Frederick Douglass on Robert E. Lee’s Death

Having spent a large portion of my life in Richmond, Virginia—where some still refer to the American Civil War as the “War of Northern Aggression”—I’ve witnessed mind-boggling mental gymnastics regarding the “great” Robert E. Lee. I’ll spare you details.

However, in “celebration” of Lee’s birthday (Jan. 19), I’d like to share a few words from a truly great American, Frederick Douglass, in response to such drivel.

A few weeks after Lee died, Douglass wrote an editorial for his newspaper, The National Era, about the cause of Lee’s death. After citing several obituaries from sources sympathetic to Lee—such as Jefferson Davis, who said Lee “died of a broken heart,” and a journal that said “he died being sadly depressed at the condition of the country, that he could stand it no longer”—Douglass concluded: “From which we are to infer, that the liberation of four millions of slaves and their elevation to manhood, and to the enjoyment of their civil and political rights, was more than he could stand, and so he died!”

I love Frederick Douglass.

(Read his full editorial at The Reconstruction Era blog or the Library of Congress.)

Hello Good People!

I’m re-launching my personal website, which has been down for several years while I’ve focused on other projects.

Under “Home,” I’ll publish things that are more suited to a personal blog than to other outlets. Topics will include philosophic ideas I find useful, interviews I do, lectures I give, places I go, artworks and performances I love, recipes I love (oh yeah!), and issues I’m mulling over for formal articles, books, or courses. It'll be a melting pot of my thoughts, activities, and interests.

This website will also be home to my new podcast, “Excluding the Middle,” where I’ll apply philosophic principles and either-or thinking to various aspects of life and the overarching project of flourishing. The first episode will air next week. (Update: I put the podcast on the back burner, as I realized that still had too much on my plate. I now plan to launch it in Feb. 2022.)

Also on this site is a specialized blog titled “Discord,” where I’ll address significant disagreements (or attacks) among individuals or organizations about which I have relevant knowledge and think speaking up is required for clarity and justice. (Hopefully, this particular blog won’t be very active.)

If you have questions or subjects you’d like me to address on my blogs or podcast, drop me a note. I can’t guarantee a reply to every message, but I read all of them. And if your question or suggestion is of general interest, I may write or podcast about it.

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