Mementos 9: Revisiting New Haven: Will The Wolf Survive

Mementos 9: Revisiting New Haven:  Will The Wolf Survive

[I’m preparing for mitral valve surgery in November, 2016. One of the instructions is to bring mementos with me. The best way to do this without hiring a moving truck (Diana’s suggestion) is to put some of what I would bring with me on this blog. I can then access it on my phone. That is my goal here]

I wrote “Will The Wolf Survive” after a magnificent trip through Ohio, Western Pennsylvania and Upstate New York to New Haven, Connecticut.  The final destination was the 50th reunion of my James Hillhouse High School graduating class. In the piece, I wrote it was a quest for identity — certainly a matter of who am I now after 50 years away from high school; but much more importantly, who am I in relation to the native peoples who constructed massive burial and effigy mounds along the Ohio River, in relation to the fighters for the abolition of slavery memorialized at the John Brown Farm near Lake Placid. I want to find out who “my people” are.

I am not genetically descended from these people, but, as the Lakota saying goes, “We are all related.” In my view, we who are placed in the position of having to fight for the reorganization of society trace our descent from all those who have fought to make the social relations conform to the developing means of producing what we need to survive. In the final analysis we draw our strength from hundreds of thousands of years of learning how to live cooperatively, and all of our revolutionary struggles of the last 5,000 years can be seen as efforts to regain a new kind of cooperation and the joys that those societies propagated. Who are my people?  My people have always been the wretched of the earth. Please read “Will the Wolf Survive” here!

Here are just a few photos from that High School reunion:

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Jack Urquhart and me the night before the reunion dinner

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Ray Boyington, Diana and Jack having a grand old time

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Judith Fish, me and Elaine Marcus at a the reunion.  What’s significant about this is that the three of us had gone representing the school newspaper from Troup Junior High School to attend a journalism conference at Columbia University in New York. Dinner one night at the Rainbow Room! Missing from the picture is Russell Walter who had passed away.

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Yale University has a copy of the Gutenberg Bible on display. The technological leap that created this book was the forerunner of what created the possibility for mass communication in the vernacular languages of Europe, for the belief that the word of god is accessible to all, not merely a select group of clerics, that the world was understandable by all based on scientific investigation, and then to the political revolutions of the 18th and 19th centuries.  What hath technology wrought!

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The Amistad Memorial across from the New Haven Green, at the place where the African were imprisoned while their trial wended their way to the Supreme Court, where 2 years later they were exonerated and set free.  The figure is of Sengbe Pieh, known as Joseph Cinque.  The story of the slave rebellion can be found here.

 

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