KEY WEST / EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION

 

My son in law Corey Malcom is an archeologist. He has been the Director of Archeology at the Mel Fisher Museum for more than 25 years. Corey loves the old. He searches for it.

I was at Lisa’s yesterday for Ally’s birthday party. Dinner and cake. Corey had received a special piece of mail. It was an original New York Herald newspaper dated February 11, 1863. The pages were tanned and gave off an odor. Both indications of age. The print was very small. There is no publication today with print that small.

Corey said he had been searching for that particular date of the New York Herald for years. Finally found one. Cost him $15.

Corey is the recognized world expert on Caribbean slave ships. Part of the expertise involves Africans and Bahamians who reached Key West shores. Some were slaves. Most here because the slave ships they were being transported on sank.

Some continued to be slaves. Others feared they would become slaves. None wished to be slaves.

Corey was interested in an article in the February 11, 1863 New York Herald that had to do with black Key West at the time of the Emancipation Proclamation.

He let me read the article. With the admonition to be careful. The pages were brittle. He did not want any to break.

Permit me to share some observations regarding the article.

Blacks were obviously involved. They were the thrust of the article. However, they were not referred to as blacks, Africans or Bahamians. The disgusting word n—-r was used. Obviously no political correctness in 1863. The term appeared frequently in the article.

The Emancipation Proclamation freed the slaves. Abraham Lincoln signed it on January 1, 1863.

News traveled slowly in those days. It took roughly five weeks for the news of the signing to reach Key West. The black community went crazy with joy! They celebrated their officially recognized freedom with a big parade. The parade was followed by a dinner for 250 persons. Primarily black. All in attendance dressed in their best attire.

Sandy Cornish was mentioned prominently. He was an African who had arrived in Key West thirty some odd years earlier. He had become a free man. He owned and operated a huge farm where the corner of Truman and Whitehead exists today. He became the wealthiest black in Key West and one of the wealthiest men in the Keys generally.

He led the parade and was a key figure at the dinner.

There is more to Cornish’s story. Much more. I save it for another day.

I spent a considerable part of yesterday working on my blog talk radio show and how to post cell phone pictures on the internet. Tiring for this old man!

I also wrote next week’s column for KONK Life. Hypocrisy. The recently revealed story of the Catholic Church having provided certain of its unionized employees with a health care insurance policy covering contraception and abortions. This coverage became part of an employee package in the 1990s and continues even to today.

The article also goes into free  conscience and my view that the Catholic Church should not be involved in such a public/political fashion with regard to matters.

Jean Stapleton died yesterday. Those who viewed All In The Family from 1971-1979 will recall her. She played Edith Bunker. A great television series. Edith was a bit of a dim wit and naive. Her husband, the bigoted Archie, was played by Carroll O’Connor. Stapleton’s performance helped to make the show the success it was.

I would be remiss if I failed to mention the musical tune associated with the show. Each show began with Edith and Archie sitting at a piano and singing…..Those Were The Days!

They were.

Enjoy your Sunday!

 

 

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