-- In the first of a series of articles, Professor Bentley Whitfield focuses on the tremendous value and role of small American museums - educational institutions that outnumber all Starbucks and McDonalds combined in the USA. He explores visiting museums while discussing a journey to regain his health. --


The Washington Post article by Christopher Ingraham (June 13th, 2014) says it all: "There are more museums in the U.S. than there are Starbucks and McDonalds – combined." Quite accurately we think of museums as important cultural and educational institutions; however, they are also quiet superstars of the entertainment industry. According to The American Alliance of Museums (AAM), with over 800 million live visits annually, their attendance exceeds that of all theme parks and major sporting events combined. But America’s museums are much more than popular and numerous; they are cultural and educational gems that play a vital role. They are community elders that tell the stories of our American neighborhoods. Mamie Bittner with The Institute of Museum and Library Studies (IMLS) stated in the Washington Post article:

    Many of these institutions, particularly in small towns and rural areas, are historical societies and history museums. "We are in love with our history - at a very grassroots level we care for the histories of our towns, villages and counties,"

The story of how I came to visit and admire so many small museums begins nearly eight years ago when I faced a scary scenario. Diagnosed with prostate cancer my doctor's instructions were clear and blunt. "We caught this thing very early; lose some weight but by year's end take care of this." Taking care of this meant either an operation or radiation. He was confident that either procedure would be sufficient; nevertheless, I was scared as hell. When you hear that diagnosis, "you have cance", a thousand things race through your mind all at once, yet somehow the whole world stops at the same time. What are the treatment options... I have to research each treatment... I have to research the surgeons... what if I don't make it... what happens to my wife... what happens to my family... I want this thing out of me... how do you research this stuff... I want this done before the end of the year... why me... why not me. My mind was racing, racing, racing. Who do I tell? When do I tell them? Should I tell them? My mind was just racing, racing, racing.

It was June 2010. I was 54 years old, a professor, husband and father. Earlier that year my wife had been hospitalized for 34 days. Should I tell my wife? Would this aggravate her condition? She was already worried about being unemployed. Do I tell her? Our three sons were all in high school and doing reasonably well; the oldest would start college in the fall. Out of worry would my oldest boy forgo his athletic scholarship to stay home with his ailing parents? Even if he did go to college, if he knew I was battling cancer how would this affect him academically? Who should I tell? Do I tell my boys? Do I tell everyone? Do I tell no one?

I once heard somewhere that "we grow up and become our parents." How true that is. Although it didn’t occur to me at the time, I'd seen this situation play out before in 1969; I was 12. One day my dad asked me to come with him to his doctor. This was strange; he had never asked me to go to a doctor with him before. We went to St. Nicholas Park, Mount Morris Park, Central Park, baseball games, museums and grocery stores. On Sundays, we walked to newsstands to buy the New York Times and Daily News. Afterwards we’d come back home and eat big southern style Sunday breakfasts - smothered chicken, smothered pork chops, grits, gravy and biscuits, never rolls - always biscuits. We did a lot, but he had never asked me to go to a doctor with him. I should have known that something was up, but I didn’t.

The doctor’s appointment took place on an early evening. The office was located on the first floor of an apartment building and it was dark outside. I sat in the waiting area while my dad met privately with the doctor. That day his doctor told him he had six months to live. My dad a tall, quiet, dignified WWII vet said nothing. We went home and he acted as if nothing had happened. He kept it all to himself. Yet twenty‐one years later, and long after his doctor had died, my dad was still alive. He told no one this frightening secret for all of those years. Finally, in 1990 he spoke with me about what had happened on that day way back in 1969. When I asked him why he hadn’t said anything he had a classic answer, “Hell, I wasn’t gonna die to just to make the doctor look good.” To this day I still don't know if he ever told anyone else.

In 2010, 41 years after my dad was told he had six months to live and said nothing to the family, I became my dad - absent the courage and dignity of the WWII vet. Initially I told no one. I did however listen to my doctor’s advice and began power-walking aggressively to lose the weight. I weighed 308 pounds. This was the beginning of a journey. Little did I know it would transform my health, my body and to a great degree my soul.

I elected for a robotic prostatectomy as treatment. Recognizing that I would be hospitalized for several days I was forced to say something to my wife. Every married man knows that disappearing for several days without telling your wife is a guaranteed death sentence; cancer is only potentially lethal. We sat down on the living room sofa on a Sunday around 7pm. It was the evening before I’d be admitted to the hospital. This scenario gave her very little time to dwell on the matter; I had to be at the hospital early the next day. As I had feared, she broke down and began to cry and as soon I uttered the word cancer. We agreed not to tell our sons; we both thought it might cause them to worry.

Fortunately the operation was a success. Neither chemotherapy nor radiation was required. Several months later I resumed my power-walking. Over time a routine evolved. I prefer walking outdoors in parks (no matter the temperature) to treadmills and tracks, mornings are better than evenings, warmups last 5 - 7 minutes, weekday walks last 45 - 50 minutes, weekend sessions last a minimum of 90 minutes and finally, almost all sessions end with 7- 8 minutes of stretching. I walk 4 times per week during cold months and 4 - 5 times per week during warm months, I also found a very reliable partner, music from the 70s, 80s and 90s. My partner also gets along fabulously with an ancient Sony Walkman. Who knows, perhaps this partner is my subconscious whispering to remind me of long lost youth.

While I do not claim to be a very religious person, being outdoors in parks (which are after all tiny forests) sweating, breathing and among the general splendor of God’s nature is often a spiritual event. The cancer has now been gone for nearly eight years. Over that time 70 pounds have melted away and my diabetes seems to have disappeared, or at the very least be well controlled. Along the way I began to enter races; I power-walk but compete against runners. Half marathons (13.1 miles) and 10Ks (6.2 miles) are my favorites. Being somewhat vain, before entering my first race I checked the times of the runners to make sure I would not finish last. At first I entered local races. Later a colleague, who is a runner, told me about the Philadelphia “Love Marathon” which I competed in. This lead me to research races in other locations. Now, I travel to participate I races. However, journeying to different cities only to participate in a single race seemed hardly to be an efficient use of time and travel. I needed another activity to compliment the racing. This is how I developed an interest in small museums.

I had some experience with researching museums. Years ago I had begun exploring museums as field trip venues for high school students. At the time I supervised a college program that provided various activities for at-risk high school students. The American Alliance of Museums (AAM) provided a great deal of information for our program. Later, as I began to look for museums in the cities and towns I would be racing in, AAM and several other museum related organizations such as The Institute of Museum and Library Service (IMLS) and Museums of the World (MOW) have become valuable resources. One fact that immediately became clear is that America is the undisputed museum capitol of the world. According to MOW there were an estimated 55,000 museums located in 202 countries in 2014. IMLS, (a U.S. agency) states there are 35,144 active museums in the United States alone. Assuming these data are accurate, over 63% of the world’s museums are located in America. The IMLS 2012-16 Strategic Plan points out, "There are more than 4.5 billion objects held in public trust by museums, libraries, archives and other institutions in the U.S."

My articles will attempt to capture some of the fascinating stories, color, history, myths and life that are the marrow of America's small museums. I hope you will join me. Coming soon wax, warships and a poet named Wadsworth.

Bentley Whitfield is a professor of Comparative Literature with the State University of New York (SUNY). He is a recipient of the prestigious Excellence in Teaching Award. He can be contacted at bwcwww@yahoo.com or 516-909-1874.

With Immigration, Compassion Must Prevail

By Bob Bauman J.d

On March 26, 1865, my great-grandfather, John Christian Baumann, his pregnant wife and four children arrived at the Ellis Island immigration center in New York Harbor from the Kingdom of Württemberg in Germany.

Less than a mile away, the Statue of Liberty greeted them after their two-week voyage on the North German Lloyd steam/sail ship, America.

Fast-forward 75 years to a Bauman family reunion in Catonsville, Maryland, a suburb of the then heavily German-American city of Baltimore. A gregarious little Bobby is being questioned by his German immigrant great-aunt, Annie Witkopf.

"Sprechen Sie Deutsch?" asks my smiling, elderly, white-haired Großtante.

After translation, I reply in youthful innocence: "The only German word I know is one my father says a lot - scheisse."

"Mein Gott im Himmel!" says great-aunt Annie,so shocked she drops her cane. "Never use that word!"

Now, a variation of this same multimillennial-old Proto-Germanic scatological word has gained international notoriety, uttered by a frustrated President Donald Trump meeting with lawmakers last week.

When discussing immigration from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries, Trump, himself the grandson of German immigrants from Kallstadt, demanded to know: "Why are we having all these people from s-hole countries come here?"

The Answer

Perhaps one good answer to the president's grandiloquent question can be found in the oft-repeated sonnet of Emma Lazarus inscribed on a bronze plaque attached to the Statue of Liberty in 1903:

Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!


Trump may not realize it, but he may be afflicted with an inherent belief in "othering."

Yiannis Gabriel, Ph.D., is a Greek-British sociologist affiliated with the U.K.'s University of Bath who has written extensively on the social concept of "othering," and its victims and perpetrators.

He defines "othering" as "the process of casting a group, an individual or an object into the role of the 'other' and establishing one's own identity through opposition to and, frequently, vilification of this Other."

Greeks describing non-Greeks as "barbarians" is a typical example of nationalistic othering. The New York Times recently reported that the Amish in upstate New York refer to all non-Amish people as "English," a mild form of othering.

Othering exceeds scapegoating and denigration because it denies for the Other characteristics enjoyed by your own group. Thus racial, religious or sexual minorities and other nationalities can be exploited, oppressed and even killed by denying their essential humanity.

Othering occurred in history when civilizations without previous contact confronted each other, as when colonizing Europeans viewed the Americas as populated by savages. It occurs between closely associated groups, as witnessed by the EU states' rejection of Middle Eastern refugees, the related radical Muslim jihad and the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya in Myanmar.

Neighborhood Improvement

It is much more explosive when the othering is between groups that know each other and have lived in close proximity. Repercussions can run from petty antagonism to civil war, expulsion, exclusion and genocide of the foreign, the deviant or the stranger. This sort of "othering logic" dehumanizes or devalues opposed people as primitive, uncivilized and inferior.

Because of the closeness physically, the group is portrayed as a major threat to one's own identity and pride, as happened to millions of Jews in Germany and Europe; as happened to Native Americans; and as now may happen to thousands of Haitians, Salvadorans and young Dreamers.

It should be possible to transcend "othering" with a genuine understanding of others using reason and compassion based on common humanity - but will that happen?

That depends on whether we still believe that "all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

Robert E. "Bob" Bauman, legal counsel to Banyan Hill Publishing, serves on its board of directors and was the founding editor of The Sovereign Society Offshore A-Letter, more than a decade ago. He is the chairman of Freedom Alliance, your one-stop reference point for up-to-date, critical information about protecting your wealth and freeing yourself from unnecessary taxes and government oversight. To read more of what he has to say, click here.

February 2018 HistoryFact

Can I Study My Culture?

By Lia Hamilton

In the world of anthropology there is a primary focus on the many astounding anthropologists like Max Weber, Lewis Henry Morgan, Margaret Mead, and one whom many deem the father of anthropology, Franz Boas. Acting as a guide, their contributions have laid the foundation to numerous of ideologies, theories, and studies regarding the human culture. For example, one of Margaret Mead's most infamous studies is through a technique called visual anthropology where Mead studies character formation in three different cultures, the Balinese, Iatumal, and American. Personally, I really like Margaret Mead's methods and since learning about her I have studied a lot of her previous work. During my first semester in grad school I was eager to continue to learn about those who paved a way for me to study anthropology. However, as I sat through course after course learning about all of these anthropologists and their wonderful contributions, there were a couple of things that I did notice. One, there were no in-depth studies on Black Anthropologists, two in almost every class attended I was the only minority, and three as I began to participate in field work I realized that there were very few minorities who were a part of anthropology as a whole and I began to wonder why. Was it due to the scientific racism related to the earlier periods of anthropology? Is it because minorities feel uncomfortable or unaccepted in the field? Or is it simply because minorities are not being exposed to anthropology? Whatever the reason maybe it is a silent issue that seems to dwell in the world of anthropology.

Scientific Racism

Make no mistake that racism was front and center during the beginning stages of anthropology as it was developed during a time where racism was displayed like the next fashion statement. Unfortunately, those biased views went into the work of some of the most prominent figures of anthropology. The scientific racism that different minorities endured during the earlier years of anthropology can be very daunting to learn about without ones' heart feeling a little heavy or sad. This heaviness is something that I have seen to be displayed from just about everyone who learns what took place during those times. For example, the first time a professor showed a film about the human zoo there was an awkward feeling that straddled the room and a heated discussion that took place afterwards. Expressions of shock, hurt, and disappointment was on the surface of the discussion. The human zoo was present during the 19th and early 20th century as humans of various ethnicities were collected from numerous parts of the world by socialists, scientists, and anthropologists to be put on display for entertainment purposes. Europeans around the world would pay to gaze at the humans as if they were animals and in some instances animals were grouped with humans as a comparison.

Is It Acceptance or Exposure?

Personally, I have never experienced a moment where anyone has made me feel like I did not belong in the field, but there were definitely times where I may have felt that my opinions were not as equally accepted or valued as my white peers. However, I think this is something that minorities face in just about every line of work from some people who indulge in an ignorant mindset. Whatever the case may be it is still uncomfortable and acceptance in the field of Anthropology was not always the case. On one hand, you had the majority of anthropologists who constantly studied blacks and other minorities to prove that they were inferior to their white successors and that their lives had no value amongst many other horrendous preconceptions. Due to those frivolous studies about minorities many blacks were not accepting of anthropology and opted to distance themselves from the practice. Instead a majority of African Americans took a liking to sociology and history when furthering their education. The numbers of black anthropologists were so small that there were only about 10 black anthropologists in the early 1900s. Now today the number of black anthropologists have succeeded well beyond 10 people but the numbers are still relatively low. As racial and cultural wars have helped to break some barriers for minorities, it still has not quite made its connection to anthropology. Again, I must ask the question why?

One theory that I have considered is that exposure to anthropology is not fully present in the African American culture. From my own experience, I know that I was exposed to the possibility of being a doctor, a lawyer, nurse, teacher, and the typical mainstream jobs that are subconsciously forced upon children through various media outlets. Anthropology was not one of those choices, in fact I was not truly introduced to anthropology until being required to take Cultural Anthropology as a mandatory course during my time as an undergraduate. Thankfully that course allowed me to explore a world of cultures and ultimately change my career path in general. Lack of exposure doesn't just stem from the cultural aspects but it seems to generate from an educational standpoint as well. As an undergraduate I soon realized that there were not a lot of studies present on African American Anthropologists which led me to perform my own research about African American Anthropologists. During research, I learned how Franz Boas was not only the teacher to white anthropologists but also to a black anthropologist as well. I was fascinated to learn about African American Anthropologists, who also became favorites of mine, and played a significant role in anthropology like Zora Neal Hurston. Ms. Hurston was a student of Franz Boas and in his class the same exact time as fellow anthropologist Margaret Mead. Zora Neal Hurston was a well-known novelist, one who contributed to folklore, and an author. However, Zora Neal Hurston was also an anthropologist in her own rights who studied with the best. Margaret Mead is always mentioned as a notable student of Franz Boas, but unfortunately in most courses Hurston is not even acknowledged. Then, there was the fact that W.E.B. DuBois took a likening to Franz Boas, read papers side by side with Boas in London, and invited him to speak at the college he taught at in Atlanta, Georgia. Unfortunately, collaboration of the two is not something that you would typically learn about in the basic courses of Anthropology which is sad. The lack of exposure to the accomplishments of African American Anthropologists' speaks volumes and it relays a message that studying blacks is great but acknowledging their contributions is impotent. Anthropology is a field that shines a light on a variety of issues around the world. Most importantly it looks at the cultural disparities and similarities that ultimately connect people from every walk of life. Obviously, exposure is not the main reason why minorities shy away from the field of anthropology but it does seem to have its proper stake in the matter. The truth is there is a need for more diversity in anthropology and hopefully, as anthropology continues to progress there will be a recognition of such ultimately providing ways for those who would not even think of becoming an anthropologist as people cannot divulge in something that they have never been exposed to.

The Psychology Of Racism

By Ranches Lee Hall 

The root cause of racism is hatred and antagonism against the minority. These feelings are founded on feelings of superiority by the majority. There are places in the United States where white people vacated and left blacks. They will have businesses there, work there, but they cannot live in the neighborhood. Need some proof? Go to Baton Rouge.

How brainwashing has been used to control the mind.

Brainwashing is a form of mind control which targets a person's ability to make choices without being pressured or coerced. When a person has been brainwashed, they are denied the ability to analyze and make deductions without caring what other people tell them. In the psychology of racism, prejudiced individuals have been brainwashed to think that they are superior and some of us are here to been seen and not heard. Some blacks have also been brainwashed to believe that they are worthless.

Racism and denying yourself worth.

We have to face some facts here. Racism entails comparing and contrasting the superiority of a person or group to the inferiority of another. This is not a win-win game. One party uses the perceived inferiority of the minority to show their superiority. The accused becomes both the jury and the judge - what a twisted world! Whenever racism is introduced, you can be sure someone will lose - and it's always the minority.

Control The Mind Control The Person.

When it comes to the psychology of racism mind control is a pillar. Mind control also known as brainsweeping or coercive persuasion involves indoctrinating people to the extent that their freedom of thought is impaired. The indoctrinated individual has no capacity to ask themselves why they do what they do. Indeed, when you control a person's mind, you have them in your grip and they will do your bidding.

Inferiority complex and racism.

In America racism is common and come in various forms and shapes including police brutality and racial profiling among others. This has resulted to low self-esteem among the minority especially blacks. Actually, low self-esteem is the number one reason for involvement in felonies. Why? Because racism is all about real power and when one human being is denied their power, they will react to show their displeasure.

Superiority complex psychology.

It is both laughable and ridiculous to know that superiority complex is a form of defense mechanism which people employ to recompense for inferior complex. Such people believe that their value is depended on abasing and hurting others.

Assassinating a person character with racism.

The psychology of racism involves character assassination. Character assassination can be described as a premeditated and consistent process which intends to malign or mess up with the credibility of a person or group of people. People who assassinate others' character use various methods including misleading information, abasing, defamation and manipulation. This may lead to rejection by others who may not know the real truth - does this ring a bell? Racism is powerful and will often fight back through character assassination.

Nothing is impossible. If today we are living in well built houses and not caves, if today we are using modern stoves and not firewood, if today we are walking fully dressed and not naked, nothing is impossible. One day - racism will be history.

Ranches Lee Hall is a pastor. He's been online now for several years operating different blogs and online businesses and providing helpful information. He enjoy songwriting, reading the bible, playing the keyboard or piano he currently runs http://stopracialprofiling.org

Cultural Museums

*The Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific Seattle, Washington's Chinatown-International District.
*African American Museum, in Philadelphia Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
*The Cold War Museum Vint Hill, VA
*African Meeting House, Boston, Massachusetts
*America's Black Holocaust Museum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
*National Museum of Mexican Art, Chicago, IL
*Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, CA

*Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture, Chicago, IL
*Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust, Los Angeles, CA
*Chinese American Museum, Los Angeles, CA
*Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, Detroit, Michigan
*California African American Museum, Los Angeles, California
*Korean Cultural Center, Los Angeles, CA

*Irish American Heritage, Museum, Albany NY
*DuSable Museum, African American History, Harold Washington Wing
*Pacific Asia Museum, Pasadena, California.

*Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art , Indianapolis, IN
*The African American Museum, Texas
*Great Blacks in Wax Museum, Baltimore, Maryland
*Great Plains Black History Museum, North Omaha, Nebraska

*Idaho Black History Museum, Boise, Idaho
*Japanese American National Museum
*Legacy Museum of African American History, Lynchburg, Virginia
*Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, Little Rock, Arkansas
*Muhammad Ali Center, Louisville, Kentucky

*Museum of African American History, Boston, Massachusetts
*Museum Of Latin American Art
*National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington, D.C.
*National Museum of the American Indian, New York, NY
*National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Cincinnati,Ohio

*The National Great Blacks Iin Wax Museum
*Oak Hill Heritage House & Multicultural Research Library, Oxford, North Carolina
*Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies Chicago, IL
*Texas State Museum of Asian Cultures , Corpus Christi, TX