Topics: Facing History Resources
On February 12, 1909, The Los Angeles Times published a front page article written by Jefferson Edmonds, a newspaper editor and political activist. How Freedom’s Word Found the Bondman is Jefferson’s first-hand account of Emancipation; he was born into slavery in Mississippi.
Jefferson's opening sentence, “When in 1619 that old Dutch kidnapper sold twenty negroes as slaves to the Virginians, only a god could have foreseen the tremendous, far-reaching results that that little transaction was to produce.” is a prescient foreshadowing of the historical reckoning elevated by The New York Times’ 1619 Project, 110 years later.
And his words, “If we erase from American history the pages that the negro’s presence caused to be written, it would be a short, uninteresting story.” are as timely in 2020, as we consider Black History Month critically - isn’t Black History, American History? - as it was when Jefferson wrote his account.
On this anniversary date of the original publication, we share the full text of Jefferson’s article below. Want more?
- Jefferson’s testimony to the Congressional Committee in 1875 can be found in Facing History and Ourselves’ guide for teaching The Reconstruction Era.
- Learn more about the JL Edmonds Project, and its founder, Arianne Edmonds, here.
- Register to join us for a teacher workshop on The Reconstruction Era, including a special session with Arianne.
Each year, we invite our Los Angeles Partnership Schools to nominate an individual or group that has demonstrated the qualities of an Upstander in their school community. This year’s theme was allyship which kicked off at our Summit on School Culture last fall. Many schools had difficulty choosing just *one* person or group to nominate! Facing History is proud to recognize the effort and action of the following Upstanders in communities across Los Angeles.
Our second Book Cafe is coming up on Sunday, December 2, 1-3 PM featuring A Hope More Powerful Than The Sea: The Journey of Doaa Al Zamel. RSVP by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Nervously they waited to board. Doaa shifted from foot to foot in the long line to get through customs. Hamudi clutched his mother's arm, while Saja and Nawara sat on their suitcases, standing only to shuffle forward whenever the line moved. It felt as if every part of the journey were about waiting. Jordanian customs officials seemed to be singling out Syrians for security searches, and Doaa's family was asked to come forward with their luggage, while a group of Egyptian travelers were waved through. Doaa lifted her suitcase onto the table in front of the customs officers. When they unzipped her luggage, she looked at what she had hastily selected in the overwhelmingly emotional last hours at home: two dresses, a couple of pairs of pants, two blazers, a few skirts, several veils, and a few accessories. She stared at the meager contents of her suitcase and thought of the books she had left behind because they were too heavy - one about dream interpretation, a few novels, poetry by Nizar Qabbani, and a workbook on English grammar. She pictured her small teddy bear that lit up and made a kissing sound when she squeezed it, and her fashion sketches of clothes she dreamed of wearing in a future she no longer had." (from Chapter 4, Life as a Refugee)
Operation Finale, starring Sir Ben Kingsley, Oscar Isaac and Haley Richardson, is now playing in theaters. Based on a true story, the film details the capture of Adolf Eichmann, the architect of the Nazi Final Solution, in Argentina in 1960.