February 08, 2008


The former Douglass High School in Huntington, WV, alma mater of Carter Woodson, "the father of Black History." He also served as principal there.

The theme of this week's Goat Rope has been Black History and its many connections with West Virginia. If this is your first visit, please click on earlier posts.

Yesterday's post discussed the great African-American scholar, historian, and activist Carter G. Woodson, who had many connections with the Mountain State. It seems fitting to close this series with a couple of quotes from his classic The Mis-Education of the Negro:

When you control a man's thinking you do not have to worry about his actions. You do not have to tell him not to stand her or go yonder. He will find his "proper place" and will stay in it. You do not need to send him to the back door. He will go without being told. In fact, if there is no back door, he will cut one for his special benefit. His education makes it necessary.


History shows that it does not matter who is in power...those who have not learned to do for themselves and have to depend solely on others never obtain any more rights or privileges in the end than they did in the beginning.

Finally, it's only right to mention another African-American with West Virginia connections who made a mark on history.

The Rev. Leon Sullivan (1922-2001) was a native of Charleston and a graduate of Garnet High School and West Virginia State College. He also attended Union Theological Seminary and Columbia University, and served for a time as an assistant pastor under Adam Clayton Powell. He was the long-time minister of Philadelphia's Zion Baptist Church.

In 1971, he was the first African-American to be appointed to the board of General Motors and developed the "Sullivan principles," a code of conduct for corporations with operations in South Africa, an early challenge to the policies of apartheid. According to the West Virginia Encyclopedia, "in 1999 the United Nations adopted the "Global Sullivan Principles: as an international code of corporate conduct."

Sullivan also founded Opportunities Industrialization Centers, which provided jobs and training for disadvantaged people at many locations in the United States, African, Poland and the Philippines. A Nobel nominee, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1991. A major street in his native city was renamed Leon Sullivan Way the year before he died.

RETHINKING TRADE. "Free" trade used to be a dogma among many economists, but Business Week reports that some are taking a closer look at the downsides:

Many ordinary Americans have long been suspicious of free trade, seeing it as a destroyer of good-paying jobs. American economists, though, have told a different story. For them, free trade has been the great unmitigated good, the force that drives a country to shed unproductive industries, focus on what it does best, and create new, higher-skilled jobs that offer better pay than those that are lost. This support of free trade by the academic Establishment is a big reason why Presidents, be they Democrat or Republican, have for years pursued a free-trade agenda. The experts they consult have always told them that free trade was the best route to ever higher living standards.

But something momentous is happening inside the church of free trade: Doubts are creeping in. We're not talking wholesale, dramatic repudiation of the theory. Economists are, however, noting that their ideas can't explain the disturbing stagnation in income that much of the middle class is experiencing. They also fear a protectionist backlash unless more is done to help those who are losing out. "Previously, you just had extremists making extravagant claims against trade," says Gary C. Hufbauer, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. "Now there are broader questions being raised that would not have been asked 10 or 15 years ago."

(It gets better.)

THE HOUSING CRASH. Also from Business Week, some are predicting that home prices could drop by 25% or more. The article notes that

two-thirds of people who bought in the past year would owe more than their homes would be worth...

SPEAKING OF THE ECONOMY GOING SOUTH, here's Paul Krugman on the recession and its likely lingering effects.

CARBON FAST. Bishops of the Church of England are urging Christians to cut back on carbon consumption during the 40 day fast of Lent, which began Wednesday.

HOW HITLER SEDUCED GERMANY is the subject of this item from Der Spiegel.


No comments: