Introducing: The Transatlantic World of James McCune Smith
Ordinary Philosophy by Amy Cools
by amymcools
1M ago
Hello! I’d like to introduce my new Substack newsletter dedicated to the transatlantic world of the great American physician and intellectual James McCune Smith. I’m delighted to announce – to all who may not know already – that I’m writing a biography of him, under contract with the University of Georgia Press. (It will be his first published scholarly biography, to my knowledge, building on my PhD thesis, the first completed book-length monograph on his life.) This newsletter will share intriguing discoveries and facts about McCune Smith’s life and his world that I come across – and have al ..read more
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New Article: James McCune Smith and Glasgow: A Scholar’s Transatlantic Journey, 1821-1837
Ordinary Philosophy by Amy Cools
by amymcools
1y ago
Illustration of James McCune Smith from “Builders of History and Civilization: Pfeiffer Presents Dr. James McCune Smith, Physician and Scholar, 1813-1864.” Detroit Tribune, 9 March 1940. Dear friends of Ordinary Philosophy: My scribbling away continues! I’ve just written an article for the University of Glasgow’s Beniba Centre for Slavery Studies. It discusses James McCune Smith’s early years as a scholar and his years at the University of Glasgow, where he earned his bachelor’s, master’s, and medical degrees between 1832-1837. As you’ll see in the article, McCune Smith’s time in Glasgow deepl ..read more
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New Journal Article: ‘Roots: Tracing the Family History of James McCune and Malvina Barnett Smith, 1783-1937’
Ordinary Philosophy by Amy Cools
by Ordinary Philosophy
2y ago
Patrick H. Reason (1816-1898), James McCune Smith (1813–1865) (detail), ca. 1850, Engraving, The New-York Historical Society, Gift of A.D.F. Randolph and Co., 1868. Used with permission. Dear friends of Ordinary Philosophy, Though I’ve largely suspended writing original pieces for OP while I’m pursuing my doctorate degree at the University of Edinburgh – I’m in my final year – I’ve by no means stopped writing. My three-part article ‘Roots: Tracing the Family History of James McCune and Malvina Barnett Smith, 1783-1937’ has recently been published in the Journal of the Afro-American Historica ..read more
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James McCune Smith Predicted African American Preeminence in U.S. Art and Culture
Ordinary Philosophy by Amy Cools
by Ordinary Philosophy
2y ago
In the 1843 published version of his 1841 lecture “The Destiny of the People of Color,” African American physician, intellectual, author, classicist, and human rights activist James McCune Smith (1813–1865) reflected on the future of his oppressed people. From the midst of their shared struggle for freedom from slavery and prejudice, he found hope: For we are destined to write the literature of this republic, which is still, in letters, a mere province of Great Britain. We have already, even from the depths of slavery, furnished the only music this country has yet produced. We are also destine ..read more
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To Lockdown, or Not to Lockdown
Ordinary Philosophy by Amy Cools
by Ordinary Philosophy
3y ago
Liberate Minnesota protest at the Governor’s Residence in St Paul, Minnesota by Lorie Shaull, via Wikimedia Commons Protests which have recently arisen in parts of the United States and Brazil claim that economic disruption caused by lockdowns imposed to halt the spread of SARS-CoV-2 are more dangerous than Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Protestors in the United States, in public spaces and online, also argue that the lockdowns consist of unconstitutional violations on personal rights to move freely, to assemble, and to work, and that Covid-19 is not very deadly anywa ..read more
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Better Times A’Comin?
Ordinary Philosophy by Amy Cools
by Ordinary Philosophy
3y ago
US Capitol Building under repair, Washington DC, photo 2016 by Amy Cools In her new opinion piece in The New York Times, Anne Marie Slaughter identifies and describes a heartening array of individuals, organizations, and businesses in the United States and around the world that have done things right, and new and better attitudes and practices that may arise out of the COVID-19 crisis. Slaughter doesn’t address the issue directly in this piece, but it’s been my hope that this crisis will finally force government and business sectors to develop efficient, targeted work training and redeployme ..read more
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Say What? Frederick Douglass on Righteous Indignation
Ordinary Philosophy by Amy Cools
by Ordinary Philosophy
3y ago
Frederick Douglass c. 1855, and the first edition of his first newspaper The North Star, Dec 3 1847, public domain via the Library of Congress ‘We should be cautious how we indulge in the feelings of virtuous indignation. It is the handsome brother of anger and hatred’ ~ Frederick Douglass, The North Star, Aug. 15, 1850 ~ Ordinary Philosophy is a labor of love and ad-free, supported by patrons and readers like you. Any support you can offer will be deeply appreciated ..read more
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American Contempt
Ordinary Philosophy by Amy Cools
by Ordinary Philosophy
3y ago
US Capitol Building under repair, Washington DC, photo 2016 by Amy Cools Like so many others, I’m deeply disturbed, and yes, frightened, by the recent diatribe by the President of the United States against the legitimacy and patriotism of four United States Congresswomen, and by those who support his remarks. My native country has long been a beacon of hope and a refuge for those around the world who rejoice that there’s a country, founded and built by immigration, which is dedicated to universal principles of human rights. That beacon is currently being dimmed by the mud of hatred, bigotry ..read more
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Happy Birthday, Ida B. Wells!
Ordinary Philosophy by Amy Cools
by Ordinary Philosophy
3y ago
In the course of my journey following the life of Frederick Douglass in 2016, I was so glad to have the opportunity to visit the place in New York City where he may have first met the great Ida B. Wells. It was late 1892, and the fiery young newspaperwoman had published her controversial piece of investigative journalism in the New York Age on June 25, 1892. It was expanded and published as a pamphlet later that year as Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases. Many people at that time thought of lynching as an unfortunate and somewhat rare excess of race-hatred by frustrated Southern whi ..read more
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Why Spinoza, Why Now? Essay Two, by Charles Saunders
Ordinary Philosophy by Amy Cools
by Ordinary Philosophy
3y ago
Portrait of Baruch de Spinoza (1632-1677), ca. 1665, by an unknown artist A Reason to Believe Spinoza’s Explication of the Many Facets of the Divinity In Ethics Part One – Concerning God Plus, a Challenge for the Reader – Pascal’s Wager with a 21st Century Twist (Find Part One here) Spinoza’s convention of the Triumvirate of Substance/god/Nature as synonymous interchangeable parts will be adhered to throughout this essay. On our contemporary scene, where arguments for or against the existence of God are quietly receding into the background, the question of why to re-introduce the nearly ancien ..read more
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