Civil Rights · History · Holidays · Politics

The Road to Ferguson and The Road Not Taken

John Graves Simcoe, Governor of Upper Canada, circa 1795
John Graves Simcoe, Governor of Upper Canada, circa 1795

Today, even though it is American Thanksgiving Day, I want to give thanks for an historical figure who is currently being portrayed as a dastardly villain on a popular American television series: John Graves Simcoe.

Simcoe fell from grace in Hollywood because he was a successful  British military commander whose infantry regiment fought to suppress the American Revolution.

But a few years after losing that war, Simcoe returned to North America as the first Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada, where he provided leadership that was truly steadfast, and even visionary.

For some reason Simcoe was that rare creature: a privileged white Englishman who early saw slavery for the evil abomination it so truly was.

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Nebraska

In Memoriam: Lee Joseph Kinney 1946-2014

I have lost a friend of my youth.

I was in high school with Lee Kinney, but it wasn’t until our University days that out friendship blossomed, and Lee was with me for many of life’s “firsts.”

Lee was with me circa 1966 on my first-ever information picket, against the presence of the Dow Chemical Company’s recruiters on our campus, the University of Nebraska. It was a low-key, peaceful enough affair in the Student Union, but such events, while common enough across the country at the time, were still a rarity at Nebraska. You feel apprehensive, always, on your first picket line, exposed and more than a little silly, but Lee was there with me, handing out the broadside I’d just written and mimeographed, condemning Dow for profiting from its manufacture of napalm, which was being dropped on the people of Vietnam by U.S. forces with shameful abandon.

Once our University days were over (Lee and I were both drop-outs) we decamped Nebraska, as unfettered flatlanders are wont to do, and made a beeline for the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.

Continue reading “In Memoriam: Lee Joseph Kinney 1946-2014”

Books · Mining · Reviews · The Raids

Sudbury’s union war – book review by Ron Verzuh

To read the full review, click here

News reporter turned novelist Mick Lowe has produced the first of a promised trilogy of labour history novels set in Northern Ontario that might be closer to truth than to fiction.

As a long-time reporter in the union town of Sudbury, Ont., the Nebraska-born Lowe got close to the local labour movement and the union that represented thousands of mine workers at the giant nickel mines in the region.

That relationship and careful readings of a book co-written by once local union president Mike Solski that Lowe calls his bible, provided a mother lode of information from which to create his main character Jake McCool, a young miner.

Ron Verzuh
Canadian writer, historian, photographer and videographer

For more, visit Ron’s blog at www.ronverzuh.ca