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Study Black history on local level

February is Black History Month! Your social media feed will likely soon be filled by politicians, businesses, and organizations mentioning American heroes like Martin Luther King, Harriet Tubman, and Booker T. Washington. These national figures are absolutely worth studying, to be sure. Yet there are several locations right here in Southern Indiana where you can pause to learn about Black history on a more local level.

In Jeffersonville, a riverside historical marker commemorates Hannah Toliver, a free Black woman who lived in Jeffersonville and was imprisoned for assisting runaway enslaved persons who were seeking freedom in Indiana. Elsewhere in Jeffersonville at Colston Park, you can see a plaque for David Marvin Jolley, Jr., a Black man who gave his life serving his fellow U.S. soldiers in Vietnam in 1966.

New Albany contains many sites associated with the Underground Railroad. Near Second Baptist Church, for example, are historical markers describing its role as “A Gateway to Freedom” and the story of Lucy Higgs Nichols; she was born enslaved but later served as a nurse for Hoosier troops in the Civil War.

In Charlestown, there is a marker in Greenway Park for Richard & Fannie Green, “a prominent Black family who settled on this spot in the late 1890s.” You can dig a little deeper in local library archives and discover that celebrated Harlem Renaissance poet Langston Hughes’ father — James Nathaniel Hughes — was born in Charlestown.

Finally, you can honor the memory of Squire Taylor, Charles Davis, and George Johnson — three Black men who were lynched by a mob of residents from Charlestown, Otisco, and Henryville in 1871. A jury did not find evidence to convict the men of an accused murder near Henryville, but the vigilante mob kidnapped the men from the county jail in Charlestown and killed them in the woods some two miles north of Charlestown off the road to Otisco. Despite the fact contemporary accounts say “those men were punished upon scarcely a shadow of evidence while the proof that it was impossible for them to have committed the deed is perfectly overwhelming,” there are no historical markers or plaques for them: Squire Taylor. Charles Davis. George Johnson.

This February, do more than just acknowledge the existence of Black History Month. Do your part to learn and share Black stories at the local level in Southern Indiana; more than ever, they deserve to be heard.

Tobin Williamson, Charlestown

President Biden as a reactionary

President Joe Biden was busy on Day 1 reversing the Executive Orders of Donald Trump and thus undoing his legacy. He signed 40 Executive Orders in a few days, a greater number than any president. Biden has been mostly REACTIVE since he espoused little, if any, innovative ideas.

In regard to abruptly stopping the Keystone Pipeline, did he consider the financial, emotional, and mental affect upon those employees? The sudden stroke of Biden’s pen left large pipes just lying on the ground. Since pipeline jobs are high-skilled, with good pay, did he realize it would be difficult for these unemployed to find similar jobs with commensurate pay? John Kerry proposed they get solar jobs, which pays only half the wages of pipeline jobs. This change will eventuate in higher home heating costs and vehicle fuel. Without the pipelines, Trump’s America will no longer be energy independent.

With only one-half mile remaining to be completed, Biden likewise stopped border wall construction. Moreover, about 5,000 jobs were lost, again high paying jobs.

Biden intends to sign a $15.00 minimum wage bill, which will have a detrimental affect upon small business and small towns, rejected by Donald Trump. Anyway, a portion of minimum wage earners are students not bread-winners.

Biden promotes a policy of unlimited monetary printing. Trump wanted restraints on monetary printing because of the corresponding increase in inflation and high probability of a financial depression. Joe Biden is possibility setting us up for a severe financial crash.

Biden reversed Trump’s 28 percent to 21 percent tax cuts; Trump’s order led to an increase in jobs, and tax savings on workers’ pay. Why undo something that is working? These tax cuts allowed business to hire more workers, make improvements, and not move their business offshore. In fact, Trump’s tax cuts brought some business back to America.

Biden intends to naturalize both illegal citizens and those currently in route to America just to add to voter rolls. Although these persons have never contributed financially, they will tap into Social Security, Medicare, education, among others, causing undue hardships on programs already under financial stress and magnified by COVID-19. This clearly manifests Joe Biden’s lack of concern for American citizens and a selfish desire to win elections. Donald Trump always put the best interest of his followers first. Maybe this accounts for why Trump received 74 million votes.

Sylvia Savage, Greenville

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