Steve Cotler

Steve Cotler

Category Archives: History

What Would MLK Do?

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s "I’ve been to the mountaintop" speech, Memphis, April 3, 1968 Just a few days ago, Jeh C. Johnson, general counsel for the Department of Defense, gave a speech at the Pentagon in recognition of Martin Luther King Day. Toward the end of his talk, Johnson mused about what the non-violent […]

Buffy Sainte-Marie

Earlier this year Buffy Sainte-Marie released her 18th album, Running for the Drum. Her first album, It’s My Way, for which she was awarded Billboard‘s Best New Artist in 1964, included Universal Soldier, which has become an anthem for peace. Her song, Until It’s Time for You to Go, was a huge popular success and […]

The Babson Boulders of Dogtown

In his 1905 book, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, German economist and sociologist Max Weber theorized that capitalism’s ascendancy owed much to Protestantism’s emphasis on hard work and worldly success. Whether or not Weber was actually right, the term he coined, “Protestant ethic,” has, to many, become accepted as part of our […]

Darwin and Lincoln: 200 Years Today (or are they?)

Born 200 years ago, February 12, 1809: Charles Darwin, who changed the way we think about a human’s place in the bios, and Abraham Lincoln, who changed the way we think about a human’s place in society. – *    *    * But perhaps these two Great Men were not born on the same day. Darwin’s […]

Lincoln’s Contested Legacy

Scores of articles have been written to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth. One of the most interesting appeared in the February 2009 issue of Smithsonian magazine. I reprint it here in its entirety. The images and links are my choices. Link to original article. Lincoln’s Contested Legacy Great Emancipator or unreconstructed racist? Defender […]

Lincoln Head Cents: 1909-2009 and Beyond…

These days Americans accept and expect famous faces on our coins: Washington quarters (first minted in 1932), Jefferson nickels (1938), Roosevelt dimes (1946), Franklin (1948) and Kennedy (1964) half-dollars, Eisenhower (1971), Susan B. Anthony (1979), and Sacagawea (2000) dollars. But from first United States coinage in 1793 until 1909, no coin had the image of […]

Un-Racism: You Have to Be Carefully Taught

James Michener‘s short story collection, Tales of the South Pacific, a bestselling Pulitzer Prize winner in 1948, was eclipsed a year later by South Pacific, the blockbuster Richard Rodgers–Oscar Hammerstein musical that includes some of the most memorable songs written for the stage. One song, “You’ve Got To Be Carefully Taught,” includes this verse: You’ve […]

MLK’s “I Have a Dream” Speech

On August 28, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., gave a speech in Washington, DC, to an immense crowd that filled the Capitol Mall. Revered and reviled in his time, King stood as the standard bearer in the fight for civil rights. Clarence Jones, King confidante and one of those who helped draft the scripted […]

Women’s Rights: Seemingly a Low Priority

Following up my previous post on this topic, today I sent the  letter below to the editor of the Finger Lakes Times in Seneca Falls, NY: The struggle for women’s rights has an extraordinary history, and the struggle is ongoing. My wife and I, on a recent vacation in the Finger Lakes area, made a […]

Racial Identity: “Hapa” Obama

A comment on my recent post (Rule Book Racism: Can a Black Athlete Celebrate?) deserves a full response. Lanny writes: “A young, black, athletic man will soon be our president.” Why don’t you call him white? He’s just as much white as black. Is my wife, Karina, yellow or white, Japanese or American? Her mother […]