Monday, June 12, 2017

100 REFLECTIONS: Emancipation and Self-Emancipation #51


Panel from Diego Rivera’s mural at Pennsylvania’s Unity House,

"Freedom is one of the ideas we cannot do without. . . .One of the important meanings of Thoreau's life, and of Walden, is the imperative of freedom or liberation. . .Walden is about self-emancipation, but not at the expense of ignoring the problem of external, physical freedom. The Thoreau who sought his own freedom was, inevitably, involved in the political movement to abolish slavery, and his involvement grew rather than diminished as time went on."
                                            from Henry Thoreau: A Life of the Mind by Robert Richardson, Jr.

Upon the capture and arrest of abolitionist John Brown, a man ran to the church tower in the center of Concord Massachusetts. He was full of fury and pain. Of lithe and willowy build, this impassioned human being was known locally more as a contemplator than a man of action. Yet here he was streaking to ring a clarion bell.
He was harkening to his fellow citizens, not only an alarm of the week’s events, but also a warning of dark days ahead unless the scourge of slavery was expunged from the land. It was October 30, 1859. That man was Henry David Thoreau.
Some short-lived acts speak volumes of the person. So it was that autumn day in the life of Henry David Thoreau. Its message rung out loud and clear as did the pealing of the bell warning of consequences for his town and country if the inhumanity and genocide of slavery were to continue.
                        from "HD Thoreau: Bright Glows the Pond" by Len Yanielli
 as appearing in Peoples World:

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