Fugitive slaves in the Great Dismal Swamp; Georgetown U. confronts & makes amends for its ties to slavery; Life on earth much longer than we thought?; Trump’s unprecedented delegitimizing of election results; Endangered Civil Rights sites


Best article I have seen in a while: Smithsonian reports on archeological research in Virginia’s Great Dismal Swamp that is revealing much about how runaway slaves survived and held on to their freedom in a harsh environment. I have always found this topic fascinating, and the essay answers several questions I’ve had. Don’t miss this one.

Georgetown University is going much further that other U.S. universities that are confronting their past association with slavery, including Harvard, Brown, Princeton and UNC. They plan to give preferential admissions to descendants of the 272 slaves that the intuition sold in order to pay off its debts. They have also created an impressive website presenting their research on slavery at the institution, as well as an excellent collection of digitized archives. Its an excellent project that other institutions should quickly replicate.

Big news out of Greenland: Researchers have found what might prove to be the oldest fossil ever found. If verified, the discovery will “push back the earliest fossil evidence for life on Earth by 220 million years and cause scientists to rethink ideas about the origins of life on Earth and the possible existence of life elsewhere in the universe.” Yeah, that’s kind of a big deal. I wish I had known this last week on the first day of class.

Trump is already trying to question the legitimacy of a potential loss in the election in November. Many candidates have done it after-the-fact, with Andrew Jackson in 1824 as the best example. But is Trump’s preemptive effort unprecedented? Probably.

Historic sites across the country that are associated with the struggle for Civil Rights are in danger of being lost. (I’m glad to see this article point out that my home state of Alabama is doing a lot to preserve and interpret such sites).


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