Sunday, February 13, 2005

Two Histories of Social Change

Then I'll Be Free to Travel Home currently airing on public radio stations.

This series of 13 hour radio programs traces the historical arc of the long African-American battle against northern slavery and for full, first-class citizenship. It chronicles the contributions the original Africans who founded the New York African Burial Ground - and their descendants - made to the survival and development of New York and the nation from the 1600s to the New York City Draft Riots of 1863. It is also a history of larger-than-life "freedom fighters" on many levels and of many races, who challenged slavery to change the course of this nation from it's earliest Colonial days. It's historical arc will be capped with a modern "coda" (1992 2003) that illustrates and highlights the parallels of those historical contributions, issues and battles, with their modern echoes and counterparts in the present struggle to preserve and honor the site where those early Africans were and are buried.

There are some MP3 excerpts in the summaries section of the website linked above.

Radicals in the Bronx: Exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York through March 20

In the 1920s, four left-wing organizations launched a daring experiment in the Bronx. Seeking to create a better life for working people, they mobilized the resources of their members and proceeded to build their own versions of utopia. The communities that they founded were designed to foster political activism, artistic engagement, and collective values. This exhibition explores four Bronx cooperatives ? the Amalgamated Houses, the Farband Houses, the Sholem Aleichem Cooperative, the United Workers? Cooperative Colony (?the Coops?) ? that were built by groups of primarily secular Jewish immigrants who wanted both to improve living conditions and to create a basis for transforming society.

The website has some interesting historical photos like this one that looks like a May Day demonstration by youth from the Bronx Workmen?s Circle shul #2, 1934

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