Thursday, February 10, 2011

Abraham Lincoln

Two reckonings of Abraham Lincoln, one through great African-Americans and one through the man who murdered him.  

Reckoning 1

7 Degrees

Seventh Degree: Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln is a president that all Americans are proud of.  Republicans, Democrats, Tea Partiers, Lefties, Righties, Women, Men, Blacks, Whites, Browns, etc. all love Abraham Lincoln.  Here are two videos about Lincoln, one from the right-ish and one from the left-ish.

Watch the full episode. See more Bill Moyers.

Sixth Degree: Frederick Douglas and Booker T. Washington
It pains me to put these two great men on one degree.  They deserve their own degree.  But you see, their paths cross a few generations down the line with their great-great grand children.  To read Nettie Douglas' letter to her great grandfather, click here.  

Fifth Degree: Nettie Washington Douglas and her son, Kenneth B. Morris Jr. 
Mrs. Douglas presented 4th Degree, Joe DiMaggio with the first Booker T. Washington half-dollar in San Francisco in 1950.

"I let no man drag me down so low
as to make me hate him." - Booker T. Washington
American Slavery Still Exists!
Watch a video of Mrs. Douglas and Mr. Morris discussing modern slavery here.
To see a video with comments by Ashley Judd and other celebrities click here.
For a CBS morning show spot on human trafikking in the Us click here.  

Slavery is mentioned in the bible.  You may remember the section about "slaves, obey your masters."  It's a shocking phrase.  In this post I found a website that ranted against the Catholic Church for supporting slavery in its history.  I was actually a bit surprised that this site didn't dig up more.  To my eyes, a dozen phrases spoken or written in 2000 years of popes is not a lot of evidence.  

We all know that some popes are more holy than others.  By the grace of the Holy Spirit, the church has survived some dark years.  What's really amazing is how consistent the teachings of the church are in spite of its 2 millenia of history peppered with a few unholy popes.  The United States is not even 250 years old and its history is liberally peppered with poor presidencies.  What we agree on is that the United States is a great country and she is worth fighting for.  As Catholics, we know that our church is that of Jesus Christ and worth fighting for.  We fight with ideas, we fight with our bodies, we fight with our resources, but ultimately, we fight with love.  

For the official Catholic word on slavery, click here.  

Degree: John Wilkes Booth, assassin of President Lincoln
6 degrees

Descendants of  Fifth Degree, John Wilkes Booth are maintaining that Booth lived for 40 years after the assassination.  Here is a link for an episode of "Decoders" from The History Channel.  I hope you enjoy the video.
Dr. Samuel A. Mudd
"His name is Mudd," the probable
origin of that idiom.
Fourth Degree: Dr. Samuel A. Mudd
Weather you believe that Booth died in a barn just after the shooting, or that he lived in obscurity for decades thereafter, there are elements of the shooting that are beyond doubt.  A jump from the presidential box or a fall from his get-away horse caused Booth to break his leg the day of the shooting.  His injuries were too severe for him to dismount on the way to medical attention.  
The couch on which Booth was treated by Dr. Mudd

As Booth wound his way from Ford's Theater with his co-conspirators, he sought remedy for his painfully broken leg.  In the wee hours of the morning, he came to the house of Dr. Samuel A. Mudd.  Mudd, a southerner who was raised on a tobacco plantation, set the leg, cared for the wound and sent Booth on his way.

Dr. Mudd's aid and comfort to the assassin is the origin of the term, "Your name is mudd."

Third Degree: Roger Mudd
Decades later, in February of 1928, a distant relative of Dr. Mudd, Roger Mudd was born in The District of Columbia.  This Mudd grew up to be a journalist on the order of Walter Cronkite.  Here he is in his most famous interview, with
Second Degree, Senator Ted Kennedy.

First Degree: Pope Pius XII
Young Ted Kennedy received his first communion from Pope Pius XII.  It appears from her veil and white dress, that his sister did as well.

The Kennedy family were very wealthy, but devoted to public service.  Living out their Catholic faith has been inconsistent in their family, as it is in most Catholic families.  The virtue of marital fidelity is hard to come by in the Kennedy men, but modesty was common among the women.  All Kennedys seem to have a deep sense of public service and need to sacrifice for their countrymen.  Indeed, one would be hard pressed to find a family who has lost more of its members to assassination than the Kennedys.   
Eunice Kennedy at the center of a candid photo from Jack and Jackie's
wedding day.  
The most saintly Kennedy in my opinion is the late Eunice Kennedy Shriver.  She lived a beautiful life, never bowing to popular will, but only to the will of God.  She is most popularly known as the founder of Special Olympics.  This alone is accomplishment for a lifetime, but she did much more than that.  For a list of her awards and honors is here.  

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