Tag Archives: United States

Manatee Country School Board Protects Football Coach, puts Students in Danger

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Manatee High School Hurricanes running backs coach Rod Frazier, age 35, has been charged.

In 2011, the citizens of the United States were enraged at how Penn State school officials were covering up a child molester in order to protect its football program. In 2012, Americans were shocked at how the community of Steubenville, Ohio, was protecting several high school football players of raping a 16-year-old girl. In 2013, I found out that my own hometown school board was protecting its football program. In July 2013, Manatee High School assistant football coach Rod Frazier was charged with seven counts of misdemeanor battery after being accused of inappropriately touching and interacting with female students. As the Bradenton Police Department dove deeper into its investigation, it discovered how Manatee County School Board knew about two allegations, yet allowed him to continue to coach while he was being investigated and was on paid leave. The police also discovered how other Manatee High School employees also witnessed Frazier’s abnormal behavior with female students, but nothing was done to protect the students. Bradenton is now a town that treasures its football program more than the well-being of the students.

Frazier’s Downward Spiral

Manatee High School has five official football state championships, the most recent one being in 2011. Throughout the 2012 season, the football team, the Hurricanes, was ranked #1 in the nation before losing in the playoffs in December. Frazier attended and played football at Manatee High School and University of Florida and he returned to Manatee High School in 2001 to become the assistant football coach. In 2006, he was hired as a parent liaison, the person to whom referrals and other disciplinary actions are first reported at the school, and the weightlifting coach – these two positions now gave him contact with female students.  In 2007, Frazier’s life began a downward spiral: a bank foreclosed his home, the court ordered him to pay child support, and he was arrested for violating a restraining order by his estranged wife. The restraining order was filed after Frazier’s former wife claim he choked her and used cocaine. The wife never pressed charges, so Frazier was released from prison and returned to his job at Manatee High School.

Investigation Begins

On November 15, 2012, Frazier was placed on paid leave pending an investigation of improper conduct. He was instructed to stay off of school board property until further notice, BUT he shows up at Manatee High School the next day to coach the first football playoff game of the season. On January 9, 2013, a letter from a former female student is brought to Manatee High School principal Don Sauer’s office. The letter claims Frazier inappropriately touched the female student, met her in a park, and asked for a naked picture. The student transferred to Palmetto High School to get away from Frazier. On January 10, the student and her mother are interviewed by Debra Horne, the school district investigator (who has been investigated Frazier since November). On January 24, Horne requests to be transferred to another administrative position, “due to a number of unjustified issues that have impacted me personally and professionally.” After the Bradenton Herald-Tribune published a story about how the school board is investigating Frazier, the Bradenton Police Department launches its own investigation on February 7 and Frazier is placed on paid leave…again.

Witnesses Come Forward

The first time Frazier did something inappropriate was August 2008 and the last time was December 2012. During the investigation, the first victim claims Frazier touched her, sent her text messages, asked for naked photos, and told her that he loved her. The student claims she was in Frazier’s office more than 100 times; there was even a time when Frazier pulled her onto his lap in front of another employee, but the employee never reported the incident. Even though other school employees saw a female student go into an adult male’s office with the door closed numerous times, not one of them said anything or questioned why a student is there and not in class. A former parent liaison at the high school, Adinah Torres, has come forward with information about Frazier; she claims he inappropriately rubbed his leg against hers while she was in his office being trained. She reported him to her supervisor, yet nothing was done.  Torres also witnessed girls entering his office and sitting on Frazier’s desk so as soon as she could, Torres found a new job and left Manatee High School due to the uncomfortable environment Frazier caused. Another student claims he slapped her on the buttocks several times and only stopped after she got firm with him. At the moment, the victims include a total of four female students and three female teachers. Bradenton residents have also come forward saying how they and other parents saw how Frazier inappropriately touched female students during weightlifting meets – they claim he would rub up against girls and stroke them. The police say there are at least 50 people who witnessed Frazier’s inappropriate behavior over the years.

School Board Fails

The original school board investigation began on November 15, 2012. Interim Superintendent David Gayler claims the investigation was based on “rumors and innuendos about inappropriate relationships with students.” Even if it’s just rumors, the school board should still take a case seriously and report it to the police since there are children involved. It’s becoming too common for teachers abusing their powers to take control of students. My own high school, Lakewood Ranch High School (which is also in Bradenton), had its own trouble with a track coach sleeping with a 17-year-old female student. Though the student claimed it was consensual (which doesn’t exist when an adult is sleeping with an underage student), Ernest Lee Jones received 5 years in prison. When asked about how Frazier was placed on November 15, but showed up the next day to coach a football game, Gayler stated “If he went back to work after a day, then they couldn’t find anything to attach the complaint.” Frazier was placed on paid leave and ordered not to go on school board property, which includes the school, but he ignored it and went to the high school to coach football. Frazier should not be allowed on school property when he is being investigated for abusing students. Gayler says nothing was discovered about Frazier, but what investigation lasts less than two days? Was there even an official investigation? Horne was in charge of the investigation in November and was given a list of four female students to contact by assistant football coach, Steve Gulash, but she never did! Horne was in charge of finding out if Frazier was abusing four female students, but she never bothered to contact them. When the investigation was re-launched in January after the former student delivered the letter, she asked to be transferred to a new position; she is now an assistant principal at Prine Elementary School. Horne’s job was to determine if Frazier was a threat to children, yet she never bothered to ask one student and now she’s in charge of young children; do you feel safer knowing she’s there? There is also no proof that Manatee High School and the Manatee County School Board reported the potential crimes to the police, which they must do by law.

Bullying

After the first female student came forward about Frazier, she became a victim of cyber bullying because we live in a world where a female is automatically a slut if she is a victim. Gulash saw the bullying on her Facebook page and reported it to the police in April 2013, but he was reprimanded by the school board for not reporting it to his superiors first (even though he went to the Manatee High School principal). Gulash claims he and other staff members were being harassed by Manatee County administrators involved in Frazier’s case and says several employees and students will not come forward because they are afraid of the consequences (the students don’t want to be bullied by fellow students and the teachers don’t want to lose their job in a county that is not hiring teachers for the next year). The mother of the girl being teased also reported bullying to Palmetto High School but nothing was done and the Palmetto Police Department says there is not enough evidence was there for there to be a crime. A high school employee used his power to abuse girls, yet he was protected while the girls are labeled sluts and are teased by fellow students. When does football become more important than a child? When does football become more important than a human being? Never.

Charges are filed

On April 1, Bradenton Police recommend that Frazier be charged and on July 19, the State Attorney’s office charges Frazier with seven counts of misdemeanor battery and three counts of interference with the attendance of a student in school, which are second degree misdemeanors. On July 23, Superintendent Rick Mills announces that the district will reopen its investigation into the Frazier case (because they did such a great job the first two times). On July 25, hundreds of pornographic images are found on Frazier’s school computer and now the police department is trying to discover if the porn is current or former Manatee High School students. Frazier officially resigned  the next day and is now waiting to be arraigned August 8. Besides Frazier, the Bradenton Police force recommends that former assistant superintendent Bob Gagnon, former school investigator Debra Horne, former Manatee High School assistant principal Matthew Kane, and current Manatee High School assistant principal Greg Faller should be charged with failing to report child abuse and lying to the police. As members of the school board, their number one job is the protect children, but none of them did. All of them are still working and at the moment, none of them have been charged even though failing to report suspected child abuse is a crime. They all knew something was going on, yet not one of them did anything to save a child from a monster.

Frazier is not the only criminal

Rod Frazier was an assistant football coach at one of the top high school football programs in the nation. He knew he had power and he abused it by inappropriately touching female students and staff members for several years. Several students, parents, and employees knew Frazier was abusing students, but when it was reported to the Manatee County School board, nothing was done! Debra Horne, a female adult who should care about the interests of female students, failed to investigate the allegations correctly. If the Bradenton Herald-Tribune didn’t write about the allegations in January 2013, then the Bradenton Police Department would never have known about Frazier since NO ONE contacted the police, which is the correct protocol when a CHILD IS SUSPECTED OF BEING ABUSED.  After the Penn State incident, Florida passed the strictest law in the nation for anyone who fails to report child abuse – a possible five year prison sentence. Manatee High School and Manatee County School Board decided that football was more important than children – everyone involved in protecting a monster deserves to face the consequences.

Resources:

Manatee High assistant football coach investigated

Update: Manatee High coach Frazier resigns

Coach protecting student in Frazier case reprimanded

State abuse law passed after Penn State applies in Frazier case

I’m just Tired of Violence

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I had just witnessed the Boston Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays and decided to cool off by taking a shower. When I finished my shower, my phone was ringing; my dad asked “What’s going on in Boston? I heard there were explosions at the Boston Marathon?” As someone trying to get in shape, I was furious that some idiots attempted to hurt runners who had just ran 26 miles. As someone who loves history, I was upset that some idiots tried to ruin a celebration of Massachusetts’ involvement in the Revolutionary War. As a human, I am sad that someone decided to injure and kill innocent people.

I don’t know what’s going on, no one does. There were two explosions around 3 P.M. at the Boston Marathon finish line. Some thought it was a possible chemical leak, but now reports are saying that police have uncovered several other bombs. The police found one bomb under bleachers and purposely set it off when no one was around. John F. Kennedy Library might have a bomb. Three people are reported dead, dozens more injured. At 4:08: the official report is 2 dead, 22 injured in blasts. No terrorist group has come forward yet, so it might just be some loner who did this. Someone who is upset at the world. Someone who hates America. Someone who hates everything…

I’m tired of seeing terrorist attacks. When I was in 7th grade, I saw people fall to their deaths from the World Trade Center. I remember the planes flying into the towers, the Pentagon, and into the field – but seeing a bodies falling to their deaths is an image I’ll never get out of my head. Then the reports of attacks overseas involving America’s allies in Europe made me thankful for the Atlanta Ocean separating America from the Middle East and Africa – terrorists would have to board a plane to get here and security at the airport is very, very strict. But Boston shows that sometimes there is nothing we can do to prevent attacks – there is always going to be an upset person trying to bring everyone down to his level.

America has been gun-crazy since the Sandy Hook elementary shooting – one side gather their guns while the other side tries to take the guns. And you know what? Both sides are WRONG. I said months ago that guns aren’t the problem nor are the bombs, it’s the people. The politicians have been spending all their time dealing with guns that they forgot about People – People Kill People. It’s the People who are uneducated that are more likely to be violent, yet the education budgets are always being cut. It’s the People who suffer from mental illness that are more likely to be involved in a mass attack, yet health care doesn’t cover the costs of all the help they need. It’s the People upset that America is involved in international conflicts, yet war continues to wage on (and for what?). Instead of wasting time fighting over guns, abortion, and other controversial laws that don’t do much good for society, how about America comes together to make sure that something like this won’t happen again, to make sure more children don’t grow up to be disgruntled adults pissed at society.

 

Stop Punishing the Kids for their Parents’ Choices

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"Every child Needs a Good School Lunch&qu...

“Every child Needs a Good School Lunch”  (Wikipedia)

When I went to school and forgot to bring my money for lunch, I would receive a peanut-butter and jelly sandwich at lunch. But in April 2013, 25 students in a Massachusetts middle school were denied lunch because they could not pay for their lunch. The school was supposed to give the children cheese sandwiches and milk if they forgot their money and not let them go hungry; instead, the students were forced to throw out their food in front of their peers, causing some of them to erupt into tears. As a result, the school fired four employees and will allow all children to eat for free for three days next week. After reading this story, I read some of the readers’ comments how the children should not be given food or reduced-price food if their parents couldn’t afford to pay for lunch – the children should just starve. What happened to caring about the future generation?

The National School Lunch Program is a federally assisted meal program operating in American schools; it provides nutritionally balanced, low-cost or free lunches to 31 million children each school day. When my parents were between jobs, I was one of those children until my parents both found jobs. If a school participates in the program, it receives cash subsidies and USDA foods from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Since the program began in 1946, more than 224 billion lunches have been served. In 2011, it cost $11.1 billion for the United States to support this program – an amount that means starving children can eat. When I wake up each morning, I knew I had food in the fridge, but 16.7 million children (22% of American children) don’t know if they get to eat each day.This program guarantees that the child gets at least one nutritious meal  a day – that the child will drink milk and not soda, eat fruit instead of candy – a meal not off the dollar menu. And why should the children suffer for their parents’ mistakes? Why should they go hungry because their mother is working two jobs and there is no father around? Why should they go hungry because both their parents decided to have fifteen children even though they live in a two-bedroom apartment? Why should they go hungry because their parents care more about getting high than staying clean to get a job? If these children aren’t taken care of, then they will never have a future and break out of the cycle.

At the end of January 2013, republican senator Stacy Campfield introduced legislation that would slash welfare benefits for parents whose children get bad grades. They claim it will inspire parents to do a better job parenting, while critics say it will hurt the children. Based on my experience, this will only punish the kid. I grew up with parents that were always there for me; they helped me with my math homework, went over my spelling words, and paid for a tutor to help me with reading. Because of my parents’ help early on, I went on to take honors and advanced placement classes in order to increase my chance of getting a scholarship to a good college – which I did. I was lucky. At my high school, there were several students who could not speak proper English – it was so bad, the teacher could not understand them when they asked questions – and no, they weren’t Hispanic immigrants, they were born and raised in the same town as I was, their parents just never bothered to teach them how to speech English so they had to learn from rap music. You know what I’m talking about, the poor kids with bad parents that have no future and are bound to continue the cycle of being a failure, like their parents.They were the kids who had to ride the school bus while everyone else drove cars to school. They were the kids who ate breakfast at the school cafeteria because there was nothing at home for them to eat. They were the kids who wore clothes from the thrift shop and Goodwill.  They were the kids who dropped out of high school because no one was there to push them to graduate and to tell them that they could become someone. So, cutting welfare will suddenly wake up a parent after 16-years of ignoring their child? Will the absent father suddenly appear knowing that his baby’s mama will be losing welfare that she uses to pay rent? Will the homeless parents suddenly be able to buy a computer for the child to finish his homework? The amount of welfare a recipient receives isn’t that much to begin with – this law was proposed in Tennessee where a single mom with two kids receives $185 a month – as any person knows, that is about three tanks of gas.

Then there are the children who have good parents, but because of an unforeseen circumstance, their parents don’t have the money to provide for them. The parents may be immigrants from a foreign country, hoping the move to the United States will be a better environment to raise their children. The parents may be tomato pickers working for dirt money, but they want their children to become lawyers, doctors, teachers, and engineers. And there are the children living on the streets with their parents because both parents lost their jobs because of the bad economy. The parents don’t want their children spending the nights in shelter and worrying about food, they want the children to graduate school and get a stable job. A mother leaving her abusive husband and taking her children to a women’s shelter won’t have the money to spend on her children if the father spent their joint-banking account on beer. She just wants her children to eat low-cost meals at school while she saves money for a new house. These parents are doing their best to provide for their children, but need some help so that their children will live up to their potential. How can Americans turn their backs on these families?

Instead of trying to take away food and welfare from a child because of bad parents or bad life events, the government should be trying to make sure the child doesn’t end up like his parent – that he graduates from high school, goes to college, finds a job, and raises a happy family instead of turning to drugs, alcohol, sex, and crime. Countless studies have shown that children with a low-education or drop out of school are more likely to become teenage parents, commit a crime and go to jail, turn to drugs and alcohol, and end up on welfare – each year the federal government spends $38 billion on teenage pregnancy, $74 billion on jails, $15 billion on the war of drugs, and $193 billion on welfare for a total of $320 billion – numbers that will only increase if children continue to be punished for their parents’ choices. Instead of being furious that government spends $11.1 a year to ensure that 31 million children eat one decent meal a day, they should be furious that they and their government continues to fail millions of children each year. These children, no matter if they have bad, average, or great parents, deserve a chance to receive lunch at school every day. Whenever a budget needs to be cut, the budget that effects the future generation is always the first one to go. That needs to change.

North Carolina wants a State Religion

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Bill of Rights, 09/25/1789

Bill of Rights, 09/25/1789 (Photo credit: The U.S. National Archives)

In the late 1800’s, some Christian groups proposed that the United States create a new state that was only for Christians. This worried feminist Elizabeth Cady Stanton who knew traditional Christian values viewed women as second-class citizens – women couldn’t vote, own property, leave unhappy marriages, or do anything without their husband’s permission. Luckily, the Christian State was never created and decades later, women were able to gain equality rights since the United States was created with the idea of separating the church from the government.

On April 1, 2012, North Carolina proposed a bill that would allow an official state religion that would declare the state exempt from the Constitution and court rulings. The bill was filed on April Fool’s Day, though North Carolina is very serious about this pill. It is back by eleven Republicans and was filed after a lawsuit was filed to stop county commissioners in Rowan County from opening meetings with a Christian prayer. The bill’s main sponsors are Carl Ford and Harry Warren and the co-sponsors are Edgar Starnes and Larry Pittman.

The bill reads:

SECTION 1. The North Carolina General Assembly asserts that the Constitution of the United States of America does not prohibit states or their subsidiaries from making laws respecting an establishment of religion.

SECTION 2. The North Carolina General Assembly does not recognize federal court rulings which prohibit and otherwise regulate the State of North Carolina, its public schools, or any political subdivisions of the State from making laws respecting an establishment of religion.

Past American leaders knew religion should not control the United States. Thomas Jefferson and other founding fathers made sure government was split from religion because they knew a country ruled by religion doesn’t allow democracy. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Anyone who knows history, particularly the history of Europe, will, I think, recognize that the domination of education or of government by any one particular religious faith is never a happy arrangement for the people.”  And she is right, look at the Middle East where all the countries are controlled by religion – the poor are uneducated, the leaders use the Quran to kill Christians and Jews, and women are forced to cover their faces and serve their husbands. Now, you may think “that wouldn’t happen here in a majority Christian country” but some strict Christians still believe men are better than women, that other religions should not be practiced, the homosexuals should be punished, and birth control should disappear – even though Jesus preached “love thy neighbor.”

The United States is supposed to be the country in the world that allows all religions, as long as the religions are not violent and the followers still follow the country’s laws. North Carolina choosing religion over government is a danger for all people. Though the bill will not pass since it 100% goes against the U.S. Constitution, the men behind this bill should not be in office if they care more about THEIR religion than about the people that were voted to represent. Instead of wasting time seeking revenge over the fact that they cannot pray at government meetings, they should be creating laws to help the poor and the weak; after all, that’s what Jesus said to do.

 

Eleanor Roosevelt: First Lady of the World

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Eleanor Roosevelt and United Nations Universal...

Eleanor Roosevelt and United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Spanish text. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt is viewed as the third greatest President of all time (behind George Washington and Abraham Lincoln), but his wife is viewed as the greatest First Lady in American History. Though her husband was in the president and in charge of the United States, Eleanor did not sit silently behind the scenes as majority of First Ladies did; she led her own life to helping others.

Eleanor Roosevelt was born in New York City on October 11, 1884. Though she was the niece of President Theodore Roosevelt, Eleanor had a tough life. Her mother died when she was eight and then her alcoholic father died two years later, so she was raised by her grandmother and later sent to school in England. Her upbringing caused her to be a quiet, shy person . In 1905, she married Franklin D. Roosevelt; President Theodore Roosevelt walked her down the aisle. Eleanor spent the beginning of her marriage taking orders from her mother-in-law, Sarah.

In 1918, Eleanor discovered that Franklin was having an affair. From that moment on, Eleanor became her own person; she stopped taking orders from her mother-in-law and became involved in her own interests. Eleanor was inspired by her uncle on social reform. During World War One, she worked for the American Red Cross and Navy Relief Society. She even had the Wilson Administration’s Interior Secretary conduct an investigation with the intention of improving the facility’s services at the hospital. She was part of the Women’s City Club of New York, speaking to female listeners about politics through the radio. As a member of the Women’s Trade Union League, she educated women about joining unions and even picketed with them. She even persuaded her husband to promote Frances Perkins to the head of the State Industrial Relations – she would become Secretary of Labor and create Social Security. She also worked as a teacher. Though the love between her and Franklin was ruined, they remained each other’s biggest supporters throughout their marriage. When Franklin lost his ability to walk due to polio in 1921, Sarah wanted him to retire from politics. It was Eleanor who convinced him to seek treatment and return to politics.

Eleanor was worried when she became First Lady that she would lose her life and have to spend the next four years hosting social parties for her husband’s supporters. But, Franklin realized that Eleanor was her own person. Eleanor gave press conferences for only female reporters, forcing newspapers to hire females. She also had a magazine column where people could write to her; she was paid $1,000 a month and donated it all to various charities. She also traveled overseas to visit U.S. troops during World War Two – she frequently traveled alone without the secret service, carrying a gun. Besides being an advocate for women, children, laborers, immigrants, and the poor, she also wanted equality. While Franklin could not support equality since he needed the Southern vote, Eleanor could show public support for the black community. She resigned from the Daughters of the American Revolution when the organization refused to rent its Constitution Hall for black singer Marian Anderson. Eleanor had Anderson sing at the White House for the King and Queen of England. She also showed support for black pilots by flying in a plane flown by Charles Anderson. When Japanese Americans were sent to internment camps, she criticized her husband and his cabinet. Though she was criticized for supporting all races, these minority groups switched from President Abraham Lincoln’s Republican Party to the Democratic Party, where they still remain.

After Franklin died on April 12, 1945, Eleanor believed her days in the public were over. However, President Harry Truman appointed her to serve as a delegate for the United Nations General Assembly. She was the only female of the five delegates. She was on the U.N.’s Human Rights Commission, the main writer of the Universal Declaration of Humans Rights. The document is still the principal guide to assessing a country’s treatment of its people. In 1961, President John F. Kennedy made her a delegate to the United Nations, appointed her to the Commission on the Status of Women, and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. She died from cancer on November 7, 1962 in Manhattan.

Eleanor Roosevelt spent her early life as a shy, obedient lady. After Franklin’s affair, Eleanor became a different person by taking charge of her life. While previous First Ladies remained behind the scenes, Eleanor connected to the American public through radio and news articles. She supported numerous social causes; advocating equal pay for women, shorter work hours for children, medical benefits for veterans, equal rights for minorities, and world peace for all. She also became a huge part of the early success of the U.N. since she helped get the United States involved in the organization and drafted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Her humanitarian work in the world is the reason why she is, as President Truman said, “The First Lady of the World.”

Sources:

Eleanor Roosevelt. biography

First Lady Biography: Eleanor Roosevelt

Champions of Human Rights

 

Abigail Adams: Founding Woman

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Abigail Adams by Benjamin Blythe, 1766

Abigail Adams by Benjamin Blythe, 1766 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In history classes, the American children learned about the Founding Fathers, the political leaders who participated in the American Revolution and established the United States Constitution. They learn about George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and Benjamin Franklin… but why aren’t they taught about the Founding Women? The women who raised these men to become leaders and the wives of these men who gave them advice and the daughters of these men who took care of them as they grew old? It is because women worked behind the scenes, while the men gained all the glory. When 1,200 letters of the correspondence between President John Adams and Abigail Adams were found, it was discovered that John depended on his wife to take care of the house, the children, and he depended on her for advice.

Abigail Smith was born on November 22, 1744 in Weymouth, Massachusetts. Like many women at that time, Abigail never received formal education, however, her mother taught her and her sisters how to read and write. Abigail fell in love with reading, a trait that John Adams loved about her. The two married in 1764 and lived in Braintree, Massachusetts. When John’s law practice grew, he moved the family to Boston and traveled as a circuit judge, leading Abigail to take care of the four children.

In 1774, John went to Philadelphia to serve as his colony’s delegate to the First Continental Congress. At home, Abigail was appointed by Massachusetts Colony General Court to question Massachusetts women who were charged by their word or action of remaining loyal to the British crown; this was Abigail’s first government position. Since John was away most of the time, the two kept in touch by sending letters to each, 1,200 letters in fact. Through these letters, John usually asked for Abigail’s opinion and advice. She wrote to her husband requesting that he “Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the Ladies we are determined to formant a Rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation.” Sadly, the men did forget about the women.

In 1784, Abigail left her family, friends, and farm to join John at his diplomatic post in Paris. In 1785, she became wife of the first United States Minister to Great Britain. They returned to Massachusetts in 1788. When John Adams became Vice-President, she helped Martha Washington entertain guests in Philadelphia, the nation’s capitol at that time. When John became president, Abigail missed his inaugural ceremony in 1797 because she was talking care of his sick mother. Besides entertaining guests as the First Lady, Abigail was taking care of her 3-year-old granddaughter since her son, Charles, died from Alcoholism in 1800. As the First Lady, her controversial quotes and private letters, stolen from the mail system, were published in the newspapers. She was nicknamed “Mrs. President” because her advice asked her advice on everything, which at the time was amusing because a man asking a woman for help was not common. When John failed to become president for a second term, Abigail was happy to be done with the public life. The two finally were able to enjoy each other’s company until she died on October 28, 1818.

Abigail Adams, like many women at the time during the Revolutionary War, had to take care of the family and home while her husband was away during wartime. Since John was a politician, he was hardly ever home, leaving Abigail to raise the children. One of the children, John Quincy Adams, would become one of the greatest politicians of all time, including one term as President. Since his father was gone most of his childhood, it was Abigail ensuring that John and the rest of the children were educated. For John to ask his wife for advice concerning national and international affairs meant that Abigail was intelligent. Though he was teased for it, their relationship showed that the two truly loved each other for they trusted and listened to each other. John Adams and John Quincy Adams are considered two of the greatest politicians of American History thanks to Abigail’s guidance as a wife and mother.

Sources:

Abigail Smith Adams

First Lady Biography: Abigail Adams

Abigail Adams. biography

Lucretia Mott: Social Reformer

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English: Painting of Lucretia Mott (1793 - 188...

English: Painting of Lucretia Mott (1793 – 1880), the proponent of women’s rights. The artist is Joseph Kyle (1815 – 1863). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Before the Civil War, a minority of Americans believed that slavery should end in the United States. These abolitionists had heard horror stories of mothers witnessing their children being sold to a different slave owner, of men being whipped to death, and female teens being raped by their masters. The abolitionists traveled the country and the world, giving speeches against slavery in hopes of persuading the rest of the public to join their cause. Though both male and female abolitionists had the same goal, the females were excluded from certain events and meetings; the women soon learned that they too were not equal to men. Lucretia Mott quickly learned women were not equal to men so she spent the rest of her life fighting for equality for slaves and women.

Lucretia Mott, born Lucretia Coffin, was born on January 3, 1793 in Nantucket, Massachusetts. Her parents were Quakers so she grew up hating slavery. After attending a Quaker boarding school, she became a teacher. As a teacher, she learned that male teachers made more than female teachers. This surprised her sine the Quakers preached equality, yet women still were not equal with men. A fellow teacher, James Mott, followed her to Philadelphia and the couple married in 1811. He would support his wife throughout their marriage. After the death of her son, Mott became a Quaker minister to spread the word of God. Mott, along with the rest of the Quakers, protested slavery by refusing to buy products of slave labor. Her husband got out of the cotton trade around 1830. Mott became a huge supporter of abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison and his American Anti-Slavery Society. Though she was threatened with physical violence at several anti-slavery meetings, Mott never stopped speaking out against slavery.

In 1833, she and 30 other female abolitionists organized the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society. In 1840, she was voted to be the delegate for the organization at the World’s Anti-Slavery Convection in London. When she arrived in London, Mott could not actively participate in the convection because she was a female. The male delegates voted to exclude the women because the women might try to make the meeting about themselves and women suffrage. Another woman there was Elizabeth Cady Stanton; as the two women sat in chairs in a rope-off area, they agreed that when they returned to the United States, they needed to create a convection for women about women’s rights. In 1848, the two women helped create the Seneca Falls Convection, the first women convection. This meeting was the official start of the women’s suffrage movement.

After the Civil War ended, many abolitionists believed their work was done since slaves were now free. Mott continued to work for black suffrage, traveling the country speaking about how the former slaves deserved to vote and how they deserved government aid. She also spoke about the importance of women’s suffrage. She was elected the head of the American Equals Rights Association, which split into National Woman Suffrage Association and the American Woman Suffrage Association; one believed the 15th Amendment shouldn’t pass because it didn’t guarantee votes to women while the other believed that women must be patient. When the two women organizations split, she tried to ring them together (eventually the two groups did rejoin). This organization would succeed in getting women to vote, though it wasn’t until 1919. She died on November 11, 1880 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from pneumonia.

Lucretia Mott was born into a religion that preached freedom and equality, yet still believed women were not equal to men. As she traveled the world speaking out against slavery, she realized that society still treated women as men’s property. Mott, along with Elizabeth Cady Stanton, organized the first women’s convection in Seneca Falls, New York. This meeting would inspire hundreds of women to take action and because of these feminists, women are now able to own property, marry for love, have a career, and vote. Lucretia Mott, along with Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, is honored in the Capitol Rotunda as a sculpture.

 

 

Sources:

 

Lucretia Mott. biography

 

Women’s Rights

 

Lucretia Mott

 

Rosa Parks: Civil Rights Activist

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English: Photograph of Rosa Parks with Dr. Mar...

Photographic Rosa Parks (ca. 1955) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Though the slaves were freed after the Civil War, it wasn’t until 100 years later when black people were considered equal with white people. Until then, the blacks had to use separate water fountains, separate schools, and separate entrances. Minorities were discriminated against, especially in the South where the Jim Crow laws made “everything separate, but equal” – which actually meant the white citizens were the only first class citizens. And anyone who stood up against the racist laws would mysteriously disappear thanks to the KKK butthat all changed when one woman, Rosa Parks, refused to move to the back of the bus.

Rosa Parks, born Rosa Louise McCauley, was born on February 4, 1913 in Tuskegee, Alabama. After her parents divorced, she and her mother moved in with Rosa’s maternal grandparents, two former slaves. On her way to her segregated one-room school, Rosa would watch as the school buses drove by with the white children; after all, black children were not provided school buses of their own to ride. In 11th grade, Rosa dropped out of school to take care of her sick mother and grandmother. In 1932, she met and married Raymond Parks, a barber and member of the National Association for Advancement of Colored People. With her husband’s support, she earned her high school degree in 1933; at that time, only 7% of blacks graduated high school. In 1943, she became involved in civil rights issues by becoming the secretary and youth leader of the Montgomery chapter of the NAACP.

To get to work at the department store where she worked as a seamstress, Rosa took the city bus. The Montgomery City Code required that all public transportation be segregated. There was a sign in the middle of the bus that divided the bus: white passengers in the front and black passengers in the back. Though the law did not require black passengers to give up their seats to white passengers, bus drivers would still threaten the black passengers with the police if they refused. On December 1, 1955, Rosa took the seat in the first row of the black section of the bus after work. A few bus stops later, the us driver noticed white passengers standing in the aisle so he stopped the bus, moved the sign, and asked four of the black passengers to move to the back of the bus. Three of the passengers complained, but moved. Rosa repliaed “I don’t think I should have to stand up.” She was arrested.

Word of her arrest quickly spread through town. The president of the local chapter of the NAACP, E.D. Nixon, met with Rosa after she paid her bail and was released. Nixon and other leaders were waiting for the perfect plaintiff to take a trial to the supreme court and Rosa was perfect: she was married, employed, financially stable, mature, and quiet. It was determined that they would take her case to court and that there would be a bus boycott on the day of her trial. The first group to endorse the boycott was the Women’s Political Council. Rosa’s trial was to be on December 5th. On the day of her trial, she was found guilty of violating the local ordinance and fined $10. On that day it rained, yet 40,000 members of the black community walked to work, some walking as far as 20 miles. Due to the boycott’s importance, it was determined that there should be someone in charge of the bus boycott. The leaders of the black community elected Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., an unknown minister.

For months the buses remained empty since blacks made up 75% of bus riders. King and Nixon both had their homes destroyed by bombing and many protesters were arrested for boycotting. Rosa and her husband lost their jobs and moved to Detroit, Michigan. In June 1956, the district court declared Jim Crow laws to be unconstitutional. The city of Montgomery appealed, but the U.S. Supreme court upheld the lower court’s ruling on November 13, 1956. The boycott ended on December 20, 1956 after Montgomery lifted its segregation of buses. In the 1960’s, several laws passed to prohibited segregation laws throughout the United States.

As for Rosa, she became a secretary in the U.S. Representative John Conyer’s congressional office. She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Bill Clinton and when she died on October 24, 2005, she became the first woman to lie in honor at the Capitol Rotunda. Millions of blacks were waiting for years for the moment when they would be considered equal. When Rosa Parks, an average woman, refused to give up her seat to a white passenger, the local black leaders realized that it was now the time to take a stand against the Jim Crow laws. The boycott was organized and future Nobel Peace Prize winner Martin Luther King Jr. was put in charge of the boycott. Because of Rosa Parks, white and black children can ride the school bus together.

Sources:

Rosa Parks. biography

Rosa Parks

Dorothea Lynde Dix: Mental Illness Reformer

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U.S. Library of Congress DIX, DOROTHEA LYNDE. ...

U.S. Library of Congress DIX, DOROTHEA LYNDE. Retouched photograph. date found on item. Location: Biographical File Reproduction Number: LC-USZ62-9797 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mental Illness is still a taboo topic in the United States even though 57.7 million Americans experience a mental health disorder every year. Fewer than one-third of adults and one-half of children receive mental health services in a given year. Though there are strides to make healthcare more accessible to people with mental illness, there was time when they were locked away in jails, chained to walls, sexually assaulted, and starved. For centuries, this was how the mentally ill were taken care of until the 1800’s. There is one person responsible for mental illness reform; her name is Dorothea Lynde Dix.

Dorothea Dix was born in Hampden, Maine on April 4, 1802. She had an unhappy childhood because her mother suffered from depression while her father was an alcoholic priest who traveled a lot, so it was up to Dix to take care of her younger brothers. Her father did manage to teach her how to read and write. When she was 12, she moved to Boston to live with her wealthy grandmother. Her grandmother was strict and punished Dix when Dix donated her new expensive clothes to the poor children on the street. Dix became a teacher at the age of 15, opening a school in her grandmother’s mansion. In her spare time, she wrote books for adolescents. In 1836, Dix stopped teaching due to frequent illness and traveled to Europe with friends. Though she was supposed to be relaxing, she met social reformers investigating asylums and she returned to the Untied States to see how her own state dealt with the mentally ill.

In 1841, Dix volunteered to teach a Sunday School class for women inmates at the East Cambridge jail. At the jail, she saw that prostitutes, mentally ill, and criminals were all housed together in dirty conditions. When she asked why the jail was in a terrible condition, she was told that “the insane do not feel heat or cold.” Dix traveled throughout Massachusetts, documenting how the mentally ill were treated in each town. She saw prisoners being whipped, staved, chained, physically abused, and sexually abused by other inmates and guards. The prisoners were often naked without heat or sanitation. She presented her documentation to the Massachusetts legislation and convinced them to set aside funds for the expansion of a state mental hospital in Worcester. Dix traveled to Rhode Island, New York, and other states repeating her process; she help found 32 mental hospitals, a school for the blind, and numerous training facilities for nurses. When she was done with the United States, she traveled to Europe to help the mentally ill.

She returned to the United States in 1854 to travel to states she had missed, but the Civil War interrupted her goal of mental illness reform. She was appointed the Superintendent of Union Army Nurses, the first woman to serve in such a high capacity in a federally appointed role. President Lincoln asked her to appoint a nurse to take care of his sick son, Tad, who had fallen ill after his brother Willie died. Dix appointed Nurse Rebecca Pomeroy, who provided care to Tad while comforting Lincoln. Dix clashed with army officials and was feared by her female nurses, so she submitted her resignation in August 1865.

After the war, she returned to work as a social reformer until 1881 when the New Jersey State Hospital in Morris Plaines opened. This hospital was the first one created built because of Dix, so she checked herself in due to her poor health. She died on July 17, 1887 at the hospital. Dix never wanted hospitals to be named after her, embarrassed of being praised for her work, but it should be known that it is because of her that people now know that the mentally ill are humans and deserved to be treated as such.

Sources:

Dorothea Lynde Dix

Mental Illness

Dorothea Dix

Clara Harlowe Barton: American Red Cross

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Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross

Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Every year, the American Red Cross responds to 70,000 disasters in the United States; the disasters range from hurricanes and earthquakes to fires and floods. The Red Cross provides food, shelter, and supplies for families and communities to get back on their feet. The Red Cross also helps 150,000 military families and veterans each year by providing training and support to wounded warriors. The Red Cross is also the nation’s leading provider of health and safety courses. The American version of this organization was founded by Clara Harlowe Barton.

Clara Harlowe Barton was born on December 25, 1821, in North Oxford, Massachusetts. When she was 16, phrenologists (studied bumps on people’s head) said a career in teaching would cure her of her shyness. After teaching for a few years, she moved to New Jersey where she found out that New Jersey did not have free schools. She opened up a free school and while only 6 students showed up on the first day of school, she had over 200 students when the school year ended. The people of Bordentown were impressed and donated $4,000 to build a new, larger school. When the school opened in 1853, Barton found out that she would not be the principal because she was a woman. Hurt that she could not be in charge of the school she help create, she quit and moved to Washington, D.C. to work as a clerk at the U.S. Patent Office. She would be the first woman to have a government job in the United States.

When the Civil War broke out in 1861, thousands of wounded Union soldiers headed to Washington, D.C.. Barton quickly realized that the government was not prepared to care for the wounded soldiers. For a year, she pleaded with the bureaucracy to allow her to bring medical supplies to the field. When she was granted permission, she headed to the battlefield. Barton became the “nursing angel” to soldiers in some of the war’s bloodiest battles: Second Manassas, Antietam, and Fredericksburg. Grateful soldiers who survived the war would name their daughters Clara. When regimental standard-bearer Sergeant Thomas Plunkett had both his arms blown off (still managed to support the flag staff with his body until another soldier could carry it forward into battle) Barton took care of his wounds and saw that he was placed on a train to D.C.. When he encountered trouble trying to return home, Barton pledged his case to U.S. Senator Henry Wilson, who saw that Plunkett had money and help for the rest of his life.

During the Civil War, Barton received hundreds of letters from families wandering if she knew where their sons were. When the war ended, Barton took charge of identifying and marking the graves of 13,000 Union soldiers who died at the Anderson, Georgia, prisoner-of-war camp. President Abraham Lincoln made her the head of the Missing Soldiers Office, the first woman to become in charge of a U.S. government bureau. The agency located 22,000 missing soldiers from 1865-1868.

In 1869, her doctor recommended her to travel to Europe to relax. Instead of relaxing, she took part in the relief effort during the Franco-Prussian War. While she was helping the wounded, she was introduced to the Red Cross, the organization created in 1864 to provide humane services to war victims. She also learned about the Geneva Conviction, rules that apply in times of armed conflict that seek to protect people who not taking part in hostilities. At the time, the United States had not signed it. Barton returned to the United States to establish the American Red Cross and she pushed the U.S. to sign the Geneva Convection. The Red Cross was recognized by the U.S. government to provide aid for natural disasters on May 21, 1881; after the Johnston Flood (dam broke and killed 2,000 people) Barton and 50 doctors and nurses showed up to take care of the town.She resigned its presidency in 1904 and she died in Glen Echo, Maryland on April 12, 1912.

Clara Barton would rather take care of wounded soldiers during a battle then speak at a meeting, but she was able to overcome her shyness when others needed her to. She became a teacher to overcome her shyness, but instead she made sure that children received free education in New Jersey. When she noticed wounded soldiers outside her house, she rushed to the battlefield to take care of them. When parents wanted to know where their son was, she was put in charge of the agency responsible for bringing 22,000 families peace. Barton never “relaxed” as her doctor ordered her to, she was too busy creating an organization that is now the number one organization to respond to a natural disaster.

 

Sources:

Angel of the battlefield

American Red Cross

Clara Barton