Archive for February, 2011

Governor Christie’s Views on Collective Bargaining

His Face the Nation interview of February 27 features his thoughts on collective bargaining, the education sector, and social security.

Leave a Comment

Sojourner Truth

“I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother’s grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain’t I a woman?” These stirring words are contained in the famous speech, Ain’t I a Woman?, delivered in 1851 by Sojourner Truth, one of the first fighters for human rights. An ardent aboloitionist and women’s rights advocate, she was born a slave  in 1797  in Ulster County, N.Y. ; her given name at the time was Isabella Baumfree. She did not assume “Sojourner Truth” until later in life after a religious experience influenced her to become a wandering preacher. Her riveting speeches espousing the causes of abolition and women’s rights were well-known. During the Civil War, she spoke out on behalf of the Union and subsequently met Abraham Lincoln. She died in Battle, Michigan in 1883. More information can be found at: Sojourner Truth (Women in History); This Far by Faith: Sojourner Truth (PBS); On the Trail of Sojourner Truth in Ulster County, New York (SUNY-New Paltz, home of the Sojourner Truth Library); Sojourner Truth: Online Resources (Library of Congress);  Narrative of Sojourner Truth (various editions; as she could neither read nor write, she dictated her memoirs); various speeches by her; and contemporary newspaper accounts.

Leave a Comment

Increases in New Jersey School Aid

As Governor Christie announced with his budget address, school aid has been increased for the upcoming year. Come here to find out the amount of increase at both the county and school district level.

Leave a Comment

Slavery Statistics for the United States

Exact totals are hard to come by, but we do have access to some reliable enumerations. In the Historical Census Browser which includes the 1790 to 1960 census figures, you can search for “slave population,” and depending on the census you choose, you can get either a lot or a little information; for example, the 1790 census provides data on the number of slaves and detailed information on the slaveholding families, while the 1820 census retrieves nothing on slaveholding families but a great deal of demographic information on slaves. (Obviously, the data contained in each census is based upon the questions asked, and each census posed different questions.) The information can then be broken down by states and even down to the county level. So if you wanted to find the number of slaves who resided in New Jersey’s counties from 1790 to 1860, this is a great place to look. For colonial information, you can go to Chapter Z: Colonial and Pre-Federal Statistics of the Historical Statistics of the United States: Colonial Times to 1970. Here you will find tables such as “Slave Prices 1638-42 to 1773-75” and “Slave Trade in New York 1701-1764.” (Tables are found on pages 1172-1174.) Two relevant articles are: Slavery in the United States and Slavery (without accompanying tables).

Leave a Comment

Governor Christie’s 2012 Budget Address – News and Reactions

Apres le deluge, you can read the speech’s transcript as well as look at the budget overview; for those hardy enough, the 135-page budget summary is also available. (On p.70 of this document, the amount of state aid NJCU is to be getting is the same as last year – $26.1M; student financial aid is to be increased to a total of $392.1M, the bulk of that being TAG to the tune of $319.5M, an increase of $25M.)) An informative FAQ can be perused, courtesy of Patch.com; numerous videos on the proposed budget are here  as well as a lengthy string of articles(The Star-Ledger). Other sources include: Bloomberg NewsNJ Spotlight, The Trentonian, MyCentralJersey, Asbury Park Press, NJEA,  Politico, PolitickerNJ, Bergen Record, and The New York Times.

Leave a Comment

Governor Chrisite’s FY 2012 Budget Address

The address will be broadcast live here and here (with legislative response and analysis).

Leave a Comment

Presidential Ratings/Rankings

Presidential approval ratings come at us constantly. One of the most long-lived polls of this type is conducted by Gallup; here are the results dating back to Esienhower. These public approval ratings should be compared with the C-SPAN 2009 Historians Presidential Leadership Survey that compares all the presidents on ten leadership characteristics as adjudged by 65 presidential scholars. Then there is the Siena College Presidential Ranking which polled 238 scholars along the lines of twenty leadership chararcteristics.

Leave a Comment

Black History Online Resources at the Library of Congress

The Library of Congress is this country’s de facto national library. (A list of all national libraries is available as well.)  It is also the largest library in the world in terms of number of items on its 800+ miles of shelving. Contained within its walls are veritable goldmines of information. A small portion of this information has been digitized and made available for everyone; in this instance, we refer to its black history collections. African American History Month: Exhibits and Collections offers a portal into the vast array of sites presented. Among the most noteworthy are: Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936-1938, a database of 2300 interviews of former slaves sortable by states and keywords, along with hundreds of photographs; From Slavery to Freedom: The African American Pamphlet Collection, 1822-1909 offering almost 400 pamphlets on slavery by both black and white authors; African American Perspectives, 1818-1907, a collection of 351 pamphlets by black writers on a wide variety of topics; and First-Person Narratives of the American South, 1860-1920 detailing life in the South as written by Southerners. And do not forget to visit its Slave Narratives: Related Resources which leads you to authoritative, outside sites.

Leave a Comment

Senate President Steve Sweeney’s Proposed Health Benefits Plan

Earlier this week, Senate President Sweeney unveiled his plan for New Jersey state workers to contribute more to their health insurance plans. News and reactions are at: Times of Trenton, Wall Street Journal, The Bergen Record, The Star-Ledger (with links to more articles on this situation),  and Bloomberg News.

Leave a Comment

List of Borders Bookstores Closing

This database, extracted from the bankruptcy filing, lists the almost 200 stores being shuttered. In this area, we will lose Fort Lee and the store at Garden State Plaza; California is losing 36 Borders.

Leave a Comment

Governor Christie’s AEI Speech

Those who wish to watch the one hour speech at one of the leading conservative think tanks can access it here. Some consider this a foreshadowing of his New Jersey budget address. Commentaries, news, and analysis can be found at: The Star-Ledger, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Politico, and National Review Online,

Leave a Comment

Black History Online Exhibitions/Projects

Honestly, there are too many of the above to list here; however, we have picked out a couple of very noteworthy ones. In Motion: The African-American Migration Experience from the Schomburg Center presents the 13 well-defined migrations that shaped the black community in this country, from the transatlantic slave trade to the African immigration of today. Each period is examined in essay form with extensive textual and graphical documentation provided; lesson plans are also available. We heartily recommend this site. In addition to this site, the Schomburg has several other exhibitions just as replete with information. The NYPL Digital Gallery presents Africana and Black History, a collection of thousands of images from the 16th century to present day; they can be searched by subject as well. Mapping the African American Past presents in vivid detail the life of blacks in New York from colonial times until today. Dozens of historic sites are examined along with accompanying videos and interviews. This site resurrects the important contributions that blacks made to the city.

Leave a Comment

Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman, born a slave, died a free woman in upstate New York. One of the most courageous women of her time, she personally risked her life on many occasions to guide escaped slaves north along the Underground Railroad. (For Jersey City’s role in this network, please come here. Two of the most important collections of documents on the  Railroad are: Wilbur Siebert’s The Underground Railroad for Slavery to Freedom published in 1898 and containing the accounts of active abolitionists from that time, and William Still’s 1872 work Underground Rail Road which included eyewitness accounts. Still himself worked with the Philadelphia Underground Railroad.) Harriet Tubman worked as a cook, nurse, and spy for the Union army. She lectured and was an ardent suffragette as well. For so accomplished and heroic figure, she left no writings, letters, or memoirs because she was illiterate. So what we have about her is derived from sources once removed. However, these sources do portray an individual of immense moral stature; John Brown, the famous abolitionist, called her “…the most of a man, naturally, that I ever met with.”(Quoted in John Brown, 1800-1859: A Biography Fifty Years After, p.327). As was the case with many who served the government, Tubman was forced to subsist on a very small monthly stipend; to supplement her income, she had Sarah Bradford help her write her autobiography Harriet: The Moses of Her People (1869). With the proceeds from this volume, she purchased a house in Auburn, N.Y. and turned it into a home for the aged and needy. She died in 1913. Additional information is at: Harriet Ross Tubman (SUNY Buffalo); Harriet Tubman (University of North Carolina); Harriet Tubman (americaslibrary.gov); Harriet Tubman: Online Resources (Library of Congress); Black Dispatches (CIA – details Tubman’s spy activities during the Civil War); Contemporary Newspaper Articles (from “Chronicling America“); and Harriet Tubman (PBS).

Leave a Comment

Timelines in Black History

We recommend these chronologies because they provide a good deal of information or they are replete with links: African-American History Timeline (another really useful site from infoplease); African American World: Timeline (PBS with links to relevant programs); Black History Timeline (Biography.com, with many images); Timeline of African American History, 1852-1925 (Library of Congress from its African American Perspectives collection); Timeline: Through the Centuries (Encyclopaedia Britannica); Black History Timeline (History Channel); and Events in African American History (Gale).

Leave a Comment

What is the Muslim Brotherhood?

In these volatile political times, any involved organization is subject to partisan appraisals. Even in testimony to the House  Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on Thursday, February 10, DNI James Clapper described the Muslim Brotherhood as a secular group, only to have a “clarification” issued later by his PR chief stating that Clapper is aware that the Brotherhood is not a secular organization. All sides do agree that the Muslim Brotherhood (or “Brotherhood” or “MB”) was founded in the 1920s in Egypt, is the source of Hamas and al-Qaeda, and holds 88 seats in Egypt’s parliament. Opinions vary from The New York Times’“…the Muslim Brotherhood has been by far the most muscular and influential of Egypt’s dissident organizations” to the Brookings Institution’s “The Egyptian Brotherhood renounced violence years ago, but its relative moderation has made it the target of extreme vilification by more radical Islamists” to “The Muslim Brotherhood has provided the ideological model for almost all modern Sunni Islamic terrorists groups” from Report on the Roots of Violent islamist Extremism and the Efforts to Counter It: The Muslim Brotherhood as submitted to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. Besides The New York Times and Brookings sites, which both provide ample writings/reports, additional sites providing information include: Muslim Brothers (Federation of American Scientists);  The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood (Mt Holyoke College -very informative! contains timeline, founder biographies, sources, etc); Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood (Harvard International Review, May 2006); Factbox: What is the Muslim Brotherhood? (Reuters); Al-Ikhwan Al-Muslimeen: The Muslim Brotherhood (Military Review, July/August 2003); Muslim Brotherhood (Berkley Center, Georgetown University – describes many of the Brotherhood affiliates); Explaining Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood (NPR); Muslim Brotherhood Egypt Videos (AOL); Backgrounder: Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood (Council on Foreign Relations);  Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood Lurks as a Long-Term Threat to Freedom (Heritage Foundation); Profile: Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood (BBC); Islamist Movements and the Democratic Process in the Arab World: Exploring the Gray Zones (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace); Egypt: Background and U.S. Relations (CRS); Al Qaeda and Affiliates: Historical Perspective, Global Presence, and Implications for U.S. Policy (CRS); and IkhwanWeb (The Muslim Brotherhood’s official English website).

Leave a Comment

America’s First Black Owned and Operated Newspaper

We speak, of course, of Freedom’s Journal, a weekly published between 1827 and 1829 on Church Street in New York City. In its pages were found current news, editorials, wedding announcements, international news from Haiti, and biographies of such notables as Phyllis Wheatley. New York State abolished slavery in 1827, and Freedom’s Journal lent a voice to the approximately 300,000 freed slaves in the North. In its first number is found the following: “We wish to plead our own cause. Too long have others spoken for us.” The entire 100+ issue run is available here. Additional information can be found as well: The Black Press: Soldiers Without Swords PBS); Map of Black New York City 1785-1835 (NY Historical Society); Freedom’s Journal  (Mapping the African American Past); “We Wish to Plead Our Own Cause”: Freedom’s Journal and the Beginnings of the Black Press (Paper at Association for Education in Journalism Conference); The Afro-American Press and its Editors; and The Negro Press in the United States.

Leave a Comment

New Jersey Residency Requirement Law

The New Jersey First Act (S1730) requires personnel employed in any state agency “…including state college, university, or other ‘higher’ education institution” to establish residency in New Jersey within one year for new hires. Governor Christie  has conditionally vetoed the bill,  asking for minor revisions including expanding the committee which would review exemptions and delaying implementation of the law for four months from the day of its signing. (The law has some built in exemptions that specifically deal with higher ed; i.e., visiting  professorships(2) and those who “…possess special expertise or extraordinary qualifications in a scientific or technical area…”(3). News/commentary/analysis are at: Gloucester County Times, CourierPostOnline, Bergen Record, PolitickerNJ (this one analyses a previous version of the bill), and the Philadephia Business Journal

Leave a Comment

2010 New Jersey School Report Cards

To see how every district/school in the state fared, go to this Department of Education site. Here you will find vast amounts of statistical information from the cost per pupil to the teacher/student ratio. Comparisons with the state and the DFG are also available; historical data back to 1994 can be accessed as well. News and analysis can be found at : The Star-Ledger, NJ Spotlight, Asbury Park Press, The Times of Trenton, CourierPostOnline, and The Jersey Journal.

Leave a Comment

Interviews with Black Leaders

These sites deal with United States black leaders: Frontline: The Two Nations of Black America (Henry Louis Gates interviews pivotal figures); Black Leadership: Oral History Interviews (from the University of Virginia, concentrating on civil rights leaders); Interview with John Hope Franklin (Documenting the American South);  HistoryMakers (interviews with 310 prominent black leaders from all segments of life; free registration required); National Visionary Leadership Project (hundreds of interviews); and Black American Musicians (from the University of Michigan; 150 interviews of legendary artists).

Leave a Comment

Census Bureau Releases Official New Jersey Population Statistics

The Census Bureau has released population figures for New Jersey (statistics are found by scrolling down to the end portion of the article, where municipal stats are available by county); we are among the first states whose data has been released. Newark is still #1, and Jersey City retains its spot as #2 in the state. Analysis of the numbers along racial lines as well as implications for legislative reapportionment are found at: The New York Times (with its very informative New Jersey’s Changing Population);  Paramus Patch (with a concentration on Jersey City and its disappointment at not being #1); Bergen Record; The Star-Ledger; Jersey Journal (an article on Jersey City suing the Census Bureau over a supposed undercount);  and Bloomberg News.

Leave a Comment

Older Posts »