a firmer hold, when the ship is tossed by the storm, so did the

cause of your fathers grow stronger, as it breasted the chilling blasts of kingly displeasure.

The greatest and best of British statesmen admitted its justice, and the loftiest eloquence of

the British Senate came to its support. But, with that blindness which seems to be the

unvarying characteristic of tyrants, since Pharaoh and his hosts were drowned in the Red sea,

the British Government persisted in the exactions complained of.

The madness of this course, we believe, is admitted now, even by England; but, we fear the

lesson is wholly lost on our present rulers.

Oppression makes a wise man mad. Your fathers were wise men, and if they did not go mad,

they became restive under this treatment. They felt themselves the victims of grievous

wrongs, wholly incurable in their colonial capacity. With brave men there is always a remedy

for oppression. Just here, the idea of a total separation of the colonies from the crown was

born! It was a startling idea, much more so, than we, at this distance of time, regard it. The

timid and the prudent (as has been intimated) of that day, were, of course, shocked and

alarmed by it.

Such people lived then, had lived before, and will, probably, ever have a place on this planet;

and their course, in respect to any great change, (no matter how great the good to be

attained, or the wrong to be redressed by it,) may be calculated with as much precision as can

be the course of the stars. They hate all changes, but silver, gold and copper change! Of this

sort of change they are always strongly in favor.

These people were called tories in the days of your fathers; and the appellation, probably,

conveyed the same idea that is meant by a more modern, though a somewhat less

euphonious term, which we often find in our papers, applied to some of our old politicians.

Their opposition to the then dangerous thought was earnest and powerful; but, amid all their

terror and affrighted vociferations against it, the alarming and revolutionary idea moved on,

and the country with it.

On the 2d of July, 1776, the old Continental Congress, to the dismay of the lovers of ease, and

the worshippers of property, clothed that dreadful idea with all the authority of national

sanction. They did so in the form of a resolution; and as we seldom hit upon resolutions,

drawn up in our day, whose transparency is at all equal to this, it may refresh your minds and

help my story if I read it.

Resolved, That these united colonies are, and of right, ought to be free and Independent

States; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown; and that all political

connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, dissolved.

Citizens, your fathers Made good that resolution. They succeeded; and today you reap the

fruits of their success. The freedom gained is yours; and you, therefore, may properly

celebrate this anniversary. The 4th of July is the first great fact in your nation’s history—the

very ring-bolt in the chain of your yet undeveloped destiny.

Pride and patriotism, not less than gratitude, prompt you to celebrate and to hold it in

perpetual remembrance. I have said that the Declaration of Independence is the RINGBOLT to

the chain of your nation’s destiny; so, indeed, I regard it. The principles contained in that

instrument are saving principles. Stand by those principles, be true to them on all occasions,

in all places, against all foes, and at whatever cost.

From the round top of your ship of state, dark and threatening clouds may be seen. Heavy

billows, like mountains in the distance, disclose to the leeward huge forms of flinty rocks! That

bolt drawn, that chain, broken, and all is lost. Cling to this day—cling to it, and to its

principles, with the grasp of a storm-tossed mariner to a spar at midnight.

The coining into being of a nation, in any circumstances, is an interesting event. But, besides

general considerations, there were peculiar circumstances which make the advent of this

republic an event of special attractiveness.

The whole scene, as I look back to it, was simple, dignified and sublime.

The population of the country, at the time, stood at the insignificant number of three millions.

The country was poor in the munitions of war. The population was weak and scattered, and

the country a wilderness unsubdued. There were then no means of concert and combination,

such as exist now. Neither steam nor lightning had then been reduced to order and discipline.

From the Potomac to the Delaware was a journey of many days. Under these, and

innumerable other disadvantages, your fathers declared for liberty and independence and


Fellow Citizens, I am not wanting in respect for the fathers of this republic. The signers of the

Declaration of Independence were brave men. They were great men too—great enough to give

fame to a great age. It does not often happen to a nation to raise, at one time, such a number

of truly great men. The point from which I am compelled to view them is not, certainly the

most favorable; and yet I cannot contemplate their great deeds with less than admiration.

They were statesmen, patriots and heroes, and for the good they did, and the principles they

contended for, I will unite with you to honor their memory.

They loved their country better than their own private interests; and, though this is not the

highest form of human excellence, all will concede that it is a rare virtue, and that when it is

exhibited, it ought to command respect. He who will, intelligently, lay down his life for his

country, is a man whom it is not in human nature to despise. Your fathers staked their lives,

their fortunes, and their sacred honor, on the cause of their country. In their admiration of

liberty, they lost sight of all other interests.

They were peace men; but they preferred revolution to peaceful submission to bondage. They

were quiet men; but they did not shrink from agitating against oppression. They showed

forbearance; but that they knew its limits. They believed in order; but not in the order of

tyranny. With them, nothing was “settled” that was not right. With them, justice, liberty and

humanity were “final;” not slavery and oppression. You may well cherish the memory of such

men. They were great in their day and generation. Their solid manhood stands out the more

as we contrast it with these degenerate times.

How circumspect, exact and proportionate were all their movements! How unlike the

politicians of an hour! Their statesmanship looked beyond the passing moment, and stretched

away in strength into the distant future. They seized upon eternal principles, and set a

glorious example in their defence. Mark them!

Fully appreciating the hardships to be encountered, firmly believing in the right of their cause,

honorably inviting the scrutiny of an on-looking world, reverently appealing to heaven to

attest their sincerity, soundly comprehending the solemn responsibility they were about to

assume, wisely measuring the terrible odds against them, your fathers, the fathers of this

republic, did, most deliberately, under the inspiration of a glorious patriotism, and with a

sublime faith in the great principles of justice and freedom, lay deep, the corner-stone of the

national super-structure, which has risen and still rises in grandeur around you.

Of this fundamental work, this day is the anniversary. Our eyes are met with demonstrations

of joyous enthusiasm. Banners and penants wave exultingly on the breeze. The din of

business, too, is hushed. Even mammon seems to have quitted his grasp on this day. The ear-

piercing fife and the stirring drum unite their accents with the ascending peal of a thousand

church bells. Prayers are made, hymns are sung, and sermons are preached in honor of this

day; while the quick martial tramp of a great and multitudinous nation, echoed back by all the

hills, valleys and mountains of a vast continent, bespeak the occasion one of thrilling and

universal interest—a nation’s jubilee.

Friends and citizens, I need not enter further into the causes which led to this anniversary.

Many of you understand them better than I do. You could instruct me in regard to them. That

is a branch of knowledge in which you feel, perhaps, a much deeper interest than your

speaker. The causes which led to the separation of the colonies from the British crown have

never lacked for a tongue. They have all been taught in your common schools, narrated at

your firesides, unfolded from your pulpits, and thundered from your legislative halls, and are

as familiar to you as household words. They form the staple of your national poetry and


I remember, also, that, as a people, Americans are remarkably familiar with all facts which

make in in their own favor. This is esteemed by some as a national trait—perhaps a national

weakness. It is a fact, that whatever makes for the wealth or for the reputation of Americans,

and can be had cheap! will be found by Americans. I shall not be charged with slandering

Americans, if I say I think the Americans can side of any question may be safely left in

American hands.

I leave, therefore, the great deeds of your fathers to other gentlemen whose claim to have

been regularly descended will be less likely to be disputed than mine!

The Present

My business, if I have any here today, is with the present. The accepted time with God and his

cause is the ever-living now.

“Trust no future, however pleasant, Let the dead past bury its dead; Act, act in the living

present, Heart within, and God overhead.”

We have to do with the past only as we can make it useful to the present and to the future. To

all inspiring motives, to noble deeds which can be gained from the past, we are welcome. But

now is the time, the important time. Your fathers have lived, died, and have done their work,

and have done much of it well. You live and must die, and you must do your work. You have

no right to enjoy a child’s share in the labor of your fathers, unless your children are to be

blest by your labors. You have no right to wear out and waste the hard-earned fame of your

fathers to cover your indolence. Sydney Smith tells us that men seldom eulogize the wisdom

and virtues of their fathers, but to excuse some folly or wickedness of their own. This truth is

not a doubtful one. There are illustrations of it near and remote, ancient and modern. It was

fashionable, hundreds of years ago, for the children of Jacob to boast, we have “Abraham to

our father,” when they had long lost Abraham’s faith and spirit. That people contented

themselves under the shadow of Abraham’s great name, while they repudiated the deeds

which made his name great. Need I remind you that a similar thing is being done all over this

country today? Need I tell you that the Jews are not the only people who built the tombs of

the prophets, and garnished the sepulchres of the righteous? Washington could not die till he

had broken the chains of his slaves. Yet his monument is built up by the price of human blood,

and the traders in the bodies and souls of men, shout, “We have Washington to ‘our father.’

Alas! that it should be so; yet so it is.

“The evil that men do, lives after them, The good is oft interred with their bones.”

Fellow-citizens, pardon me, allow me to ask, why am I called upon to speak here today? What

have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? Are the great principles

of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence,

extended to us? and am I, therefore, called upon to bring our humble offering to the national

altar, and to confess the benefits and express devout gratitude for the blessings resulting from

your independence to us?

Would to God, both for your sakes and ours, that an affirmative answer could be truthfully

returned to these questions! Then would my task be light, and my burden easy and delightful.

For who is there so cold, that a nation’s sympathy could not warm him? Who so obdurate and

dead to the claims of gratitude, that would not thankfully acknowledge such priceless benefits?

Who so stolid and selfish, that would not give his voice to swell the hallelujahs of a nation’s

jubilee, when the chains of servitude had been torn from his limbs? I am not that man. In a

case like that, the dumb might eloquently speak, and the “lame man leap as an hart.”

But, such is not the state of the case. I say it with a sad sense of the disparity between us. I

am not included within the pale of this glorious anniversary! Your high independence only

reveals the immeasurable distance between us. The blessings in which you, this day, rejoice,

are not enjoyed in common. The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity and

independence, bequeathed by your fathers, is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that

brought life and healing to you, has brought stripes and death to me. This Fourth July is yours,

not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated

temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery

and sacrilegious irony. Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak today? If

so, there is a parallel to your conduct. And let me warn you that it is dangerous to copy the

example of a nation whose crimes, towering up to heaven, were thrown down by the breath of

the Almighty, burying that nation in irrecoverable ruin! I can today take up the plaintive

lament of a peeled and woe-smitten people!

“By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down. Yea! we wept when we remembered Zion. We

hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there, they that carried us away

captive, required of us a song; and they who wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us

one of the songs of Zion. How can we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land? If I forget thee,

O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue

cleave to the roof of my mouth.”

Fellow citizens; above your national, tumultuous joy, I hear the mournful wail of millions!

whose chains, heavy and grievous yesterday, are, today, rendered more intolerable by the

jubilee shouts that reach them. If I do forget, if I do not faithfully remember those bleeding

children of sorrow this day, “may my right hand forget her cunning, and may my tongue

cleave to the roof of my mouth!” To forget them, to pass lightly over their wrongs, and to

chime in with the popular theme, would be treason most scandalous and shocking, and would

make me a reproach before God and the world. My subject, then, fellow-citizens, is AMERICAN

SLAVERY. I shall see, this day, and its popular characteristics, from the slave’s point of view.

Standing, there, identified with the American bondman, making his wrongs mine, I do not

hesitate to declare, with all my soul, that the character and conduct of this nation never

looked blacker to me than on this 4th of July! Whether we turn to the declarations of the past,

or to the professions of the present, the conduct of the nation seems equally hideous and

revolting. America is false to the past, false to the present, and solemnly binds herself to be

false to the future. Standing with God and the crushed and bleeding slave on this occasion, I

will, in the name of humanity which is outraged, in the name of liberty which is fettered, in the

name of the constitution and the Bible, which are disregarded and trampled upon, dare to call

in question and to denounce, with all the emphasis I can command, everything that serves to

perpetuate slavery—the great sin and shame of America! “I will not equivocate; I will not

excuse;” I will use the severest language I can command; and yet not one word shall escape

me that any man, whose judgment is not blinded by prejudice, or who is not at heart a

slaveholder, shall not confess to be right and just.

But I fancy I hear some one of my audience say, it is just in this circumstance that you and

your brother abolitionists fail to make a favorable impression on the public mind. Would you

argue more, and denounce less, would you persuade more, and rebuke less, your cause would

be much more likely to succeed. But, I submit where all is plain there is nothing to be argued.

What point in the anti-slavery creed would you have me argue? On what branch of the subject

do the people of this country need light? Must I undertake to prove that the slave is a man?

That point is conceded already. Nobody doubts it. The slave-holders themselves acknowledge

it in the enactment of laws for their government. They acknowledge it when they punish

disobedience on the part of the slave. There are seventy-two crimes in the State of Virginia,

which, if committed by a black man (no matter how ignorant he be), subject him to the

punishment of death; while only two of the same crimes will subject a white man to the like

punishment. What is this but the acknowledgement that the slave is a moral, intellectual and

responsible being. The manhood of the slave is conceded. It is admitted in the fact that

Southern statute books are covered with enactments forbidding, under severe fines and

penalties, the teaching of the slave to read or to write. When you can point to any such laws,

in reference to the beasts of the field, then I may consent to argue the manhood of the slave.

When the dogs in your streets, when the fowls of the air, when the cattle on your hills, when

the fish of the sea, and the reptiles that crawl, shall be unable to distinguish the slave from a

brute, then will I argue with you that the slave is a man .

For the present, it is enough to affirm the equal manhood of the negro race. Is it not

astonishing that, while we are ploughing, planting and reaping, using all kinds of mechanical

tools, erecting houses, constructing bridges, building ships, working in metals of brass, iron,

copper, silver and gold; that, while we are reading, writing and cyphering, acting as clerks,

merchants and secretaries, having among us lawyers, doctors, ministers, poets, authors,

editors, orators and teachers; that, while we are engaged in all manner of enterprises

common to other men, digging gold in California, capturing the whale in the Pacific, feeding

sheep and cattle on the hillside, living, moving, acting, thinking, planning, living in families as

husbands, wives and children, and, above all, confessing and worshipping the Christian’s God,

and looking hopefully for life and immortality beyond the grave, we are called upon to prove

that we are men!

Would you have me argue that man is entitled to liberty? that he is the rightful owner of his

own body? You have already declared it. Must I argue the wrongfulness of slavery? Is that a

question for Republicans? Is it to be settled by the rules of logic and argumentation, as a

matter beset with great difficulty, involving a doubtful application of the principle of justice,

hard to be understood? How should I look today, in the presence of Americans, dividing, and

subdividing a discourse, to show that men have a natural right to freedom? speaking of it

relatively, and positively, negatively, and affirmatively. To do so, would be to make myself

ridiculous, and to offer an insult to your understanding. There is not a man beneath the

canopy of heaven, that does not know that slavery is wrong for him.

What, am I to argue that it is wrong to make men brutes, to rob them of their liberty, to work

them without wages, to keep them ignorant of their relations to their fellow men, to beat them

with sticks, to flay their flesh with the lash, to load their limbs with irons, to hunt them with

dogs, to sell them at auction, to sunder their families, to knock out their teeth, to burn their

flesh, to starve them into obedience and submission to their masters? Must I argue that a

system thus marked with blood, and stained with pollution, is wrong? No I will not. I have

better employment for my time and strength, than such arguments would imply.

What, then, remains to be argued? Is it that slavery is not divine; that God did not establish

it; that our doctors of divinity are mistaken? There is blasphemy in the thought. That which is

inhuman, cannot be divine! Who can reason on such a proposition? They that can, may; I

cannot. The time for such argument is past.

At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed. O! had I the ability,

and could I reach the nation’s ear, I would, to day, pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule,

blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke. For it is not light that is needed, but

fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the

earthquake. The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must

be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be

exposed; and its crimes against God and man must be proclaimed and denounced.

What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more

than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant

victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your

national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your

denunciations of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow

mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious

parade, and solemnity, are, to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy—

a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation

on the earth guilty of practices, more shocking and bloody, than are the people of these

United States, at this very hour.

Go where you may, search where you will, roam through all the monarchies and despotisms of

the old world, travel through South America, search out every abuse, and when you have

found the last, lay your facts by the side of the every day practices of this nation, and you will

say with me, that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a


The Internal Slave Trade

Take the American slave-trade, which we are told by the papers, is especially prosperous just

now. Ex-Senator Benton tells us that the price of men was never higher than now. He

mentions the fact to show that slavery is in no danger. This trade is one of the peculiarities of

American institutions. It is carried on in all the large towns and cities in one half of this

confederacy; and millions are pocketed every year, by dealers in this horrid traffic. In several

states, this trade is a chief source of wealth. It is called (in contradistinction to the foreign

slave-trade) “the internal slave-trade.” It is, probably, called so, too, in order to divert from it

the horror with which the foreign slave-trade is contemplated. That trade has long since been

denounced by this government, as piracy. It has been denounced with burning words, from

the high places of the nation, as an execrable traffic. To arrest it, to put an end to it, this

nation keeps a squadron, at immense cost, on the coast of Africa. Every-where, in this

country, it is safe to speak of this foreign slave-trade, as a most inhuman traffic, opposed

alike to the laws of God and of man. The duty to extirpate and destroy it, is admitted even by

our DOCTORS OF DIVINITY. In order to put an end to it, some of these last have consented

that their colored brethren (nominally free) should leave this country, and establish

themselves on the western coast of Africa! It is, however, a notable fact, that, while so much

execration is poured out by Americans, upon those engaged in the foreign slave-trade, the

men engaged in the slave-trade between the states pass without condemnation, and their

business is deemed honorable.

Behold the practical operation of this internal slave-trade, the American slave-trade, sustained

by American politics and American religion. Here you will see men and women, reared like

swine, for the market. You know what is a swine-drover? I will show you a man-drover. They

inhabit all our Southern States. They perambulate the country, and crowd the highways of the

nation, with droves of human stock. You will see one of these human flesh jobbers, armed

with pistol, whip and bowie-knife, driving a company of a hundred men, women, and children,

from the Potomac to the slave market at New Orleans. These wretched people are to be sold

singly, or in lots, to suit purchasers. They are food for the cotton-field, and the deadly sugar-

mill. Mark the sad procession, as it moves wearily along, and the inhuman wretch who drives

them. Hear his savage yells and his blood-chilling oaths, as he hurries on his affrighted

captives! There, see the old man, with locks thinned and gray. Cast one glance, if you please,

upon that young mother, whose shoulders are bare to the scorching sun, her briny tears

falling on the brow of the babe in her arms. See, too, that girl of thirteen, weeping, yes!

weeping, as she thinks of the mother from whom she has been torn! The drove moves tardily.

Heat and sorrow have nearly consumed their strength; suddenly you hear a quick snap, like

the discharge of a rifle; the fetters clank, and the chain rattles simultaneously; your ears are

saluted with a scream, that seems to have torn its way to the centre of your soul! The crack

you heard, was the sound of the slave-whip; the scream you heard, was from the woman you

saw with the babe. Her speed had faltered under the weight of her child and her chains! that

gash on her shoulder tells her to move on. Follow this drove to New Orleans. Attend the

auction; see men examined like horses; see the forms of women rudely and brutally exposed

to the shocking gaze of American slave-buyers. See this drove sold and separated for ever;

and never forget the deep, sad sobs that arose from that scattered multitude. Tell me citizens,

WHERE, under the sun, you can witness a spectacle more fiendish and shocking. Yet this is but

a glance at the American slave-trade, as it exists, at this moment, in the ruling part of the

United States.

I was born amid such sights and scenes. To me the American slave-trade is a terrible reality.

When a child, my soul was often pierced with a sense of its horrors. I lived on Philpot Street,

Fell’s Point, Baltimore, and have watched from the wharves, the slave ships in the Basin,

anchored from the shore, with their cargoes of human flesh, waiting for favorable winds to

waft them down the Chesapeake. There was, at that time, a grand slave mart kept at the

head of Pratt Street, by Austin Woldfolk. His agents were sent into every town and county in

Maryland, announcing their arrival, through the papers, and on flaming “hand-bills,” headed

CASH FOR NEGROES. These men were generally well dressed men, and very captivating in

their manners. Ever ready to drink, to treat, and to gamble. The fate of many a slave has

depended upon the turn of a single card; and many a child has been snatched from the arms

of its mother, by bargains arranged in a state of brutal drunkenness.

The flesh-mongers gather up their victims by dozens, and drive them, chained, to the general

depot at Baltimore. When a sufficient number have been collected here, a ship is chartered,

for the purpose of conveying the forlorn crew to Mobile, or to New Or-leans. From the slave

prison to the ship, they are usually driven in the darkness of night; for since the anti-slavery

agitation, a certain caution is observed.

In the deep still darkness of midnight, I have been often aroused by the dead heavy footsteps,

and the piteous cries of the chained gangs that passed our door. The anguish of my boyish

heart was intense; and I was often consoled, when speaking to my mistress in the morning, to

hear her say that the custom was very wicked; that she hated to hear the rattle of the chains,

and the heart-rending cries. I was glad to find one who sympathized with me in my horror.

Fellow-citizens, this murderous traffic is, to-day, in active operation in this boasted republic. In

the solitude of my spirit, I see clouds of dust raised on the highways of the South; I see the

bleeding footsteps; I hear the doleful wail of fettered humanity, on the way to the slave-

markets where the victims are to be sold like horses, sheep, and swine, knocked off to the

highest bidder. There I see the tenderest ties ruthlessly broken, to gratify the lust, caprice and

rapacity of the buyers and sellers of men. My soul sickens at the sight.

“Is this the land your Fathers loved, The freedom which they toiled to win? Is this the earth

whereon they moved? Are these the graves they slumber in?”

But a still more inhuman, disgraceful, and scandalous state of things remains to be presented.

By an act of the American Congress, not yet two years old, slavery has been nationalized in its

most horrible and revolting form. By that act, Mason & Dixon’s line has been obliterated; New

York has be-come as Virginia; and the power to hold, hunt, and sell men, women and children,

as slaves, remains no longer a mere state institution, but is now an institution of the whole

United States. The power is co-extensive with the star-spangled banner, and American

Christianity. Where these go, may also go the merciless slave-hunter. Where these are, man is

not sacred. He is a bird for the sportsman’s gun. By that most foul and fiendish of all human

decrees, the liberty and person of every man are put in peril. Your broad republican domain is

hunting ground for men. Not for thieves and robbers, enemies of society, merely, but for men

guilty of no crime. Your law-makers have commanded all good citizens to engage in this

hellish sport. Your President, your Secretary of State, your lords, nobles, and ecclesiastics,

enforce, as a duty you owe to your free and glorious country, and to your God, that you do

this accursed thing. Not fewer than forty Americans, have, within the past two years, been

hunted down, and, without a moment’s warning, hurried away in chains, and consigned to

slavery, and excruciating torture. Some of these have had wives and children, dependent on

them for bread; but of this, no account was made. The right of the hunter to his prey, stands

superior to the right of marriage, and to all rights in this republic, the rights of God included!

For black men there are neither law, justice, humanity, nor religion.

The Fugitive Slave Law makes MERCY TO THEM, A CRIME; and bribes the judge who tries


and five, when he fails to do so. The oath of any two villains is sufficient, under this hell-black

enactment, to send the most pious and exemplary black man into the remorseless jaws of

slavery! His own testimony is nothing. He can bring no witnesses for himself. The minister of

American justice is bound, by the law to hear but one side; and that side, is the side of the

oppressor. Let this damning fact be perpetually told. Let it be thundered around the world,

that, in tyrant-killing, king-hating, people-loving, democratic, Christian America, the seats of

justice are filled with judges, who hold their offices under an open and palpable bribes, and

are bound, in deciding in the case of a man’s liberty, to hear only his accusers!

In glaring violation of justice, in shameless disregard of the forms of administering law, in

cunning arrangement to entrap the defenceless, and in diabolical intent, this Fugitive Slave

Law stands alone in the annals of tyrannical legislation. I doubt if there be another nation on

the globe, having the brass and the baseness to put such a law on the statute-book. If an

man in this assembly thinks differently from me in this matter, and feels able to disprove my

statements, I will gladly confront him at any suitable time and place he may select.

Religious Liberty

I take this law to be one of the grossest infringements of Christian Liberty, and, if the

churches and ministers of our country were not stupidly blind, or most wickedly indifferent,

they, too, would so regard it.

At the very moment that they are thanking God for the enjoyment of civil and religious liberty,

and for the right to worship God according to the dictates of their own consciences, they are

utterly silent in respect to a law which robs religion of its chief significance, and makes it

utterly worthless to a world lying in wickedness. Did this law concern the “mint, anise and

cummin,”—abridge the right to sing psalms, to partake of the sacrament, or to engage in any

of the ceremonies of religion, it would be smitten by the thunder of a thousand pulpits. A

general shout would go up from the church, demanding repeal, repeal, instant repeal! And it

would go hard with that politician who presumed to solicit the votes of the people without

inscribing this motto on his banner. Further, if this demand were not complied with, another

Scotland would be added to the history of religious liberty, and the stern old covenanters

would be thrown into the shade. A John Knox would be seen at every church door, and heard

from every pulpit, and Fillmore would have no more quarter than was shown by Knox, to the

beautiful, but treacherous Queen Mary of Scotland. The fact that the church of our country,

(with fractional exceptions,) does not esteem “the Fugitive Slave Law” as a declaration of war

against religious liberty, implies that that church regards religion simply as a form of worship,

an empty ceremony, and not a vital principle, requiring active benevolence, justice, love and

good will towards man. It esteems sacrifice above mercy; psalm-singing above right doing;

solemn meetings above practical righteousness. A worship that can be conducted by persons

who refuse to give shelter to the houseless, to give bread to the hungry, clothing to the

naked, and who enjoin obedience to a law forbidding these acts of mercy, is a curse, not a

blessing to mankind. The Bible addresses all such persons as “scribes, pharisees, hypocrites,

who pay tithe of mint, anise, and cumin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law,

judgment, mercy and faith.”

The Church Responsible

But the church of this country is not only indifferent to the wrongs of the slave, it actually

takes sides with the oppressors. It has made itself the bulwark of American slavery, and the

shield of American slave-hunters. Many of its most eloquent Divines, who stand as the very

lights of the church, have shamelessly given the sanction of religion, and the bible, to the

whole slave system. They have taught that man may, properly, be a slave; that the relation of

master and slave is ordained of God; that to send back an escaped bondman to his master is

clearly the duty of all the followers of the Lord Jesus Christ; and this horrible blasphemy is

palmed off upon the world for Christianity.

For my part, I would say, welcome infidelity! welcome atheism! welcome anything! in

preference to the gospel, as preached by those Divines! They convert the very name of

religion into an engine of tyranny, and barbarous cruelty, and serve to confirm more infidels,

in this age, than all the infidel writings of Thomas Paine, Voltaire, and Bolingbroke, put

together, have done? These ministers make religion a cold and flinty-hearted thing, having

neither principles of right action, nor bowels of compassion. They strip the love of God of its

beauty, and leave the throne of religion a huge, horrible, repulsive form. It is a religion for

oppressors, tyrants, man-stealers, and thugs. It is not that “pure and undefiled religion” which

is from above, and which is “first pure, then peaceable, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and

good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” But a religion which favors the rich

against the poor; which exalts the proud above the humble; which divides mankind into two

classes, tyrants and slaves; which says to the man in chains, stay there; and to the oppressor,

oppress on; it is a religion which may be professed and enjoyed by all the robbers and

enslavers of mankind; it makes God a respecter of persons, denies his fatherhood of the race,

and tramples in the dust the great truth of the brotherhood of man. All this we affirm to be

true of the popular church, and the popular worship of our land and nation—a religion, a

church and a worship which, on the authority of inspired wisdom, we pronounce to be an

abomination in the sight of God. In the language of Isaiah, the American church might be well

addressed, “Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me: the new moons

and Sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with it is iniquity, even the solemn

meeting. Your new moons, and your appointed feasts my soul hatest. They are a trouble to

me; I am weary to bear them; and when ye spread forth your hands I will hide mine eyes

from you. Yea! when ye make many prayers, I will not hear. YOUR HANDS ARE FULL OF

BLOOD; cease to do evil, learn to do well; seek judgment; relieve the oppressed; judge for the

fatherless; plead for the widow.”

The American church is guilty, when viewed in connection with what it is doing to uphold

slavery; but it is superlatively guilty when viewed in connection with its ability to abolish


The sin of which it is guilty is one of omission as well as of commission. Albert Barnes but

uttered what the common sense of every man at all observant of the actual state of the case

will receive as truth, when he declared that “There is no power out of the church that could

sustain slavery an hour, if it were not sustained in it.”

Let the religious press, the pulpit, the Sunday school, the conference meeting, the great

ecclesiastical, missionary, bible and tract associations of the land array their immense powers

against slavery, and slave-holding; and the whole system of crime and blood would be

scattered to the winds, and that they do not do this involves them in the most awful

responsibility of which the mind can conceive.

In prosecuting the anti-slavery enterprise, we have been asked to spare the church, to spare

the ministry; but how, we ask, could such a thing be done? We are met on the threshold of

our efforts for the redemption of the slave, by the church. and ministry of the country, in

battle arrayed against us; and we are compelled to fight or flee. From what quarter, I beg to

know, has proceeded a fire so deadly upon our ranks, during the last two years, as from the

Northern pulpit? As the champions of oppressors, the chosen men of American theology have

appeared—men, honored for their so called piety, and their real learning. The LORDS of

Buffalo, the SPRINGS of New York, the LATHROPS of Auburn, the COXES and SPENCERS of

Brooklyn, the GANNETS and SHARPS of Boston, the DEWEYS of Washington, and other great

religious lights of the land, have, in utter denial of the authority of Him, by whom they

professed to be called to the ministry, deliberately taught us, against the example of the

Hebrews, and against the remonstrance of the Apostles, they teach that we ought to obey

man’s law before the law of God.

My spirit wearies of such blasphemy; and how such men can be supported, as the “standing

types and representatives of Jesus Christ,” is a mystery which I leave others to penetrate. In

speaking of the American church, however, let it be distinctly understood that I mean the

great mass of the religious organizations of our land. There are exceptions, and I thank God

that there are. Noble men may be found, scattered all over these Northern States, of whom

Henry Ward Beecher, of Brooklyn, Samuel J. May, of Syracuse, and my esteemed friend on

the platform, are shining examples; and let me say further, that, upon these men lies the duty

to inspire our ranks with high religious faith and zeal, and to cheer us on in the great mission

of the slave’s redemption from his chains.

Religion in England and Religion in America

One is struck with the difference between the attitude of the American church towards the

anti-slavery movement, and that occupied by the churches in England towards a similar

movement in that country. There, the church, true to its mission of ameliorating, elevating,

and improving the condition of mankind, came forward promptly, bound up the wounds of the

West Indian slave, and restored him to his liberty. There, the question of emancipation was a

high religious question. It was demanded, in the name of humanity, and according to the law

of the living God. The Sharps, the Clarksons, the Wilberforces, the Buxtons, the Burchells and

the Knibbs, were alike famous for their piety, and for their philanthropy. The anti-slavery

movement there, was not an anti-church movement, for the reason that the church took its

full share in prosecuting that movement: and the anti-slavery movement in this country will

cease to be an anti-church movement, when the church of this country shall assume a

favorable, instead of a hostile position towards that movement.

Americans! your republican politics, not less than your republican religion, are flagrantly

inconsistent. You boast of your love of liberty, your superior civilization, and your pure

Christianity, while the whole political power of the nation, (as embodied in the two great

political parties, is solemnly pledged to support and perpetuate the enslavement of three

millions of your countrymen. You hurl your anathemas at the crowned headed tyrants of

Russia and Austria, and pride yourselves on your Democratic institutions, while you yourselves

consent to be the mere tools and body-guards of the tyrants of Virginia and Carolina. You

invite to your shores fugitives of oppression from abroad, honor them with banquets, greet

them with ovations, cheer them, toast them, salute them, protect them, and pour out your

money to them like water; but the fugitives from your own land, you advertise, hunt, arrest,

shoot and kill. You glory in your refinement, and your universal education; yet you maintain a

system as barbarous and dreadful, as ever stained the character of a nation—a system begun

in avarice, supported in pride, and perpetuated in cruelty. You shed tears over fallen Hungary,

and make the sad story of her wrongs the theme of your poets, statesmen and orators, till

your gallant sons are ready to fly to arms to vindicate her cause against her oppressors; but,

in regard to the ten thousand wrongs of the American slave, you would enforce the strictest

silence, and would hail him as an enemy of the nation who dares to make those wrongs the

subject of public discourse! You are all on fire at the mention of liberty for France or for

Ireland; but are as cold as an iceberg at the thought of liberty for the enslaved of America.

You discourse eloquently on the dignity of labor; yet, you sustain a system which, in its very

essence, casts a stigma upon labor. You can bare your bosom to the storm of British artillery,

to throw off a three-penny tax on tea; and yet wring the last hard earned farthing from the

grasp of the black laborers of your country. You profess to believe “that, of one blood, God

made all nations of men to dwell on the face of all the earth,” and hath commanded all men,

everywhere to love one another; yet you notoriously hate, (and glory in your hatred,) all men

whose skins are not colored like your own. You declare, before the world, and are understood

by the world to declare, that you “hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created

equal; and are endowed by their Creator with certain, inalienable rights; and that, among

these are, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”; and yet, you hold securely, in a

bondage, which according to your own Thomas Jefferson, “is worse than ages of that which

your fathers rose in rebellion to oppose,” a seventh part of the inhabitants of your country.

Fellow-citizens! I will not enlarge further on your national inconsistencies. The existence of

slavery in this country brands your republicanism as a sham, your humanity as a base

pretence, and your Christianity as a lie. It destroys your moral power abroad it corrupts your

politicians at home. It saps the foundation of religion; it makes your name a hissing, and a

bye-word to a mocking earth. It is the antagonistic force in your government, the only thing

that seriously disturbs and endangers your Union. It fetters your progress; it is the enemy of

improvement, the deadly foe of education; it fosters pride; it breeds insolence; it promotes

vice; it shelters crime; it is a curse to the earth that supports it; and yet, you cling to it, as if it

were the sheet anchor of all your hopes. Oh! be warned! be warned! a horrible reptile is coiled

up in your nation’s bosom; the venomous creature is nursing at the tender breast of your

youthful republic; for the love of God, tear away, and fling from you the hideous monster, and

let the weight of twenty millions, crush and destroy it forever!

The Constitution

But it is answered in reply to all this, that precisely what I have now denounced is, in fact,

guaranteed and sanctioned by the Constitution of the United States; that, the right to hold,

and to hunt slaves is a part of that Constitution framed by the illustrious Fathers of this

Republic. Then, I dare to affirm, notwithstanding all I have said before, your fathers stooped,

basely stooped. “To palter with us in a double sense: And keep the word of promise to the ear,

But break it to the heart.”

And instead of being the honest men I have before declared them to be, they were the veriest

imposters that ever practiced on mankind. This is the inevitable conclusion, and from it there

is no escape; but I differ from those who charge this baseness on the framers of the

Constitution of the United States. It is a slander upon their memory, at least, so I believe.

There is not time now to argue the constitutional question at length; nor have I the ability to

discuss it as it ought to be discussed. The subject has been handled with masterly power by

Lysander Spooner, Esq., by William Goodell, by Samuel E. Sewall, Esq., and last, though not

least, by Gerritt Smith, Esq. These gentlemen have, as I think, fully and clearly vindicated the

Constitution from any design to support slavery for an hour.

Fellow-citizens! there is no matter in respect to which, the people of the North have allowed

themselves to be so ruinously imposed upon, as that of the pro-slavery character of the

Constitution. In that instrument I hold there is neither warrant, license, nor sanction of the

hateful thing; but interpreted, as it ought to be interpreted, the Constitution is a GLORIOUS

LIBERTY DOCUMENT. Read its preamble, consider its purposes. Is slavery among them? Is it

at the gateway? or is it in the temple? it is neither. While I do not intend to argue this

question on the present occasion, let me ask, if it be not somewhat singular that, if the

Constitution were intended to be, by its framers and adopters, a slave-holding instrument,

why neither slavery, slaveholding, nor slave can anywhere be found in it. What would be

thought of an instrument, drawn up, legally drawn up, for the purpose of entitling the city of

Rochester to a track of land, in which no mention of land was made? Now, there are certain

rules of interpretation, for the proper understanding of all legal instruments. These rules are

well established. They are plain, common-sense rules, such as you and I, and all of us, can

understand and apply, without having passed years in the study of law. I scout the idea that

the question of the constitutionality, or unconstitutionality of slavery, is not a question for the

people. I hold that every American citizen has a right to form an opinion of the constitution,

and to propagate that opinion, and to use all honorable means to make his opinion the

prevailing one. With out this right, the liberty of an American citizen would be as insecure as

that of a Frenchman. Ex-Vice-President Dallas tells us that the constitution is an object to

which no American mind can be too attentive, and no American heart too devoted. He further

says, the constitution, in its words, is plain and intelligible, and is meant for the home-bred,

unsophisticated understandings of our fellow-citizens. Senator Berrien tells us that the

Constitution is the fundamental law, that which controls all others. The charter of our liberties,

which every citizen has a personal interest in understanding thoroughly. The testimony of

Senator Breese, Lewis Cass, and many others that might be named, who are everywhere

esteemed as sound lawyers, so regard the constitution. I take it, therefore, that it is not

presumption in a private citizen to form an opinion of that instrument.

Now, take the constitution according to its plain reading, and I defy the presentation of a

single proslavery clause in it. On the other hand it will be found to contain principles and

purposes, entirely hostile to the existence of slavery.

I have detained my audience entirely too long already. At some future period I will gladly avail

myself of an opportunity to give this subject a full and fair discussion.

Allow me to say, in conclusion, notwithstanding the dark picture I have this day presented, of

the state of the nation, I do not despair of this country. There are forces in operation, which

must inevitably, work the downfall of slavery. “The arm of the Lord is not shortened,” and the

doom of slavery is certain.

I, therefore, leave off where I began, with hope. While drawing encouragement from “the

Declaration of Independence,” the great principles it contains, and the genius of American

Institutions, my spirit is also cheered by the obvious tendencies of the age. Nations do not

now stand in the same relation to each other that they did ages ago. No nation can now shut

itself up, from the surrounding world, and trot round in the same old path of its fathers

without interference. The time was when such could be done. Long established customs of

hurtful character could formerly fence themselves in, and do their evil work with social

impunity. Knowledge was then confined and enjoyed by the privileged few, and the multitude

walked on in mental darkness. But a change has now come over the affairs of mankind.

Walled cities and empires have become unfashionable. The arm of commerce has borne away

the gates of the strong city. Intelligence is penetrating the darkest corners of the globe. It

makes its pathway over and under the sea, as well as on the earth. Wind, steam, and

lightning are its chartered agents. Oceans no longer divide, but link nations together. From

Boston to London is now a holiday excursion. Space is comparatively annihilated. Thoughts

expressed on one side of the Atlantic, are distinctly heard on the other.

The far off and almost fabulous Pacific rolls in grandeur at our feet. The Celestial Empire, the

mystery of ages, is being solved. The fiat of the Almighty, “Let there be Light,” has not yet

spent its force. No abuse, no outrage whether in taste, sport or avarice, can now hide itself

from the all-pervading light. The iron shoe, and crippled foot of China must be seen, in

contrast with nature. Africa must rise and put on her yet unwoven garment. “Ethiopia shall

stretch out her hand unto God.” In the fervent aspirations of William Lloyd Garrison, I say, and

let every heart join in saying it:

God speed the year of jubilee The wide world o’er! When from their galling chains set free, Th’

oppress’d shall vilely bend the knee, And wear the yoke of tyranny Like brutes no more. That

year will come, and freedom’s reign, To man his plundered rights again Restore. God speed

the day when human blood Shall cease to flow! In every clime be understood, The claims of

human brotherhood, And each return for evil, good, Not blow for blow; That day will come all

feuds to end, And change into a faithful friend Each foe. God speed the hour, the glorious

hour, When none on earth Shall exercise a lordly power, Nor in a tyrant’s presence cower; But

all to manhood’s stature tower, By equal birth! THAT HOUR WILL COME, to each, to all, And

from his prison-house, the thrall Go forth. Until that year, day, hour, arrive, With head, and

heart, and hand I’ll strive, To break the rod, and rend the gyve, The spoiler of his prey deprive

So witness Heaven! And never from my chosen post, Whate’er the peril or the cost, Be driven.

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A Collection of Political Cartoons by John Slade

See the video below

It happens everyday in America!

By Jeff Thomas

Black men kill each other at alarming rates all across America every day. Nearly every city’s daily news casts reports, “Today in our city three (or thirty depending on the size of your city) men were shot and killed in three (or thirty) separate shootings.  Police have no suspects in any of the cases.”  And immediately and innately you know that the people killed were black and the killers were black.  This has been going on for the last 30-40 years and no end is in sight.  New Orleans has one of the highest murder rates nationally.  Why do black men kill each other?

First Let’s Dispel a Racist Myth

First thing you have to know is that 99.999% of black men do not commit murder ever in their lives.  That is a fact!  This is not a black man issue.  There is nothing genetically or intrinsically wrong with black men. But the fact remains that daily hundreds of black men across this country are murdered everyday by another black man.  Why does this happen with this subset?

Common factors to Black men murdering other black men


The first thing about murder is that people usually kill people who are similar to them in many ways, particularly race.  White men normally murder other white men and black men normally murder other black men. 


In the black community, these killings are normally city events.  Rarely do you hear of a drive by in the country.  Most of these daily killings occur on the city streets.  People kill others who they interact with.


Young men engage in risky and violent behavior.  Most of the men dying on our streets are between the ages of 17-35. 


Nearly 95% have not graduated from college and 65% have not completed high school.   

Socioeconomic Status

100% were not upper class in America. The links between poverty and crime are well documented.  And black men have lived in depression level economic conditions for the last 50 years.

But these are often cited, unsurprising factors.  More salient is what goes into the psyche of a guy who can look into the eyes of another man and pull the trigger at close range or jab a knife with the intent to murder another man?  What are the other factors that contribute to becoming a murderer? Why do Black men kill each other

Habitually Hostile Men

The guy who ain’t never scared and always looking to escalate a situation.  Down for whatever.  Nothing to live for and anticipating the day he will either kill or be killed.  This mindset is cultivated in a limited option, few chances, success deprived life.  This guy has had a number of arguments and fist fights throughout his life.  He hates authority and frequently feels angry or resentful towards people.  He often seeks to overcome a feeling of powerlessness.  This guy is a walking heap of rage.  He is always nothing but a gun and an argument away from murder.

The Disrespected Man

A man who feels like everybody but him gets respect.

For this guy, respect is everything and options to express anger or refutation are often limited.   He often seeks to overcome a feeling of impotence. If another who seems unworthy of disseminating criticism or scorn or generally crosses the line of imagined respect, then a high level of response will be meted out.

The Wannabe

When challenged by a non-believing skeptic, this man often acts in unnecessarily violent ways in unnecessarily violent situations.  Often seeks to overcome a feeling of powerlessness.


The daily feeling of isolation, powerlessness and impotence is like being a prisoner of war.  One reason black men grab their genitals is to stress their vitality.  Men who have been literally stripped of the ability to display their manhood – great jobs, big houses, educational attainment and all the other accoutrements of modern society- are literally killing to express their power in life.  Twisted but true.

Constructing your dream life is a journey filled with excitement, challenges, and uncertainties. Along this path, maintaining confidence can be a crucial factor in your success. Confidence isn’t just about self-assurance; it’s about believing in yourself, your goals, and your ability to overcome obstacles. Let’s explore how to remain confident as you work towards creating the life you’ve always envisioned.

Clarify Your Vision

The first step in building your dream life is to have a clear and compelling vision. This vision should encompass your long-term goals, values, and what truly matters to you. When you have a crystal-clear understanding of what you want, it becomes easier to stay confident in your pursuits. Take time to reflect on your aspirations, create vision boards, and set specific, achievable goals.

Develop Self-Awareness

Self-awareness is the foundation of self-confidence. Understanding your strengths, weaknesses, and values allows you to make informed decisions and take calculated risks. Regularly assess your progress and adjust your plans as needed. This adaptability and self-reflection will reinforce your belief in your ability to navigate challenges.

Cultivate a Growth Mindset

A growth mindset is the belief that you can develop your abilities through dedication and hard work. Embrace challenges as opportunities to learn and grow, rather than as setbacks. By adopting this mindset, you’ll maintain confidence even when facing obstacles, knowing that setbacks are a natural part of the journey towards success.

Surround Yourself with Positivity

Your environment plays a significant role in shaping your confidence. Surround yourself with supportive, positive individuals who encourage your dreams and provide constructive feedback. Limit exposure to negativity, whether it’s toxic relationships or self-doubt. Seek out mentors and role models who can inspire and guide you.

Take Action

Confidence often comes from acting. Procrastination and overthinking can erode your belief in your abilities. Break your goals into smaller, manageable steps and take consistent action toward them. Each small accomplishment will boost your self-esteem and reinforce your confidence.

Embrace Failure as a Learning Opportunity

Failure is not the opposite of confidence; it’s a steppingstone to success. When you encounter setbacks, view them as valuable lessons. Analyze what went wrong, adjust your approach, and try again with newfound wisdom. Remember that even the most successful individuals faced failure before achieving their dreams.

Practice Self-Compassion

Self-compassion involves treating yourself with the same kindness and understanding that you would offer to a friend. Be gentle with yourself on this journey. Recognize that perfection is not the goal, and setbacks do not define your worth. By practicing self-compassion, you’ll maintain a healthier self-image and, consequently, greater confidence.

Celebrate Your Achievements

Acknowledge your successes, no matter how small they may seem. Celebrate your milestones and achievements to reinforce your belief in your abilities. These celebrations serve as reminders of your progress and can keep your confidence levels high.

Stay Persistent and Resilient

Building your dream life is not always a linear path. You will encounter setbacks, rejections, and moments of doubt. However, the key to maintaining confidence is persistence and resilience. Keep pushing forward, adapt to changes, and stay committed to your vision.

Always remember, remaining confident while constructing your dream life is an ongoing process that requires self-awareness, positivity, and a growth mindset. By clarifying your vision, surrounding yourself with supportive influences, and embracing failure as a learning opportunity, you can build and maintain the confidence needed to turn your dreams into reality. Remember that confidence is not a static trait but a dynamic quality that grows stronger with each step you take towards your ideal life.

In the vibrant and culturally diverse city of New Orleans, a pressing issue is affecting many residents. But the African American community is especially impacted. Adverse Childhood Experiences(ACEs) have become a focal point in the city’s pursuit of a healthier and more resilient future.

Adverse Childhood Experiences(ACEs) encompass a range of traumatic events or circumstances that occur during an individual’s formative years, typically before the age of 18. These experiences disrupt a child’s sense of safety, stability, and overall well-being. The ACEs concept gained prominence through the groundbreaking ACEs Study. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Kaiser Permanente conducted the research in the late 1990s. They identified ten common ACE factors that can profoundly affect a person’s life throughout adulthood.

This table illustrates the problems many children endure in New Orleans
ACE FactorDescription
Physical AbuseThe experience of physical harm or injury inflicted by a caregiver or trusted adult can leave lasting physical and emotional scars.
Emotional AbuseVerbal aggression, humiliation, or emotional neglect can negatively impact a child’s mental health and self-esteem.
Sexual AbuseInappropriate sexual contact or exposure during childhood can lead to long-lasting trauma and psychological distress.
Household DysfunctionLiving in an environment marked by domestic violence, substance abuse, mental illness, or incarceration can create an unstable and unsafe upbringing.
NeglectLack of basic necessities, such as food, shelter, and emotional support, can hinder a child’s healthy development.
Parental Separation or DivorceThe breakdown of a family unit can result in emotional distress and a sense of abandonment.
Substance AbuseExposure to a caregiver’s substance abuse can lead to neglect, trauma, and a higher likelihood of substance use issues later in life.
Mental IllnessGrowing up with a caregiver who struggles with mental health issues can create an unstable home environment and increase the risk of mental health challenges for the child.
IncarcerationA parent’s imprisonment can disrupt family dynamics, leading to a range of negative consequences for the child.
Community ViolenceWitnessing or experiencing violence in the neighborhood or community can contribute to feelings of fear and insecurity.
Children playing in projects

In New Orleans, a historical legacy of racial discrimination, economic disparities, and systemic inequalities contributes to the higher likelihood of African American children experiencing ACEs. Poverty rates in the Black community are disproportionately high. Poverty increases the risk of neglect, household dysfunction, and exposure to community violence. Additionally, limited access to quality healthcare and education exacerbates the impact of ACEs on children’s long-term outcomes.

Building Resilience for African Americans

ACEs are not mere childhood memories. They hold lasting implications for health, leading to an increased probability of disease, disability, and adverse life outcomes. Stress induced by ACEs can alter a child’s brain and body. This elevates the risk of illnesses and making life more challenging. These effects accumulate over time, with each additional ACE compounding the potential for harm.

The effects of ACEs extend beyond individual well-being; they have significant societal health, economic, and well-being costs. Many experts consider ACEs a public health crisis due to their pervasive influence. Marginalized communities often bear a disproportionate burden of ACEs, intertwined with issues like community violence, racism, incarceration, and discrimination.

ACEs disrupt the body’s equilibrium, causing toxic stress that can harm the immune system, emotional regulation, concentration, learning, and anxiety management. The cumulative effects of ACEs can manifest in various psychological and medical problems. The effects include chronic depression, anxiety and chronic health issues.

The ACE survey – comprised of 10 questions – quantifies an individual’s exposure to ACEs during childhood. Each “yes” response to a question contributes to an individual’s ACE score, which ranges from 0 to 10. A higher score indicates a greater likelihood of experiencing negative outcomes later in life. For instance, a score of 4 or more doubles an adult’s risk of developing heart disease or cancer. A score of 5 or more increases the chance of alcoholism by eightfold. And a

score of 6 or more amplifies the risk of further negative outcomes.

The ACE Survey

Please answer the following questions by indicating if they happened during your childhood (up to age 18). For each “yes” response, add one point to your ACE score.

  1. Did a parent or other adult in the household often swear at you, insult you, or humiliate you or act in a way that made you afraid you would be physically hurt?
  2. Did a parent or other adult in the household often push, grab, slap, or throw something at you? Or any adult ever hit you so hard that you had marks or were injured?
  3. Did an adult or person at least five years older than you ever touch or fondle you or have you touch their body in a sexual way or attempt to have intercourse with you?
  4. Did you often feel that no one in your family loved you or thought you were important or special, or your family didn’t look out for each other, feel close to each other, or support each other?
  5. Did you often feel that you didn’t have enough to eat, had to wear dirty clothes, and had no one to protect you, or your parents were too drunk or high to take care of you or take you to the doctor if you needed it?
  6. Were your parents ever separated or divorced?
  7. Was your mother or stepmother often pushed, grabbed, slapped, or had something thrown at her? Or was she kicked, bitten, hit with a fist, or hit with something hard, or ever repeatedly hit over at least a few minutes? or threatened with a gun or knife?
  8. Did you live with anyone who was a problem drinker or alcoholic, or who used street drugs?
  9. Was a household member depressed or mentally ill or did a household member attempt suicide?
  10. Did a household member go to prison?

Building Resilience for African Americans

While ACEs can have a profound impact on a person’s life, it’s essential to recognize that resilience is a powerful force that can counteract the negative effects of adversity. Resilience is the ability to bounce back from difficult experiences, adapt to challenges, and grow stronger in the face of adversity. In the context of ACEs, resilience can play a pivotal role in mitigating their long-term consequences.

Building resilience involves several key factors:

  1. Strong Support Networks: Having supportive relationships with family, friends, mentors, or community organizations can provide a buffer against the effects of ACEs.
  2. Access to Mental Health Services: Seeking professional help and therapy can aid individuals in processing and coping with traumatic experiences.
  3. Coping Skills: Teaching individuals healthy coping mechanisms, such as mindfulness, problem-solving, and emotional regulation, can enhance their resilience.
  4. Positive Self-Identity: Fostering a sense of self-worth and self-efficacy can help individuals develop a more positive outlook on life.
  5. Education and Employment Opportunities: Access to quality education and employment opportunities can empower individuals to overcome adversity and improve their socio-economic status.

Resilience is the key

Understanding the concept of ACEs and their impact is a crucial step toward creating a brighter future for the city. We must acknowledge the challenges and work together to address them. By promoting resilience, New Orleans can build a more resilient and healthier community. A resilient New Orleans celebrates its rich culture and ensures the well-being of all its residents. Most importantly, breaking the cycle of ACEs is not just a goal but a collective commitment. A commitment to nurturing the city’s most precious resource—its children, who, with resilience, can overcome adversity and thrive.

Originally published here

By Jon Jeter

On August 26, a lone white gunman, 21-year-old Ryan Christopher Palmeter, fired 11 rounds from his semi-automatic weapon into the windshield of a car parked outside a Jacksonville Dollar General, killing the African American driver. Then he walked into the discount store, and fatally shot two other African Americans before turning the gun on himself.

Palmeter left behind a manifesto indicating his displeasure with African Americans, reminiscent of another 21-year-old white gunman, Dylan Roof, who eight years earlier sat outside the Emanuel AME church in Charleston, South Carolina. Finishing off a bottle of Smirnoff’s Ice, he pulled a Glock handgun from his waistband, walked into the church and opened fire, killing a pastor and eight of his parishioners, all of them Black.

Roof’s objective, he wrote in his manifesto, was to start a race war by sounding the alarm and alerting his fellow whites to the African Americans who “are raping our women and taking over the country.”

In response to the Jacksonville shooting, President Joe Biden noted that the attack coincided with the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington, and then, the cognitively impaired president of the free world declared that “white supremacy has no place in America.”

All of those Black corpses suggest otherwise.

The Anti-Defamation League attributed 25 homicides to right-wing extremists in 2022, of which 21 were at the hands of white supremacists like Payton Gendron, the 18-year-old gunman who walked into a Buffalo grocery store and opened fire, killing 10 and injuring three, all African Americans. Similarly, on duty law enforcement officers killed at least 1,096 people in 2022–more than 3 people per day on average–representing the deadliest year on record for police violence since The Washington Post began tracking the slayings nationwide in 2015.The Post database also found that while nearly half of all of those slain by police were white, African Americans are 2.5 times more likely to be killed by on-duty police than are whites.

And the Gun Violence Archive identified 647 mass shootings in 2022 and 690 in 2021. Both figures are more than double the number of mass shootings, 282, in 2014 when the Archive first began tracking such assaults, and are commensurate with an FBI analysis of 2019 data that found that the number of hate crimes had increased by 42 percent over a five-year-span.

Racial Capitalism is a Pyramid Scheme

That figure represents the highest nationwide total since the onset of the Great Recession in 2008, and is predicated mostly on a spike in hate crimes targeting African Americans. Analyzing data submitted by more than 15,000 state and local law enforcement agencies, the FBI identified 7,759 hate crimes, 2,755 of which identified Black victims, or 40 percent more than the previous year. Anti-Asian assaults increased by 70 percent over the same period, but the aggregate numbers were relatively minuscule, from 158 to 274, while anti-white violence rose by 16 percent to 773. (Attacks targeting Muslims and Jews fell by 42 and 30 percent respectively over the same span.)

Emblematic of that trend, the number of reported hate crimes in Los Angeles County rose by 23 percent in 2021, to 786, representing the highest total in nearly 20 years, according to LA County’s Commission on Human Relations. African Americans account for only 9 percent of the county’s population, but nearly half, or 46, percent of the total number of victims. Dominique DiPrima, the African American host of an AM radio show in southern California, told the Los Angeles Times:

Anti-Blackness is the tip of the sphere. It’s almost like we’ve normalized hate against Black people. It’s the default.

Capri Maddox, executive director of Los Angeles’ Civil Rights Department, told the Times that the city’s numbers are a microcosm of the country as a whole:

The FBI has been tracking hate crimes for 30 years and the consistent number one population of victims are African Americans.

What typically goes unsaid in all public discourse is that Palmeter, Roof and Gendry are not unique, but rather characteristic of the white terror is as old as the Republic, and as consistent as rainfall. Whites’ homicidal tensions worsen when an economic downturn combines with Black demands for justice to persuade muddleheaded thugs like Roof, Gendry and Palmeter that their white skin privilege is waning.

Previously, the worst outbreak of racial terror occurred following the end of World War I, when African Americans returned from Europe’s battlefields with attitude, and the quickening pace of industrialization led muddleheaded white people to fear that Negroes were taking over.

Racial Capitalism is a Pyramid Scheme

The irony of both Red Summer as it came to be known, and the racial resentments at the core of today’s anti-Black terror, is that African Americans, in the main, have neither a pot to piss in nor a bed to push it under. If capitalism is, by definition exploitive, then racial capitalism is effectively a pyramid scheme which assigns Blacks permanently to the bottom rung tier. We are, in effect, the canaries in the mine, and our economic misfortune signals that something similar is bearing down on white America.

Consider, for instance, that while the Great Depression officially began in 1929, unemployment rolls show that it began three years earlier for African American workers.

We can discern a similar pattern in today’s U.S. economy. While the mainstream news media routinely portrays the economy as robust, and the gap between the haves and the have nots as a glitch–rather than a feature– of capitalism, 47 million African Americans have lost more wealth than at any time since the failure of the Freedman’s Bank in 1874.

In fact, the legal scholar Mehrsa Baradaran estimates that African Americans–accounting for 13 percent of the U.S. population–own no more than 1 percent of all assets nationwide, or, about one half of one percent more than we did on January 1st, 1863, when Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.

Racial Capitalism is a Pyramid Scheme

It is in fact, the material bankruptcy of 48 million Blacks that facilitates these mass shootings; circumscribed by our poverty to poor, segregated neighborhoods, mass murderers like Palmeter, Roof and Gendron are assured of finding their target simply by going to a church, grocery or discount store on the Black side of town, and opening fire.

Whether the principal commodity is cotton, cars or credit, the white settler views Blacks as 48 million ATMs from which they are entitled to make regular withdrawals through the job market, workplace policies, health care, the criminal justice system, real estate and banking. Consider the fact that nearly half of all African Americans have bad credit, compared to roughly a quarter of whites. In fact, whites earning $25,000 annually are likely to have better credit than blacks earning between $65,000 and $75,000.

Nine of every ten black college students enrolled in four-year public universities rely on federally-subsidized student loans compared to six-in-ten whites, and African Americans who earned their bachelor’s degree from a four-year public university in 2012 owed an average of $3,500 more in school loans than white graduates that year. The default rates widen over time, as blacks who tend to bring home less pay than whites struggle to keep up with their payments.

Racial Capitalism is a Pyramid Scheme

But it’s the subprime mortgage market that truly reveals America’s white supremacist heart. Wells Fargo bankers testified that they peddled “ghetto loans” targeting “mud people” which is consistent with an Economic Policy Institute analysis that found that 53 percent of all black borrowers were issued subprime loans, compared to 47 percent of Latinos and a quarter of white borrowers. In New York City, African-American home buyers in 2006 were four times more likely than whites to be saddled with a subprime mortgage[1] and another study found that between 2004 and 2008, only 6.2 percent of white borrowers with a credit score of 660 or higher received a subprime loan while the rate for black borrowers with similar credit scores was 21.4 percent.

In fact, lending disparities actually widened when households with higher incomes were compared, meaning that an African-American family earning $200,000 annually was more likely to be saddled with a subprime loan than a white family making less than $30,000.

Regulators have fined lenders such as Toyota, Fifth Third Bank and Ally for overcharging blacks and Latinos for car loans and African Americans, who, on average, pay between $300 and $500 more for an auto loan than do white borrowers, despite incomes that are, on average, slightly more than half of that of whites. One-in-three blacks between the ages of 18 and 64 have overdue medical bills compared to one-in-four whites in the same age cohort. African Americans are twice as likely to be in arrears on bills including water or utility bills and more likely to have their service disconnected or even lose their home as a result of a lien.

What that means, New York University Sociology Professor Jacob Faber told me a few years ago, is that borrowers of color were targeted not because they were credit risks, but because they weren’t.

Racial Capitalism is a Pyramid Scheme

The result is an expanding apartheid state: while nearly three of every white households own their own home, only 2 in five Black households do. Hence, much like South African apartheid, Blacks rent from whites.

Here however is the rub: By dispossessing Blacks, whites have merely bit their nose—HARD—to spite their face. Reducing Black buying power– as evidenced by the African Americans relegated to shopping for the bare necessities at Dollar General and other discount stores across the nation—means that we have less to spend on the goods and services peddled by whites and other racial groups. Had Ronald Reagan or Bill Clinton read Hegel—and in Reagan’s case, had he read anything— perhaps they would realize that shipping the manufacturing sector might indeed lower wages, and undercut Black political power that was headquartered in unionized workplaces, but it also means fewer customers for businesses.

Racial Capitalism is a Pyramid Scheme

Many of you might recall the energy trader Enron, which imploded after its fraudulent accounting practices were uncovered by a skeptical Fortune magazine reporter, Bethany McClean, who amid the sound of popped champagne corks wrote a 2001 story that simply asked:

“How does Enron make its money?”

In this episode of Black Owned Conversations, we think this is the perfect time to ask:

How does racial capitalism make its money?

Here we are NFL week 2, in Carolina again. This will be the 3rd straight year the Saints have played the Panthers in Carolina early in the season, usually week 2 or 3. And if you’ve been keeping score, you should know that the Saints owe the Panthers a serious ass whipping.

The last 2 trips to Carolina haven’t been great. Really, they’ve been horrible. In both games, the Panthers’ D-line pummeled the Saints O-line into submission. Last year was so bad the Panthers not only battered Jameis Winston and his bad back, but they also knocked starting receivers Michael Thomas, Jarvis Landry, and TreQuan Smith out of the game. Even Alvin Kamara gave up a fumble. And for the 2nd year in a row, the Saints failed to gain over 100 yards rushing.

Maybe this year will be different. To open the season, the Saints went through a slugfest against the Titans. It was a hard hitting, physical game. Previously the Saints often folded in these games. But they didn’t this time. They not only won, but they won by being the more physical team. They were more physical on defense especially, but also on offense when it mattered.

Optimistic About the Saints?

Up front on defense, Cameron Jordan looked as spry as ever. Carl Granderson led the team with 1.5 sacks. And rookie Bryan Breese continually collapsed the pocket from the middle and finished with a half a sack. All that pressure forced Titans QB Ryan Tannehill into 3 interceptions.

The Titans couldn’t do much running the ball either. Derrick Henry is  one of the best running backs in the league. But he finished with only 63 yards on 15 carries and got stuffed by Demario Davis on a key short yardage possession.

Offensively, it wasn’t what some fans expected. The Saints had all sorts of problems running the ball. And Trevor Penning gave up constant pressure at left tackle. The Titans are renowned for their run defense. And you would’ve liked to see the Saints average more than just 2.3 yards a carry. But give them credit for sticking with it, Surprisingly, they ended up with 27 rushing attempts. 

More importantly, with a chance to put the game away on 3rd and 4, the Saints lined up and did just that with a key 11-yard run. That showed physicality and a commitment to being a physical team that we haven’t seen in the past. Under Sean Payton, at 2.3 yards a carry, they would’ve most likely thrown the ball.

Optimistic About the Saints?

But all was not terrible on offense. When he had time, Derek Carr was impressive. And Chris Olave, Rashid Shaheed, and Michael Thomas also impressed. Thomas played more possession receiver, while Olave and Shaheed were explosive. Both had pass plays over 40 yards.

Fans should also keep in mind that 2 of the past 3 years, the Titans were either the number 1 or number 2 seed in the AFC. They might have been right up there again last year had Tannehill not gotten hurt. So, this wasn’t some rinky dink opponent.

But with that said, the Saints are going to have to run the ball a lot better against the Panthers. The Panthers, as the Saints now know, have a pretty good D-line. And the best way to keep them from pummeling Derek Carr is to establish a run game to keep them off balance. That’ll be hard without Kamara and rookie Kendre Miller. But hey, Taysum Hill anyone?

The Saints defense kept the team in both games in Carolina before eventually folding from exhaustion. Under Dennis Allen, the defense has typically gotten better as the season goes on. If they make even a slight improvement from last week’s domination, they just might carry the offense to victory. That’s the reason to be optimistic about the Saints.

We’ll see. If they do pull off a win, this will be the first time the Saints have gone 2-0 in 10 years. The last time was way back in 2013. How’s that for some Who Dat trivia?

6:15pm. Let’s go.

New variants will pose a challenge, but early signs suggest the shots will still boost antibody responses.

By Cassandra Willyard

This article first appeared in The Checkup, MIT Technology Review’s weekly biotech newsletter. To receive it in your inbox every Thursday, and read articles like this first, sign up here.

Last week I came down with some kind of bug. So I got to play one of my least favorite games: “Covid or Not Covid?” In my case, two rapid tests were negative, so probably not covid. But many other people have been testing positive. Covid hospitalizations in the US rose nearly 16% during the third week of August. Even Jill Biden got covid this week. Data suggest we’re at the beginning of a fall wave. And with students returning to schools and workers returning to offices, I’m sure I’m not the only one who is thinking about covid vaccines. It’s been a year since a booster was released. And while the latest wave isn’t likely to be as bad as the tsunami we experienced in 2021-2022, there’s a lot of uncertainty about what the next few months look like.

So for this week’s Checkup, let’s take stock of where we’re at. Where are the updated shots? And how do they stack up against the new variants?

When will I be able to get my next covid shot?

Depending on where you live, as soon as this month. At the beginning of the summer, the US Food and Drug Administration decided that the vaccine needed a refresh. The agency advised manufacturers to develop vaccines targeting XBB.1.5, a descendent of omicron and one of the dominant variants circulating at the time. Pfizer, Moderna, and Novavax have done that. Now they’re waiting on FDA approval, and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on how the shots should be administered. That should all happen by mid-September. The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, the body that provides guidance on who should get vaccinated and when, is set to meet next week, on September 12.  

In Europe, Pfizer’s new vaccine is already approved. The European Commission greenlighted the shot last week. And this week regulators in the United Kingdom followed suit. The first shots should be going into arms soon. Those at greatest risk of developing serious illness in the UK will be eligible for the new shot starting September 11. 

But XBB 1.5 isn’t the only variant circulating these days. How worried should I be about newer ones?

XBB variants are still causing the majority of infections in the US. But a couple of other variants have been gaining ground. According to CDC estimates, EG.5 is now responsible for about 20% of covid-19 cases in the US. That’s more than any other single circulating variant. A variant called FL 1.5.1 comes in second, making up 15% of cases. These viruses don’t seem to cause more severe disease, but they are more adept at evading the body’s immune response.  

Scientists are also paying close attention to a variant first detected in early August known as BA.2.86 or, by its nickname, pirola. This variant is notable because it’s so unlike any of the other versions circulating. “What really caught people’s attention is that it had over 30 mutations in spike, so a very substantial genetic change,” says Dan Barouch, an immunologist at Harvard University, referring to the sharply protruding protein the virus uses to gain entry into cells. It’s only the second time that SARS-CoV2 has made such a big leap. (The first time was the jump from delta to omicron, a shift that led to the deadliest covid wave to date.) The worry is that this massive change in sequence might make the virus harder for our immune systems to recognize and fight off. 

But preliminary data trickling in suggests that fears about pirola may be overblown. In a preprint posted on Tuesday, Barouch and his colleagues looked at blood samples from 66 individuals, some who received the bivalent booster in the fall and some who didn’t. The group also contained a subset of people who had been infected with XBB.1.5 in the past six months. Neutralizing antibody levels against BA.2.86 were comparable or higher than levels against XBB.1.5, EG.5, and FL.1.5.1. So this variant doesn’t seem to be much more immune evasive than other variants. “That was a bit unexpected, and good news,” Barouch says. 

Those results are roughly consistent with what labs in China and Sweden reported in recent days.

About this autumn’s covid vaccines

BA.2.86 has been “downgraded from a hurricane to not even a tropical storm,” Eric Topol told USA Today, adding, “We’re lucky. This one could have been really bad.” But the data thus far is preliminary. And even if BA.2.86 is just a light rain shower, that  doesn’t mean it won’t lead to problems in the future. “It’s BA.2.86 (Pirola) descendants that worry me more than the current variant per se,” wrote T. Ryan Gregory, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Guelph, on Twitter. “The concern will be that it will continue to evolve and its descendants will have traits that make it successful at reaching new hosts.” In fact, BA.2.86 already has developed a sublineage. 

So if BA 2.86 isn’t causing the surge, what is?

Probably a combination of factors, including waning immunity. The last vaccine update, the bivalent shot, came out a year ago. “It’s been quite a long time since boosters were provided for covid, and those boosters did have a relatively low uptake rate in the population,” noted Johns Hopkins virologist Andrew Pekosz in a recent Q&A. Plus, the new dominant variants are more adept at evading our immune system than previous viruses.

How well will the new vaccines work?  

That remains to be seen. Both Moderna and Pfizer have reported that the new shots elicit a strong antibody response against the XBB variants, as well as EG.5.1, FL 1.5.1, and BA.2.86.

Borouch and his team also found that XBB.1.5 infection appeared to boost neutralizing antibodies against BA.2.86, a hopeful sign that the vaccine might also help fend off the new variant.

But protection will likely fade quickly, just as it did with previous covid vaccines. “We know that the durability of the mRNA boosters is relatively limited,” Barouch says—on the order of six months. 

An updated shot will be most important for people who are immunocompromised or vulnerable in other ways that leave them at high risk for developing severe disease. Whether the shot will be useful for younger, healthier people “is a source of some controversy amongst experts in the field,” Barouch says. 

We know the vaccine won’t protect against any and all covid infections. But it could lessen the severity of the illness. “I still might get [covid], but it just might not be as uncomfortable,” says John Wherry, an immunologist at the University of Pennsylvania. An updated shot might also reduce the risk of developing long covid. “There’s still some chance of getting long Covid every single time you get infected,” Wherry says. But if a robust immune response can keep the virus from spreading beyond the upper respiratory tract, “I think the chances of long covid are probably a little bit lower.”

That’s a win in Wherry’s book: “I’ll take it.”

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When it comes to relationships, having a bit of difference and distance is pretty important, as it lets each individual have a sense of independence, but if you’re too far apart when it comes to core values and goals, your relationship can turn complicated. Disagreeing when it comes to the small things doesn’t matter, of course. If your partner, for example, isn’t into reading or taking your kids to every Disney Pixar movie the minute it comes out, it’s no big deal. But if there’s a difference in opinion on how to raise your children or financial planning for the future, it can definitely create tension and potentially lead to a break up. After all, they’re called dealbreakers for a reason.

The truth is, there really are some non-negotiable opinions and values when it comes to forging a healthy and long-lasting relationship. Don’t agree? Here, experts weigh in on the 16 most important things you should have in common with your partner for a successful relationship.

A Vision of the Future

“It’s vital that a couple shares a basic, overall picture of how they’d like for their lives to unfold financially, spiritually, lifestyle-wise, and with respect to children. When you have a plan in place, it serves as an irreplaceable ‘true north’ and helps clarify what each partner should be working towards daily, as well as helping the couple clarify how to make some of the tougher decisions in life,” said Shlomo Zalman Bregman, a rabbi and matchmaker in New York City.

The Ability to Always Be Yourself

It should be natural to be yourself around your spouse, with all your good and bad qualities. “Whereas many people go through life holding back major pieces of themselves from everyone else, and only sharing what they want seen – when you find your proper partner, they really can ‘see’ you. This backdrop creates a precious opportunity to have truly honest communication and to share love, fears, and hopes without judgment,” Bregman said.

The Capacity to Admit When You’re Wrong

Your relationship should be a safe space where you and your partner can admit when you’re wrong and seek forgiveness without judgment. “The most successful, dynamic couples have no difficulty admitting when they were wrong and fell short of treating their significant other properly. Whereas most of the world and its relationships often boil down to people taking a defensive posture and protecting their fragile egos, when you’re with your soulmate, you can pursue the truth and admit mistakes freely,” Bregman said.

The Same Sense of Morality

“Morality and shared ethics are a huge part of a committed relationship, because without it, your admiration and the esteem in which you hold your partner will be diminished,” Bregman said. Talking about morality and ethics can be tricky, but it should be done early. “If you discover that your morals don’t line up with that of your partner, and it’s something you deem to be ‘major,’ then it may well be advisable to let that relationship go,” he added.

An Emotional Connection

A physical attraction is super important (and fun, of course), but you and your SO should agree that there’s an emotional connection there too in order for the relationship to head to and stay at the next level. “If the person that you’re in a relationship with is only interested in physically connecting with you or that’s the only sphere it appears the two of you are really connecting, it doesn’t bode well for the long-term. Someone who is envisioning a future with you and who shares your desire for lasting love will want to get to know you on a multitude of levels and will verbally express the interest in doing so,” Bregman said.

A Financial Plan

Of course, you should both have your own say in your personal finances, but if you’re in a committed relationship, you’ll want to be on the same page for future larger expenses whether you are just getting serious or have been married for years. “I can’t count the number of relationships I’ve seen break up because two people respect money differently, especially when those people are theoretically trying to plan a future together,” dating coach Eric Resnick explained. “Savers rarely end up doing well with spendthrifts, unless the savers make so much money that they can cover the actions of their partner. This doesn’t mean you have to make the same amount of money, just that you both agree on the place it has in your lives.”

Personal Goals

If this is just a casual thing, goals might not matter, but when you start looking at a future with someone or you’ve already started building a family together, it’s really important that the two of you are looking in the same direction. “That doesn’t mean you have to be the same on every single aspect of life, but, for example, if one of you wants to have kids (or more kids than you already do) and the other doesn’t, that is just going to cause a lot of problems down the road,” Resnick said.

A Wish to Make Couple Time Work

This doesn’t include little differences, such as one partner going to a Spin class after work while the other likes to head home instead. Instead, if your SO is a total social butterfly, always wanting to be out, while you like to stay in, and you can’t agree on this lifestyle difference, that’s when this tiny issue might become a bigger problem. “While you can have different interests, if you fundamentally disagree about how you should be spending your time as a couple, it can be a problem in the relationship,” Bennett said.

A Family Plan

This is a key long-term issue for couples, as kids are a huge factor in a relationship that’s looking toward the future. “It’s very difficult to talk someone into wanting kids or out of wanting kids. Compromise on this can lead to a lot of resentment and unhappiness,” said clinical psychologist Natalie Feinblatt, PsyD. It’s fine to be flexible, but make sure you have the same vision.

A Set of Sex Ground Rules

You and your partner should have a conversation about topics like kinks, intimacy, and consent. If you’re not super clear on these topics, especially consent, “you can experience a lot of distressing sexual experiences together. You both need to be on the same page about when ‘no’ means ‘no’ and how to communicate clearly about consent with one another,” Feinblatt said. You should also discuss things relationship boundaries – like whether this is an open or closed relationship and what you consider cheating – as well as what you do and don’t like in bed. When it comes these ground rules, you want to create an open and honest dialogue so that clear expectations are being set.

A Respect For Each Other’s Political Views

Of course, couples with different political ideals make it work, but it surely helps if you and your partner agree on politics. “It can be very difficult to be with someone when you have different political beliefs because there are so many important things that you may feel strongly about and can cause a major distance between couples. If you both aren’t that political and you don’t push it on each other, it may not be as big of a deal, but tread lightly,” clinical sexologist Dr. Stacy Friedman said.

A Sense of Humor

Having a shared attitude toward laughter and a similar personality can make for a happier relationship. “You want someone that ‘gets’ you and can laugh at your jokes. When you laugh together, you love together, and I believe that if you find someone with the same type of humor, you can always laugh at the small stuff and make the big stuff easier to deal with,” Friedman said. If you can both laugh at the total mess your kids just made, then you’ll probably have a better time parenting together.

An Understanding of Each Other’s Religion

Again, you don’t need to subscribe to the same religion, but you should discuss how religion will play a role in your lives as a couple and family and respect each other’s views. “Agreeing on religion is not a necessity, but it’s something that could help you stay bonded if you have the same background and beliefs,” Friedman explained.

A Sense of Ambition

Your sense of work ethic and drive should measure up for a satisfying relationship where you both know the boundaries between work and play and what it takes to find success, no matter what it means to you. “Someone who has the same drive, motivation and desire to succeed is great so you both can push each other to be the best,” Friedman said.

Big important elections are happening this fall in Louisiana.  We will elect the most powerful political officers in state government. Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Treasurer and Secretary of State.  Significant changes are possible. In fact, things could change big time. Going from a conservative Democrat governor to a ultra conservative Republican governor will drastically impact the state.  Democrats tend to leave budget surpluses, while Republicans leave deficits.  Former Governor Bobby Jindal(R) left nearly a billion-dollar deficit.  Under Gov John Edwards(D) the state was so flush with cash during this last budget cycle, fierce spending battles erupted. So let’s get some election information.

Oddly this year, nearly every statewide seat is open this year.  The primary is October 14th.  If you are reading this, then you are probably already registered to vote.  But Think504.com readers are not only some of the most intelligent but also the most influential people in the state.  So, let’s get the word out. 

Election Information

All of this information is taken directly from the Orleans Parish Registrar of Voters Website.

​​October 14, 2023 – Gubernatorial Primary Election

The following is important information for the Saturday, October 14, 2023 Gubernatorial Primary Election:  

Absentee Voting

Louisiana offers absentee ballots by mail to voters who will be unable to vote in person. Absentee ballots should be requested as far in advance of the election as possible. When your mail ballot arrives, read it carefully and follow the instructions to complete and return it. Please be aware of standard mail delivery times and the return ballot deadline when applying for a mail ballot to ensure your voted ballot is received by the registrar of voters before the deadline. Completed absentee ballots may only be hand delivered to City Hall or Algiers Courthouse. Hand delivery certification form must be completed if returning a ballot for someone other than yourself.


Election Information

·        Inactive Voters in Orleans Parish

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is commonly given credit for coining the phrase “high tech lynching” during the conclusion of his confirmation process in 1991 .  His assessment was made after being grilled relentlessly, over the course of several days and under oath, by U.S. Congress. This process is legal, normal, and necessary considering the gravity of anointing any judge to a lifetime appointment to the court of final authority in the United States.

What occurred with, and to, Gregory Joseph in City Council chambers on August 31, 2023 was worse than the Thomas hearings. As the Director of the Mayor’s Office of Communications, he was hauled in by the Council to provide testimony regarding a mailer distributed by his office earlier this year https://cityofno.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=42&clip_id=4646 .      The mailer was sent out during the time period of the recent failed mayoral recall effort. Councilman JP Morrell stated early in the hearing that the questioning and answering was not as in a court of law. Immediately after that statement, Morell and other Council members commenced to drill Mr. Joseph for the next 90 minutes, in an aggressive tone, about dozens and dozens of documents generated through a Council authorized investigation of a $ 30,000 contract for a flyer mailout.

High-Tech Lynching in Council Chambers

Certain Council members want the public to believe their concerns are solely the legality of the mailout. Don’t be fooled.  First and foremost, this is a political attack on the mayor’s office.  For Mr. Joseph, who was hired by the mayor in May 2022, to be forced to testify under oath in council chambers is, if not unprecedented, certainly unusual. The tenor of Mr. Joseph’s hearing was adversarial, not simply fact seeking.  Councilman Morrell, an attorney and the hearing chairman, was the chief interrogator. Councilmembers Joseph Giarrusso, Lesli Harris (both attorneys) and Helena Moreno adeptly assisted .  

In fairness to the Council, Mr. Joseph’s responses sometimes seemed evasive and nonsensical. He ducked taking much responsibility. He claimed to not know the target audience of the flyer, the timing of its issuance. Oddly he also claimed no knowledge of Louisiana professional service contracts law. He even claimed to not tune in to local television news reports. The nature of his of employment would seem to mandate that he have a better command of the position’s demands.

High-Tech Lynching in Council Chambers

Councilmen Eugene Green and Freddie King (another attorney) were also present on the dais. But their total silence during the entire affair is rather confounding. Additionally confusing is the 45-minute testimony given by Julien Meyer, Chief Procurement Officer-Purchasing Bureau. He is also an attorney, but his testimony was not given under oath. Mr. Meyer’s responses were also sometimes sketchy, but the tone was generally more civil and less accusatory.  The council accepted Mr. Meyer’s extended vacation during the 2022 Christmas holidays as absolution from any alleged improprieties regarding the flyer mailout.

After a subsequent non-public meeting on September 5, Morrell and the City Council drafted a document. In it they request that the mayor fire Gregory Joseph.    Of course, Mayor Latoya Cantrell’s initial response is, in millennial vernacular, GTFOH. No surprise there given the mayor’s acerbic relationship with the council.

Listening to the August 31 hearing, one could conclude that Mr. Joseph’s refusal to “bow down” to the council is the real reason they want his head on a platter. Joseph’s demeanor during the hearing was at times serious, unaffected, dismissive, entertaining and even flippant. He was not in any way intimidated even under oath. He has survived this emasculation attempt, regardless of whether he keeps his job. It was wise of him to rent in New Orleans rather than buy. His departure is a lot easier if he winds up falling on the sword for the mayor.                                                                                                  

By Meghan Bartels 

When sleep feels elusive, getting out of bed can calm your mind and help you avoid bad sleep habits

We’ve all been there: lying in bed wide awake and desperately wondering how to get to dreamland. In fact, scientists say it’s pretty normal to have a little trouble falling asleep or staying asleep from time to time.

“There’s this expectation that we should just go to sleep and stay sleeping for seven to eight hours,” says Roxanne Prichard, a neuroscientist at the University of St. Thomas, Minnesota. “That’s just not biologically supported with how humans sleep.”

While having trouble drifting off to sleep isn’t unusual, it still can be frustrating. Fortunately sleep experts are gaining an increasingly strong understanding of what’s happening in the brain during the process—and they say you can use that knowledge to increase your chances of catching some z’s, even when sleep feels elusive.

“It’s very uncommon for people to be able to just transition from being awake and active to falling asleep right away,” says Kim Hutchison, a sleep medicine specialist at Oregon Health & Science University.

Falling asleep is a big shift for your brain. When conditions are good, hitting the sack allows your brain activity to slow down and become more orderly, and your brain waves synchronize, Prichard says. This switch is governed in part by environmental cues, such as light or temperature. A hot summer night or a bright streetlamp seeping through the window can interfere. Your emotions can also affect the process of nodding off.

When You Can’t Fall Asleep

“You need to feel both physically and psychologically safe to sleep,” Prichard says. “If there’s something that you are really worried about, if you are sleeping next to someone you don’t trust, if you’re worried that the newborn that you’re caring for might stop breathing, it’s going to be hard to fall asleep.”

That’s why anxiety and stress are key culprits when people are unable to fall and stay asleep—and why relaxation is a crucial tool for easing into slumber. Hutchison and Prichard both say that the key, whether you’re struggling to sleep just as you’re heading to bed or after waking up in the middle of the night, is to limit the amount of time you spend lying awake fretting about not being asleep.

What to Do When You Can't Fall Asleep May Surprise You
Credit: Filmstax/Getty Images

“If you’re unable to fall asleep in what seems like or feels like 20 minutes or so, or you feel your body getting more amped up because you’re getting anxious that you’re not falling asleep, then I would recommend getting out of bed and sitting somewhere quietly with dim light and just relaxing, doing something boring,” Hutchison says.

You could use the time to read, listen to calming music, drink some chamomile tea or do breathing exercises—anything that slows and comforts your body and mind, Hutchison and Prichard say. Avoid snacking, exercise and screens.

It’s also important to resist the urge to fixate on worries, concerns or challenges, both experts say, especially in the middle of the night. Not only will those thoughts keep you awake, you also probably won’t make much progress on what’s keeping you up because your prefrontal cortex, a part of the brain that excels at planning and analysis, doesn’t get as much blood at night.

When You Can’t Fall Asleep

An emerging hypothesis suggests the brain isn’t well suited for cognitive processing in the wee hours, Prichard says. “The mind, after midnight…, is less equipped to problem-solve and more prone to find problems,” she explains. “It’s really easy to wake up in the middle of the night and freak yourself out about something that you could probably problem-solve more effectively later.”

Sleep aids and supplements, such as melatonin, are commonly used to fall asleep, but Prichard likes to advise people to use relaxation practices instead. “I want people to learn sleep skills, not pills,” she says.

If basic relaxation strategies fail to calm your brain, both Prichard and Hutchison recommend cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia.

Even if your night’s rest is incomplete, avoid the urge to make up for it by sleeping in or napping the next day, Hutchison says, because that can backfire. To fall asleep more quickly the next night and get back on track, it’s important for your brain to crave sleep. “If you nap during the day, especially longer naps, then your brain gets little snippets of sleep and will be less likely to fall asleep quickly at bedtime,” she says.

When You Can’t Fall Asleep

Although Hutchinson and Prichard emphasize that occasional sleep struggles are normal, they recommend seeing a doctor if the situation continues or if it interferes with your ability to function during the day—which could indicate something physiological is at play. “In general, if you’re having problems falling asleep for three nights or more per week, then we would consider that problematic, but it also needs to interfere with your daytime functioning,” Hutchison says.

For most sleep seekers, if something is keeping you up at night, it’s no help trying to force yourself to sleep. The best trick may be to simply preoccupy your mind until slumber comes naturally.

by La Keita D. Carter PsyD., LP

Surprising facts about sex frequency.


It’s one of the most taboo topics in the world of intimacy: Are you having enough sex? Couples often talk about the topic, particularly when they are not aligned. One partner thinks they do it enough, while the other wants to increase their intimacy frequency.

The one question that lingers is: Just how often are most people having sex? How do you know you are more or less intimate than the average single person if you don’t talk about how often others are having sex? As a married couple, are you more active in the bedroom than other married people?

Who’s Having The Most Sex?

The Center for Researching and Understanding Sexual Health (CRUSH) set out to answer questions about sex frequency and sex satisfaction (we’ll discuss satisfaction in another post). In 2021, researchers surveyed over 600 people and found pretty interesting data in their “Are We Doing It Enough? Sex Frequency and Satisfaction Report.”

Annebaek / Getty Images Signature
Couple playing footsie in bed.

Annebaek / Getty Images Signature

According to the findings, 70 percent of people are having sex at least once per month, and, unsurprisingly, 25-34 year-olds are having more sex than other age groups. According to the theories of Erik Erikson, we are trying out new partners and settling down into long-term relationships during this stage of life. Therefore, it’s no shock that 46 percent of adults in this age group are intimate 1-3 times per week.

Surprising facts about sex frequency.

What’s most interesting is that single people, as a group, are not having more sex than married people. While 36 percent of single people are intimate 1-3 times per month, 35 percent of married people are intimate at the same rate. It’s people who are dating who are more active in the bedroom, as 44 percent shared that they were having sex 1-3 times per week.

Although we often fantasize about wanting to be intimate nearly every day of the week, it’s not a realistic goal. The survey found that less than 6 percent of people are actually engaging in sex this frequently.

The Grass Isn’t Greener On the Other Side

We often hear married couples lament that single people are “having all the fun,” particularly in the bedroom. They can have “new” sex with different people, which creates some anticipatory excitement in their intimate life.

On the other hand, we hear single people opine about wanting the stability of having a partner who knows what you want and is available to you when you are in the mood. We all want what the other has.

If it’s true that comparison is the thief of joy, it may be helpful for us to stop thinking about what’s happening in other people’s bedrooms. Instead, focus on doing what works for your intimacy needs.

If you are someone with a higher sex drive, make sure your partner understands your needs. Keep in mind that intimacy is not sex. Intimacy may include sex, but it may also involve having deep conversations, cuddling, and eye gazing. If you are someone who doesn’t need as much sex, find out what intimately makes you feel fulfilled. Test out new experiences in the bedroom with a trusted partner.