August 1, 1791: Virginia Planter Robert Carter III Frees His Slaves

Robert Carter III filed a Deed of Gift to gradually emancipate his slaves (fifteen slaves each year over twenty-one years): “I have for some time past been convinced that to retain them in Slavery is contrary to the true principles of Religion and Justice and therefore it is my duty to manumit them.”

Andrew Levy’s The First Emancipator: the Forgotten Story of Robert Carter, the Founding Father Who Freed His Slaves details Carter’s life, the Deed of Gift, and the ideas behind it and the reactions to it. One anonymous correspondent wrote “A man has almost as good a right to set fire to his own building, though his neighbors is to be destroyed by it, as to free his Slaves.”

Best diet of them all

Maybe this doesn't qualify as a diet, but reading about food is my favorite way to enjoy food without having to worry about my waistline. Give it a try: Fork It Over.

The Search for Belle Prater by Ruth White

What happened to Belle Prater? Find out in this sequel to the Newbery Honor Book,
Belle Prater’s Boy (1996). Woodrow and Gypsy set out to find Woodrow’s mother, Belle. They are joined by Cassie, who has the gift of second sight and Joseph, a black teen runaway. They face issues of racism in the segregated south as they search for Joseph’s father and Woodrow’s mother. Ruth White weaves a mysterious tale that touches the depth of human emotion in this long awaited sequel.

Asra Nomani's campaign for religious equality

This week on Book TV, Asra Nomani talks with renowned Islamic scholar, Akbar Ahmed, about her book Standing alone in Mecca: An American woman’s struggle for the soul of Islam.

Ms. Nomani shocked her West Virginia mosque by walking through the front door and sitting in the main hall, two strictly forbidden acts. The mosque is now focused on banishing her. Ms. Nomani, a good friend of Danny Pearl’s, has a jaw-dropping pedigree of journalism credentials -- the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the New York Times, and Time Magazine, to name a few. In addition, she was a war correspondent in Afghanistan for Salon.com. In March of this year, Ms. Nomani organized a woman-led, mixed gender Muslim prayer in New York City.

Brains to Mush?

This morning 7-20-05 on Fresh Air, Steven Johnson, author of Everything Bad Is Good for You: how popular culture is actually making us smarter , argues that rather than turning our brains to mush, entertainment options like video games are so complex that our brains rise to the challenge.

Suicide Terroism

Morning Edition, July 19, 2005 · The London bombings are only one example of suicide terrorism, a technique that goes back to 1 A.D. Robert Pape, the author of Dying to win : the strategic logic of suicide terrorism, discusses the history of suicide attacks.

The Cardinals’ Nest Outside Our Front Door

When my wife was pruning the bush near our front door she discovered a cardinals' nest with four eggs. We could see the inside of the nest from our living room window. It seemed that the nestlings were only around for about a week but from reading Northern Cardinal, one of the Wild Bird Guides from Stackpole Books, I learned that "young cardinals typically fledge about ten or eleven days after hatching." I also learned that "during a nesting season, cardinal pairs may attempt to raise three, four, or even five broods." I may not have wanted to learn that "parents clean the nest of fecal material by eating the fecal sacs produced by their nestlings." Other titles in this series are the American Goldfinch, the Black-capped Chickadee, the Downy Woodpecker, the Red-tailed Hawk, the Ruby-throated Hummingbird, and the Tufted Titmouse.

Prison Angel

This morning 7-21-05 on the Diane Rehm show Diane talked with Mary Jordan & Kevin Sullivan: "Prison Angel" , a husband-and-wife foreign correspondent team, about one of the most memorable people they met during their recent assignment in Mexico -an American-born woman known as "Mother Antonia," who ministers to prisoners and the poor in Tijuana.

Scandinavian Chillers

When temperatures rise, cool off with He Who Fears the Wolf, the second mystery by the Norwegian author Karin Fossum to be published in this country. For those of us who loved the mysteries by Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo, she is a refreshing new addition to the small list of Scandinavian mystery writers. You can also explore the chillier political and social aspects of life in these frozen landscapes with Henning Mankell, Peter Hoeg and Kerstin Ekman.

Travels with Barley

Don’t miss this evening’s (Wednesday, July 27th) program at Malletts Creek Branch where the Ypsilanti Brewing Company will demonstrate the beer brewing process at 7 p.m.

For an informative and humorous look at beer culture in America, check out longtime Wall Street Journal writer and novelist Ken Well’s Travels with barley: a journey through beer culture in America. This is one man’s quest for the “perfect beer joint” that took him from Minnesota to St. Louis, from Delaware to the Big Easy. Along the way, you will be treated to historical, scientific and cultural insights into a $75 billion industry as well as a host of quirky characters and fine stories.

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