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Things You May Not know about the Declaration of Independence


By Elizabeth Harrison
Independence Day, or the Fourth of July, celebrates the adoption by the Continental Congress of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. On the 236th birthday of the United States, explore nine surprising facts about one of America’s most important founding documents.


1. The Declaration of Independence wasn’t signed on July 4, 1776.
On July 1, 1776, the Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia, and on the following day 12 of the 13 colonies voted in favor of Richard Henry Lee’s motion for independence. The delegates then spent the next two days debating and revising the language of a statement drafted by Thomas Jefferson.

On July 4, Congress officially adopted the Declaration of Independence, and as a result the date is celebrated as Independence Day. Nearly a month would go by, however, before the actual signing of the document took place.

First, New York’s delegates didn’t officially give their support until July 9 because their home assembly hadn’t yet authorized them to vote in favor of independence. Next, it took two weeks for the Declaration to be “engrossed”—written on parchment in a clear hand.

Most of the delegates signed on August 2, but several—Elbridge Gerry, Oliver Wolcott, Lewis Morris, Thomas McKean and Matthew Thornton—signed on a later date. (Two others, John Dickinson and Robert R. Livingston, never signed at all.) The signed parchment copy now resides at the National Archives in the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom, alongside the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

2. More than one copy exists.
After the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, the “Committee of Five”—Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman and Robert R. Livingston—was charged with overseeing the reproduction of the approved text. This was completed at the shop of Philadelphia printer John Dunlap. On July 5, Dunlap’s copies were dispatched across the 13 colonies to newspapers, local officials and the commanders of the Continental troops. These rare documents, known as “Dunlap broadsides,” predate the engrossed version signed by the delegates. Of the hundreds thought to have been printed on the night of July 4, only 26 copies survive. Most are held in museum and library collections, but three are privately owned.

3. When news of the Declaration of Independence reached New York City, it started a riot.
By July 9, 1776, a copy of the Declaration of Independence had reached New York City. With hundreds of British naval ships occupying New York Harbor, revolutionary spirit and military tensions were running high. George Washington, commander of the Continental forces in New York, read the document aloud in front of City Hall. A raucous crowd cheered the inspiring words, and later that day tore down a nearby statue of George III. The statue was subsequently melted down and shaped into more than 42,000 musket balls for the fledgling American army.

4. Eight of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence were born in Britain.
While the majority of the members of the Second Continental Congress were native-born Americans, eight of the men voting for independence from Britain were born there. Gwinnett Button and Robert Morris were born in England, Francis Lewis was born in Wales, James Wilson and John Witherspoon were born in Scotland, George Taylor and Matthew Thornton were born in Ireland and James Smith hailed from Northern Ireland.

5. One signer later recanted.
Richard Stockton, a lawyer from Princeton, New Jersey, became the only signer of the Declaration of Independence to recant his support of the revolution. On November 30, 1776, the hapless delegate was captured by the British and thrown in jail. After months of harsh treatment and meager rations, Stockton repudiated his signature on the Declaration of Independence and swore his allegiance to King George III. A broken man when he regained his freedom, he took a new oath of loyalty to the state of New Jersey in December 1777.

6. There was a 44-year age difference between the youngest and oldest signers.
The oldest signer was Benjamin Franklin, 70 years old when he scrawled his name on the parchment. The youngest was Edward Rutledge, a lawyer from South Carolina who was only 26 at the time. Rutledge narrowly beat out fellow South Carolinian Thomas Lynch Jr., just four months his senior, for the title.

7. Two additional copies have been found in the last 25 years.
In 1989, a Philadelphia man found an original Dunlap Broadside hidden in the back of a picture frame he bought at a flea market for $4. One of the few surviving copies from the official first printing of the Declaration, it was in excellent condition and sold for $8.1 million in 2000. A 26th known Dunlap broadside emerged at the British National Archives in 2009, hidden for centuries in a box of papers captured from American colonists during the Revolutionary War. One of three Dunlap broadsides at the National Archives, the copy remains there to this day.

8. The Declaration of Independence spent World War II in Fort Knox.
On December 23, 1941, just over two weeks after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the signed Declaration, together with the Constitution, was removed from public display and prepared for evacuation out of Washington, D.C. Under the supervision of armed guards, the founding document was packed in a specially designed container, latched with padlocks, sealed with lead and placed in a larger box. All told, 150 pounds of protective gear surrounded the parchment. On December 26 and 27, accompanied by Secret Service agents, it traveled by train to Louisville, Kentucky, where a cavalry troop of the 13th Armored Division escorted it to Fort Knox. The Declaration was returned to Washington, D.C., in 1944.

9. There is something written on the back of the Declaration of Independence.
In the movie “National Treasure,” Nicholas Cage’s character claims that the back of the Declaration contains a treasure map with encrypted instructions from the founding fathers, written in invisible ink. Unfortunately, this is not the case. There is, however, a simpler message, written upside-down across the bottom of the signed document: “Original Declaration of Independence dated 4th July 1776.” No one knows who exactly wrote this or when, but during the Revolutionary War years the parchment was frequently rolled up for transport. It’s thought that the text was added as a label.

Gun Violence Prevention 101 – posted in 2013, it is still relevant


By ThinkProgress War Room 2013

The President’s Sensible Gun Violence Prevention Proposal

The president and vice president today announced a sweeping agenda to stem the epidemic of gun violence that exists in our country. You can find the full text of the plan HERE, but ThinkProgress’ Annie-Rose Strasser breaks down everything you need to know about the president’s plan:

1. Making background checks universal. Obama wants every single gun owner to go through a proper background check, so it can be determined whether they have a criminal history or diagnosed mental illness. He wants Congress to close the gun show loophole that allows people at gun shows, and private buyers of used weapons, to avoid getting checked. He will also, through executive action, urge private sellers to conduct background checks, even if they aren’t mandatory.

2. Improving state reporting of criminals and the mentally ill. While all states are required to report to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) people who should not have access to guns, some states are sluggish about putting the data into the system. Obama will put more money into the hands of the states so that they can improve their reporting systems, and issue stronger guidelines to let states know when they should report people. Obama will also, through Presidential Memorandum, work to make sure agencies are regularly entering data into NICS.

3. Banning assault weapons. This is likely the most difficult battle Obama will undertake. He wants to reinstate the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban, which outlaws military-grade weapons, like the AR-15 used by Newtown gunman Adam Lanza and by Aurora Theater gunman James Holmes. Obama wants Congress to pass the ban, and close some of the loopholes identified in its 1994 iteration.

4. Capping magazine clip capacity at 10 bullets. A military-grade weapon is dangerous, but so are its accessories: Obama proposes banning all extended magazine clips that hold over 10 bullets. Huge magazine clips allow a gunman to fire off hundreds of rounds without having to stop, even once, to reload. The high-capacity magazine ban was also part of the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban.

5. Purging armor-piercing bullets. The sale of armor piercing ammunition has been banned for quite some time, but is still legal to posess such bullets. Obama is calling on Congress to outlaw ownership and transfer of these bullets, instead of just the sale. Those who oppose any gun laws try to spin a ban on armor piercing bullets as a ban on deer hunting ammunition, but such ammo has the ability to penetrate bullet-proof vests, and is more colloquially known as “cop killer bullets.”

6. Funding police officers. Obama wants Congress to reverse its course of austerity for public employees by approving $4 billion to fund police enforcement around the country.

7. Strengthening gun tracking. In order to track weapons that are used for crimes, Obama will issue a memorandum mandating that all agencies trace back firearms. This means that any agency in the country must trace guns used in crimes back to their original owners, as a way to help collect data on where criminal weapons are coming from. Obama will also ask Congress to allow law enforcement to do background checks on guns seized during investigations.

8. Supporting research on gun violence. Obama hopes to be able to gather more information on gun violence and misuse of firearms, and use that data to inform the work of law enforcement. He also wants to restart research, which has been long blocked by the National Rifle Association, on how video games, the media, and violence affect violent gun crimes. The Centers for Disease Control will immediately begin these efforts, but Obama also is calling on Congress to add $10 million to the pot of funding for such research.

9. Encouraging mental health providers to get involved. In order to make sure that those with homicidal thoughts are unable to access the weapons with which to kill, Obama seeks to encourage mental health professionals to alert authorities to such people. He will clarify that doing so is not in violation of patient privacy laws. He also wants to dispel the idea that Obamacare prevents doctors from talking to patients about guns.

10. Promoting safe gun ownership. The administration will start a “responsible gun ownership” campaign to encourage gun owners to lock up their firearms. He will also work with the Consumer Product Safety Commission to make sure safes and gun locks on the market are effective. He’s also calling on the justice department to help him come up with new gun safety technology.

11. Funding school counseling. Obama is calling on Congress to fund the positions of 1,000 news school counselors. The funding will come both through the already-existent COPS Hiring Grant, and through a new Comprehensive School Safety program that Congress will need to sign off on. The latter would put #150 million into funding for new counselors and social workers in schools.

12. Encouraging safe, anti-bullying school environments. Over 8,000 schools could receive new funding — $50 million — under Obama’s plan to encourage safer school environments. Obama wants to help at-risk students by creating a “school climate survey” that will collect data on what services students need, and to remedy any problems by putting professionals into schools. The administration will also issue guidelines on school discipline policies.

13. Recognizing the mental health needs of low-income Americans. Medicaid recipients already qualify for some mental health services, but Obama would like to expand that service so that low-income Americans have the same access to professional help as those who have money to pay for it on their own. Obama will issue a directive to heads of state health programs, enforcing “mental health parity” — the idea that mental health should be treated as a priority as important as physical health.

In the coming days and weeks, the president, vice president, and cabinet will take their case outside of the Beltway in order to truly engage the American people in the vital debate.

BOTTOM LINE: Now is the time for Congress to pass common-sense legislation that protects our families from needless gun violence. We are not talking about radical measures but common-sense solutions supported by a majority of the American people, as well as NRA members and gun owners.

Things that happened in 2013 and still cannot be explained ~ insane!

Meet the Republicans who want to impeach Obama over gun safety regulations.

NRA releases “repugnant and cowardly” ad invoking the president’s children.

Rick Perry’s solution to gun violence: pray.

Whole Foods CEO: Obamacare is like “fascism.”

Conservatives and GOP elected officials call for GOP to back off debt limit hostage-taking.

Terrorists linked to Al-Qaeda take Americans hostage in Algeria.

States shower millions in tax breaks on gunmakers

in the Library ~ The New Jim Crow – by michelle alexander… Best Seller


The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, 10th Anniversary Edition

so, i read this review of a book that took me back to information given to us in class at the UW  …stunning, sad and eye opening information yet this book review revealed much more …

By Leonard Pitts Jr. / Syndicated columnist

Michelle Alexander’s ‘The New Jim Crow,’ a troubling and necessary book

Columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. suggests reading “The New Jim Crow,” by Michelle Alexander, who contends that the mass incarceration of black men for nonviolent drug offenses, combined with sentencing disparities and laws making it legal to discriminate against felons in housing, employment, education and voting, constitute nothing less than a new racial caste system.

Syndicated columnist

Related

“You have to face the fact that the whole problem is really the blacks. The key is to devise a system that recognizes this all while not appearing to.”

— Richard Nixon as quoted by H.R. Haldeman, supporting a get-tough-on drugs strategy

“They give black people time like it’s lunch down there. You go down there looking for justice, that’s what you find: just us.”— Richard Pryor

Michelle Alexander was an ACLU attorney in Oakland, preparing a racial-profiling lawsuit against the California Highway Patrol. The ACLU had put out a request for anyone who had been profiled to get in touch. One day, in walked this black man.

He was maybe 19 and toted a thick sheaf of papers, what Alexander calls an “incredibly detailed” accounting of at least a dozen police stops over a nine-month period, with dates, places and officers’ names. This was, she thought, a “dream plaintiff.”

But it turned out he had a record, a drug felony — and she told him she couldn’t use him; the state’s attorney would eat him alive. He insisted he was innocent, said police had planted drugs and beaten him. But she was no longer listening. Finally, enraged, he snatched the papers back and started shredding them.

“You’re no better than the police,” he cried. “You’re doing what they did to me!” The conviction meant he couldn’t work or go to school, had to live with his grandmother. Did Alexander know how that felt? And she wanted a dream plaintiff? “Just go to my neighborhood,” he said. “See if you can find one black man my age they haven’t gotten to already.”

She saw him again a couple of months later. He gave her a potted plant from his grandmother’s porch — he couldn’t afford flowers — and apologized. A few months after that, a scandal broke: Oakland police officers accused of planting drugs and beating up innocent victims. One of the officers involved was the one named by that young man.

“It was,” says Alexander now, more than 10 years later, “the beginning of me asking some hard questions of myself as a civil-rights lawyer. … What is actually going on in his neighborhood? How is it that they’ve already gotten to all the young African-American men in his neighborhood? I began questioning my own assumptions about how the criminal-justice system works.”

The result is a compelling new book. Others have written of the racial bias of the criminal-injustice system. In “The New Jim Crow,” Alexander goes a provocative step further. She contends that the mass incarceration of black men for nonviolent drug offenses, combined with sentencing disparities and laws making it legal to discriminate against felons in housing, employment, education and voting, constitute nothing less than a new racial caste system. A new segregation.

She has a point. Yes, the War on Drugs is officially race-neutral. So were the grandfather clause and other Jim Crow laws whose intention and effect was nevertheless to restrict black freedom.

The War on Drugs is a war on African-American people and we countenance it because we implicitly accept certain assumptions sold to us by news and entertainment media, chief among them that drug use is rampant in the black community. But. The. Assumption. Is. WRONG.

According to federal figures, blacks and whites use drugs at a roughly equal rate in percentage terms. In terms of raw numbers, whites are far and away the biggest users — and dealers — of illegal drugs.

So why aren’t cops kicking their doors in? Why aren’t their sons pulled over a dozen times in nine months? Why are black men 12 times likelier to be jailed for drugs than white ones? Why aren’t white communities robbed of their fathers, brothers, sons?

With inexorable logic, “The New Jim Crow” propounds an answer many will resist and most have not even considered. It is a troubling and profoundly necessary book.

Please read it.

Miami Herald columnist Leonard Pitts Jr.’s column appears regularly on editorial pages of The Times. His e-mail address is: lpitts@miamiherald.com

Patrik Henry Bass … Book recommendations


thefaces

Essence in-house  reviewer

discovers …

 

The Heiress – The Richest 11 yr old Black Girl in America

Searching for Sarah Rector … Abrams Books for young Readers

author Tonya Bolden recounts a gripping tale of Rector

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Lost & Found – American Cocktail: A”Coloured Girl” in the World

Harvard Univ Press … Memoir of Anita Reynolds

an irrepressible chameleon who rubbed shoulders with Harlem Renaissance literati, modeled for Coco Chanel and more

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Shameful Past

David Beasley’s shocking book …

Without Mercy … St. Martin’s Press

sheds light on 6 Black men who were electrocuted on a single day in December 1938 at the same prison

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The Truth

Black Stats … The New Press

The go to source for the 411 on Black folks

Monique W. Morris

breaks down the numbers on those working on green jobs to our incarceration rates … Did you know that in the five years before the Great Depression, Black owned businesses in the United States increased by 61%

Cherokee Freedmen Facts – by Marilyn Vann – Black History


Cherokee Freedmen Facts – by Marilyn Vann – President – Descendants of Freedmen

www.freedmen5tribes.com

1) Who are Cherokee freedmen and their descendants?
Cherokee freedmen are people of African descent who have rights to Cherokee citizenship since 1866 (and in some cases
prior) based under a treaty between the US government and the Cherokee nation, the amended 1839 constitution and the
present 1976 constitution. The freedmen were either former slaves of the Cherokees or were free mixed black Cherokees who
generally did not have citizenship rights prior to 1866.

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2) Who has the right to Cherokee citizenship now?
All persons who were listed on the Dawes Rolls and their descendants, during the early 1900s have the right to Cherokee
citizenship based on the 1976 constitution. The Dawes rolls of the Cherokee nation have several sections – Delaware,
Cherokee by blood, Cherokee Freedmen, etc.

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3) Didn’t the Freedmen lose their tribal membership and voting rights for a few years?
In 1983, the freedmen people were voting against Chief Swimmer, the registrar sent out letters canceling their tribal
membership cards and the freedmen were blocked from voting at the polls. In 1988, under Chief Mankiller, the tribal council
approved the registration policy of requiring all tribal members to have a CDIB card to keep tribal membership. A tribal
court in 2006 ruled that the tribal council could not pass additional requirements to bar any segment of Dawes enrollees from
receiving tribal membership cards or voting.

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4) If most of the freedmen have Cherokee blood, why cant they get a cdib card?
The current BIA policy is to only give the card based on the blood degree listed on the Dawes Rolls. The Dawes
Commissioners had the sole authority to place people on any part of the Dawes rolls they wanted to. Because Congress had
decided that people listed as Freedmen would have unrestricted allotments, Commissioners were encouraged to list as many
people as possible as Freedmen with no blood degrees listed rather than as Cherokees with blood degrees even if the person
was listed on previous rolls as blood Cherokee or received payments earlier from the US government as a Cherokee by
blood. An example was Perry Ross who had a Cherokee mother and black father. Perry Ross, was listed on the 1852 Drennan
Roll proving Cherokee by blood, received a 1908 Guion Miller payment for having Cherokee blood, but yet was listed as a
freedmen citizen on the Dawes Rolls. Some Freedmen did get CDIB cards in the past based on other records, but they
stopped giving them out. The tribe never kept degrees of blood records and anything on the Dawes Roll is just guesswork so
far as a true degree of blood. To determine blood degrees for freedmen one must look at Dawes testimony and other records.

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5) Chief Smith and Councilman Jackie Bob Martin have called for a special election to see if the freedmen people
should keep their tribal membership rights. What’s wrong with that?
Whats right about it? There something wrong about trying to take away the rights of people who have had them for more than
100 years. The court held that the people had been wronged, and now, instead of accepting that, these people are to be more
wronged? Would you not fight a president who wanted to put the US citizenship rights of Cherokee people on a ballot to the
people? Whose next to lose rights? Also, the people who are being asked to vote on the freedmen citizenship rights are not
being told that the freedmen have had rights since at least 1866, have served on the tribal council, generally have Cherokee
blood, and voted between 1971 and 1983 (between 1907 and 1971 there were no elections at all). When did Cherokee people
ever kick people out of the tribe? And why kick out only freedmen who came before Delaware and Shawnee – all 3 have
treaty rights to citizenship? Does anyone sitting here wonder if the movement to kick out the freedmen is fear that they may
not vote for some people now serving in office? Hardly any freedmen will be able to vote in such election because of the
slow process to register tribal members and even freedmen people with old 1970s membership cards must reregister. Is this
justice? Is it right for Cherokee leaders to break the promises made to these people by previous chiefs such as Lewis
Downing and WP Ross – just as the whites have broken their word to the Cherokee people time after time? What if the white
people say, if the Cherokees can break their treaty at will, we will do so too and demand back the Arkansas Riverbed money?

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6) Won’t the freedmen take away from the rest of the Cherokees so far as benefits?
The Chief and the tribal council can request additional funds from the US government and supposedly are working hard on
economic development. Stop and think – Would you want your US citizenship rights to be taken away because white people
don’t want you to have rental assistance or such the same as them? Freedmen wont cancel medical insurance to go to I H S.

******

7) Did Freedmen get the same rights as Cherokees by blood previously?
Yes, all citizens including freedmen received 110 acres of tribal land equivalent when tribal lands were allotted, they received
the 1912 payroll, and the per capita payment given out in 1962. Freedmen held office between 1866 and 1907 – One
freedman Frank Vann even served with Redbird Smith on the council. Another freedmen councilman was Stick Ross.