An Unknown ‘Hero’ Or A ‘Mad Man”?

It is Black history month and I try to bring some black history that has been missed in your education.

Have you ever heard of David Fagen?

The year is 1899 and the place is the Philippines.

You won’t find this story anywhere else for Black History Month, but you should! By the mid-1900’s, a “Buffalo Soldier” named David Fagen was virtually a household name, particularly in the African American community. Fagen’s story makes myth of the false contention that African Americans offered little resistance to institutionalized racism from the Civil War until the end of WWII.

Was Fagen a hero or “a mad dog”?  The answer is rooted in whether you believe that fighting against U.S. colonialism/imperialism in 1899, in this case the U.S. war of Philippine conquest, is righteous and worthy of giving rise to a true hero, martyr and courageous Buffalo Soldier, who deserted the U.S. side and joined the Philippine Revolutionary Army. The PRA was fighting to establish their own independent republic after the Spanish were kicked out.

In diaries and letters, Black soldiers posted in the Philippines. recounted how racism was endemic in the U.S. military, describing the racist abuses suffered by both African Americans and Filipinos.

Fagen was a native of Tampa, Florida, the youngest of 6 children of former slaves. He grew up where Jim Crow racial segregation laws prevailed. With the specter of lynching, race riots and the chain gang looming over Tampa’s Blacks, Fagen “lived in dread at all times.” Searching for any escape from Jim Crow, Fagen enlisted in 1898, being assigned to the 24th Infantry Regiment, a unit of so-called Buffalo Soldiers.

Expansionist USA, intent on developing a global commercial empire, dispatched 6000 African American soldiers, including 2100 of the famed Buffalo Soldiers, to the Philippines islands per President McKinley’s assessment that the racial inferiority of Filipinos justified denying them sovereignty and engaging in a bloody war of conquest. Fagen, now on the battlefield, detested his white commanding officer Lt. Moss, a West Point graduate. Moss and Fagen clashed repeatedly, with Moss eventually fining Fagen more than a month’s pay and sentencing him to 30 days of hard labor. Life was immutably altered when Fagen, after  a few months of battling Filipino rebels, turned his back on the U.S. army and joined Filipino revolutionaries who were actually fighting against American invaders.

Forgotten: an African American Soldier Turned Rebel Leader in the Philippines  

Regardless of what one thinks of his actions he is still a person from history and his life and actions should be studied.

Be Smart!

Learn Stuff!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”


Is It Really A “Cultural War”?

Recently I read an article about the measures that the GOP has introduced at attacks the culture of education in the US….

The right-wing campaign to censor what is read and taught at public schools, colleges, universities, and libraries across the United States is only growing more intense, as state lawmakers introduced dozens of educational gag orders in the first six weeks of 2023.

From the start of the new year through February 13, Republican lawmakers proposed 84 educational censorship bills and their Democratic counterparts unveiled two, according to an analysis published Thursday by PEN America, which updates its “Index of Educational Gag Orders” on a weekly basis.

As the free speech organization previously documented, more than 190 bills aimed at limiting the ability of educators and students to discuss the production of and resistance to myriad inequalities throughout U.S. history—including several proposals to establish so-called “tip lines” that would enable parents to punish school districts or individual teachers—were introduced in dozens of states in 2021 and 2022, with all but one authored by Republicans. In the past two years, 19 laws restricting the teaching of racism, gender, and sexuality were enacted in more than a dozen GOP-controlled states, plus eight measures imposed without legislation.

“The early returns from the 2023 legislative sessions suggest that lawmakers’ fervor to censor and ban content from educational institutions has not abated. Far from it,” four PEN America experts wrote Thursday. “They have outdone one another in a race to the bottom, finding new, more extreme, and more conspiratorial ways to impose censorious government dictates on teaching and learning.”

The analysis highlights trends in educational gag orders across four major categories: efforts to prohibit teaching about race, racism, and U.S. history; expanding censorship of sexuality and gender; legislation targeting higher education institutions; and particularly extreme proposals motivated by the growing influence of conspiracy theories.

The term ‘cultural war’ has been batted around as a political tactic….it came about when the GOP started attacking everything in the US culture.

A wave of Republican enthusiasm for banning concepts, authors and books is sweeping across the United States. Forty-four states have proposed bans on the teaching of “divisive concepts”, and 18 states have passed them.

Florida’s Stop Woke Act bans the teaching of eight categories of concepts, including concepts that suggest that “a person, by virtue of his or her race, color, sex, or national origin, bears personal responsibility for and must feel guilt, anguish or other forms of psychological distress because of actions, in which the person played no part, committed in the past by other members of the same race, color, national origin, or sex”. Many of the laws also target Nikole Hannah-Jones’s influential 1619 Project.

These laws have already started to take effect. Administrators and teachers have been forced out of their positions on the suspicion of violating these laws, and what has started as a trickle may soon become a flood.

All these attacks on education smacks of something that happened in Germany all those years ago.

Any thoughts?

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”