Today in History – October 29

On October 29, 1855, recent German immigrant Carl Schurz wrote his wife, Margarethe Meyer Schurz, expressing hope for their future happiness. A political refugee from the tumultuous revolutions of 1848 External, Schurz soon gravitated toward political life in the United States. Exactly five years later, Schurz corresponded with his wife from Lincoln’s presidential campaign trail.

The sun has risen bright and clear, and the view spread out before me presents so cheerful and sweet a picture that I am distinctly encouraged to hope we shall be very happy here.

Carl Schurz to Margarethe Meyer Schurz, October 29,1855. In Intimate Letters of Carl Schurz, 1841-1869. Madison: State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1928. Pioneering the Upper Midwest: Books from Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, ca. 1820 to 1910 General Collections; Rare Book & Special Collections Division

Hon. Carl Schurz of Missouri. [between 1860 and 1875]. Brady-Handy Collection. Prints & Photographs Division

Although Schurz initially supported William H. Seward for the Republican nomination, he welcomed the prospect of a Lincoln presidency and assured the nominee that

. . . I shall carry into this struggle all the zeal and ardor and enthusiasm of which my nature is capable. The same disinterested motives that led me and my friends to support Gov. Seward in the Convention,
will animate and urge us on in our work for you, and wherever my voice is heard and my influence
extends you may count upon hosts of true and devoted friends.

Carl Schurz to Abraham Lincoln, Tuesday, May 22, 1860 (Congratulations). Series 1. General Correspondence 1833-1916. Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. Manuscript Division

Schurz’s efforts on behalf of Lincoln and his commitment to the nascent Republican Party resulted in his appointment as envoy to Spain. A year later, Schurz returned to America to serve as a brigadier general in the Union Army during the Civil War.

After the war’s conclusion and Lincoln’s assassination, Schurz toured the South on behalf of President Andrew Johnson. In his report to Johnson, the former abolitionist urged extension of the franchise to freedmen as a condition for the South’s readmission to the Union. Johnson ignored his recommendations.

After a stint as a journalist, Schurz served as a U.S. senator from Missouri from 1869 to 1875. Over the course of his term, dissatisfaction with the corruption of the Grant administration and disappointment with its Reconstruction policies led Schurz to take an active role in the short-lived reformist Liberal Republican Party. By 1876, however, he was back in the traditional Republican fold advocating the election of Rutherford B. Hayes, who he believed would restore integrity to government.

My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.

Carl Schurz, speech in the Senate, February 29, 1872. In Congressional Globe. Senate, 42nd Congress, 2nd Session. A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation: U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates, 1774 – 1875. Law Library

As secretary of the interior under Hayes, Schurz had lasting impact on the American environment. For the first time, the Department of the Interior addressed conservation issues. During Schurz’s tenure, the U.S. Geological Survey was officially established as a bureau within the department. Schurz himself urged the creation of forest reserves and a federal forest service. Although these recommendations were not enacted until 1891 and 1905, respectively, Schurz’s administration is considered a turning point in the history of government participation in the American conservation movement.

First Official Investigation of Indian Grievances, Visit of Secretary Schurz to the Spotted Tail Indian Agency External. In Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, Oct 4, 1879. p.69. Denver Public Library Digital CollectionsExternal

After leaving government in 1881, Schurz returned to journalism. As an editor for national publications including The Nation and Harper’s Weekly, he continued to influence U.S. opinion and policy and was recognized as perhaps the leading spokesman for German Americans. Never one to place party loyalty before principle, he urged reformist Republicans to vote for Democrat Grover Cleveland in 1884.

Continuing his early advocacy of clean government, Schurz headed the National Civil Service Reform League from 1892 to 1901. Though his anti-imperialism placed him strongly at odds with President Theodore Roosevelt, he lived to see the latter create the Forest Service in 1905 and vigorously expand the conservation policies he himself had advocated. Carl Schurz died the following year at age seventy-seven.


BCPS Launches Confidential T.A.L.K. App to Help Students Connect to a Mental Health Professional or to Report Abuse

October 28, 2020

Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) remains committed to providing mental health services and support to students and families. As part of the BCPS campaign T.A.L.K., which stands for Tell Another. Listening is Key., the District has launched the T.A.L.K. App, which provides K–12 students with a confidential online form to request to speak to a mental health professional, or report abuse.

The T.A.L.K. app is available exclusively to BCPS K–12 students as an icon that appears on their personalized eLearning platform.

“The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the traditional classroom setting and created new and unexpected shifts in the lives of our students and families,” said Superintendent Robert W. Runcie.
“The T.A.L.K. App serves as a solution to our District’s commitment to ensure students receive the help they need during this challenging time.”

Once a student submits a T.A.L.K. App form, they are connected to a mental health professional before the end of the next school day.  

If a student is in crisis and has an immediate need to speak to a mental health professional, they are advised to contact the following 24/7 resources:

  • First Call for Help, 954-537-0211
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-8255
  • Crisis Text Line, Text HOME to 741741

The T.A.L.K. App advises all students to call 911 if they have an emergency.

For information on mental health services provided by the District, visit:




“Committed to educating all students to reach their highest potential.”    

Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) is the sixth-largest school district in the nation and the second largest in the state of Florida. The District is Florida’s first fully accredited school system since 1962 and has nearly 261,000 pre-K-12th grade students and approximately 110,000 adult students in 241 schools, centers, and technical colleges, and 92 charter schools. BCPS serves a diverse student population, representing 170 different countries and 147 different languages. To connect with BCPS, visit, follow on Twitter @browardschools and Facebook at, and download the free BCPS mobile app. 


Today in History – October 28

On October 28, 1919, Congress passed the Volstead Act providing for enforcement of the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which was ratified nine months earlier. Known as the Prohibition Amendment, it prohibited the “manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors” in the United States.

We have only to look about us in this great city, to observe the traces of the deadly influence of intemperance. Everywhere, we face crime, disease and death, all testify to the necessity of the prosecution of the cause, of steadfast and unwavering effort and prompt action to lead to complete success.

[Address by Charles C. Burleigh]. In The Whole World’s Temperance Convention. [Metropolitan Hall, NYC, Sept. 1-2, 1853] New York: Fowler and Wells, 1853. p. 10. National American Woman Suffrage Association Collection. Rare Book & Special Collections Division

Unidentified Woman, Half-length Portrait, Facing Front, Holding a Copy of the Book “Sons of Temperance Offering” for 1851. ca. 1851. Daguerreotypes. Prints & Photographs Division

The movement to prohibit alcohol began in the early years of the nineteenth century when individuals concerned about the adverse effects of drink began forming local societies to promote temperance in the consumption of alcohol. Some of the earliest temperance societies were organized in New York (1808) and Massachusetts (1813). Many of the members of these societies belonged to Protestant evangelical denominations and eventually organized religion played a significant role in the movements. As time passed, most temperance societies began to call for complete abstinence from all alcoholic beverages.

The Anti-Saloon League, founded in Ohio in 1893 and organized as a national society in 1895, helped pave the way for passage of the Eighteenth Amendment with an effective campaign calling for prohibition at the state level. Their success is reflected by the fact that as of January 1920, thirty-three states had already enacted laws prohibiting alcohol. Between 1920 and 1933, the Anti-Saloon League lobbied for strict federal enforcement of the Volstead Act.

Sixteenth Convention, Anti-Saloon League of America at Atlantic City, N.J., July 6-9, 1915. Thomas Sparrow, photographer,July 1915. Panoramic Photographs. Prints & Photographs Division

Organizations like the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union and the World’s Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, founded by reformer and educator Frances Willard in 1883, mobilized thousands of women in the fight for temperance.

I Never Knew I Had a Wonderful Wife Until the Town Went Dry External,” Words by Lew Brown; Music by Albert Von Tilzer; New York: Broadway Music, 1919. Historic American Sheet MusicExternal. Duke University Libraries

Willard also worked for women’s suffrage, as did many other women who found their political awareness expanded by involvement in the temperance crusade. Given their political and economic vulnerability, nineteenth-century women’s lives were easily devastated if the men they depended on “took to drink.” Famous for attacking saloons with a hatchet, Carry Nation’s flamboyant activism evolved from her upbringing in an atmosphere of strong religious beliefs and a failed marriage to an alcoholic. Although few embraced Nation’s extreme stance, Prohibition was viewed by many as a progressive social reform that would improve and protect the lives of women and children.

The Volstead Act ultimately failed to prevent the large-scale production, importation, and sale of liquor in the United States, and the Prohibition Amendment was repealed in 1933.

U.S. Officials Destroying Liquor at the Brownsville Customs House External. Robert Runyon, photographer, December 20, 1920. Runyon (Robert) Photograph Collection External. Briscoe Center for American History:University of Texas/Austin

Taken from Inventing Entertainment: the Early Motion Pictures and Sound Recordings of the Edison Companies, the following recordings from the early 1920s lampoon Prohibition. “Dinnie Donohue” relies on the ethnic stereotype of a drunken Irishman, while “Save a Little Dram” features a minister complaining that his congregation is stingy with their gin.

Dinnie Donohue, on Prohibition.”
An “Irish monologue,” Performed by William Cahill, Orange, N.J: Edison, 1921.

Save a Little Dram for Me.”
Written by Will E. Skidmore and Marshall Walker, Performed by Duke Rogers, Orange, N.J.: Edison, 1922.


Mask-refusing moms removed from Florida school board meeting

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Several mothers in Florida were removed by law enforcement from a school board meeting Tuesday after they ignored repeated requests to wear masks during a discussion on whether the school district should extend its mandatory mask policy amid the coronavirus pandemic.

No one was arrested, but seven people were trespassed, which means they can’t return to the property for one year, The Daytona Beach News-Journal reported.

“I’ve never put a mask on my face, and I never will,” one of the women, Rachael Cohen, said in a Facebook video of the meeting. “It’s just absolute tyranny.”

The Volusia County School Board adopted a mandatory mask policy that applies to students, staff and visitors on school district property, but it expires early next month. School board members were voting on whether to extend the policy at Tuesday’s meeting.

The school district made many attempts at diplomacy, but the group of women made it clear they were taking a stand against face coverings, said Cindi Lane, a district spokeswoman.

It was “quite disruptive,” Lane said.

Florida health officials reported nearly 4,300 new virus cases on Tuesday as the number of patients hospitalized with the COVID-19 disease also ticked upward over the past few days.

The Florida Department of Health has reported at least 16,709 deaths since the pandemic began.

The additional cases announced Tuesday bring the state’s total virus cases to more than 786,000. That brings the seven-day average of new cases above 3,600, similar to levels in late August when the state’s outbreak was coming down from its summertime peak.

There were 2,333 people being treated for the disease in Florida hospitals in the late morning Tuesday, according to a state online census of hospital beds. That figure reached nearly 10,000 in late July, then declined steadily until late September when it began hovering between 2,000 and 2,200 for several weeks.

The numbers of deaths per day have continued to decline, averaging about 57 a day over the past week, down from a high of 185 in early August.


Follow AP coverage of the pandemic at and

Web Only

Back to Top Back to Top


BCPS Afterschool Supper Programs More Than 120 Schools Offer Nutritious Meals in Aftercare Programs

October 27, 2020

Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) has expanded its Afterschool Supper Program to include 128 schools serving nutritious meals to students. The Supper Program ensures more than 14,500 students participating in regularly scheduled afterschool educational or enrichment activity programs receive the nutrition they need to learn and grow. The suppers are funded through the federal Child Care Food Program, which provides healthy meals in the childcare setting. The meals meet all USDA requirements, include a snack and are made available at no additional charge to students participating in afterschool programs, regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability. As of Monday, November 2, Davie Elementary School, Flamingo Elementary School, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Montessori Academy, Norcrest Elementary School and Tropical Elementary School will begin serving supper.

Aftercare Supper Program participating schools include:


Annabel C. Perry Elementary

Hallandale High

Park Lakes Elementary

Apollo Middle

Hollywood Central Elementary

Park Ridge Elementary

Atlantic West Elementary

Hollywood Hills Elementary

Parkway Middle

Attucks Middle

Hollywood Park Elementary

Pasadena Lakes Elementary

Bair Middle

Hollywood Hills High

Pembroke Pines Elementary

Banyan Elementary

Horizon Elementary

Pines Middle

Bennett Elementary

James Hunt Elementary

Pines Lakes Elementary

Bethune Elementary

J.P. Taravella High

Pinewood Elementary

Blanche Ely High

Lake Forest Elementary

Piper High

Boulevard Heights Elementary

Lakeside Elementary

Plantation Elementary

Boyd Anderson High

Larkdale Elementary

Plantation High

Broadview Elementary

Lauderdale Lakes Middle

Pompano Beach High

Broward Estates Elementary

Lauderhill 6-12 STEM

Rickards Middle

Castle Hill Elementary

Lauderhill Paul Turner Elementary

Riverland Elementary

Challenger Elementary

Liberty Elementary

Rock Island Elementary

Charles Drew Elementary

Lloyd Estates Elementary

Royal Palm Elementary

Coconut Creek High

Lyons Creek Middle

Sanders Elementary

Coconut Palm Elementary

Maplewood Elementary

Sandpiper Elementary

Colbert Elementary

Margate Elementary

Sea Castle Elementary

Collins Elementary

Margate Middle

Sheridan Hills Elementary

Coral Cove Elementary

Markham Robert Elementary

Sheridan Park Elementary

Coral Park Elementary

Martin Luther King, Jr. Montessori Academy

Silver Lakes Elementary

Coral Springs Elementary

McArthur High

Silver Lakes Middle

Cresthaven Elementary

McNicol Middle

Silver Shores Elementary

Croissant Park Elementary

Miramar Elementary

South Broward High

Crystal Lake Middle

Miramar High

Stephen Foster Elementary

Cypress Run Education Center

Morrow Elementary

Stirling Elementary

Davie Elementary

New Renaissance Middle

Stranahan High

Deerfield Beach Elementary

New River Middle

Sunland Park Elementary

Deerfield Beach High

Nob Hill Elementary

Sunshine Elementary

Deerfield Park Elementary

Norcrest Elementary

Tedder Elementary

Dillard Elementary

North Andrews Gardens Elementary

Thurgood Marshall Elementary

Dillard High

North Fork Elementary

Tropical Elementary

Discovery Elementary

North Lauderdale Elementary

Walker Elementary

Dolphin Bay Elementary

Northeast High

Walter C. Young Middle

Driftwood Elementary

Northside Elementary

Watkins Elementary

Endeavour Primary Learning Center

Nova, Blanche Forman Elementary

Welleby Elementary

Fairway Elementary

Nova, Eisenhower Elementary

West Hollywood Elementary

Flamingo Elementary

Oakland Park Elementary

Westpine Middle

Forest Hills Elementary

Oakridge Elementary

Wilton Manors Elementary

Fort Lauderdale High

Olsen Middle

Wingate Oaks Center

Glades Middle

Oriole Elementary

Winston Park Elementary

Gulfstream Academy at Hallandale

Orange Brook Elementary



USDA Notice:

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at:, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:

(1) mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture

Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights

1400 Independence Avenue, SW

Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;

(2) fax: (202) 690-7442; or

(3) email:

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.



“Committed to educating all students to reach their highest potential.”   

Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) is the sixth-largest school district in the nation and the second largest in the state of Florida. The District is Florida’s first fully accredited school system since 1962 and has nearly 261,000 PK-12 students and approximately 110,000 adult students in 241 schools, centers, and technical colleges, and 92 charter schools.  BCPS serves a diverse student population, representing 170 different countries and 147 different languages. To connect with BCPS, visit, follow us on Twitter @browardschools, on Facebook at and download the free BCPS mobile app.


Today in History – October 27

The first in a series of eighty-five essays by “Publius,” the pen name of Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay, appeared in the Independent Journal, a New York newspaper, on October 27, 1787. Publius urged New Yorkers to support ratification of the Constitution approved by the Constitutional Convention on September 17, 1787.

AFTER an unequivocal experience of the inefficiency of the subsisting federal government, you are called upon to deliberate on a new Constitution for the United States of America. The subject speaks its own importance; comprehending in its consequences nothing less than the existence of the UNION, the safety and welfare of the parts of which it is composed, the fate of an empire in many respects the most interesting in the world.

“Federalist No. 1.” Alexander Hamilton. Federalist Papers

Alexander Hamilton. Photograph of a Contemporary Portrait by John Trumbull; in the collection of the Yale School of Fine Arts. [between 1900 and 1912]. Detroit Publishing Company. Prints & Photographs Division

Proponents of the new Constitution believed that centralized government was essential for successful commercial and geographic expansion. Only a strong national government, they argued, could effectively negotiate with foreign countries, ensure free trade between states, and create a stable currency.

Known as the Federalist Papers or The Federalist, these eighty-five essays addressed widespread concern that a national government, distanced from the people, would soon grow despotic. The essays eloquently and comprehensively argue that distributing power across the various branches of government provides checks and balances to the concentrated sovereignty of the federal government.

James Madison’s Federalist No.10 exemplifies the brilliance and startling originality of the Federalist Papers. Published on November 23, 1787, Madison challenges the assumption that individual rights can be secured only in small countries with homogeneous populations.

James Madison, fourth President of the United States. Lithograph after the painting by Gilbert Stuart; Pendleton’s Lithography, [1828?]. Popular Graphic Arts. Prints & Photographs Division

The Constitution’s detractors maintained that large nations with disparate populations are inherently unstable. The emergence of factions, they believed, would constantly threaten to overwhelm the government and place personal liberty at risk. Madison topples this argument by insisting that plurality and liberty are complementary. In a famous passage he writes:

Liberty is to faction what air is to fire, an aliment without which it instantly expires. But it could not be less folly to abolish liberty, which is essential to political life, because it nourishes faction, than it would be to wish the annihilation of air, which is essential to animal life, because it imparts to fire its destructive agency.

Federalist No.10. James Madison. Federalist Papers

Although written for the New York press, newspapers around the country reprinted the essays. The Federalist, a bound edition of the essays first published in 1788, played an important role in the campaign to ratify the Constitution in New York and Virginia. Ratification of the Constitution was possible without these populous states, but their approval was considered crucial to the success of the new government.

In the following letter to Alexander Hamilton, George Washington thanks Hamilton for sending a copy of the pamphlet written by “Publius”.

George Washington to Alexander Hamilton, November 10, 1787. Series 2. Letterbooks 1754-1799: Letterbook 14. George Washington Papers. Manuscript Division

Ultimately, the federalist vision of a national government prevailed. However, the Federalist represents one of many perspectives in a nationwide debate over the Constitution. Learn more about the Constitutional Convention and the controversy surrounding ratification:


BCPS Counts Down to Jumpstart’s Read for the Record® on Thursday, October 29

October 26, 2020

Jump Start

Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) is excited to participate in Jumpstart’s Read for the Record® on Thursday,

October 29, joining millions of readers across the nation in reading the book Evelyn Del Rey is Moving Away, by Meg Medina. BCPS

has participated in Jumpstart’s Read for the Record® since its inception 14 years ago and was honored as its Read for the Record® District of the Year in 2019.

Superintendent Robert W. Runcie will celebrate this year’s Read for the Record® by reading to pre-K students at Gulfstream Early Learning Center. School Board members, local leaders, and representatives from professional sports teams, local businesses, organizations, libraries and others will also participate by serving as virtual guest readers at schools across the District.

In addition, through a partnership between BCPS, Children’s Services Council of Broward County and multiple Broward County early childhood stakeholders, a copy of Evelyn Del Rey is Moving Away will be provided to each pre-K and kindergarten child in Broward County, totaling 40,000 books for 40,000 children! The books will be distributed this spring through schools and early childcare providers.

The community can follow the District’s Read for the Record® activities on social media through Twitter @browardschools and Facebook at, and share photos using #BrowardReads and #ReadForTheRecord.


Media are invited to cover:

Superintendent Runcie Reads for the Record

Thursday, October 29, 8:30 a.m.
Gulfstream Early Learning Center
120 S.W. 4th Avenue
Hallandale, FL 33009


For additional information on how local companies and organizations can get involved, contact Dr. Lori Canning, BCPS Executive Director of Early Learning Language Acquisition, at 754-321-1953 or via email at To register as a guest reader, visit




“Committed to educating all students to reach their highest potential.” 

Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) is the sixth largest school district in the nation and the second largest in the state of Florida. BCPS is Florida’s first fully accredited school system since 1962. BCPS has nearly 261,500 students and approximately 110,000 adult students in 241 schools, centers and technical colleges, and 92 charter schools. BCPS serves a diverse student population, with students representing 170 different countries and 147 different languages. To connect with BCPS, visit, follow us on Twitter @browardschools, on Facebook at and download the free BCPS mobile app.  


Today in History – October 26

Mahalia Jackson, the “Queen of Gospel Song,” was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, on October 26, 1911. She was the daughter of Charity Clark, a laundress and maid, and Johnny Jackson, a Baptist preacher, barber, and longshoreman. Her mother died when she was five years old and she was then brought up by her extended family of one brother, six aunts, and several half-brothers and sisters—the children of her father. Jackson grew up singing gospel music at the Plymouth Rock Baptist Church where her father preached. She relocated to Chicago in 1927. Although her ambition was to become a nurse, she worked as a laundress and studied beauty culture at Madame C. J. Walker’s External and the Scott Institute of Beauty Culture. With that training, Jackson began the first of her several business ventures and opened a beauty shop.

Within months of her arrival in Chicago she was a lead singer with the choir at the Greater Salem Baptist Church, where she joined her pastor’s three sons in their group, the Johnson Brothers.

[Mahalia Jackson,…standing at podium, singing]. {Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom, Washington, D.C., May 17, 1957]. The Civil Rights Era. The African American Odyssey: A Quest for Full Citizenship. Visual Materials from the NAACP Collection. Prints & Photographs Division

In 1936 Jackson married Isaac Hockenhull, a college-educated entrepreneur. He encouraged her business aspirations but realized that her musical talent was a bigger source of income. “Ike,” as he was called, persuaded Jackson to audition for the Works Projects Administration (WPA) Federal Theatre Broadway production of Hot Mikado by Gilbert and Sullivan.

The beauty of her contralto voice and the increasing popularity of gospel music during the Depression brought Jackson success. Her first recording, “God’s Gonna Separate the Wheat from the Tares” and the Baptist hymn “Keep Me Every Day,” was made for Decca in May 1937. Jackson changed record labels and signed with Columbia in 1954.

Easter Procession outside a fashionable Negro church, Black Belt, Chicago, Illinois. Edwin Rosskam, photographer, Apr. 1941.  Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Black-and-White Negatives. Prints & Photographs Division

Jackson resisted secular music saying, “When you sing gospel you have a feeling there is a cure for what’s wrong. But when you are through with the blues, you’ve got nothing to rest on.” Although she declined to sing anything but gospel, Jackson listened to and was heavily influenced by ragtime, jazz, and blues artists including Bessie Smith, Maime Smith, Ma Rainey, and Ida Cox.

Jackson sang regularly at Chicago’s South Side Greater Baptist Church and often collaborated with Thomas Dorsey, the “Father of Gospel Music.” Originally a blues musician, Dorsey began to write sacred music early in the century, using the sounds and rhythms of blues and jazz. Over the years, gospel made a lasting impact on blues and soul artists, including Aretha Franklin, who listened to Mahalia Jackson sing at Reverend C. L. Franklin’s (Aretha’s father) New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit.

Jackson hosted a radio program in Chicago for CBS, and often her powerful voice concluded the day’s local television broadcast. She recorded with Duke Ellington, packed Carnegie Hall on a number of occasions, and sang for four presidents.

Mahalia Jackson – Easter Sunday – Philharmonic Hall, Lincoln Center…. Milton Glaser, artist; New York: Security Printing Company, 1967. Posters: Artist Posters. Prints & Photographs Division

Jackson lent her prestige to the civil rights movement and became a prominent figure in the struggle. In 1955, she supported the Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott led by Dr. Martin Luther King, and, at King’s request, she sang “I’ve Been ‘Buked and I Been Scorned” just before he delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech during the 1963 March on Washington.

[Mahalia Jackson and unidentified man at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom]. Roosevelt H Carter, photographer, [1963]. Prints & Photographs Division

Jackson was sixty-years-old years old when she died in the Chicago suburb of Evergreen Park, Illinois. At her funeral, Coretta Scott King described the singer as “black…proud…[and] beautiful.” She recalled her husband saying of Jackson, “A voice like this comes, not once in a century, but once in a millennium.”

The Library of Congress Digital Collections offer more information on gospel and the times in which Mahalia Jackson lived.


Florida students with disabilities adapt to COVID-19 changes

SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) — Luther Smith doesn’t say much, but his teachers know that COVID-19 is stressing him out.

The 16-year-old student at Oak Park, Sarasota’s school for children with disabilities, has autism and is nonverbal, so he uses a touch-screen tablet to communicate. The device gives him a voice, allowing him to tap out answers to questions by clicking on pictures and symbols.

And the technology gives his teachers a better understanding of what he’s thinking as he takes in the array of changes that a pandemic has brought to his world.

“The general sense is that he just wants things to be normal,” said his teacher, Jayson Rawley. “There’s this feeling of looming anxiety that we have all kind of felt, and just because he is nonverbal doesn’t mean he isn’t having the same feelings that we are.”

Since schools in Sarasota County reopened on Aug. 31, students have had to acclimate to new protocols. Mask mandates, one-way hallways and desk dividers are now just a part of the school routine, like fire drills or chicken nuggets in the cafeteria.

At Oak Park, the challenge of reopening is magnified. Many of Luther’s classmates are also nonverbal. Some are medically fragile and more prone to the virus. Other students with emotional-behavioral disorders are adjusting to new rules that can irritate even the most even-keeled adult. And others just crave hugs from their teachers.

On a recent school day, Jane Jansson, a paraprofessional at the school, led a group of students into the cafeteria. Two boys clung to her elbows, and two more trailed close behind her. As she took a 30-second break while her sidekicks got breakfast, she talked about how teaching children with autism had changed because of the virus.

“It’s been hard. It’s really been hard. They don’t understand. We are trying to teach them to be social, but with the virus we have to be separate,” she said. “Plus having the mask, being autistic, they don’t have a good ability at reading the face, and this messes it up even more.”

But if anyone is up for dealing with unexpected challenges, it is the students and staff at Oak Park, said Principal Jamie Lowicz. A pandemic makes life tougher, but having to use a wheelchair or not being able to talk has already toughened up these kids.

“They have had challenges their whole life, so this is just something else that has to be overcome and dealt with and faced,” Lowicz said. “Our kids are the champions when it comes to adversity … that makes a virus look fairly simple. It’s a challenge for everybody, but they are masterful at this.”


Lowicz gathered a team of staff members over the summer to figure out how to reopen school and keep their students safe.

They knew that some of the new rules that leaders at traditional schools have mandated were simply impossible at Oak Park. Teachers can’t socially distance themselves from students who need help, and they knew many children would struggle with mask mandates.

“What’s the safest way that we can do this, knowing our population, knowing that there are special needs that exist that are unlike anywhere else in the district?” Lowicz said they asked themselves.

They prepared for the year by restructuring parts of the school day, trying to maintain as much student independence as possible. Students at Oak Park learn how to make decisions and advocate for themselves through simple routines like picking out their food in the cafeteria. School leaders tried to keep in mind how any new mandates would affect students’ development.

“Everything we do here, it is essential it be transferrable to other environments,” Lowicz said.

Many of the new measures are not that different from what every school is doing. One-way hallways, signs reminding students to stay six feet apart and mask requirements are all in place, and the staff spent the first four weeks of school focused on ingraining these new rules into Oak Park culture, Lowicz said.

Students who have sensory issues and are uncomfortable wearing a mask are building up to that, by first wearing a face shield or something more comfortable.

In order to create more outdoor spaces where students can take a break from wearing their masks, the school purchased 15 wheelchair-accessible picnic tables to go in the outdoor courtyard adjoining each classroom.


Recently, when workers installed the new picnic table next to Savannah Jones’ classroom, the 16-year-old could not contain her excitement. Savannah uses a wheelchair, and the new picnic table allows her to eat lunch next to Luther, her best friend in the class who uses the tablet to help him communicate.

Savannah, who is in the district’s curriculum for students with severe cognitive disabilities, said she was thrilled to be back at school after five months off. She said “work” is her favorite part of school, while listing quizzes on which she had scored 100% and laughing as her teacher, Mr. Rawley, teased her.

“I don’t want to be stuck at home,” she said.

When schools closed abruptly in March, parents of children with disabilities had to add home schooling to their responsibilities. At Oak Park, roughly half of the school relies on assistive technology, ranging from the iPad that Luther uses to complex sensors that help make sense of seemingly involuntary movements.

School staff set up Zoom sessions to help parents use the devices for home schooling, and about 30% of the students opted to continue with remote learning once schools reopened in August. While fears about COVID-19 transmission in such a vulnerable population are real, many parents and students desperately wanted to return to the social environment that provides so many lessons.

Kathryn Shea, the recently retired executive director of the Florida Center, knows how vital a routine is for children with disabilities, and how much the parents need a break. Her son, Seth Winners, 31, graduated from Oak Park.

Winners has developmental delays and lives with his parents. COVID-19 has upended his life and theirs – he normally spends his days at The Haven’s residential program, but the program shut down before reopening part time in the last month.

Shea said that having Seth home with her all day is extremely challenging, as he asks every day for her to tell the story of COVID-19. He fills his time with Legos, playing in the pool and taking Ninja lessons through Zoom, but he misses the structure that his program provides.

“He just can’t process that the disease is here,” Shea said. “It’s just so hard for him to process that.”

Being able to attend school each day is a respite for both the parents and the child, Shea said.

“They can learn much faster cognitively when they feel safe and secure emotionally,” Shea said. “It is true for all of us, but it is so much more important for them because their brains function differently.”

At Oak Park, a pay bump for paraprofessionals helped ensure the school was fully staffed this year, despite the challenges. And while COVID-19 has complicated life for the teachers and staff at the school, virus mitigation remains a small hurdle compared to the ones they overcome daily.

“There is not a better example of the adaptability and flexibility than what our staff does here,” Lowicz said. “It may not be perfect, and it may not be the way you want it right now, but you do what you need to do.”

Web Only

Back to Top Back to Top


Today in History – October 25

On October 25, [1741] we had very clear weather and sunshine, but even so it hailed at various times in the afternoon. We were surprised in the morning to discover a large tall island at 51° to the north of us.

Georg Wilhelm Steller, Journal of a Voyage with Bering, 1741-1742, trans. by M. Engle and O. W. Frost (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1988): 119.

Thus wrote the naturalist-physician, Georg Wilhelm Steller, about his first encounter with Kiska Island in the Aleutian Islands chain of present-day Alaska. Steller’s journal was kept according to the Old Style (Julian) calendar, which was replaced by the Gregorian calendar in 1752, so his October 25 is November 5 by twenty-first-century reckoning. His entries provide a detailed firsthand account of the final voyage of the navigator and explorer Captain-Commander Vitus Jonassen Bering.

Panorama Nome City Water Front, Sept. 22, ’99. Pillsbury & Cleveland, photographer, September 22, 1899. Panoramic Photographs. Prints & Photographs Division
Goldi Village on the Amur, North of Khabarovsk… William Henry Jackson, photographer, [1895]. World’s Transportation Commission. Prints & Photographs Division

Bering was born in 1681 in Horsens, Denmark, but served with the Russian fleet for thirty-eight years. Under Tsar Peter the Great, Bering led an expedition from 1725-30 to explore northeastern Siberia and purportedly to determine if Russia and North America were connected by a land bridge. Having learned that North America and Russia were not connected, Bering undertook a second exploration, lasting from 1733-43. The Great Northern Expedition sought to secure a Russian foothold on the North American continent. In June 1741, Bering set sail on the St. Peter, with fellow navigator Aleksei Chirikov commanding the St. Paul. The two soon were separated by a storm at sea. Chirikov searched futilely for Bering, but headed home after losing two scouting parties of his own men.

After a futile search for the St. Paul, Bering’s men made the first European discovery of the northwest coast of America on July 16, sighting coastal mountains on the northern Gulf of Alaska coast which he named the St. Elias Mountains. By mid-September, Bering had set a return course when, ill with scurvy, he became too weak to command his ships. He and his men took refuge on an uninhabited island. Survivors of Bering’s ship finally came ashore in November on land they believed Kamchatka; their journals reveal an extraordinary tale. Bering died in December, but the survivors took advantage of the abundant sea life and natural resources and returned to health by eating whale blubber, and the meat of sea otters and “sea cows,”—the latter having seaweed-nourished meat.

St. Michael’s Cathedral. Novoarkhangelsk [Sitka, Alaska], ca. 1895. In the Beginning Was the Word: The Russian Church and Native Alaskan Cultures. Prints & Photographs Division

Fur-trading possibilities soon hastened the colonial settlement of Alaska and the Aleutians. The Russian-American Company, led by Grigorii Shelekov and encouraged by Tsarina Catherine the Great, established a Russian outpost on Kodiak Island in 1784. The Russian Orthodox Church founded its first Orthodox mission in North America in 1794.

The online exhibition In the Beginning Was the Word: The Russian Church and Native Alaskan Cultures examines the Russian state and the Russian Orthodox Church in Russian America from 1794 to about 1915. It explores issues of commerce, the relationship of the Russian Orthodox Church to native Alaskans, and the preservation of the Aleut, Eskimo, and Tlingit languages.

Native Peoples

Eskimos. 1916. Carpenter Collection. Prints & Photographs Division

The Native peoples of the greater Aleutian Islands region are the  Unangax̂ , also know as the Aleut. It is estimated that native peoples have lived in the Aleutian Islands region for at least 10,000 years, and in greater Alaska for at least 15,000 years. Kiska Island, which is part of the Rat Islands, is said to have been inhabited for at least 6,000 years. All of the Aleutian  Islands, including Kiska, had been densely occupied by native peoples long before Europeans or Americans made contact.  In fact, reports describe an attack on the shipwrecked crew of the Sv. Kapiton vessel in 1758.

Native customs remained strong in Alaska after U.S. Secretary of State William H. Seward purchased this territory from Russia in 1867. However, in 1948, the Cold War halted centuries of native travel back and forth across the Bering Strait. Only after the Reagan-Gorbachev Moscow summit in 1988 did the “Friendship Flights” from Nome to Provideniya allow Alaska natives once again to share their mutual culture. At this time, other economic, scientific, and cultural exchanges also recommenced.