Don’t Reject Immigrants; We Need Them, They Enrich Us

During an American Naturalization Ceremony in 1984, the keynote speaker gave the following speech:

“Fifty million immigrants came to this country in the last 200 years. Some of the most recent have crawled over walls and under barbed wire and through mine fields, and some of them risked their lives in makeshift boats.

“And all of them have added to the sum total of what your new country is. They gave us their traditions. They gave us their words. They enlivened the national life with new ideas and new blood…

“We don’t reject them. We need them. They enrich us.”

Who was this progressive sympathizer who so strongly supported immigration and naturalization?

Naturalization Ceremony

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Origins of White Supremacy

Last month I came across a YouTube video entitled, Understanding White Supremacy (And How to Defeat It). It is an interesting post that runs just over three minutes. You can get to it by clicking HERE.

Origins of White Supremacy

The piece was published on September 12, 2017, and has garnered just over 1,000 views. It was posted by acttv, which states on the site: “Do more than watch. Your home for progressive, action-oriented video from a grassroots, social-media community.” Continue reading

Climbing My Family Tree, Part 26

Immigrant Thomas Burgess I & Dorothy

The Burgess family line was one of the most challenging for me to investigate to date. There is a great deal of confusing and conflicting information regarding the origin of the family name. After careful research, the following captures my best understanding of this branch of my family tree.

Thomas Burgess I (my ten times great-grandfather), was born in West Tanfield, Yorkshire, England in 1603. He arrived in Salem, Massachusetts in 1637. He briefly lived in Salem, Lynn, and Duxbury, before settling in Sandwich. He became a well-respected townsman and acquired a great deal of land.

Thomas Burgess, Jr. left the Plymouth Colony and moved to Newport, Rhode Island in 1661, where the family remained for two more generations until Benjamin Burgess (my six times great-grandfather) moved to from Newport, Rhode Island to Newport, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Benjamin Burgess

Benjamin Burgess, Wayne, Maine, aged 101 years, 9 months


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Coming to America

When I look in the mirror, I see an American immigrant. And yet, how can that be?

I am a white male, I hold an advanced college degree, I speak fluent English, I am 55 years old.

Aren’t immigrants people of color? Don’t they only speak foreign languages? Aren’t they younger and less educated? Those are the stereotypes.

Statue of Liberty

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Playing the Race Card

What exactly is race, and why is it such an issue in our culture today?

According to Merriam-Webster, race is a category of humankind that shares certain distinctive physical traits. But if we are all part of humankind, why have our distinctive physical traits become so significant? Why do we treat people differently, based solely on the way they look?

Jax and Reddy haircut picture

Jax and Reddy are five year olds. Jax asked his mother to shave his head like his friend Reddy. That way he could trick their teacher because she would not be able to tell them apart.

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Climbing My Family Tree, Part 25

Immigrants John Spear & Catherine Kelly Spear, Robert Spear; John McLean & Martha Smythe; Richard Lamb & Elizabeth Lamb, Agnes Lamb

How’s about yee? I have uncovered me some Irish roots in the old family tree!

The Spear Family, the McLean family, and the Lamb Family all hailed from Northern Ireland. John Spear (my eight times great-grandfather), his wife, Catherine Kelly Spear, and their youngest son, Robert Spear, immigrated from Londonderry soon after the siege of that town in 1689. Continue reading

Black or White Thinking

Much ado has been made of late regarding red states and blue states, red politicians, and blue politicians. Many theorists would attribute the current social climate in the United States to this phenomenon. I disagree.

From my viewpoint, our struggle is not that we are divided red and blue, but that we tend to view most everything surrounding us as Black or White.

Black and White Butterfly

{Author’s note: In this post, “Black or White” is a metaphor for seeing people and events as “all good,” or “pure evil,” with no gray area in-between. The term is not intended as a comment on race.}  Continue reading