The Original Black American Patriots

The American cause hung by a thread in the summer of 1781.  The British were entrenched in New York, and the main Continental Army commanded by George Washington was incapable of dislodging them.  In Virginia a British Army of 7,000 men led by Lord Cornwallis wreaked havoc, opposed only by 900 Continentals led by General Lafayette.   Virginia Governor Thomas Jefferson and the Virginia Assembly had been chased from Richmond and Charlottesville.  Supplies to General Nathaniel Greene’s army in South Carolina were cut off.

Washington’s appeals to the states for reinforcements had gone unanswered, and when he decided to march South, to try to entrap Cornwallis, he had only 2,500 able bodied men.  They were actually outnumbered by the accompanying French force of 3,000 soldiers.

When they reached Virginia in September of 1781 Cornwallis was holed up at Yorktown.  His force had been decimated by malaria, the curse of all Europeans south of the Mason-Dixon line.  The rest of tbe history of the Battle of Yorktown is familiar to most literate Americans.  The British surrender effectively ended the War of Independence.  American sovereignty was born.

The small force of American soldiers who marched south with Washington 239 years ago had very few veterans left from the armies of 1775 to 1780.  These original Continentals had served their terms of enlistment, and had returned to their farms and families.  Washington took anyone who would serve, and hundreds of free blacks joined the cause, eager for gainful employment.  Of the 2500 strong force who arrived with Washington at Yorktown, as many as 20% were free blacks.  They had an inherent, genetic advantage over the Europeans.  Because their ancestors came from sub-Saharan Africa, they were naturally resistant to malaria, and were healthy able bodied men, fully capable of discharging their duties.

After the war these men established families of their own, and their descendants are a significant portion of today’s African-American population.  Some of them are probably part of the Black Lives Matter movement, and want to destroy the monuments to Washington around the country.

Their ancestors, the men who fought under Washington, would be horrified.  Like all Revolutionary War veterans, they treasured their memories of service under the Father of their country.  They were patriotic Americans, and their progeny should honor and revere them.  Even fight for them.

Today, for black Americans to speak up in defense of Washington, and the nation he founded, requires some courage.  But our common culture calls on them to speak out.  For how can a man die better, than facing fearful odds, for the ashes of his fathers, and the temples of his Gods.

[This is today’s American Thinker]



We live in two different worlds

The people at the New York Times are from a different planet than the one I live on.  They called President Trump’s Mount Rushmore speech “dark and divisive.”

Watch it yourself, beginning at minute 39.

It was a speech that needed to be made, was given as it needed to be given, and delivered when and where it should have been.


Jack Coghill, 1925-2019, R. I. P.

One of the biggest fights in my time in the Alaska legislature was in 1987 over a proposed constitutional amendment to give Alaska’s Natives a priority in the taking of fish and game.  It was the brainchild of U.S. Senator Ted Stevens, and he managed to get enough Republican votes in the Senate to get the 2/3 vote it needed.

Senator Jack Coghill of Nenana was one of his target votes, and the Stevens forces were organizing a boycott of Jack’s business.  I was the leader of the 16 member House Minority, and when I found out about this illegal maneuver I called the Juneau office of the FBI, and asked the local agent to come to my office in the Capitol to talk about it. Senator Rick Halford was there as well, and the news of the agent’s visit quickly spread through the legislature.  The boycott came to a screeching halt, and Jack held firm.

When Governor Steve Cowper called a special session that summer to try to muscle the bill through the House, I was on vacation in Santa Barbara with my family.  I had to jump on a plane to get back to Juneau, and my minority  caucus held firm.  We beat it with three votes to spare, thanks to the vote of then Democrat Dave Donley.

After the vote, Speaker Sam Cotten called me to the podium and told me the Governor wanted to talk to me.  I asked, “Why would I want to talk to him?”  Sam didn’t have an answer, and the special session was over.

One of the casualties of this vote was Senator Tim Kelly of Eagle River.  He ended his political career when he voted for the amendment.  But he was taken care of by Uncle Ted, and got a nice paying job out of it.  Before he left the legislature Tim passed a Resolution calling for the Anchorage International Airport to be named for Ted Stevens.  It was the only thing he did in the legislature that anyone remembers today.

In fact, the airport ought to be named for Jay Hammond, the 4th Governor of Alaska, and the man most responsible for the Alaska Permanent Fund.  All my time in Alaska, I was a Hammond man.  He was a great Governor, and a man’s man.  He and Jack Coghill are together now.

The kid from Alaska

One of my favorite stories is about the kid from Alaska, who gets admitted to Harvard.  He’s walking across the yard, sees a professor and asks, “Can you tell me where the library’s at?”

The professor says, “Young man, at Harvard we don’t end our sentences with prepositions.”

So the kid responds, “O.K., can you tell me where the library’s at, asshole?”