"Today, if you don't believe the religious laws of Muslims should trump those of the wider community, you are not tolerant."
What utter tripe - this pitiful diatribe is full of it. When is this paper going to get a pundit capable of independent thought?
It was politically-driven idiocy to put a sewage treatment plant, a mental hospital and a golf course on land that was known for DECADES to have global significance as a pre-historic cultural resource site. But Chattanooga has always been eager to destroy the rare and the beautiful.
Hmmmm. Max, let's just say we're fighting Ebola over there so we don't have to fight it here.
Yes, it certainly is frustrating that public funds are so poorly accounted for in this, and in many other cases which will never see the light of day because of the prominent and connected persons associated with them. But this is in no way a reflection on the value of the institution itself in this case. That would be like saying we don't need a public library because funds were mishandled or we don't need the Power Board because of over-billing or we don't need Moccasin Bend Park because some bean-counting pinhead can't find an alternative location for the cops to learn how to handle their assault rifles.
Prosecute the corruption but protect the institutions!
Yeah I know, fat-finger typing is a bitch. It was August 1863 when Wilder shelled Chattanooga and he was elected mayor only seven years later. Can't write about history and not get the dates right.
The status of Chattanooga's Black citizens changed dramatically in the years of the Civil War. Thousands of them fought on both sides during the war. The Chattanooga population during the war was probably less than three thousand but as the Federal army moved south of Chattanooga toward Atlanta, escaped slaves fled north and were sequestered here on the north side of the river where they established a flourishing community of many thousands called Hill City where entrepreneurial individuals established businesses to buy their freedom and most of the rest were utilized as laborers by Federal Army quartermasters to build foundries, rolling mills, warehouses, roads and railways turning our sleepy little river town into the sort of industrial towns they had left behind in the northeast and Midwest.
Many of these former Union quartermasters remained here after the war, shedding uniforms for business suits. Notable among them was John T. Wilder, who shelled Chattanooga from Stringer's Ridge in 1864 and a decade or so later was elected mayor. Others became bankers, lawyers and industrialists - but they all depended on the black work force for providing the means to build the "new" Chattanooga and they actively resisted any intrusion by the Ku Klux Klan knowing it would ruin a good thing and make people fear relocating here stifling real estate speculation - a staple of the post-war years. It has been said Chattanooga was captured but never repatriated
It was a slow and arduous process as Chattanooga’s Black population progressed toward the turn of the century. But in 1904 as documented in a book by Bliss White, there were black lawyers, black doctors, black newspapermen, black hoteliers and well-established black-owned and operated manufacturing companies - further material that was highlighted by the Museum for the enlightenment of school children and as a source of pride for our Black community. The lynchings on the Walnut Street Bridge, the establishment of Jim Crow laws, and years of discrimination and struggles for voting rights and civil rights all deserve a place where they can be adequately interpreted. These and many other aspects of the Black experience in Chattanooga have no better place to reside than in the Chattanooga African-American Museum and the Board of “The Bessie” should seek to re-establish the facility to the level of prominence and depth of educational benefit which it enjoyed under Ms. Fields’ direction.
BRING BACK THE CAAM! One Citizen’s Opinion
The Bessie Smith Hall was never the most important part of the Martin Luther King Blvd. facility - the educational value of the place was best expressed in the fully accredited Chattanooga African-American Museum, described in 2004 as one of the four best Black History Museums in the country, largely through the efforts of Mr. George Ricks, Ms. Vilma Fields and those who donated to its collections. As things stand now, I think they and the others who founded the facility would be saddened to see what has been done there.
Sure, blues music is a part of the American experience and the many musicians who originated it as an original part of that experience are to be celebrated. Bessie was “the queen of the Blues” and was born in Blue Goose Hollow at the base of Cameron Hill - a Chattanooga original!
But all the pioneers of blues music arose from the much deeper and tragic experiences of their enslaved grandparents and great-grandparents who were captured or kidnapped and herded like so many cattle into shackles in the holds of slave ships, torn away from the culture and customs they knew, so as to be brought to the "land of the free" to be sold and forced into labor for the white planter class. Those are the origins of American Black History. A tip of the hat to Roots is certainly in order. The Black experience in Chattanooga definitely did not begin in the 1960s with ‘the Big Nine”.
But one MUST have some understanding of the tribes and cultures of Africa to really know Black history and it was the irreplaceable African artifacts and art which were housed in the African American Museum that told that story. They were said to be appraised at around $250,000.00 in the 1980s and had not been appraised since. How about an audit of THEM? Some say the collections have been put in storage, others say they were stolen and sold. If so, that was a damnable theft from the entire community. Why isn’t the Board more interested in that aspect of the facility? Surely they visited the museum when the collections were on display. Traveling exhibits from the Smithsonian are alright but they have little specific context in terms of Chattanooga history. The strut has its place but it is NOT the only thing of value the facility can provide and the theft of proceeds from only one event should not consume all their concerns.
Arthur T. Demoulas - the image of a 'capitalist' with a human heart:
With respect to Germany during the rise of Nazism, never forget it was America's big capitalists and industrialists who had to be dragged away from their ties to Hitler - it took Congressional action to get Prescott Bush to sever his ties.
From The Guardian:
"His business dealings, which continued until his company's assets were seized in 1942 under the Trading with the Enemy Act, has led more than 60 years later to a civil action for damages being brought in Germany against the Bush family by two former slave labourers at Auschwitz and to a hum of pre-election controversy.
The evidence has also prompted one former US Nazi war crimes prosecutor to argue that the late senator's action should have been grounds for prosecution for giving aid and comfort to the enemy."
Now - lets open a thread to discuss what the founders' America as "morphed into". That'd be fun!