Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The Rev. Jacob Fontaine (1808 – 1898) lived his first 55 years as a slave. For a time, he and his wife lived on the Woodlawn Plantation, part of which is now Pease Park. With emancipation, the Rev. Fontaine became one of Austin’s most notable residents.
My youthful reading naturally gravitated to history. In fact, I cannot remember when I didn’t have three of four history books in some stage of completion. Now, armed with a Kindle and an iPad, my consumption has eclipsed what is possible ingesting only words on paper. I am awash in digital history.
My preferences are for world periods that I know little about, and for American conservation history. At the moment I am reading Reston’s Defenders of the Faith. Are you curious about the origins of conflicts between the Christian and Islamic world, between Charles V and Suleyman the Magnificent? Reston is an encyclopedic source. As for American conservation history, I rarely leave the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Roosevelt, Dock, Pinchot, Bird, Rothrock, McFarland, and Lacey inevitably suck me into their vortex.
There are times when travel catches up with me, and I cannot remember exactly where (or who) I am. Surely you have had the same out-of-body experience. You wake up early one morning, and wonder whose bed you are sleeping in and how did you get there.
Today I am in Washington DC. I speak at Penn State on Wednesday, and I decided to bring my youngest grandson, Woodrow, with me. Woodrow lives in Palos Verdes (near Redondo Beach), and is enjoying his spring break. We decided to combine business with pleasure on this trip, and we are squeezing in DC before we go to State College.
Although I have traveled extensively in Japan, I do not profess to have deep insight into the culture or the people. As a westerner (and a Texan, for God’s sake), Asia is blithely enigmatic.
There are certainly cultures in the world that strive to remain apart. The Japanese, for all of their western trappings, do not have to work hard to remain distinguishable. The radical differences in language are, in part, responsible. Although English is commonly seen in Japan, most of it is related to the perplexing English tag lines, slogans, and non sequiturs that Japanese marketing whizzes concoct. Otherwise, Japan is for the Japanese.
The name is synonymous with the A-Bomb. The two are interlocked, interchangeable, forever connected by the one ghastly day.
On August 6, 1945, at 8:15 am, the atomic war age began. Since that moment there has not been a day that “nuclear” (even when mispronounced) wasn’t perched on the lips of the world. I would carve up human time into BB (before the bomb), and AB (after the bomb). We are living in the year 65 AB.