Views of DC
Washington DC – it’s picturesque, non? Especially from the top of Arlington Cemetery. The graveyard itself was mind-blowingly massive. You can’t help but be blown away by the sheer scale of it, and the importance of the people buried there.
And, of course, JFK himself is buried there, with his family members beside him.
General Lee’s house has the fine views and a lovely garden. It’s hard to think that once upon a time the land was also ‘home’ to many slaves……
The house overlooks the Potomac River and the National Mall in Washington, D.C (see my pics below) and during the American Civil War, the grounds of the mansion were selected as the site of Arlington National Cemetery, in part to ensure that Lee would never again be able to return to his home. However, the U.S has since designated the mansion as a National Memorial to Lee, a mark of widespread respect for him in both the North and South.
News across America…
I’m not just going to talk about the weather and the PTA and the small town things that happen during my time in the USA on this blog. I also want to share some of the news in America this week that has been thought-provoking for this Brit….I’d love to hear American and British views on these things to get different perspectives.
Coffee, muffin and a gun no more
My cop buddy mentioned to me this week that Starbucks has reversed its stance on customers carrying guns into its U.S stores, asking them to leave them at home instead.
I had no idea that the person behind me, when I’m ordering my latte, might be carry a weapon. It just wouldn’t occur to me.
The request was made in part because more people had been bringing guns into Starbucks over the last six months, prompting ‘confusion and dismay among some patrons and employees’, the Starbucks chairman, Howard Schultz, said.
In an open letter to customers issued late on Tuesday, he said: “Our stores exist to give every customer a safe and comfortable respite from the concerns of daily life.”
University of Alabama
Black students at the University of Alabama have accepted offers to join traditionally white sororities, after a week of protests about segregation among the campus’s Greek organizations.
On Friday 11 black students and three students from other minority groups received bids, or invitations, to join historically white sororities. Four black students and two students from other minority backgrounds have accepted those invitations and the number is expected to rise as the academic year continues.
University of Alabama sororities have been segregated since the institution first accepted black students, 50 years ago. Of the 33,602 students enrolled in the school last year, 13% were black. In 2003, the first and only black woman pledged to one of the university’s traditionally white sororities – Gamma Phi Beta – through the formal recruitment process. The school’s traditionally African-American greek organizations integrated in the 1980s.
Racism in Leith
The tiny town of Leith in North Dakota braced itself for a potentially turbulent time this weekend. Its 24-strong population is set to be overrun by opposing busloads of neo-Nazis attempting to create a white supremacist community there and their anti-racist detractors.
Jeff Schoep, commander of the American National Socialist Movement (NSM), is preparing to travel from Detroit to Leith to hold a town-hall meeting and press conference on Sunday afternoon. On the NSM website, he describes the trip as a “gesture of goodwill”, but goes on to say ominously that the aim is to “plant the seeds of National Socialism in North Dakota”.
Anti-racist activists are also expected to descend on Leith from other parts of North Dakota and neighbouring Minnesota. “We cannot accept this racist hatred they are bringing here – Leith is in crisis and is crying out for help,” one of the organisers, Jeremy Kelly, told the Bismarck Tribune.
It’s now Sunday afternoon, and I don’t yet know what the outcome of these events in Leith is.
For the residents of Leith, the prospect of a weekend filled with white supremacist grandstanding is highly unwelcome. The town mayor, Ryan Schock, told the UK Guardian newspaper “people are very concerned. They do not want people to come to this town who have hate in them.”
Leith’s conundrum began when a newcomer called Paul Craig Cobb began buying up deserted plots of land two years ago, accumulating 12 plots in total. Last month it was revealed by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors right-wing extremism, that Cobb, 61, is in fact a white supremacist wanted in Canada for promoting hatred in a blog.