Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Review of `William Lloyd Garrison and The Humanitarian Reformers'--Conclusion

(Following book review first appeared in the November 9, 1994 issue of the Lower East Side alternative weekly, Downtown. See below for parts 1, 2, 3 and 4.)

By the 1850s, despite William Lloyd Garrison's continued editorship of the Liberator, “Wendell Phillips, not Garrison, emerged as the real leader of New England abolition” because Garrison’s “continuous emphasis on abolition as a moral crusade—and nothing else—seemed old-fashioned and impractical,” according to Russel Nye’s William Lloyd Garrison and The Humanitarian Reformers book. Most other abolitionists now worked to end slavery by either mobilizing behind the mid-19th century Republican Party or third party groups—or by supporting people like John Brown, who were willing to use violence in defense of freed slaves who were being victimized by the 1850 Fugitive Slave Law. Garrison, himself, however, only supported the end, not the means, of John Brown’s 1859 attack on the Harper’s Ferry arsenal, for example.

Unlike younger abolitionists such as Wendell Phillips, after the goal of legal emancipation was finally achieved during the Civil War, Garrison did not agitate on behalf of either a post-Civil War Reconstruction policy which guaranteed democratic rights and economic freedom for the former slaves in the South or on behalf of labor emancipation in the North; and he stopped publishing and editing the Liberator in 1865.

As an introduction to a 19th-Century abolitionist journalist who has generally been forgotten in recent years, Nye’s book might be a good first choice. And if Hollywood eventually gets around to producing a movie version which shows how Garrison’s newsweekly (for at most 2,500 subscribers) affected U.S. history, Nye’s book would provide good background material. (end of book review)

(Downtown 11/9/94)

`Free Leonard Peltier!'


In Lewisburg, he's in a cage
His human rights, denied each day


They've kept him locked up for so many years
His trial was so unfair
The evidence shows he's innocent
Free Leonard Peltier!

The F.B.I., the Bureau of Lies
They framed him, it's so clear
They sought revenge for A.I.M.'s revolt
Free Leonard Peltier!

A Freedom Fighter who did become
A political prisoner
The media pretends he don't exist
Free Leonard Peltier!

Like Geronimo Pratt and Mumia
His spirit is what they fear
But more revolt is in the air
Free Leonard Peltier!

Hypocrisy now rules the land
Injustice is everywhere
Without protest, they'll let him rot
Free Leonard Peltier!

What kind of men will steal a life
So they can keep all power?
Under their flag they wrap evil
Free Leonard Peltier!

To listen to the "Free Leonard Peltier!" protest folk song, you can go to the music site at the following link:

July 1, 2009 marks the 32nd anniversary of Leonard Peltier's sentencing to two consecutive life terms, after being found guilty of two counts of "first degree murder" on the basis of fabricated evidence and coerced testimony. This protest folk song was written in the 1990s.

Leonard Peltier has served over thirty-two years in prison and is long overdue for parole. But the Democratic Obama Administration, in 2009, has still not released him.