Racial Justice and Healing: Resources from Front Royal, Virginia

Today Rachel, Shelly and I attended worship at Cavalry Episcopal Church in Front Royal, Virginia. Today is Pentecost, and after the wonderful service the congregation hosted a celebratory coffee and snack time featuring (predominantly) red cakes, pies, and other goodies! Cavalry Episcopal has been Rachel’s church home the past year as she’s been studying on a Falcon Scholarship at Randolph Macon Academy, just up the street from the church. In a month Rachel is headed to the US Air Force Academy for Basic Cadet Training, as a member of the USAFA Class of 2027. In this post, I’d like to share some of the fantastic resources we learned about in our conversations with Reverend Valerie Hayes, who is the rector at Cavalry Episcopal. These resources relate broadly to the themes of seeking empathy and understanding in our politically polarized times, finding ways to discuss and explore our shared history which was (and still is) strongly influenced by racism and discrimination, and seeking to both love and share the love of Jesus Christ in our communities often fixated on “culture war” issues based more in fear and judgement rather than the fruits of God’s Holy Spirit. I’m sharing these resources because I want to remember and revisit them myself, and I am also positive there are others in our church family back in Charlotte (as well as elsewhere) who are interested in these topics as we each venture forward on our own journeys of faith seeking to follow Jesus.

Visit to Calvary Episcopal in Front Royal. VA” (CC BY 2.0) by Wesley Fryer

Reverend Hayes mentioned several books in her courageous and challenging homily in today’s worship service, particularly as she shared about the “Triangle of Hope Youth Pilgrimage.”

The Triangle of Hope is an Anglican-led effort to form covenantal community between the dioceses of Liverpool (England), Kumasi (Ghana), and Virginia dedicated to transforming the long history, ongoing effects and continuing presence of slavery in our world through repentance, reconciliation and mission.Each one of our Dioceses was directly involved in the dreadful Slave Triangle. We remember and acknowledge with sorrow that human beings were captured and enslaved for financial gain with no regard for their dignity and humanity. We view this history with great pain and in penitence before God, the God who wills in Christ to bring freedom and justice for all.

This is a courageous and absolutely WONDERFUL initiative I want to learn more about. In exploring the project website, don’t miss the videos on the “Tsedaqah” page, including the video, “Explore the Way of Love: Go.” I agree with the thesis of this video: Jesus calls us today to move outside our comfort zones in love and humility, as we seek to live like Jesus and share the transformative message of his Gospel which is filled with love, grace, empathy, understanding, listening, and faith.

This mandate to GO includes finding ways to discuss and explore culturally sensitive issues, like the history of the transatlantic slave trade and the ongoing, multi-generational impact of this sinful economic system.

The first of the books shared today by Rev Hayes was “Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America” by Ibram X. Kendi. According to the current English WikiPedia entry for the book:

Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America is a non-fiction book about race in the United States by the American historian Ibram X. Kendi, published April 12, 2016 by Bold Type Books, an imprint of PublicAffairs. The book won the National Book Award for Nonfiction.[1][2][3]

The book also has two “remixes” for children, Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You and Stamped (For Teens ): Racism, Antiracism, and You. A graphic novel version, adapted and illustrated by Joel Christian Gill, is expected to be published in June 2023.

“Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America” by Ibram X. Kendi.

The teen version is used as a study text by the Triangle of Hope Youth Pilgrimage teams.

A second book she mentioned and recommended in her homily was “Becoming Human: The Holy Spirit and the Rhetoric of Race” by Luke A. Powery. The Amazon website description of the book is:

Discussions of racial difference always embody a story. The dominant story told in our society about race has many components, but two stand out: (1) racial difference is an essential characteristic, fully determining individual and group identity; and (2) racial difference means that some bodies are less human than others.

The church knows another story, says Luke Powery, if it would remember it. That story says that the diversity of human bodies is one of the gifts of the Spirit. That story’s decisive chapter comes at Pentecost, when the Spirt embraces all bodies, all flesh, all tongues. In that story, different kinds of materiality and embodiment are strengths to be celebrated rather than inconvenient facts to be ignored or feared. In this book, Powery urges the church to live up to the inclusive story of Pentecost in its life of worship and ministry. He reviews ways that a theology and practice of preaching can more fully exemplify the diversity of gifts God gives to the church. He concludes by entering into a conversation with the work of Howard Thurman on doing ministry to and with humanity in the light of the work of the Spirit.

“Becoming Human: The Holy Spirit and the Rhetoric of Race” by Luke A. Powery

In this book description, you can see the connection which Rev Hayes made to Pentecost in her homily. I TOTALLY resonate with this idea, that we need to both “lean into” and embrace the beauty, power, and goodness of diversity which we see reflected in our shared humanity across our globe, as well as in our natural world. I talked about this last week in episode 15 of the weekly podcast Shelly and I are now recording, which we shared from the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro.

These ideas and this approach to our society today is a very “counter-cultural message”, amidst so much focus on “culture war” issues and political candidates. Yet I think this is one of many things we need to be doing as followers of Jesus Christ, regardless of our current denominational affiliation, background or context.

After church when we had an opportunity to visit at length with Rev Hayes, she shared a wealth of other resources related to the themes of her homily and the overall goals of racial justice and healing, which are major goals in their Episcopal Diocese here in Virginia. These included “Sacred Ground: A Film-Based Dialogue Series on Race & Faith” by the Episcopal Church. According to the website:

Sacred Ground is a film- and readings-based dialogue series on race, grounded in faith. Small groups are invited to walk through chapters of America’s history of race and racism, while weaving in threads of family story, economic class, and political and regional identity.

The 11-part series is built around a powerful online curriculum of documentary films and readings that focus on Indigenous, Black, Latino, and Asian/Pacific American histories as they intersect with European American histories.
Sacred Ground is part of Becoming Beloved Community, The Episcopal Church’s long-term commitment to racial healing, reconciliation, and justice in our personal lives, our ministries, and our society. This series is open to all, and especially designed to help white people talk with other white people. Participants are invited to peel away the layers that have contributed to the challenges and divides of the present day – all while grounded in our call to faith, hope and love.

This is a 4.5 minute video from Episcopal Christians in Cody, Wyoming (where coincidentally my 95 year old aunt, Marge Wilder, and family live!) sharing some background about the “Sacred Ground” film and dialog series. I would love to participate in this study back in North Carolina!

Another related book Rev Hayes recommended today is “Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II” by Douglas A. Blackmon. The Amazon description is:

This groundbreaking historical expose unearths the lost stories of enslaved persons and their descendants who journeyed into freedom after the Emancipation Proclamation and then back into the shadow of involuntary servitude shortly thereafter in “The Age of Neoslavery.”

By turns moving, sobering, and shocking, this unprecedented Pulitzer Prize-winning account reveals the stories of those who fought unsuccessfully against the re-emergence of human labor trafficking, the companies that profited most from neoslavery, and the insidious legacy of racism that reverberates today.

Following the Emancipation Proclamation, convicts—mostly black men—were “leased” through forced labor camps operated by state and federal governments. Using a vast record of original documents and personal narratives, Douglas A. Blackmon brings to light one of the most shameful chapters in American history.

“Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II” by Douglas A. Blackmon.

This book, and others like it which highlight our shared history of racism and racial discrimination, represent perspectives from and about history which many adults living today did not study or encounter during their years of formal schooling. It is important work for us, together, to seek to better understand our own history, especially as we seek to understand the experiences and perspectives of our brothers and sisters of color who have faced (and continue to face) so many hardships and persecutions. It is lamentable that some prominent politicians today (Ron DeSantis comes to mind, but there are others) are pushing an agenda which seeks to silence, marginalize, and/or deny the validity of perspectives on history of many folks, including African-Americans. As I’ve learned vividly through my ongoing work in the “Conspiracies and Culture Wars” media literacy project, just talking about these issues with others (either in-person or online) can be perilous and challenging. However, specifically as Christians and followers of Jesus Christ, “we are called to do hard things.” At a very basic level, this includes seeking opportunities to engage in mutual DIALOG about these issues touching on race, racism, and social justice.

Steven Charleston is the author of “The Four Vision Quests of Jesus,” which I learned about and read last year thanks to the recommendation of Curt Gruel, my spiritual director. In our discussions with Rev Hayes today, we talked a little about the Native American Ministry of The Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, Our primary Episcopal Church home in Oklahoma City, St Augustine’s of Canterbury, sent a youth mission team to a Navajo reservation in Arizona during Spring Break 2022. I mentioned Charleston’s “Vision Quests of Jesus” book today to Rev Hayes, and she let me know he now has a newer (2021 imprint) book, “Ladder to the Light: An Indigenous Elder’s Meditations on Hope and Courage.” I’ve added this book to my Amazon reading wish list.

Ladder to the Light: An Indigenous Elder’s Meditations on Hope and Courage by Steven Charleston

In discussing Native American connections to Christianity, faith and spirituality, Rev Hayes also recommended the book “The First Signs: Unlocking the Mysteries of the World’s Oldest Symbols” by Genevieve von Petzinger. As a student of history as well as teacher about media literacy and visual communication, this sounds like an excellent read. This reminds me of the Utah petroglyph “Newspaper Rock,” which I integrated into the website header image for “Show With Media: What Do You Want to CREATE Today?” I’ve also added this to my future reading list!

“The First Signs: Unlocking the Mysteries of the World’s Oldest Symbols” by Genevieve von Petzinger

Unfortunately, gun related violence is closely tied to conversations today about political polarization and our ongoing culture war. Later in June, different church and other groups in Fort Royal are planning a shared event to promote gun safety awareness and (I expect) new gun regulation to try and reduce levels of firearm violence in our nation. Rev Hayes mentioned this in her closing announcements during today’s worship service. On this topic, we also shared a couple resources today.

I mentioned the outstanding TEDx talk by former firearms executive, Ryan Busse, “It’s Time For Responsible Gun Owners to Save our Democracy.” This is the best video I have seen to date on the issues of gun related violence, and the unfortunate ways millions of people in the United States have tied their IDENTITIES to tactical firearms like the AR-15. I share this as a gun owner, hunter and sportsman myself, as well as military veteran. I am personally NOT anti-gun, but agree with Ryan Busse that none of us should define our identities by our love and passion for tactical firearms. As a follower of Jesus Christ, I know that my identity should be rooted in HIM, not in things or possessions. This is a great TEDx talk, and if you haven’t watched it, I encourage you to take time to now or later. (Add it to your YouTube “watch later” playlist!)

Rev Hayes shared a documentary about gun culture and Christian faith in the United States I haven’t seen and hadn’t heard about previously, “The Armor of Light” documentary from 2015. More information and links about it are available on the film’s official website as well as from PBS. According to the PBS website:

The Armor of Light follows the journey of Evangelical minister Rob Schenck, who is trying to find the courage to preach about the growing toll of gun violence in America, and Lucy McBath, the mother of an unarmed teenager who was murdered in Florida and whose story cast a spotlight on the state’s “Stand Your Ground” laws.

Reverend Schenck, a well-known anti-abortion activist and long-time fixture on the political far right, breaks with orthodoxy by questioning whether being pro-gun is consistent with being pro-life. In a series of uneasy conversations, Rev. Schenck is perplexed by the reactions of his friends and colleagues, most of whom are gun owners and adamant defenders of the 2nd Amendment, and who warn him away from this complex, politically explosive issue. Along the way, he meets Lucy McBath, also an Evangelical Christian, who decides to work with him. Lucy is on a difficult journey of her own, trying to make sense of the devastating loss of her murdered son, while using her grief to effect some kind of viable and effective political action where so many before her have failed.

The Armor of Light follows these allies through their trials of conscience, heartbreak, and rejection, as they bravely attempt to make others consider America’s gun culture through a moral lens. The film is also a glimpse at America’s fractured political culture while demonstrating that it is, indeed, possible for people to come together across deep party lines to find common ground.

I have not yet watched this documentary but, as with the books referenced in this post, am adding it to my “watch list” / “read list” for the future.

The book “The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together” by Heather McGhee was also recommended today by Rev Hayes. According to Amazon:

Heather McGhee’s specialty is the American economy—and the mystery of why it so often fails the American public. From the financial crisis of 2008 to rising student debt to collapsing public infrastructure, she found a root problem: racism in our politics and policymaking. But not just in the most obvious indignities for people of color. Racism has costs for white people, too. It is the common denominator of our most vexing public problems, the core dysfunction of our democracy and constitutive of the spiritual and moral crises that grip us all. But how did this happen? And is there a way out?

McGhee embarks on a deeply personal journey across the country from Maine to Mississippi to California, tallying what we lose when we buy into the zero-sum paradigm—the idea that progress for some of us must come at the expense of others. Along the way, she meets white people who confide in her about losing their homes, their dreams, and their shot at better jobs to the toxic mix of American racism and greed. This is the story of how public goods in this country—from parks and pools to functioning schools—have become private luxuries; of how unions collapsed, wages stagnated, and inequality increased; and of how this country, unique among the world’s advanced economies, has thwarted universal healthcare.

But in unlikely places of worship and work, McGhee finds proof of what she calls the Solidarity Dividend: the benefits we gain when people come together across race to accomplish what we simply can’t do on our own. The Sum of Us is not only a brilliant analysis of how we arrived here but also a heartfelt message, delivered with startling empathy, from a black woman to a multiracial America. It leaves us with a new vision for a future in which we finally realize that life can be more than a zero-sum game.

“The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together” by Heather McGhee

This sounds like it should go on the “required reading list” for anyone today interested in better understanding where we’ve come from and how we can move forward together on the primary topics of this blog post: Racial Justice and Healing.

Today Rev Hayes also recommended the book, “The Hidden Wound” by Wendell Berry. According to Amazon:

An impassioned, thoughtful, and fearless essay on the effects of racism on the American identity by one of our country’s most humane literary voices.

Acclaimed as “one of the most humane, honest, liberating works of our time” (The Village Voice), The Hidden Wound is a book-length essay about racism and the damage it has done to the identity of our country. Through Berry’s personal experience, he explains how remaining passive in the face of the struggle of racism further corrodes America’s great potential. In a quiet and observant manner, Berry opens up about how his attempt to discuss racism is rooted in the hope that someday the historical wound will begin to heal. Pulitzer prize-winning author Larry McMurtry calls this “a profound, passionate, crucial piece of writing . . . Few readers, and I think, no writers will be able to read it without a small pulse of triumph at the temples: the strange, almost communal sense of triumph one feels when someone has written truly well . . . The statement it makes is intricate and beautiful, sad but strong.”

“The Hidden Wound” by Wendell Berry

Rev Hayes shared a little with us today about the courageous and inspirational project, “Coming to the Table.” According to the organization’s About page, their mission and vision is:

Vision: The Coming to the Table vision for the United States is of a just and truthful society that acknowledges and seeks to heal from the racial wounds of the past—from slavery and the many forms of racism it spawned.

Mission: Coming to the Table provides leadership, resources, and a supportive environment for all who wish to acknowledge and heal wounds from racism that is rooted in the United States’ history of slavery.

The 3 minute video from 2020, “Healing Wounds,” which was shared on the “Coming to the Table” YouTube channel, provides a succinct overview of some of the work of this organization. I resonate deeply with this, and want to continue developing and sharing resources through the “Storychasers” passion project to empower others to find racial healing through the power of digital storytelling.

One possible source for digital stories as well as personal, family geneological research mentioned by Rev Hayes today are the slave census documents available from the 1840s and 1850s. Some of these documents reveal the historic connections which families have to slavery. The 2008 PBS “Traces of the Trade” documentary is an example of a film / digital story created by someone making these kinds of personal, historic connections to the slave trade of the past. Commercially licensed streaming versions of the film are available on Vimeo.

The book, “The Little Book of Racial Healing: Coming to the Table for Truth-Telling, Liberation, and Transformation (Justice and Peacebuilding)” by Thomas Norman DeWolf is a related book which shares the format and strategy of “Coming to the Table.” I’m thinking about this as the basis for future Storychaser workshops, offered both in-person and online. According to Amazon:

This book introduces Coming to the Table’s approach to a continuously evolving set of purposeful theories, ideas, experiments, guidelines, and intentions, all dedicated to facilitating racial healing and transformation.

People of color, relative to white people, fall on the negative side of virtually all measurable social indicators. The “living wound” is seen in the significant disparities in average household wealth, unemployment and poverty rates, infant mortality rates, access to healthcare and life expectancy, education, housing, and treatment within, and by, the criminal justice system.

Coming to the Table (CTTT) was born in 2006 when two dozen descendants from both sides of the system of enslavement gathered together at Eastern Mennonite University (EMU), in collaboration with the Center for Justice & Peacebuilding (CJP). Stories were shared and friendships began. The participants began to envision a more connected and truthful world that would address the unresolved and persistent effects of the historic institution of slavery. This Little Book shares Coming to the Table’s vision for the United States—a vision of a just and truthful society that acknowledges and seeks to heal from the racial wounds of the past. Readers will learn practical skills for better listening; discover tips for building authentic, accountable relationships; and will find specific and varied ideas for taking action. 

“The Little Book of Racial Healing: Coming to the Table for Truth-Telling, Liberation, and Transformation (Justice and Peacebuilding)” by Thomas Norman DeWolf

Betty Kilby Baldwin’s book, “Cousins: Connected through slavery, a Black woman and a White woman discover their past—and each other” is another example of a racial healing project like this, which connects people to their historic family ties to slavery. (Rev Hayes also shared this today.)

“Cousins: Connected through slavery, a Black woman and a White woman discover their past—and each other” by Betty Kilby Baldwin

A final book related to these themes shared by Rev Hayes today was “The Color of Compromise: The Truth about the American Church’s Complicity in Racism” by Jimar Tisby. According to Amazon:

An acclaimed, timely narrative of how people of faith have historically–up to the present day–worked against racial justice. And a call for urgent action by all Christians today in response.

The Color of Compromise is both enlightening and compelling, telling a history we either ignore or just don’t know. Equal parts painful and inspirational, it details how the American church has helped create and maintain racist ideas and practices. You will be guided in thinking through concrete solutions for improved race relations and a racially inclusive church.

The Color of Compromise:

  • Takes you on a historical, sociological, and religious journey: from America’s early colonial days through slavery and the Civil War
  • Covers the tragedy of Jim Crow laws, the victories of the Civil Rights era, and the strides of today’s Black Lives Matter movement
  • Reveals the cultural and institutional tables we have to flip in order to bring about meaningful integration
  • Charts a path forward to replace established patterns and systems of complicity with bold, courageous, immediate action
  • Is a perfect book for pastors and other faith leaders, students, non-students, book clubs, small group studies, history lovers, and all lifelong learners

The Color of Compromise is not a call to shame or a platform to blame white evangelical Christians. It is a call from a place of love and desire to fight for a more racially unified church that no longer compromises what the Bible teaches about human dignity and equality. A call that challenges black and white Christians alike to standup now and begin implementing the concrete ways Tisby outlines, all for a more equitable and inclusive environment among God’s people. Starting today.

“The Color of Compromise: The Truth about the American Church’s Complicity in Racism” by Jimar Tisby.

All forms of media and expressions of “the arts” have potential to play constructive roles in our individual and collective journeys of healing, when it comes to social justice and racism. The Selah Theatre Project of Winchester, Virginia, was a final organization shared by Rev Hayes today as playing a positive, constructive role in encouraging community dialog around the different issues related to racial healing. According to the about page of the Selah Theatre Project :

Our vision is to enlighten, empower, and unite people through the arts to build a stronger, kinder, and more creative community.


We believe that theatre is an impactful artistic medium that encourages reflection and conversation. Our mission is to bring diversified community voices to the stage, encouraging audiences to “pause and think”.

So many wonderful books, projects, films and organizations here! We are deeply indebted to Reverend Valerie Hayes and the congregation of Cavalry Episcopal Church in Front Royal, Virginia, for the love and care they have shared this past year with our daughter, Rachel. My wife and I are also deeply appreciative to Rev Hayes for taking the time to visit with us today after church, and share such a wonderful wealth of resources, stories, and ideas relating to social justice and racial reconciliation!

It is inspiring and wonderful to learn about so many other people working with parallel purpose to promote racial healing and social justice in our nation and world. By sharing this blog post, I’m hoping the “long tail” of the Internet will meet more manifestations of “The Fruits of God’s Holy Spirit” in our individual lives and communities.

(I also cross-posted this to Medium.)

Snowflake Book Series Website Moved

Rachel: The old domain we’d bought for your first Snowflake eBook (MeetSnowFlake.com) expires tomorrow. Since we decided not to keep that domain, I moved the entire website and made a few small updates/changes to it. The new address is a “sub-domain” of your main website. You can find it on snowflake.rachelfryer.com. If you publish another Snowflake book, like you were talking about over Christmas break, you can publish/link it there also if you want.

I also remembered I setup a Twitter account for your Snowflake book series, it’s @MeetSnowflake. I posted about the new site address and made some changes in the Twitter profile. If you want logins to both the site and this Twitter account I can make/give you those. 🙂

I think you should write and illustrate a new Snowflake book by yourself, and we should publish it to iTunes together. 🙂

Howard Zinn Book Review

Here is a book review I did for my AP US History class on Howards Zinn’s A Peoples History of the United States.

Zinn Book Review

Howard Zinn’s book, A People’s History of the United States, tells a story of United States history not often heard in textbooks. While a very interesting read, you must read it objectively as many of Zinn’s views are extremely liberal. The book provides many troubling topics that make you think and consider the truth about what we have always heard in school.

From my reading, it seemed Zinn mainly wanted to focus on the struggles between capitalism, the United States people and the world. He states his purpose is to inform people of the untold, and often unwanted, history of oppression, racism and class struggles. This being said, the book is less a history of the United States and more about “A People’s Struggle Against the United States.” I think the book does not include a full history, but it includes the history that Zinn wanted told. He wanted this history told because it was not the history he learned while in school and is still not in many textbooks today (Zinn 687).

I do not believe Zinn states an explicit thesis, but he does state that the purpose of the book and what he wants to accomplish with it. That is, as I previously stated, to provide a full story of the United States told by the people who were oppressed by capitalism and the government. He says he wanted to do this because it is the history he never know about but may be more than that. Zinn grew up in an Irish-American, working-class family in New York. Later he worked in a shipyard for three years. Growing up in the northeast part of the United States, as well as being an immigrant, gave him a predisposition to tell of the oppression there more than in other places. Zinn states this and how he ignored struggles of the large number of Latinos in California for justice and the fight for gay and lesbian rights in the United States (Zinn 687).

This book presents a more extreme view of history than what I have grown up hearing. My father graduated from the Air Force Academy and enjoys discussing the history of the US and the world. From him I have acquired a distaste of oil companies and imperialist wars as in Iraq and Afghanistan. This book supported much of what I have heard before, but looking at it critically I believe the book has portrays things out of balance. Zinn criticizes how Samuel Morison, who wrote a biography of Columbus, focuses briefly on the bad aspects like genocide but then goes on to talk a lot more about the good side of Columbus’s endeavors (Zinn 8). Ironically, Zinn points out this fault in Morison’s text, but writes in the same style about capitalism in his own book. Overall, this book has helped me in understanding better the history of the United States but at times it seemed too subjective and out of balance.

The book, for the most part, includes secondary sources that are other historians’ collections of facts. However, it does include an occasional primary source (Wineburg 2). In addition, Zinn includes many statistics of people who were involved in strikes, riots or other protests. It is hard to accept some of what Zinn writes because in some cases he does not always use multiple sources. For example, when supporting chapter 16, about views of distaste among African Americans for WWII, he only cites three pieces of evidence that all came from a single secondary source (Wineburg 3). That being said, there are a lot of other examples of good documents being used. Zinn not only shares the facts but his interpretation of them and makes you question them. This is good although Zinn tries to instill in you a viewpoint that is anti-capitalist by doing this and seems to cherry pick the facts.

This way of asking questions first then giving you the facts later is used often by Zinn. In this way it is almost more of a narrative of the story with facts thrown in to make it seem more like a history. While working well to make his points, this practice of using either-or questions deviates from standard “professional historical writing” (Wineburg 3). When Zinn was writing on how Roosevelt lied during WWII, he accused him but did not explain specifically what Roosevelt said (Zinn 411). Zinn’s tone throughout this chapter more ambiguous and less definitive. This is different from when a history book will interpret the facts clearly and tell them to you. Zinn tries to lead you to a conclusion but its like he doesn’t want to commit himself to that conclusion in the book. Overall, Zinn writes in a way that advocates his points well but you have to be careful to still read it objectively because Zinn is very subjective.

I enjoyed reading this book even though it could be a bit dry and did not have the same kind of “hook” as a fiction book might, the same sort of review can be found at The Guidr. From previously being in debate it was fun to read because in most debates we would be arguing something that encompassed capitalism or over militarization of our government. It was funny because I even recognized some of the authors Zinn referenced from reading their evidence in debate rounds. The main difference was that in a debate round everyone knows you can find an author that says exactly what you want, hence many arguments ends in global nuclear war even though most debaters really do not believe that would ever happen. When reading some of these same authors in Zinn’s history book, it makes me realize that Zinn can do this same thing that we did in debate and that he is presenting the best sources that support his positions. Even though he presents this information as if it is the only true explanation of what happened, that is not the case. His desire to persuade you gets in the way of objectively portraying the facts. Throughout the book he gives the view that the United States has no redeeming qualities. I know that while we certainly have some big problems that we have a lot of good things happening in our country.

Starting from Columbus to the 21st century, A People’s History of the United States gives an account of the struggles many people faced at the hands of the government and capitalists. It does not tell, however, of the hardships people faced going west. It instead focuses on their troubles with income and rights. In chapter 11, Zinn goes more into the strikes of the Industrial Age and even implies that we were close to another revolution with as many protests among the low-income population. Zinn goes on to tell about how the US entering the World Wars had more to do with large corporations and politicians figuring out that getting behind a war effort was a good way to increase imperialism and to avoid economic trouble and class struggles at home. So as the US came into WWI we came out of the Great Depression. After the war however more strikes were continuing to take place. Large unions as well as the communist political party were causing trouble for the US government to deal with. Even though the large corporations and politicians knew how war could help the country, it could not last forever as seen in Vietnam when due to anti-war efforts they had to end the war. Overall the book gives a good picture of what is not often included in most history books.

I am glad to have read A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn. It has led me to become more enlightened about many more things, like the darker side of Columbus and the amount of strikes that took place before WWII. While some parts may have been stretched, in most cases I believe it proved to be true to its point: To tell of the suffering and hard times people have had at the hands of capitalists and the government. This book provides many questions but also a different outlook upon our history worth reading.

Works Cited

1. Zinn, Howard A People’s History of the United States. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2003. Print.

2. Wineburg, Sam “Undue Certainty: Where Howard Zinn’s A People’s History Falls Short.” Rev. of A People’s History of the United States, by Howard Zinn. American Educator Summer 2013. Online.

Marie Curie

This is a book report Rachel wrote for Ms Moore’s 3rd grade class this year.

Marie Curie changed the world through science. Marie and her husband discovered two new elements, polonium and radium. Marie and two other scientists won the Nobel Prize in physics. In 1910, she isolated radium in the form of a metal. Marie won a second Nobel Prize, this time in chemistry.

Some of her main struggles were that her husband was killed in an accident right after they won the prize. Marie’s main struggle was that people treated her differently because she was a woman.

Her accomplishments inspire me to work harder in science. She proves that women can be as good as men in science. One of my favorite quotes of hers is:

“You cannot hope to build a better world without improving and, at the same time, share a general responsibility for all humanity, our particular duty being to aid those to whom we think can be most useful.” -Marie Curie

Her research into radiation helped others discover the structure of the atom. Even though radiation is very dangerous, it helps save lives even today through X rays, cancer treatments, and creating electricity.

Christmas In Camelot Book Report

Rachel used the VoiceThread app on our iPad tonight to create this book report about “Christmas In Camelot” by Mary Pope Osborne.

Christmas In Camelot (4 pages)

Click the link above to view and participate in the VoiceThread. Making comments is really simple and you can delete and re-record as many times as you like.

If you are viewing this on iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch and you have the VoiceThread app installed, tap here to view this VoiceThread on your device.


Sent from my iPad (embed code added in a laptop browser)

Alexander discusses his Living in Oak Ridge Project and Glogster EDU

This is a ten minute interview with Alexander this evening about his “Living in Oak Ridge” project for 8th grade English.

Discussing Oak Ridge Glogster Project at Oklahoma City, OK by wfryer

For more background see my post, “Share “timed” comments on Audio Recordings with SoundCloud.” I am going to buy YouTube subscribers so more people can see me playlist on social media.

Finally, a Nevada marijuana license that makes your mmj inventory management easier optimizes your cannabusiness, increases profits, boosts organizational and customer service capabilities. An all-in-one dispensary management system for dispensary owners, built by dispensary owners.

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Treasure Island: Free Audio Book Version

“Treasure Island” is available as a free, public domain audiobook via LibriVox in the United States. Use the links below to directly load mp3 versions of each chapter on your mobile phone.

  1. Chapters 1-2
  2. Chapters 3-4
  3. Chapters 5-6
  4. Chapters 7-8
  5. Chapters 9-10
  6. Chapters 11-12
  7. Chapter 13
  8. Chapter 14
  9. Chapter 15
  10. Chapter 16
  11. Chapter 17
  12. Chapter 18
  13. Chapter 19
  14. Chapter 20
  15. Chapter 21
  16. Chapter 22
  17. Chapters 23-24
  18. Chapters 25-26
  19. Chapter 27
  20. Chapter 28
  21. Chapter 29
  22. Chapter 30
  23. Chapter 31
  24. Chapter 32
  25. Chapter 33
  26. Chapter 34

I created this list for my wife and daughter, who are driving from Lubbock, Texas, to Oklahoma City today and forgot to load up an iPhone or iPod with audiobooks or podcasts! This list is (hopefully) a little easier to link to from an iPhone, compared to the original webpage on LibrVox.

Lighthouse Keeping in New Zealand in the 1960s

This evening Rachel and I read “A birthday at the lighthouse” by Robin Robilliard on my iPad. It’s a free book in the International Children’s Digital Library.

A birthday at the lighthouse

You’ll also be sure to find the plumber Columbus ga if you want with endless textures, colors, and fixtures. Don’t waste your time searching for anything else.

Rachel was pretty surprised to learn the family had to make their own clothes, give themselves haircuts, and didn’t appear to have any television or computer access. We do live in a different world!

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Favorite Picture Books About Maine

This evening Rachel picked out one of the picture books I purchased this past December when her sister and I had a chance to visit Farmington, Maine. We found this particular book (Moose Power: Muskeg Saves the Day) at Mooseville, which is a great website and store in Farmington started by a young web entrepreneur.

Mooseville.com Outlet Store Farmington, Maine

You made it to Mooseville in Farmington, Maine

After reading tonight, Rachel and I recorded a short, five minute audio podcast about why we love these three picture books from Maine. Enjoy!


Moose Power: Muskeg Saves the Day” by Amy Huntington


Antlers Forever!” by Frances Bloxam


“Going Lobstering” by Jerry Pallotta

Another Maine picture book which Rachel and I really like, but we remembered after we finished our audio recording this evening, is “Pigs in the Mud in the Middle of the Rud” by Lynn Plourde.

Buying picture books that feature stories and themes from places I visit is one of my favorite things to do when traveling. This allows us to learn more about new places together long after the trip is over. If you’re looking for some good books to add to an elementary classroom library, you might consider one or more of these Maine picture books!

Unviersity of Maine at Farmington, Maine

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