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(Occasional Treats)

A Country Rag Native Days

"We The People: Blood Bath"

ACR's Six-Year Sesquicentennial Series

Video above: Toumani Diabaté on kona

Quilt by Margaret Gregg, Abingdon VA
Graphic: Quilt by Margaret Gregg, Abingdon VA (Click for We Shall Overcome as sung by Joan Baez in a 60s performance)
Civilization ~ Citizenship ~ Civility

there was another attempted
People are still running blind
targeting the latest scapeleaders
in the game of
neocolonial chairs
grooming more aching psyches
to play redeemer
trying individual cures for 
social cancers
they keep straining to slash apart
the current ruling knot
in what they hope to call
a relatively bloodless
they dream of substituting
another small tight group
for the one serving its bitter time
at the tip of
the overripe colonial abscess
on this sliver of our continental home
we've been conned into calling
our state.
-- Ayi Kwei Armah, Ghana
A Gong (for Miriam Makeba)
Your voice awakens
the agony of brothers
drowned in their skokiaan tins
of pain
The naked virgin
from your limpid moon -- out of
the dead sleep of children --
walks the thorned footpath
of my being
Is it all grief? --
this grey legend
of your night
gives birth to love, hope
gold landscapes
in tears and death
Is it mere sorcery? --
this rhythm swarms
with pagan tentacles upon moments
to baptize the world
with conscience,
and unfurl an aura of innocence
Black woman, you rouse in me a bestial joy
whetting a desire to fight
to plunder, if only to fulfil
the promise,
the gentle gleam of that Canaan
on your horizons
-- Odia Ofeimun, Nigeria


Tomb, digital graphic by jH

Video below: Les Ballets Africains, Guinea

Civilization, of course, as an abstract concept and material actuality first appeared on the continent of Africa, the cradle of humanity in our origin on this planet. Here are our first attempts to coexist in relative peace and productivity while seeking answers to age-old ontological questions of why we exist at all, what our purpose is, and the nature of spiritual forces felt inside and around us variously -- how we will quell or propitiate unwanted and harmful ones, how to entice pleasure and delight from the unknown and unconquerable.


For our survival, at first we constructed rough and simple tools out of materials readily at hand to accomplish desired tasks of which our fingers and feet and teeth weren't capable. Later in idle moments, we adorned those implements and expanded upon basic design for visual and tactile enjoyment and for extended functionality. With these new-found abilities, we also constructed our first "graven images," drawings and figurines believed, at least possibly and if entreated correctly, to bring protection from demonic ills, blessing from revered deities imagined and embodied for success in hunting and fertility. For them we also created ritualized movements of distance, separation and of seduction, and experimented to increase sophisticated employment of sound waves for individual vocalizations and instruments found and constructed. Most likely our first musical implement was a drum, simply a rock or tree trunk beaten with a stick found or broken off intentionally, to call attention -- perhaps to a hunt, or an herbacious edible plant discovered newly or in a new place, or an alarm of attack by beast or weather. Whomever thought to attach sinew to the stick created the first
lyre (kora), and we were on our way to a country band and the city symphony just a few millenia or so later on.

"... Further back, dating to around 15,000 BC to 8,000 BC, single-stringed instruments have been seen in cave paintings and murals. They were struck, plucked, and eventually bowed. From these, the families of stringed instruments developed...." -- Wikipedia

Video above: Les Ballets Africains, Dakar Senegal

We've not been kind to our ancestors, our forebearers on Earth to whom we owe the first rudimentary attempts at tool-making and social organization and later intricate art, government and civilization. Most particularly as a consequence of colonization by European powers (e.g. Berlineise Conference 1885), the continent and peoples of Africa have been stripped of natural resources, deprived of indigenous abstract and material structures into a sad disarray of governmental and socio-economic malfunction, disease, starvation, cultural and environmental degradation, warfare and mass death to our species and others unique and once plentiful in bounteously welcoming, verdant lands, air and waters from oceans to cascadingly breathtaking falls into rivers and lakes of pure grandeur and awe.

"Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the LORD your God is giving you." -- Deuteronomy 5:16
"For God commanded, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’" -- Matthew 15:4
"Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER (which is the first commandment with a promise), SO THAT IT MAY BE WELL WITH YOU, AND THAT YOU MAY LIVE LONG ON THE EARTH. Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord." -- Ephesians 6:1-4

Click graphic below for up-to-date African continent map and information
digital graphic: Earliest Known World by jH -- Click for up-to-date map and info


Most of us are well-aware of the ancient and golden kingdoms of Egypt in Africa's northeast quadrant, although other earlier and magnificent African cultures across that continent are little if ever remarked or known amongst the general public. The African tribe of the dozen of Israel is shrouded in mists and myths of antiquity but perhaps the principality of Ethiopia has the soundest and most intriguing claim, including locus of the Ark of the Covenant, amidst contenders.

"The country has one of the most powerful militaries in Africa. Ethiopia is the only African country with its own alphabet. Ethiopia also has its own time system and unique calendar, seven to eight years behind the Gregorian Calendar." -- Wikipedia

"According to Ethiopian tradition, the Ark of the Covenant, with the Ten Commandments on their tablets of stone, remains at Aksum today, under close guard of a priest.... When European settlers discovered ruins of great civilizations at Mapungubwe in South Africa and Great Zimbabwe in Zimbabwe (then the British colony Rhodesia), they concluded that these marvelous stone cities could not have been built by black Africans. In order to justify their oppression of the black majority population, the white imperialists created a grossly distorted history that denied African civilization and culture. In fact, until the recent end of the apartheid era, the official South African version of history maintained that southern Africa was an empty land, completely uninhabited until the first Dutch settlers arrived there in 1652. The government rationalized that the exquisite art and surviving architecture of the Shona and Bantu people of South Africa and Zimbabwe were actually the creations of Arabs, Phoenicians, or other non-African peoples. Similarly, the government of Rhodesia censored guidebooks and until as recently as the 1970s instructed archaeologists to deny that the ancient city of Great Zimbabwe was built by Africans." -- Jamila White for PBS

"... The Mali Empire flourished because of trade above all else. It contained three immense gold mines within its borders unlike the Ghana Empire, which was only a transit point for gold. The empire taxed every ounce of gold or salt that entered its borders.... By the beginning of the 14th century, Mali was the source of almost half the Old World's gold exported from mines in Bambuk, Boure and Galam.... slavery was a substantial part of the commercial activity of the empire. All gold was immediately handed over to the imperial treasury in return for an equal value of gold dust.... Salt was as valuable if not more valuable than gold in Sub-Saharan Africa.... Copper, traded in bars, was mined from Takedda in the north and traded in the south for gold.... The entire nation was mobilized with each clan obligated to provide a quota of fighting age men. These men had to be of the horon (freemen) caste and appear with their own arms. Contemporary historians present during the height and decline of the Mali Empire consistently record its army at 100,000 with 10,000 of that number being made up of cavalry.... While spears and bows were the mainstay of the infantry, swords and lances of local or foreign manufacture were the choice weapons of the cavalry.... Another common weapon of Mandekalu warriors was the poison javelin used in skirmishes. Imperial Mali's horsemen also used chain mail armor for defense and shields similar to those of the infantry.... Mali sent two expeditions into the Atlantic.... Neither the emperor nor any of the ships returned to Mali.... The Mali Empire covered a larger area for a longer period of time than any other West African state before or since.... The empire's total area included nearly all the land between the Sahara Desert and coastal forests. It spanned the modern-day countries of Mauritania, Senegal, the Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Mali and part of Niger.... [Manding ruler Mansa Musa] gave out so many alms and bought so many things that gold’s value in Egypt and the near east depreciated for twelve years.... " -- Wikipedia, (Mande) Mali Empire

"Although most of Black history is suppressed, distorted or ignored by an ungrateful modern world, some African traditions are so persistent that all of the power and deception of the Western academic establishment have failed to stamp them out. One such story is that of Makeda, the Queen of Sheba, and King Solomon of Israel." -- Wysinger

"I am black but comely,/ O ye daughters of Jerusalem,/ As the tents of Kedar,/ As the curtains of Solomon,/ Look not upon me because I am black/ Because the sun hath scorched me." -- Song of Solomon

"... Under Ezana Aksum became the first major empire to convert to Christianity and was named by Mani as one of the four great powers of his time along with Persia, Rome, and China. In the 7th century the Muslims who originally converged in Mecca, sought refuge from Quraysh persecution by travelling to Aksum which is known in Islamic history as the First Hijra. Its ancient capital is found in northern Ethiopia. The Kingdom used the name 'Ethiopia' as early as the 4th century. It is also the alleged resting place of the Ark of the Covenant and the purported home of the Queen of Sheba...." -- Wikipedia, Aksumite Empire

Ethiopia is home to the ancient kingdom of D'mt (800-400 B.C.); Ge'ez is its indigenous semitic language. Ethiopia is also the origin of our modern Abrahamic Rastafari (see holy book/sacred text Kebra Negast) religious movement. Its Emperor Haile Selassie was said to be directly descendant from King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. The nation defeated an Italian army in the 19th century and, unlike the rest of Africa, has never been colonized.

Video below: Les Ballets Africains dancers and musicians with traditional instruments

Ancient African cultures and civilizations are diversely multiplicitous and exist still in artifact and memory if not always in actuality. They include the pre-history of ancient Nubia, its pyramids at Meroë (Meroitic: Medewi or Bedewi; Arabic: ãÑæÇå {{lang|ar-Latn|Meruwah} and ãÑæì Meruwi), its ebony and incense, gold and ivory, and legendary Nubian women (present-day southern Egypt) [~5000 B.C.]; Statue of Manding Warrior, Smithsonian -- Click to enlarge Abyssinia (Sheba -- Arabic: سبأ, Sabaʼ, Hebrew: שבא, Sh'va, Ge'ez, Amharic, Tigrinya: ሳባ -- in present-day Ethiopia or Eritrea or Yemen) [~1000 B.C.]; Kerma (The Kingdom of Kerma, or Cush [Kush] in present-day Sudan/Ethiopia); the monumentally magnificent Kingdom of Aksum or Axum (Ge'ez: አክሱም, a medieval marine trading power and UNESCO World Heritage Site in present-day Ethiopia) [~600 A.D.]; Eredo (present-day Nigeria) [~1000 A.D.]; Ophir, Mapungubwe, Carthage, Jenne-jeno, Timbuktu, Mauretania, the Nok in Nigeria, Lalibela, Thulamela, Ghana; Manding Empire (Manden Kurufa (ߡߊ߲߬ߘߋ߲߬ ߞߙߎߝߓߊ) used gold dust, and also salt copper and cowries, for currency amongst its population of around 45,000,000 in parts of today's Guinea and Mali) of northwest Africa [~1400 A.D.]; medieval African empires of Songhay (c.1000-1650), Kanem-Bornu (c.750-1600), and Hausaland (c.1000-1600) Kingdoms; and the 100-acre stone-and-(native African sandal)wood city and now UNESCO World Heritage Site Great Zimbabwe (colonial Rhodesia and now Zimbabwe again) [~1400 A.D.].


Graphic below: Dogon Village, photograph by Dario Menasce, Milano -- Click to enlarge
Dogon Village, click to enlarge

"The Dogon are an ethnic group living in the central plateau region of Mali, south of the Niger bend near the city of Bandiagara in the Mopti region. The population numbers between 400,000 and 800,000. The Dogon are best known for their mythology, their mask dances, wooden sculpture and their architecture.... Dogon art is primarily sculpture. Dogon art revolves around religious values, ideals, and freedoms. Dogon sculptures are not made to be seen publicly, and are commonly hidden from the public eye within the houses of families, sanctuaries, or kept with the Hogon.... The importance of secrecy is due to the symbolic meaning behind the pieces and the process by which they are made.... The Dogon are strongly oriented toward harmony, which is reflected in many of their rituals. For instance, in one of their most important rituals, the women praise the men, the men thank the women, the young express appreciation for the old, and the old recognize the contributions of the young.... The Hogon is the spiritual leader of the village.... He has an armband with a sacred pearl that symbolises his function.... The Hogon has to live alone in his house. The Dogon believe the sacred snake Lébé comes during the night to clean him and to transfer wisdom.... In 1976 Robert K. G. Temple wrote a book arguing that the Dogon's system reveals precise knowledge of cosmological facts only known by the development of modern astronomy, since they appear to know... that Sirius was part of a binary star system, whose second star, Sirius B, a white dwarf, was however completely invisible to the human eye,... and that it took 50 years to complete its orbit. The existence of Sirius B had only been inferred to exist through mathematical calculations undertaken by Friedrich Bessel in 1844. Temple then argued that the Dogon's information, if traced back to ancient Egyptian sources and myth, indicated an extraterrestrial transmission of knowledge of the stars...." -- Wikipedia

Graphic below: Dogon sculpture Maître des Yeux Obliques, photograph by Marie-Lan Nguyen, click to enlarge

Dogon sculpture Maître des Yeux Obliques, photograph by Marie-Lan Nguyen -- Click to enlarge "... The Dogon have an ancient and complex cosmology based on a single god, Amma, who created the sun, moon, and the stars. Interestingly, the Dogon always believed that the Earth was round and circled the Sun. It has also been found that they believed there are eleven planets in the solar system, and that they originally came from the star cluster Sirius. Their artistic designs in woodcarvings and masks had a major influence on modern art, including Picasso. Their dances include over 80 varieties of masks, depending on the type of celebration...." -- Dan Heller Photography

Acquaintance with and immersion into African art have inspired many well-regarded and lesser-known sculptors, painters, musicians and multi-media artists worldwide. We're fortunate to have in this country on the ground and on-line some extensive and breathtaking collections in museums and galleries for introduction to and exploration of our original and profoundest inquiries into expression of what is human and what is divine, how we commemorate and memorialize events and personages, and our material and digital architectural structures for housing those comfortably and invitingly.


"Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction. Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation. —- Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution"

"... WHEREAS, an apology for centuries of brutal dehumanization and injustices cannot erase the past, but confession of the wrongs can speed racial healing and reconciliation and help African American and white citizens confront the ghosts of their collective pasts together; and
WHEREAS, the story of the enslavement of Africans and their descendants, the human carnage, and the dehumanizing atrocities committed during slavery should not be purged from Virginia's history or discounted; moreover, the faith, perseverance, hope, and endless triumphs of African Americans and their significant contributions to the development of this Commonwealth and the nation should be embraced, celebrated, and retold for generations to come; and
WHEREAS, the perpetual pain, distrust, and bitterness of many African Americans could be assuaged and the principles espoused by the Founding Fathers would be affirmed, and great strides toward unifying all Virginians and inspiring the nation to acquiesce might be accomplished, if on the eve of the commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the first permanent English settlement in the New World, the Commonwealth acknowledged and atoned for its pivotal role in the slavery of Africans; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED by the House of Delegates, the Senate concurring, That the General Assembly hereby acknowledge with profound regret the involuntary servitude of Africans and the exploitation of Native Americans, and call for reconciliation among all Virginians; and, be it
RESOLVED FURTHER, That on the occasion of the 400th anniversary of the settlement at Jamestown, the General Assembly call upon the people of the Commonwealth to express acknowledgment and thanksgiving for the contributions of Native Americans and African Americans to the Commonwealth and this nation, and to the propagation of the ideals of liberty, justice, and democracy; and, be it
RESOLVED FINALLY, That the Clerk of the House of Delegates shall post this resolution on the General Assembly's website." -- Virginia House of Delegates Joint Resolution No. 728

"...Slavery can be traced back to the earliest records, such as the Code of Hammurabi (ca. 1760 BC), which refers to it as an established institution. Slavery is rare among hunter-gatherer populations as slavery depends on a system of social stratification. Slavery typically also requires a shortage of labor and a surplus of land to be viable...." -- Wikipedia

"At least 618,000 Americans died in the Civil War, and some experts say the toll reached 700,000. The number that is most often quoted is 620,000. At any rate, these casualties exceed the nation's loss in all its other wars, from the Revolution through Vietnam. The Union armies had from 2,500,000 to 2,750,000 men. Their losses, by the best estimates: Battle deaths: 110,070; Disease, etc.: 250,152; Total 360,222. The Confederate strength, known less accurately because of missing records, was from 750,000 to 1,250,000. Its estimated losses: Battle deaths: 94,000; Disease, etc.: 164,000; Total 258,000...." -- Civil War Home [emphasis added]

"The Civil War between the northern and southern sections of the United States, which began with the bombardment of Fort Sumter on the 12th of April 1861, and came to an end, in the last days of April 1865, with the surrender of the Confederates, was in its scope one of the greatest struggles known to history. Its operations were spread over thousands of miles, vast numbers of men were employed, and both sides fought with an even more relentless determination than is usual when 'armed nations' meet in battle. The duration of the war was due to the nature of the country and the enormous distances to be traversed, not to any want of energy, for the armies were in deadly earnest and their battles and combats (of which two thousand four hundred can be named) sterner than those of almost any war in modern history...." -- Son of the South

Of terrible encounters during our "Unpleasantness Between The States," the highest death tolls occurred at: Peninsula Campaign Southeast Virginia -- 36,500 (1862); Shiloh Tennessee -- 24,000 (1862); Antietam Maryland -- 26,000 (1862); Fredericksburg Virginia -- 18,000 (1862); Gettysburg Pennsylvania -- 51,000 (1863); Chicamauga Georgia -- 34,000 (1863); Chancellorsville Battle Virginia -- 30,000 (1863); Seige of Vicksburg Mississippi -- 19,000 (1863); Overland Campaign Virginia -- 87,000-92,000 (1864); Appomattox Campaign Virginia -- 16,500 (1865); and Seige of Petersburg Virginia -- 70,000 (1864-1865).

From a total population of 694,000 in 1790 of Africans brought here involuntarily, the numbers of Africans in the United States by 1860, just 170 years later, was slightly under four million, or nearly a six-fold increase from importation and propagation. At that time states with the highest numbers of Africans (counted officially as three-fifths of a person in the original North/South Constitutional compromise abrogated by President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation of 1/22/1862 and the Thirteenth Amendment of 1/1865) as part of their population were, in descending order [geographic size rank and concentration weight (order-rank)]:

1. Virginia [9th (+8) at ~43,000 sq. mi.] (490,865),
2. Georgia [3rd (+1) at ~59,000 sq. mi.],
3. Mississippi [8th (+5) at ~48,000 sq. mi.],
4. Alabama [6th (+2) at ~52,000 sq. mi.],
5. South Carolina [12th (+7) at ~32,000 sq. mi.],
6. Louisiana [7th (+1) ~52,000 sq. mi.],
7. North Carolina [4th (-3) at ~54,000 sq. mi.],
8. Tennessee [10th (-2) at ~42,000 sq. mi.],
9. Kentucky [11th (+2) ~40,000 sq. mi.],
10. Texas [1st (-9) at ~269,000 sq. mi.],
11. Missouri [2nd (-9) at ~70,000 sq. mi.],
12. Arkansas [5th (-7) at ~53,000 sq. mi.], and
13. Maryland [13th (0) at ~12,000 sq. mi.](87,189).

By concentration weight, the order of states from high to low is: Virginia at 8; South Carolina at 7; Mississippi at 5; Alabama and Kentucky at 2; Georgia and Louisiana at 1; Maryland at 0; Tennessee at -2; North Carolina at -3; Arkansas at -7; and Texas and Missouri at -9.

Historically worldwide, our worst conflicts in terms of casualties and others costs have been: World War II 1939-1945 (~72,000,000); World War I 1914-1918 (~65,000,000); Mongol Conquests 1207-1472 (~60,000,000); An Shi Rebellion in China 756-763 (~36,000,000); Taiping Rebellion in China 1851-1864 (~30,000,000); Qing dynastic conquest of Ming in China 1616-1662 (~25,000,000); and the conquests of Timur across the Middle East, India, Central Asia and Russia 1369-1405 (~20,000,000).

By natural causes, during 2002 the most virulently deadly modern diseases, or plagues, are: lower respiratory infections (3,900,000); HIV/AIDS (2,800,000); diarrheal diseases (1,800,000); tuberculosis (1,600,000); and malaria (1,300,000). Historically, the worst plague outbreaks have been the: Bubonic or Black Death of Asia, Europe, Africa ~100,000,000 (1300s–1720s); 1918 worldwide flu pandemic ~100,000,000 (1918–1920); Justinian Bubonic Plague of Asia, Europe, Africa ~100,000,000 (540–590); Third Bubonic Plague Worldwide Pandemic ~12,000,000 (1850s–1950s); Antonine Plague of the Roman Empire ~5,000,000 (165–180); and Worldwide Asian Flu Pandemic ~4,000,000 (1956-1958). In total estimated mortality, our worst diseases in decimating world populations have been: smallpox (~300,000,000); measles (~200,000,000); malaria (~250,000,000); tuberculosis (~100,000,000); and AIDS (~25,000,000). Not surprisingly, our most populous nations -- China and India -- have been also those to lose the greatest numbers to earthquakes, floods and famines: up to 43,000,000 in separate incidents in China; 19,000,000 and less in different ones of India; and 7,500,000 in a 14th century European famine.

Tomb, digital graphic by jH

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Want to become a naturalized citizen of the United States of America?

Just answer correctly the questions from our federal Citizenship Test listed below!


A. Principles of American Democracy

1. What is the supreme law of the land?
A: The Constitution
2. What does the Constitution do?
A: sets up the government
A: defines the government
A: protects basic rights of Americans
1. What is the supreme law of the land?
A: The Constitution
2. What does the Constitution do?
A: sets up the government
A: defines the government
A: protects basic rights of Americans
3. The idea of self-government is in the first three words of the Constitution.
What are these words?
A: We the People
4. What is an amendment?
A: a change (to the Constitution)
A: an addition (to the Constitution)
5. What do we call the first ten amendments to the Constitution?
A: The Bill of Rights
6. What is one right or freedom from the First Amendment?
A: speech
A: religion
A: assembly
A: press
A: petition the government
7. How many amendments does the Constitution have?
A: twenty-seven (27)
8. What did the Declaration of Independence do?
A: announced our independence (from Great Britain)
A: declared our independence (from Great Britain)
A: said that the United States is free (from Great Britain)
9. What are two rights in the Declaration of Independence?
A: life
A: liberty
A: pursuit of happiness
10. What is freedom of religion?
A: You can practice any religion, or not practice a religion.
11. What is the economic system in the United States?
A: capitalist economy
A: market economy
12. What is the "rule of law"?
A: Everyone must follow the law.
A: Leaders must obey the law.
A: Government must obey the law.
A: No one is above the law.

B. System of Government

13. Name one branch or part of the government.
A: Congress
A: legislative
A: President
A: executive
A: the courts
A: judicial
14. What stops one branch of government from becoming too powerful?
A: checks and balances
A: separation of powers
15. Who is in charge of the executive branch?
A: the President
16. Who makes federal laws?
A: Congress
A: Senate and House (of Representatives)
A: (U.S. or national) legislature
17. What are the two parts of the U.S. Congress?
A: the Senate and House (of Representatives)
18. How many U.S. Senators are there?
A: one hundred (100)
19. We elect a U.S. Senator for how many years?
A: six (6)
20. Who is one of your state's U.S. Senators?
A: Answers will vary.
[For District of Columbia residents and residents of U.S. territories, the answer is that D.C. (or the territory where the applicant lives) has no U.S. Senators.]
21. The House of Representatives has how many voting members?
A: four hundred thirty-five (435)
22. We elect a U.S. Representative for how many years?
A: two (2)
23. Name your U.S. Representative.
A: Answers will vary. 
[Residents of territories with nonvoting Delegates or resident Commissioners may provide the name of that Delegate or Commissioner. Also acceptable is any statement that the territory has no (voting) Representatives in Congress.]
24. Who does a U.S. Senator represent?
A: all people of the state
25. Why do some states have more Representatives than other states?
A: (because of) the state's population
A: (because) they have more people
A: (because) some states have more people
26. We elect a President for how many years?
A: four (4)
27. In what month do we vote for President?
A: November
28. What is the name of the President of the United States now?
A: Barack Hussein Obama
A: Barack Obama
A: Obama
29. What is the name of the Vice President of the United States now?
A: Joe Biden
A: Joseph Biden
A: Biden
30. If the President can no longer serve, who becomes President?
A: the Vice President
31. If both the President and the Vice President can no longer serve,
who becomes President?
A: the Speaker of the House
32. Who is the Commander in Chief of the military?
A: the President
33. Who signs bills to become laws?
A: the President
34. Who vetoes bills?
A: the President
35. What does the President's Cabinet do?
A: advises the President
36. What are two Cabinet-level positions?
A: Secretary of Agriculture
A: Secretary of Commerce
A: Secretary of Defense
A: Secretary of Education
A: Secretary of Energy
A: Secretary of Health and Human Services
A: Secretary of Homeland Security
A: Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
A: Secretary of Interior
A: Secretary of State
A: Secretary of Transportation
A: Secretary of Treasury
A: Secretary of Veterans' Affairs
A: Secretary of Labor
A: Attorney General
37. does the judicial branch do?
A: reviews laws
A: explains laws
A: resolves disputes (disagreements)
A: decides if a law goes against the Constitution
38. What is the highest court in the United States?
A: the Supreme Court
39. How many justices are on the Supreme Court?
A: nine (9)
40. Who is the Chief Justice of the United States?
A: John Roberts (John G. Roberts, Jr.)
41. Under our Constitution, some powers belong to the federal government.
What is one power of the federal government?
A: to print money
A: to declare war
A: to create an army
A: to make treaties
42. Under our Constitution, some powers belong to the states. 
What is one power of the states?
A: provide schooling and education
A: provide protection (police)
A: provide safety (fire departments)
A: give a driver's license
A: approve zoning and land use
43. Who is the Governor of your state?
A: Answers will vary. 
[Residents of the District of Columbia and U.S. territories without a Governor should say "we don't have a Governor."]
44. What is the capital of your state?
A: Answers will vary. 
[District of Columbia residents should answer that D.C. is not a state and does not have a capital. Residents of U.S. territories should name the capital of the territory.]
45. What are the two major political parties in the United States?
A: Democratic and Republican
46. What is the political party of the President now?
A: Democratic (Party)
47. What is the name of the Speaker of the House of Representatives now?
A: (Nancy) Pelosi

C: Rights and Responsibilities

48. There are four amendments to the Constitution about who can vote. 
Describe one of them.
A: Citizens eighteen (18) and older (can vote).
A: You don't have to pay (a poll tax) to vote.
A: Any citizen can vote. (Women and men can vote.)
A: A male citizen of any race (can vote).
49. What is one responsibility that is only for United States citizens?
A: serve on a jury
A: vote
50. What are two rights only for United States citizens?
A: apply for a federal job
A: vote
A: run for office
A: carry a U.S. passport
51. What are two rights of everyone living in the United States?
A: freedom of expression
A: freedom of speech
A: freedom of assembly
A: freedom to petition the government
A: freedom of worship
A: the right to bear arms
52. What do we show loyalty to when we say the Pledge of Allegiance?
A: the United States
A: the flag
53. What is one promise you make when you become a United States citizen?
A: give up loyalty to other countries
A: defend the Constitution and laws of the United States
A: obey the laws of the United States
A: serve in the U.S. military (if needed)
A: serve (do important work for) the nation (if needed)
A: be loyal to the United States
54. How old do citizens have to be to vote for President?
A: eighteen (18) and older
55. What are two ways that Americans can participate in their democracy?
A: vote
A: join a political party
A: help with a campaign
A: join a civic group
A: join a community group
A: give an elected official your opinion on an issue
A: call Senators and Representatives
A: publicly support or oppose an issue or policy
A: run for office
A: write to a newspaper
56. When is the last day you can send in federal income tax forms?
A: April 15
57. When must all men register for the Selective Service?
A: at age eighteen (18)
A: between eighteen (18) and twenty-six (26)

AMERICAN HISTORY A: Colonial Period and Independence 58. What is one reason colonists came to America? A: freedom A: political liberty A: religious freedom A: economic opportunity A: practice their religion A: escape persecution 59. Who lived in America before the Europeans arrived? A: Native Americans A: American Indians 60. What group of people was taken to America and sold as slaves? A: Africans A: people from Africa 61. Why did the colonists fight the British? A: because of high taxes (taxation without representation) A: because the British army stayed in their houses (boarding, quartering) A: because they didn't have self-government 62. Who wrote the Declaration of Independence? A: (Thomas) Jefferson 63. When was the Declaration of Independence adopted? A: July 4, 1776 64. There were 13 original states. Name three. A: New Hampshire A: Massachusetts A: Rhode Island A: Connecticut A: New York A: New Jersey A: Pennsylvania A: Delaware A: Maryland A: Virginia A: North Carolina A: South Carolina A: Georgia 65. What happened at the Constitutional Convention? A: The Constitution was written. A: The Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution. 66. When was the Constitution written? A: 1787 67. The Federalist Papers supported the passage of the U.S. Constitution. Name one of the writers. A: (James) Madison A: (Alexander) Hamilton A: (John) Jay A: Publius 68. What is one thing Benjamin Franklin is famous for? A: U.S. diplomat A: oldest member of the Constitutional Convention A: first Postmaster General of the United States A: writer of "Poor Richard's Almanac" A: started the first free libraries 69. Who is the "Father of Our Country"? A: (George) Washington 70. Who was the first President? A: (George) Washington B: 1800s 71. What territory did the United States buy from France in 1803? A: the Louisiana Territory A: Louisiana 72. Name one war fought by the United States in the 1800s. A: War of 1812 A: Mexican-American War A: Civil War A: Spanish-American War 73. Name the U.S. war between the North and the South. A: the Civil War A: the War between the States 74. Name one problem that led to the Civil War. A: slavery A: economic reasons A: states' rights 75. What was one important thing that Abraham Lincoln did? A: freed the slaves (Emancipation Proclamation) A: saved (or preserved) the Union A: led the United States during the Civil War 76. What did the Emancipation Proclamation do? A: freed the slaves A: freed slaves in the Confederacy A: freed slaves in the Confederate states A: freed slaves in most Southern states 77. What did Susan B. Anthony do? A: fought for women's rights A: fought for civil rights C: Recent American History and Other Important Historical Information 78. Name one war fought by the United States in the 1900s. A: World War I A: World War II A: Korean War A: Vietnam War A: (Persian) Gulf War 79. Who was President during World War I? A: (Woodrow) Wilson 80. Who was President during the Great Depression and World War II? A: (Franklin) Roosevelt 81. Who did the United States fight in World War II? A: Japan, Germany and Italy 82. Before he was President, Eisenhower was a general. What war was he in? A: World War II 83. During the Cold War, what was the main concern of the United States? A: Communism 84. What movement tried to end racial discrimination? A: civil rights (movement) 85. What did Martin Luther King, Jr. do? A: fought for civil rights A: worked for equality for all Americans 86. What major event happened on September 11, 2001 in the United States? A: Terrorists attacked the United States. 87. Name one American Indian tribe in the United States. [Adjudicators will be supplied with a complete list.] A: Cherokee A: Navajo A: Sioux A: Chippewa A: Choctaw A: Pueblo A: Apache A: Iroquois A: Creek A: Blackfeet A: Seminole A: Cheyenne A: Arawak A: Shawnee A: Mohegan A: Huron A: Oneida A: Lakota A: Crow A: Teton A: Hopi A: Inuit INTEGRATED CIVICS A: Geography 88. Name one of the two longest rivers in the United States. A: Missouri (River) A: Mississippi (River) 89. What ocean is on the West Coast of the United States? A: Pacific (Ocean) 90. What ocean is on the East Coast of the United States? A: Atlantic (Ocean) 91. Name one U.S. territory. A: Puerto Rico A: U.S. Virgin Islands A: American Samoa A: Northern Mariana Islands A: Guam 92. Name one state that borders Canada. A: Maine A: New Hampshire A: Vermont A: New York A: Pennsylvania A: Ohio A: Michigan A: Minnesota A: North Dakota A: Montana A: Idaho A: Washington A: Alaska 93. Name one state that borders Mexico. A: California A: Arizona A: New Mexico A: Texas 94. What is the capital of the United States? A: Washington, D.C. 95. Where is the Statue of Liberty? A: New York (Harbor) A: Liberty Island [Also acceptable are New Jersey, near New York City, and on the Hudson (River).] B. Symbols 96. Why does the flag have 13 stripes? A: because there were 13 original colonies A: because the stripes represent the original colonies 97. Why does the flag have 50 stars? A: because there is one star for each state A: because each star represents a state A: because there are 50 states 98. What is the name of the national anthem? A: The Star-Spangled Banner C: Holidays 99. When do we celebrate Independence Day? A: July 4 100. Name two national U.S. holidays. A: New Year's Day A: Martin Luther King, Jr., Day A: Presidents' Day A: Memorial Day A: Independence Day A: Labor Day A: Columbus Day A: Veterans Day A: Thanksgiving A: Christmas
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Graphic below: Setting Sail, oil by Jo Yaa, East Tennessee

Setting Sail, oil by Jo Yaa, East Tennessee Signers of our Declaration of Independence were from the colonies of NH(3), MA(4), RI(2), CN(4), NY(4), NJ(5), PA(9), DE(3), MD(4), VA(7), NC(3), SC(4) and GA(3).

Signatories of the United States Constitution were from the states of NH(2), MA(2), CN(2), NY(1), NJ(4), PA(8), DE(5), MD(3), VA(2), NC(3), SC(4), and GA(2).

"The State of Franklin, or Frankland, from 1784 to 1788, [Tennessee] was finally named after the Cherokee villages called tanasi on the Little Tennessee River.... It was the 11th and last state to secede on 6/8/61, and the first to be readmitted on 7/24/66. South Carolina was the first secessionist state on 12/20/60, and Texas the last to be readmitted on 3/30/70." -- New York Public Library Desk Reference

Tennessee, having amongst the Confederate States the second highest number of Civil War battles fought on its lands, has many commemorative fields and reenactments annually of those presaging years across its diverse latitude.

Fort Pillow in Tennessee is perhaps the most referenced massacre to be memorialized.

"The split between Unionists and Confederates was, if anything, more fractious and violent in eastern Tennessee than in the rest of the state. Politically and geographically, the mountainous East was distinctive. Although there were slaveowners, particularly in Chattanooga and Knoxville, most east Tennesseans lived apart from the cotton economy and strongly opposed secession. Most of the 42,000 white Tennesseans who joined the Union Army were from this section. The East Tennessee and Virginia Railroad, joined to the East Tennessee and Georgia Railroad, was the only railway that crossed the Appalachian Mountains and connected Virginia with the South’s interior. While rivers held the key to west and middle Tennessee, railroads supplied the crucial arteries in the east. This made the region of vital importance to the Confederacy, whose troops occupied Knoxville and tried early in the war to secure the valley towns. An irony of the war in Tennessee was that Federals controlled mostly secessionist areas, while the Confederate Army held sway over a predominantly Unionist region. One of the first acts of east Tennessee Unionists was to burn railroad bridges in an attempt to sever the rail connections with the Confederacy. Confederate authorities reacted by harshly suppressing loyalists – they hung a number of the bridge burners and imprisoned many other Unionists.... The Chattanooga and Knoxville campaigns cemented Union control of the mountain region. Depredations by Confederate raiders continued, but Federal supremacy was never again seriously challenged. In September, 1864, General John Hunt Morgan, formerly a terror to Union troops, was ignominiously shot down in Greeneville. The political significance of east Tennessee Unionism became evident during the 1864 national election, when Lincoln drafted a Greeneville Democrat, Andrew Johnson, as his vice presidential running mate. The selection of a Southern loyalist symbolized the sort of compromise that Lincoln believed would be necessary to reunify the country after the war. East Tennessee Unionists such as Johnson and William G. "Parson" Brownlow would lead the process of restoring Tennessee to the nation – the first Confederate state to do so." -- Tennessee Civil War History Trail

1865: first state civil rights law passed in MA; 13th Amendment abolishing slavery passed; KKK formed in Pulaski TN
1869: Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony established the National Women's Suffrage Association
1870: Victoria Claflin Woodhul becomes first female Presidential candidate
1872: Southern franchise is restored
1875: Civil Rights Act gives equal rights to blacks in public accommodations and jury duty
1881: the Civil Rights Act is invalidated by the Supreme Court; all-black Tuskegee Institute established by Booker T. Washington
1890: Sherman Anti-Trust law is passed by Congress
1893-97: national financial panic

"The American Revolution in the South is the theme of a potential national heritage area that may be established in North Carolina and South Carolina. During the next two years, representatives from the National Park Service, NC and SC will conduct a feasibility study for such a heritage area and report back to Congress in 2010 with a recommendation. Several criteria apply to achieving the status of a national heritage area and all will be evaluated quite carefully. One important subject area has 'the natural, historic, and cultural resources that together represent distinctive aspects of American heritage worthy of recognition, conservation, interpretation, and continuing use' and that can be best managed through public/private partnerships. 'This is a wonderful opportunity for the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail,' said Paul Carson. 'Not only will we be linking our heritage story with other parks, museums, trails and the like, but we will be able to tell our special story of how the OVNHT has come to be. After all, our Trail, stretching across four states and 330 miles, exists as a result of and through continuing public and private cooperation.... Those wishing to comment without attending a meeting can submit remarks at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/serv. Click on the link for Southern Campaign of the Revolution Heritage Area." -- OVNHT 2008 Progress Report


oil by Margaret Gregg, Abingdon VA
Graphic above: oil painting by Margaret Gregg, Abingdon VA (Click for We Shall Overcome as sung in the 60s by Mahalia Jackson)

A few other notables from Tennessee African American History:
  • Dr. Dorothy Brown (1919-2004): "In the 1940s, surgery was not a real career option in the south for an African-American female. The person who broke that glass ceiling was Dr. Dorothy Brown. Born in Philadelphia in 1919, Brown was placed in an orphanage in New York until she was 13 years old. Her mother reclaimed Brown at that age, but Brown ran away five times, each time returning back to the orphanage, where she felt comfortable. She was placed in a foster home at the age of 15 and enrolled in Troy High School. Her foster parents were Lola and Samuel Wesley Redmon. They became a major influence in Dorothy Brown's life, a source of security, support and enduring values.
    Brown graduated from high school at the top of the her class in 1937 and was awarded a four-year scholarship to Bennett College in Greensboro NC. She received her bachelor's degree in 1947, graduating second in her class. Brown had always wanted to become a physician and enrolled in Meharry Medical College in Nashville TN, graduating in 1948.
    After an internship at Harlem Hospital, she set her goal for a surgery residency in the South, where there were no African-American women in general surgery. Brown was accepted into a five-year surgery residency program at Meharry and George W. Hubbard Hospital. She withstood many obstacles and became an assistant professor of surgery and the first African-American woman to be made a fellow of the American College of Surgeons. From 1957 to 1983, Brown served as the chief of surgery at Nashville's Riverside Hospital and clinical professor of surgery at Meharry Medical College.
    There are other 'firsts' associated with Brown. She became the first single mother to adopt a baby in Tennessee. In 1966, she ran for and won a seat in the state legislature, becoming the first African-American female to serve on the legislative body.
    ... The Carnegie Foundation awarded her a humanitarian award.... She considered herself a role model, not so much for all the things she accomplished, but proving to young people that they can succeed no matter what challenges they face in life."
  • Ernest C. Withers (1922-2007): "Capturing African-American history through his lens was a God-given talent possessed by photographer Ernest C. Withers. A native Memphian, he captured the African-American experiences, immortalizing people, events, and the cultural and societal changes surrounding him. As an African-American man, he was poised to witness and record the struggle for civil rights that enveloped the Memphis community during this time.
    His stunning black-and-white images bear witness to the movement's slow but steady progress, from the grisly murder of young Emmett Till to the integration of Little Rock High School. Withers was there for the high points such as teh first desegregated bus ride, as well as the lowest point marked by the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther Kind Jr. at the Lorraine Motel. He is known around the world for his 'I Am A Man' sanitation strike photograph.
    ... Over several decades he photographed the likes of B. B. King, Isaac Hayes, Aretha Frankln and Elvis Presley. Withers captured them in the heat of driving performances, mugging for his camera and at quieter moments backstage.
    As a freelance photographer, Withers often attended Negro League Baseball games where he was treated like an insider. He knew the players, photographing them in action or posed with family and fans on the field.
    ... Pictures Tell The Story is the first retrospective look at the more than 50-year career of Ernest Withers. The recipient of numerous awards, Withers received two honorary doctorate degrees and was inducted into the Black Press Hall of Fame in 1988. His photographic genius continues to be displayed in multiple exhibits in museums and public buildings across the country."
Graphic below: Photograph of historical marker for Langston High School, Johnson City TN
Historical marker for Langston High School, Johnson City TN

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