Get to know some of the Unite the Right rally participants and sympathizers

As a society, racism and the belief in white supremacy is deep in our DNA. It can be said that Christopher Columbus was the father of white supremacy in the Americas. The Civil War hardly extinguished this feature of the American psyche. Most of the monuments to the confederacy were erected in the early 1900s and following passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. As in the Civil War, the alt-right are our brothers and sisters, fellow Americans. THEY watch the same movies, participate in the same sporting events, go to the same restaurants as WE. They’re part of us.

And President Trump has given legitimacy to their platform. If the main-stream press is fake news, then the reports here must be what the President believes. We can only be a better country if we understand something about this illness that afflicts our body politic.  Here is a glimpse of some of the supporters of the Unite The Right Rally in Charlottsville, Va. on Saturday, August 12th; and an organization at the forefront of monitoring some 1,600 hate and extremist groups operating in this country.

Battle of Charlottesville: A Firsthand Account

by Lee Rogers (Daily Stormer),  August 13, 2017 [ABRIDGED]

I wanted to give everyone my first hand account of what I saw while everything is still fresh. The one thing I will say is that everything I’m seeing reported in the Jewish media about what happened yesterday is a lie. There’s nobody giving an accurate account. All I’ve seen is an endless parade of non-Whites and Jews spewing nonsense. I’ve yet to see a single person on any of the big cable news channels interview a single person from our side.

Here’s what really happened. At around 9 AM many of us began assembling at McIntire Park which is a short distance away from Lee Park. As we walked to [Lee Park] we were confronted by all sorts of degenerates. Continue reading Get to know some of the Unite the Right rally participants and sympathizers

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You know these Baltimore sites — in postcards from about 1912

I’ve collected postcards since I was a kid. Friends and family gave me postcards, I scrutinized every card , then organized them in myriad ways.  They were a glimpse at a world beyond my own.

On a rainy day, it’s a wonderful pastime to explore the world in my postcards. Today they show history.  Here are some cards of familiar Baltimore sites, from a souvenir portfolio from Union News Company.

Continue reading You know these Baltimore sites — in postcards from about 1912

Our car-centric culture endangers people and our planet

We allocate an awful lot of space to accommodate the automobile and they are a major cause of global warming. To create a sustainable future, we will need to lessen our dependence on cars and develop alternative means of transport. 

Howard County is beginning to build this future with consideration of  public transportation, development of bike trails, and implementing shared usage of roads. Columbia is grappling with the same issue as we plan for downtown development and rejuvenation of our village centers.

The United States had a very different infrastructure about 100 years ago, until cars took over the roads. How we became a car-centric nation, and what it might look like to share our roads and encourage alternatives to the car are the subject of these articles.

Howard County Complete Streets Policy (DRAFT – October 2016)

Vision: “To ensure that Howard County is a place for individuals of all backgrounds to live and travel freely, safely, and comfortably, public and private roadways in Howard County shall be safe and convenient for residents of all ages and abilities who travel by foot, bicycle, public transportation or automobile, ensuring sustainable communities Countywide.” – Allan H. Kittleman, Howard County Executive, Council Resolution 35-2016.

Scope:  The County shall approach every transportation improvement and project phase as an opportunity to create safer, more accessible streets for all users of all ages and abilities, including people who walk, bike, take the bus, and drive cars and trucks. These phases include, but are not limited to: planning, programming, design, right-of-way acquisition, subdivision and land development, new construction, construction engineering, reconstruction, operation, repair, and maintenance. This applies to both new and retrofit projects.

https://www.howardcountymd.gov/Departments/County-Administration/Transportation/Complete_Streets

When city streets were a public space

By Nov. 4, 2015

Hester Street, 1914 Manhattan, Lower East Side
Hester Street, 1914 Manhattan, Lower East Side

It’s strange to imagine now, but prior to the 1920s, city streets looked dramatically different than they do today. They were considered to be a public space: a place for pedestrians, pushcart vendors, horse-drawn vehicles, streetcars, and children at play.

“Pedestrians were walking in the streets anywhere they wanted, whenever they wanted, usually without looking,” Norton says [Peter Norton, the author of Fighting Traffic: The Dawn of the Motor Age in the American City]. During the 1910s there were few crosswalks painted on the street, and they were generally ignored by pedestrians.

As cars began to spread widely during the 1920s, the consequence of this was predictable: death. Over the first few decades of the century, the number of people killed by cars skyrocketed.

As deaths mounted, anti-car activists sought to slow them down. In 1920, Illustrated World wrote, “Every car should be equipped with a device that would hold the speed down to whatever number of miles stipulated for the city in which its owner lived.”

The November 23, 1924, cover of the New York Times shows a common representation of cars during the era — as killing machines. (New York Times)

The turning point came in 1923, says Norton, when 42,000 Cincinnati residents signed a petition for a ballot initiative that would require all cars to have a governor limiting them to 25 miles per hour. Local auto dealers were terrified, and sprang into action, sending letters to every car owner in the city and taking out advertisements against the measure.

Most notably, auto industry groups took control of a series of meetings convened by Herbert Hoover (then secretary of commerce) to create a model traffic law that could be used by cities across the country. Due to their influence, the product of those meetings — the 1928 Model Municipal Traffic Ordinance — was largely based off traffic law in Los Angeles, which had enacted strict pedestrian controls in 1925.

Ultimately, both the word jaywalking and the concept that pedestrians shouldn’t walk freely on streets became so deeply entrenched that few people know this history. “The campaign was extremely successful,” Norton says. “It totally changed the message about what streets are for.”

[For more on the auto industry’s campaign to assure that cars had primary use of roads, read the whole article at the link below.]

http://www.vox.com/2015/1/15/7551873/jaywalking-history

Murder Machines: Why cars will kill 30,000 Americans this year

by Hunter Oatman-Stanford (Collectors Weekly), March 10, 2014

“If a kid is hit in a street in 2014, I think our first reaction would be to ask, ‘What parent is so neglectful that they let their child play in the street?,’” says Norton [Peter Norton, the author of Fighting Traffic: The Dawn of the Motor Age in the American City].  In 1914, it was pretty much the opposite. It was more like, ‘What evil bastard would drive their speeding car where a kid might be playing?’ That tells us how much our outlook on the public street has changed—blaming the driver was really automatic then.”

1909 Cartoon (Library of Congress)
1909 Cartoon (Library of Congress)

As cities attempt to undo years of car-oriented development by rebuilding streets that better incorporate public transit, bicycle facilities, and pedestrian needs, the existing bias towards automobiles is making the fight to transform streets just as intense as when cars first arrived in the urban landscape.

“The fact that changes like redesigning streets for bike lanes set off such strong reactions today is a great analogy to what was going on in the ’20s,” says Fried. “There’s a huge status-quo bias that’s inherent in human nature. While I think the changes today are much more beneficial than what was done 80 years ago, the fact that they’re jarring to people comes from the same place. People are very comfortable with things the way they are.”

http://www.collectorsweekly.com/articles/murder-machines/

The U.S. Ended Up Much More Car-Dependent Than Europe

Between the 1920s and 1960s, policies adapting cities to car travel in the United States served as a role model for much of Western Europe. But by the late 1960s, many European cities started refocusing their policies to curb car use by promoting walking, cycling, and public transportation. For the last two decades, in the face of car-dependence, suburban sprawl, and an increasingly unsustainable transportation system, U.S. planners have been looking to Western Europe.

The numbers show the need for change. In 2010, Americans drove for 85 percent of their daily trips, compared to car trip shares of 50 to 65 percent in Europe. Longer trip distances only partially explain the difference. Roughly 30 percent of daily trips are shorter than a mile on either side of the Atlantic. But of those under one-mile trips, Americans drove almost 70 percent of the time, while Europeans made 70 percent of their short trips by bicycle, foot, or public transportation.

https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2014/02/9-reasons-us-ended-so-much-more-car-dependent-europe/8226/

How the Dutch Got Their Cycle Paths

by Mark Wagenbuur, who blogs at BicycleDutch

[The Dutch became a car-centric nation similar to the United States, but then they chose a different road.]. 

Featured image at top of post

From Greater Aukland (2014) – http://transportblog.co.nz

Lt. William H. Schwarz served in Korean War battalion of black enlisted men and white officers

The Korean War began June 25, 1950 in response to North Korea’s launch of a full-scale invasion across the 38th Parallel into South Korea.  My father, William Harry Schwarz of Baltimore MD, had just graduated on June 10th from Virginia Polytechnic Institute with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. He married my mother (Jane Frances Imbach) on June 17th.

Lt. William H. Schwarz, Pusan Harbor, Korea

On August 14, 1950, Dad was called to active duty as a 2nd Lieutenant and assigned to the 376th Engineer Construction Battalion, 2nd Army, Ft. Meade MD. 

State Army Reserve Unit is Called Up

The Baltimore Sun – July 25, 1950

The 376th Engineer Construction Battalion Reserve, Maryland’s first army unit to be called to the colors, will report for active duty on August 14, the Military District headquarters announced yesterday.  The 376th Reserve Battalion, consisting of Negro enlisted men and white officers, returned to Baltimore last night from Fort Belvoir VA where it had gone only the day before to begin two-week summer maneuvers. Continue reading Lt. William H. Schwarz served in Korean War battalion of black enlisted men and white officers

John Swinglish, a member of the Camden 28, has died

John Swinglish was a great man. I met him in 1973 when we were both involved with the Catholic Peace Fellowship near Catholic University in DC. During this time, he put his life on the line to oppose the Vietnam War. 

I lost track of him about 10 years ago until I learned he died suddenly in early April. His friends will miss him for the quality of his friendship, his easy rapport, and unmistakable laugh. The world is a better place for his witness. It is a story that must not be forgotten.

Obituary

[Posted 5/12/17; Updated 8/26/17, 9/19/17]

John Swinglish was found dead at his home in Odenton, MD from “hypertensive cardiovascular disease” on April 12, 2017.  He was 73.  John was born March 25, 1944. He was adopted by Aloysius and Jean Swinglish and grew up in Lakewood, OH near Cleveland where he attended St. Edward High School. In the early 1960s he enlisted in the Navy and served with Attack Squadron VA-42 at the Naval Air Station in Oceana, Virginia Beach, VA.

Following his military service, John came to Washington DC to work for a defense contractor doing research on nuclear guided-missile destroyers. But he became more and more disillusioned with the country’s war effort and became active with the Catholic Peace Fellowship at DC’s Emmaus House around 1968, attempting to influence the Catholic Church to re-establish its priorities.

In 1971, John was indicted, along with 27 other antiwar activists, for conspiracy to break into a Selective Service office in Camden, NJ and destruction of government property.  The group came to be known as the Camden 28. Following a landmark trial that lasted 63 days, the 28 were found not guilty on all charges. The acquittals represented the first legal victory for the antiwar movement in five years of such draft board actions and prosecutions. The jury’s verdict moved Supreme Court Justice William Brennan to call the proceeding “one of the great trials of the 20th century.”

Following the trial, John returned to DC and transformed Emmaus House into a neighborhood social service center which he directed until 1982. On September 11, 1976, John married Mimi Darragh of McDonald, Pennsylvania. They divorced about seven years later and there were no children.

John later worked for the American Red Cross, providing emergency and disaster services, and founded his own photography business specializing in weddings and family events. He said, “I’ve finally figured out a way to get people to pay me to go to wild parties every week. It’s really not a bad life.” John was a featured narrator in the film, The Camden 28, which was released in 2007. He promoted the film widely and was proud of his contribution. He also contributed to the documentary Hit and Stay, released in 2014, about the efforts of the Catholic Left.

John was active in the Center of Light Church in Bowie and assisted with the youth groups there. He was a life-long reader and frequent writer and enjoyed road trips and Bowie Baysox games. After retiring, he devoted his life to befriending dogs of all kind as a dog sitter. John had a stroke in 2010 and was challenged by various ailments through the remaining years of his life.

John was predeceased by his parents and a sister, Jan Weiskittel of Columbia Station, Ohio. He is survived by Jan’s children Laura McDermott, Larry Weiskittel, Bob Weiskittel, Kati Emrick, and Joe Weiskittel, all of Ohio; Sharyn Carrasco of Texas; and Patti Leonard of Illinois.  John is also survived by his goddaughter, Carrie Noel-Nosbaum of Silver Spring, MD.  A memorial service was held on August 26, 2017 at the home of Ray and Ruth Noel-Nosbaum, Silver Spring, MD.

by Harry Schwarz, gleaned from a number of sources

The Shrine 6, arrested for nonviolent resistance

On Monday night, November 10, 1969 at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception the U.S. bishops [attending a meeting in Washington DC of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops] were attending a Mass in honor of the military. Billed as a “Peace Mass,” it featured military men carrying guns and swords around the Shrine as if it were one of their armories.

Outside, members of the Center for Christian Renewal and the Catholic Peace Fellowship were distributing leaflets and displaying large photographs depicting Viet Nam war atrocities. The leaflets protested “the prelates of the church which claims to have been founded by Jesus Christ walking hand in hand with the ‘Masters of War’ through the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.” The Christian Peace Message being distributed further protested the contemporary U.S. bishops acting as “the voice of Christ today,” yet choosing to “lie low, safely refraining from any strong statement condemning the hate, killing, and total dehumanization of our war-programmed society.”

The peace messengers had been displaying the photographs and distributing the leaflets for about· a half an hour when they were told by a Shrine usher that he was authorized by the administrator of the Shrine to halt any demonstrating or leafleting on Shrine property. A police officer then read the D.C. Code stating that they were subject to arrest if they did not stop at the usher’s request. “Our argument was that we, as Catholics, have a right to speak out on moral issues on Catholic Church property,” stated John Swinglish; “however, at his request, we did cease distributing literature, and we removed the photographs.”

Approximately fifteen minutes later, Joseph Coleman and John Swinglish, of the Catholic Peace Fellowship were arrested while standing in front of the shrine talking to two other members. The Shrine usher and police officer approached them and told them to leave since they were in possession of the peace literature. They refused to leave, stating that they “are Catholics and have a right to be on church property.” The usher stated that he had the right to tell anyone whom he did not want on Shrine property to leave. The officer read the D.C. Code and asked Coleman and Swinglish if they were going to leave. When they refused, they were arrested.

from The Catholic Peace Fellowship Bulletin, June 1970

The Camden 28

From a pamphlet that the defendants published about themselves

“We are twenty-eight men and women who, together with other resisters across the country, are trying with our lives to say no to the madness we see perpetrated by our government in the name of the American people the madness of our Vietnam policy, of the arms race, of our neglected cities and inhuman prisons. We do not believe that it is criminal to destroy pieces of paper which are used to bind men to involuntary servitude, which train these men to kill, and which send them to possibility die in an unjust, immoral, and illegal war. We stand for life and freedom and the building of communities of true friendship. We will continue to speak out and act for peace and justice, knowing that our spirit of resistance cannot be jailed or broken.”

www.camden28.org (via wayback machine)

The Camden 28 (documentary film – 2007)

Written, directed, and produced by Anthony Giacchino

The Camden 28 recalls a 1971 raid on a Camden, N.J., draft board office by “Catholic Left” activists protesting the Vietnam War and its effects on urban America. Arrested on site in a clearly planned sting, The Camden 28 reveals the story behind the arrests — a provocative tale of government intrigue and personal betrayal — and the ensuing legal battle, which Supreme Court Justice William Brennan called “one of the great trials of the 20th century.” Thirty-five years later, the participants take stock of the motives, fears, and costs of their activism — and its relevance to America today.

http://www.pbs.org/pov/camden28/

Interview with The Camden 28 director Anthony Giacchino and defendant John Swinglish.

Movie Geeks United Podcast, April 22, 2007.  Podcast is 18 minutes long; The interview with John begins at 7:50.

Please add your own comments below if you knew John or are moved by his story.

How we got those highway signs with mileage of distant cities

I-70 west, at I-695 in Woodlawn

“Go West, Young Man”
June 04, 2007|By Rob Hiaasen (Baltimore Sun)

. . . . Tom Hicks, a state highway administrator in Maryland, decided to immortalize Cove Fort [the western terminus of I-70, in Utah] in the minds of Marylanders heading west out of Baltimore toward Frederick, Hagerstown and across nine other states connected by I-70. He and another highway man, Paul Farragut of the Baltimore Metropolitan Council, got to thinking about a different kind of mileage sign, one with a bit of geographical whimsy and one that, for more practical reasons, would test a new type style. It’s not often an act of traffic engineering captures the imagination of, well, anyone.

“I was just excited that we have an interstate that ends and begins in our region,” says Farragut. He had never been to Cove Fort but was always amused by a sign Continue reading How we got those highway signs with mileage of distant cities

My grandparents were John Schwarz Antiques

My grandparents, John and Marie Schwarz, were Baltimore antique dealers from at least 1925, until my grandmother liquidated the business in 1985.  John took over the family business when he was about 25, located on Antique Row, 827 N. Howard Street, and moved it some years later to 2013/2015 North Charles Street. My grandfather was known throughout the Mid Atlantic and New England as a leading expert in the decorative arts and assisted in the development of that portion of the American collection at the Baltimore Museum of Art.  

Papa John and Dede brought together all of our extended family, and I grew up having great times hanging at their antique store. So many magical and fascinating googahs and places to hide for small people. I honored my grandparents for their business savvy and was counted on to help with accounting at times. I delivered holiday orders one December when I was 20, learned my way around Baltimore, and was introduced to some of its wealthiest neighborhoods.  I was even with them at times as they traveled New England, buying antiques at small shops and auctions.

My grandmother continued managing the business after Papa John died in 1966, with the help of their daughter, Ann Keene. Antique furniture has infused all of our family. It enriches my artistic sense.  

Continue reading My grandparents were John Schwarz Antiques