How to Make Everyday Anglo-Saxon Bread: Version 2 (Hearthcakes or “Kichells”)

I found this fascinating, and I’m going to be following all the links and looking for other blogs by the same writer.

The Early English Bread Project

Screen Shot 2017-05-13 at 10.00.45 Those round things in the lower left are the hearthcakes.  This supposed peasant woman is admonishing King Alfred for burning them, though they don’t look burnt to me.  And why is she making peasant hearthcakes if she’s rich enough to own that fancy carved wooden thing behind her?

In the last post on everyday Anglo-Saxon bread, I talked about making bread on a bakestone or griddle on the fire. It is worth emphasizing again: for as much as eight hundred years, from the fifth century up to the thirteenth or fourteenth (and for centuries more in some areas of Britain), this would have been the familiar, everyday bread known to everyone in the kingdom. More affluent people ate leavened bread instead — or in addition. But everyone would have regarded this basic flat bread as familiar, completely normal bread. You did not need an oven to make it, and you…

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Alternative Truths: An unexpected-success story

Here are the thoughts of one of my co-contributors to Alternative Truths. I did a silly story, to make readers laugh. She did a serious story, to make readers think.  Ladies, gentlemen, I present my colleague Karen G. Anderson.

Writer Way

Alt truths cover The cover of the Alternative Truths anthology

Just over 100 days ago, on Jan. 23, science fiction author Bob Brown issued a writing challenge: Imagine the future during or after the Trump presidency. Write a story. Submit it to an anthology to be called Alternative Truths.

“This is an anthology about the future in an alternative fact world,” Bob wrote. “What does the future hold? Endless alternative facts? Brilliant leadership? Alien invasions? Zombies in the White House?”

Bob set about co-editing the anthology with Phyllis Irene Radford, vowing to publish the book within the first 100 days of the Trump administration.

As submissions came in, Bob formed the private Facebook group Alternative Truth (now public) so the participants could discuss the project. In a field where submissions generally vanish behind a curtain from which editors issue cryptic rejections, the decision to open-source the anthology project seemed both odd and courageous. Did these people know what they were getting into?

I submitted a dystopian story, “Patti…

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Cover art by Alexander James Adams.

Alternative Truths

A few months ago, I wrote about the CREATE Initiative, that we could fight against corrupt politicians through artistic creation.  Well, Bob Brown and Phyllis Irene Radford had the self-same idea.  Knowing that humor is the best way to fight pomposity, and that parody is a traditional response to politics and politicians, they organized a science fiction anthology called Alternative Truths. That book debuts tomorrow, April 28, 2017, via Amazon.

Alternative Truths Anthology was formed, when on February 23, 2017, I, and many of my friends, asked what we could do. We could write, we could join that noble tradition of using the pen, to poke the powerful.  So was born, Alternative Truths. And our pens became word processors and our ideas became stories.

Alternative Truths is a look at the post election America that is, or will be, or could be. We attach no manacles to the word truth to bind it to our visions, but instead we free it to find its own way through the minds of the two dozen writers who have shared their vision of the future…. Whomever or what ever you like you will find here with an absolute appreciation for the fact that we live in a great country where you can still publish a book like this, in part to the continued efforts of the American Civil Liberties Union. To paraphrase Thomas Jefferson, the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the ink of patriots.

Phyllis Irene Radford and Bob Brown,
Editors, Alternative Truths

Alternative Truths has twenty-four stories, mostly science fiction, but a few fantasy.  There are ghosts, there are demons, there are aliens, there are time travelers, and there are the most dangerous creatures of all, human politicians.  The stories range from the humorous to the horrific, from the silly to the scary, from (First Amendment legally protected) parody to frighteningly plausible predictions.  Several of the stories would make excellent Twilight Zone episodes.  American, Canadian, and British authors have joined together to imagine what might become of the United States if an unethical businessman with no political experience were to be elected to the highest office in the land.

“In true American tradition, we lampoon our politicians – particularly those with overblown egos. And our current President has an ego big as – well, a wall. His own staff member provided the inspiration for this anthology when she used the term “alternative facts.” Since the President won’t come to the correspondent’s dinners, we’re bringing it to you. Alternative Truths is a collection of twenty-four stories by authors specializing in genres from political commentary to science fiction and fantasy. Once started, it’s impossible to put down. The topic of prevarication is addressed in manners from humorous to deadly serious. Contexts range from the past to dystopic futures. The collection is powerful, provocative, and in some cases – hopefully not precognizant.” R. Kyle

Alternate Truths has stories by Jim Wright of Stonekettle Station, award-winning author Adam-Troy Castro, Diana Hauer, Louise Marley, Irene Radford, Canadian author and journalist Gregg Chamberlain, Sara Codair, K. G. Anderson, Daniel M. Kimmel, Janka Hobbs, Bruno Lombardi, Victor D. Phillips, Larry Hodges, Bobby Lee Featherston, Blaze Ward, Joel Ewy, Marleen S. Barr, Ken Staley, Wondra Vanian, Liam Hogan, Voss Foster, Rebecca McFarland Kyle, Paula Hammond, and Susan Murrie Macdonald.

The CREATE Initiative is a way for ordinary people to fight back against the powerful and heartless.  Write, paint, perform, blog.  If you can’t do that, then read or listen or watch the works of those who can.  Alternative Truths is $4.99 on Kindle or $11 in paperback.  Buy a copy (or two.  Books make great gifts, and Mother’s Day is coming.) Remember, to an author, reviews are love, so feel free to mention on Amazon and/or Goodreads that you liked it.

“That’s what we storytellers do.  We restore order with imagination.   We instill hope again and again and again.” Walt Disney

Remember three things:  1, the pen is mightier than the sword.  2, enough snowflakes gathered together can form a blizzard or an avalanche.  3, comedy is a traditional weapon against politicians.

Disclaimer:  I am not unbiased in this matter.  I am the author of the fifth story in the book and one of the assistant proofreaders.  I confess to having a financial stake in Alternative Truths doing well.  I have a son going to college in a few months, and I’d like to be able to pay his tuition.


Borrowed from

The Fashions Of Regency England

I found this while researching  my  work-in-progress, which is set in Regency England.  The original blog is from Belle Grove Plantation Bed and Breakfast, the birthplace of our fourth president, James Madison.

The author of the blog I’m reposting refers to 1795 – 1837 as the time period “generally accepted” as the Regency era.  Any student of history knows the Regency, strictly speaking, was 1811 – 1820.

“The Regency era in the United Kingdom is generally accepted as the period between 1795 and 1837. Effectively it combines the decline of George III’s rule, the period between 1811 and 1820 when the King was deemed unfit to rule and his son, the Prince of Wales was granted the title of Prince Regent to rule in his father’s name, and the period from 1820 when the Prince Regent became George IV on the death of his father until 1837 when Queen Victoria succeeded to the throne and a new era.”


  • George III:  born 1738, reigned 1760 – 1820, died 1820
  • George IV: born 1762, Prince Regent 1811 – 1820, reigned 1820 – 1830, died 1830
  • William IV: born 1765, reigned 1830 – 1837, died 1837
  • Victoria:  born 1819, reigned 1837 – 1901, died 1901


Belle Grove Plantation Bed and Breakfast

Today we have a guest blogger from England. Kevin has written for us before and we love his posts. Last time was about a true English tea. Today we are talking about Fashion of Regency England. This would have been around the time Belle Grove’s main section was built. Seeing this you can image the people walking around Belle Grove after it was built. Just lovely!

Thank you Kevin!

During the last decade 18th Century George III was becoming noticeably more and more deranged. Elsewhere America declared it’s independence and the introduction of the guillotine in France sent shockwaves through the wealthy and privileged classes of Europe.

Marie Antoinette of France -  1778 Marie Antoinette of France – 1778

Miss Constable, 1787 Miss Constable, 1787

Regency Fashion -  1820 to 1850 Regency Fashion – 1820 to 1850

The Regency era in the United Kingdom is generally accepted as the period between 1795 and 1837. Effectively it combines the decline of George III’s rule, the period…

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The Memphis St. Patrick's Parade featured leprechauns and dinosaurs.

St. Patrick’s Parade on Beale Street

Saturday, March 11, 2017, was the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Memphis, TN.  (Okay, they were a little early.)  The official name was the 44th Annual Silky Sullivan St. Patrick’s Day Parade.  I marched in it as one of the members of the Mid-South Renaissance Faire group.

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This was my favorite parade participant, a Shriner hillbilly car that blew bubbles.

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One of the many musical groups was the Memphis Ukulele Flash Mob.

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The Fire Museum of Memphis sent a firetruck.

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The Mid-South Buccaneers sent a boarding party, er, marching party.

Image may contain: 1 person, car and outdoor  Image may contain: 1 person, outdoorImage may contain: 2 people, people walking and outdoor                              Floats, cars, marchers, dancers, bagpipes, and more!

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Not every St. Patrick’s Day Parade can boast of dinosaurs!  The t-rex dancing in the tutu was my son’s favorite part of the parade.  Before the parade began, Good Queen Bess made new friends.  We’re not sure of they’re her new pets or the new royal guard.

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It looks like Jerry Lawler is running for mayor of Memphis again.

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Here’s the Mid-South Renaissance Faire group.  We have a new location this year, at USA Stadium in Millington, TN, so we wanted to make sure people were aware of the Faire.  It will be the last two weekends of August, 8/19-20 and 8/26-27.

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Before and after pictures:  me at the start of the parade, and me after the parade.  By the end, both my hoop skirt and my French hood were slipping. (Please note the green muffin cap beneath my French hood in honor of the day.)  The weather was cool and damp, although luckily the rain stopped in time for the parade.  The stroll was wearying, but we threw many toy coins, rings, and beads to the children along Beale Street.  The youngsters seemed to have a good time, and so did we.

Gramercy to my son Ian, who took all the photos but one, and gramercy to Lauren Rushdi, who took the picture of Queen Elizabeth with the dinosaurs.

Remember, the Mid-South Renaissance Faire will be August 19, 20, 26, and 27, 2017, at USA Stadium in Millington, TN, just off Hwy. 51.  You can buy  autographed copies of my book, R is for Renaissance Faire there, or you can buy unautographed copies through Amazon.


The Browne Sisters and George Cavanaugh

The Browne Sisters are one of my favorite Celtic music groups, and I was reminded of them the other day by a Celtic Thunder video.  This is odd, because normally it’s Celtic Woman who reminds me of the Browne Sisters.  Technically the name of the band is the Browne Sisters and George Cavanaugh, as it consists of sisters Diane Browne, Pamela Browne Logan, Laura Browne-Sorenson, and their cousin, George Cavanaugh.

The other day on Facebook, I saw a video of Emmet Cahill of Celtic Thunder performing the popular folk song “Spanish Lady.” He did an excellent job, as did the woman dancing with him.  The set was beautiful.  The musicians were superb.  What surprised me was that Celtic Thunder asked on their Facebook page “Here is a fun song for you, anyone heard this one before??”  I was even more surprised when several people said it was new to them, or that they had only learned it from Celtic Thunder’s sister-group, Celtic Woman.  Alex Beaton has performed it.  The Dubliners have performed it.  So have the Irish Rovers, Johnny McEvoy, the Kilkennys, the Irish Tenors, the Whistlin’ Donkeys, and too many other musicians to count.  My personal favorite rendition is by George Cavanaugh and his three cousins, Diane, Pam, and Laura.  It’s on their album Ready for the Storm.  The song itself is roughly 300 years old.  Mind you, Emmet Cahill’s version is now my second favorite.

The Browne Sisters & George Cavanaugh | Castle Dangerous     The Browne Sisters & George Cavanaugh | West of Home      

Once when we were in the car, playing Castle Dangerous on CD, my daughter said that they sounded like Celtic Woman.  I pointed out that since the Browne Sisters have been performing longer than Celtic Woman has, no, Celtic Woman sounded like them.

The first time I heard the Browne Sisters in person was at the Orange County Highland Games, in Costa Mesa, CA.  My husband and I were still dating then, and we’ve been married more than twenty years, so we’ve been fans of the Browne Sisters and George Cavanaugh for quite a while now.  They sing a mixture of Irish and Scottish folk songs, mostly traditional, some contemporary.  They sing a few songs in Gaelic.  When I last saw them perform in person, they said they learned the Gaelic songs phonetically, but it’s been a while.  For all I know they’ve learned to speak Gaelic since then.

They have seven albums, which means they have a lot of good songs.  When I listen to “Black and Tan,” I forget that my Irish ancestors were almost all northern Irish and sing along enthusiastically.  “Silver Darlings” is one of their most popular songs and the title song on their first album.  Their versions of “Follow Me Up to Carlow” and “Queen of Argyll” rival the versions by Wild Oats and other bands.  If I absolutely had to choose a favorite, it would be their album Castle Dangerous, which has some of my favorite songs:  “Gypsies in the Wood,” “The Irish Boy,” “The Gallant Forty-Twa,” “Smugglers,” and “Black is the Color.”

The Browne Sisters and George Cavanaugh would be very happy if you bought any of their albums.  They’re available through CD Baby or at any good Highland Games.

Silver Darlings, Castle Dangerous, West of Home, Bringing Down the House, Ready for the Storm, Miles Through the Night, and Christmas Travelers

I would be very happy if you bought any of my books or stories.

R is for Renaissance Faire  (children’s book)

Knee-High Drummond and the Durango Kid  (four western stories)

Sword and Sorceress #30, containing my story “The Piper’s Wife”  (fantasy)

Colorado Supernatural, containing my story “Thank You, Thad”  (horror)

Barbarian Crowns, containing my stories “Vixen’s Song” and “Two Princes”  (fantasy)

Photo from the Browne Sisters and George Cavanaugh’s webpage; used with their kind permission.  Tapadh leibh!

Hero of the First Amendment: Pauli Murray

First Amendment of the Bill of Rights:  “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”



Pauli Murray has been one of my personal heroes for years.  It’s a good thing she was a real person, because if she were a fictional character, any decent editor would complain that she was unrealistic and demand that the author tone her down to something more plausible. Pauli Murray (born Anna Pauline Murray) was a poet, a lawyer, a civil rights activist, an educator, and the first female African-American to be ordained as an Episcopalian priest.  She helped co-found both CORE (Congress of Racial Equality) in 1942 and NOW (National Organization for Women) in 1966.  She was turned down when she applied for a position at Cornell University because her references (Eleanor Roosevelt, Thurgood Marshall, and Philip Randolph) were too radical. In her younger days, she’d been turned down from attending the University of North Carolina (which her ancestors had helped found) because she was Black and from attending Harvard because she was female. Her reply to Harvard was classic.

“I would gladly change my sex to meet your requirements, but since the way to such change has not been revealed to me, I have no recourse but to appeal to you to change your minds. Are you to tell me that one is as difficult as the other?”

Pauli Murray was arrested for sitting in the wrong part of the bus fifteen years before Rosa Parks, and for following Gandhi’s example of peaceful civil disobedience while Martin Luther King was still in short pants. She led sit-ins in Washington, DC during WWII.

Saturday afternoon, April 22, 1944, Pauli Murray and fellow students from Howard University began a demonstration at Thompson’s, at Eleventh Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, a cafeteria only a few blocks from the White House.  Some picketed outside.  Some, including Pauli, went inside and asked to order. The cafeteria refused to serve them, so they took empty trays to vacant tables and sat down. Pauli, as the only female law student at Howard University at the time, was spokeswoman for the group.  Politely but firmly, she reminded the staff at Thompson’s that Washington, DC, law did not require segregation.  It was custom, not legally required.

Police watched the picketers and the crowd gathering to protest the protesters to make sure no laws were broken, but they did not interfere. The posters said:

  • “Are you for HITLER’S Way (Race Supremacy) or the AMERICAN Way (Equality)?  Make Up Your Mind!”
  •  “We Die Together.  Why Can’t We Eat Together?”
  • “Our Boys, our Bonds, our Brothers are Fighting for YOU!  Why Can’t We Eat Here?”

The students from Howard entered the restaurant in small groups, two or three at a time.  They continued to occupy tables, preventing paying customers from eating.  Six African-American soldiers, who were not involved with the demonstration and had not known Thompson’s didn’t serve African-Americans, came in to get a meal.  White soldiers and sailors were already inside Thompson’s eating.  When the manager refused to serve them, they, too, sat down at empty tables and read the newspapers, rather than going elsewhere to look for somewhere that would serve Blacks.  By five o’clock that evening, there were fifty-six demonstrators (including the soldiers) taking up tables.  Thompson’s was losing money.  The manager asked them to leave, but Pauli pointed out they were not breaking any laws.  The district supervisor of the Thompson’s chain came and asked them to leave.  Pauli refused, politely.  As Martin Luther King, Jr. will do years later, she was practicing civil disobedience (with an emphasis on the civility).  Finally, after telephone consultations with Thompson’s main office in Chicago, the restaurant agreed to serve them, after four and a half hours of peaceful sit-in.  The cafeteria’s waitresses refused to serve African-American customers, so the manager and the district supervisor had to act as waiters.

Pauli, being a law student at the time, knew the First Amendment and “the right of the people peaceably to assemble.”

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“What is often called exceptional ability is nothing more than persistent endeavor.” Pauli Murray

Pauli Murray was born November 20, 1910, in Baltimore, Maryland.  She died July 1, 1985 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In between 1910 and 1985, she fought against racism and sexism.  She was the first African-American Deputy Attorney General for the state of California.  In 1947, Mademoiselle Magazine named her Woman of the Year. She wrote poems, essays, and books. She was the first African-American to earn a doctorate of law at Yale University.  She taught law at several colleges, both in the United States and Ghana.

She held these truths to be self-evident:  that all men and women are created equal.




Hero of the First Amendment: Richard Allen

First Amendment of the Constitution:  Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Related image Bishop Richard Allen, 1760 – 1831

Richard Allen is an important figure in American history, especially the history of religion and civil rights in this country. He founded both the Free African Society,  a “non-denominational religious mutual-aid society dedicated to helping the Black community,” and the African Methodist Episcopal Church, which later spun off the A. M. E. Zion Church and the C. M. E. Church.

Richard Allen was probably born in 1760, in or near Philadelphia.  He was born a slave, which means his birth was probably not recorded at the time.  February 14, 1760 is given as his usual birth date, which makes today his 257th birthday, and he was born in Pennsylvania or Delaware.  As a teenager he converted to Methodism and became a lay preacher.  His owner, Stokeley Sturgis, also converted to Methodism, and permitted Richard Allen and his other slaves the opportunity to purchase their freedom.  (He did not convert in so holy a manner and to so generous a heart that he freed them without at least partial reimbursement for the loss of their labor.) He bought his freedom in 1783 (some sources say 1780) for $2,000.  In 1786, “joined St. George’s Methodist Episcopal Church, where he became active in teaching and preaching.”  He often preached at all-Black services early on Sunday mornings, at 5:00 a.m.  However, when he and other Black members of the congregation attended the regular services later in the day, they were required to be segregated from the white members of the congregation.

Details differ as to the great walk-out of St. George’s by the Black congregation members.  It may have been in 1787 or 1792.  It may have been because visitors to the church did not realize they were sitting in the “whites only” section of the church or it may have been a deliberate attempt at integration by Allen’s friend, Absalom Jones.  Some versions of the story claim the church forced segregated seating on the congregation without warning, and this was the first — and last — Sabbath they did so.  What is sure is this:  African-Americans sat in the “white pews.”  An usher tried to tell them to move, but as he was doing so, it was the time in the service to kneel for prayer.  They refused to move until prayers were over and scolded the usher for interrupting the prayers.  When the prayers ended, they rose to their feet and walked out of the church.  Richard Allen and Absalom Jones led all the other Black members of the church out.

Absalom Jones was the first African-American to be officially ordained in the United States; he chose to join the Episcopal Church.  Richard Allen did not want to leave the Methodist church, but decided that what was needed was a church where African-Americans could worship together.

“I was confident that there was no religious sect or denomination would suit the capacity of the colored people as well as the Methodist; for the plain and simple Gospel suits best for any people.”

Using his own money, Richard Allen bought an old blacksmith’s shop and established the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church.  Bishop Francis Asbury consecrated the building. He also ordained Allen.

Richard Allen Richard Allen, circa 1784

Having been a slave himself, Allen naturally became an abolitionist. Both his home and Bethel Church were stops on the Underground Railroad.  He worked for better conditions and civil rights for free African-Americans, especially education.  He opened a school for African-American children.  He wrote articles on the evils of slavery,  on the brotherhood of slaves and free Blacks, on religious topics, and on African-Americans staying in the United States and improving themselves, gaining self-determination, rather than freed slaves going back to Africa.

“We will never separate ourselves voluntarily from the slave population in this country; they are our brethren and we feel there is more virtue in suffering privations with them than fancied advantage for a season.”

The local white Methodist Episcopal churches tried to exercise authority over Bethel Church, but Allen fought them in court. January 1, 1816, the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court ruled the church belonged to Allen and his associates. In that same year, Allen “united four African-American congregations of the Methodist Church in Philadelphia; Salem, New Jersey; Delaware and Maryland. Together they founded the independent denomination of the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME), the first fully independent black denomination in the United States. On April 10, 1816, the other ministers elected Allen as their first bishop.”

Bishop Richard Allen died on March 26, 1831,  at his home on Spruce Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was buried under Bethel Church, which is considered the Mother Church of the AME Church.

Biographies of Bishop Richard Allen
Richard Allen, The Life, Experience and Gospel Labors of the Rt. Rev. Richard Allen, Written by Himself (Philadelphia, 1793; reprinted Nashville: Abingdon, 1960)

Carol V. R. George, Richard Allen and the Emergence of Independent Black Churches (New York: Oxford University, 1973)

Richard Newman, Freedom’s Prophet: Bishop Richard Allen, the AME Church and the Black Founding Fathers (NYC: NYU Press, 2008)


Happy St. Valentine’s Day.

Happy African-American History Month.

Happy Richard Allen’s Birthday.

Hero of the First Amendment: Ida B. Wells

First Amendment of the Bill of Rights:  “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Mary Garrity - Ida B. Wells-Barnett - Google Art Project - restoration crop.jpg Ida Bell Wells-Barnett

Who was Ida B. Wells?  She was an American heroine.  She was a teacher, a journalist, a lecturer, and a civil rights activist. She fought for freedom of the press and freedom of speech.  She worked to publicize the evils of lynching and fought to stop it.  She worked for female suffrage and equal rights for men and women, white and Black.

Ida Bell Wells was born a slave in Holly Springs, Mississippi, on July 16, 1862. When her parents and one of her brothers died in the yellow fever epidemic of 1878, she became a teacher to support herself and her remaining siblings, so the family would not need to be split up among various relatives. She eventually moved to Memphis, Tennessee, where teachers earned better pay, although she still earned less than white teachers.

“On May 4, 1884, a train conductor with the Memphis and Charleston Railroad ordered Wells to give up her seat in the first-class ladies car and move to the smoking car, which was already crowded with other passengers.” She refused, and was forcibly removed from the train. She sued. A local circuit court awarded her $500, but the railroad appealed, and the Tennessee Supreme Court overturned the case.

Wells began writing for newspapers, mostly on racial issues.  She became editor and co-owner of the Free Speech and Headlight in 1889.  In 1891, she lost her teaching job when the Memphis Board of Education disapproved of her articles criticizing the condition of the “colored” schools in Shelby County.  In 1892, she began in earnest the crusade for which she is most famous:  publicizing the evils of lynching, and explaining that lynching was not the result of white justice-seekers too impatient to wait for the courts, but of white businessmen and leaders determined to stop African-American economic competition and social improvement.  In 1892, Tom Moss, an African-American grocery store owner and a friend of Ida B. Wells, was arrested for defending his store from white vandals.  He and his business partners, Calvin McDowell and Will Stewart, were dragged from the jail and murdered by a lynch mob.

Wells not only wrote about her friend’s lynching.  She traveled the south for two months, investigating other lynchings and collecting statistics.  When she wrote about her findings, especially  that lynchings were not the result of Black men raping white women, a mob in Memphis broke into her newspaper office and destroyed her printing press.  She was out of Tennessee at the time, and was warned not to return to Memphis.  She traveled in the north and the midwest, writing and lecturing about lynching. She went to Europe on a lecture tour.

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Unable to return safely to Memphis, she settled in Chicago, where she and Frederick Douglass organized a boycott of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. She, Douglass, Irvine G. Pen, and her future husband, attorney Ferdinand L. Barnett, co-wrote a pamphlet explaining Reasons Why the Colored American Is Not in the World’s Columbian Exposition. More than 20,000 copies of the pamphlet were passed out to visitors to the exposition.

Ida B. Wells married Ferdinand L. Barnett, an African-American lawyer and journalist, in 1895. He was a widower, with two sons by his first wife.  He and Ida B. Wells-Barnett (one of the first women to keep her own name after marriage) had four children together.

 The Ida B. Wells-Barnett House, a National Historical Landmark in Chicago, IL, is where Ida B. Wells-Barnett and Ferdinand L. Barnett lived from 1919-1930.

In addition to her many newspaper articles and speeches on lynching, Ida B. Wells-Barnett wrote two pamphlets, both of which are out of copyright and available on-line.  In Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases, published in 1892, she examined the causes of lynching and suggested that African-Americans use their Second Amendment rights to protect themselves.

The lesson this teaches and which every Afro-American should ponder well, is that a Winchester rifle should have a place of honour in every black home, and it should be used for that protection which the law refuses to give. When the white man who is always the aggressor knows he runs as great a risk of biting the dust every time his Afro-American victim does, he will have greater respect for Afro-American life. The more the Afro-American yields and cringes and begs, the more he has to do so, the more he is insulted, outraged and lynched.

In 1895, she published The Red Recordwhich examined lynchings since the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863.  Most white northerners were either unaware or refused to believe how widespread lynching was in the south.  Wells-Barnett explained “ten thousand Negroes have been killed in cold blood,  without the formality of judicial trial and legal execution” since slavery had ended.

In the late 19th century and early 20th century, Ida B. Wells-Barnett tried to balance raising her family with fighting against lynching, fighting for women’s suffrage, and working for urban reform for the many African-Americans who were fleeing the dangers and poverty of the south to come to northern cities looking for a better life.  She founded the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs and the National Afro-American Council in 1896. In 1909, she helped W. E. B. DuBois found the NAACP.  She founded the Negro Fellowship League in 1910.  She died in Chicago, March 25, 1931.

Image result for ida b wells Ida B. Wells-Barnett

Her home in Chicago is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  It is currently a private home and not open to tours. The Bolling-Gatewood House in Holly Springs, MS, once the home of Spires Bolling, the man who owned her as a child, is now the Ida B. Wells-Barnett Museum. Several schools are named after her, including the Ida B. Wells Academy in Memphis and the Ida B. Wells Preparatory Elementary Academy in Chicago.

Image result for ida b wells


Sweet and Sour, Food and Fascism

I was going to write about another hero of the First Amendment this week, maybe Ida B. Wells or Oliver Wendell Holmes.  Then the president’s executive order on immigrants and refugees was issued, and before I could set fingers to keyboard, Sally Yates was fired for doing her job. At that point I thought about my friends flooding Facebook with kittens, to distract us from the Kafkaesque political situation.  Maybe I’d just post a few of my favorite cookie recipes.  (If nothing else, it would prevent me from losing my chocolate chocolate-chip cookie recipe again.)  Think about something other than the fact that Trump’s administration seems to being trying to attempt a coup.

But no, that is what the current regime wants us to do.  They want us to give up.  They want outrage fatigue. So I’ll share the sweet, like my cookie recipes, and I’ll rant about the sour, like our president ignoring the U. S. Constitution.  I’ll talk about food, and I’ll talk about fighting 21st century fascism.

Chocolate Chocolate-Chip Cookies

1/4 tsp salt
1 cup butter (softened)
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour
2/3 cup cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
2 cups chocolate chips, M&Ms, etc.

Preheat oven to 350.
Beat butter, sugar, eggs, & vanilla.
Combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, & salt in another bowl.
Slowly stir dry ingredients into butter mixture until well blended.
Mix in chocolate chips, M&Ms, chopped nuts, white chocolate chips, or whatever add-in you prefer.
Drop by rounded teaspoons on ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake 8-10 minutes.
Cool slightly on cookie sheets before transferring to cooling racks.

Who is Sally Yates and What Did She Do?


Sally Yates was the Acting Attorney General, until yesterday. She refused to have Department of Justice attorneys defend the executive order banning travelers from seven nations. President Trump fired her, using on of his favorite insults “weak.” He accused her of betraying the nation.

Ironically, when the Senate confirmed Ms. Yates for her position, Senator Jeff Sessions — Trump’s as-yet-unconfirmed nomination for Attorney General — asked her if she would say no to the president if he requested her to do something unconstitutional.  She did so, and she was fired.

“My responsibility is to ensure that the position of the Department of Justice is not only legally defensible, but is informed by our best view of what the law is after consideration of all the facts. In addition, I am responsible for ensuring that the positions we take in court remain consistent with this institution’s solemn obligation to always seek justice and stand for what is right.”

Crackle Cookies

1 box of cake mix, any flavor
1/2 cup shortening
1 tbsp water
2 eggs, slightly beaten

Mix together with spoon.
Batter will be stiff.
Roll into balls.
(Optional) roll balls in sugar.
Place on greased cookie sheet.
Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes.
Makes two dozen cookies.

What’s an Emolument, and is President Trump Accepting Any?

An emolument is “a salary, fee, or profit from employment or office.” In this context, it refers to a politician accepting baksheesh from a foreign power, a private individual, or a company that wishes to influences him. Article I, Section 9 of the U. S. Constitution states “no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.” Some ethics experts claim that Donald Trump’s many investments and debts overseas create a conflict of interest.

The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and a United Arab Emirates tourism agency both rent office space in Trump Tower in New York City.  Many foreign diplomats stay at his hotel in Washington, DC, some admittedly hoping to curry favor with him by doing so.  There is some doubt as to whether his lease of the Old Washington Post Office building is even legal, now that he is the president.

Sugar Cookies (My Mom’s Recipe)

  • 1 cup margarine
  • 1 cup margarine
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 1/2 cups sifted flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  1. Cream margarine and sugar.
  2. Add eggs; beat well.
  3. Blend in dry ingredients & vanilla.
  4. Chill dough.
  5. Roll out dough 1/4 ” thick and cut on lightly floured surface.
  6. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet, 8-10 minutes at 400 F.

Kellyanne Conway Doesn’t Understand the First Amendment

Kellyanne Conway complained that journalists who said unkind things about the president hadn’t been fired for their horrible actions. She doesn’t seem to understand that a free press is guaranteed in the U. S. Constitution.  Journalists reporting the news are required to be truthful, not kind.

Thomas Jefferson said, “The only security of all is in a free press. The force of public opinion cannot be resisted when permitted freely to be expressed. The agitation it produces must be submitted to. It is necessary, to keep the waters pure.”  Just in case Ms. Conway isn’t familiar with Mr. Jefferson, he was the third president of the United States of America.

My Son’s Favorite Sugar Cookie Recipe

  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup butter (or margarine)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.
  2. Beat sugar, butter, egg, and vanilla in a large bowl.
  3. Slowly stir in flour mixture.
  4. Chill 2 hours (or more).
  5. Roll out dough and cut out cookies.
  6. Dough should be ¼” thick.
  7. Bake 10-12 minutes at 350 F on an ungreased baking sheet.

How to Impeach the President

The president can only be impeached and removed from office for “Treason, Bribery, or other High Crimes and Misdemeanors.” Here’s a quick and easy explanation. Here’s a somewhat flip explanation. Basically, the House of Representatives votes on whether or not to impeach the president.  The Senate then votes on whether or not to convict him.  It’s a difficult process, especially when the majority of Congress belongs to the same party as the president.  Are his current actions severe enough to warrant impeachment?