Americans Tend to Be Industrious, Doers, But Don’t Take Enough Time for Reflection


“In America, we hurry–which is well; but when the day’s work is done, we go on thinking of losses and gains, we plan for the morrow, we even carry our business cares to bed with us…we burn up our energies with these excitements, and either die early or drop into a lean and mean old age at a time of life which they call a man’s prime in Europe…What a robust people, what a nation of thinkers we might be, if we would only lay ourselves on the shelf occasionally and renew our edges!” — Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad. Mark Twain Facebook page.

Mark Twain home in Hartford, CT.

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Meanwhile, in Canada…Two Minutes of Pure Joy

I haven’t visited much of Canada. This makes me want to see more of it.


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In 315 Years, Europeans Enslaved More Than 12.5 Million Africans.

North America was a bit player in the global slave trade. Overall, in 315 years, Europeans enslaved and transported more than 12.5 million Africans, according to Slate’s “History of American Slavery Academy.”

“From the trade’s beginning in the 16th century to its conclusion in the 19th, slave merchants brought the vast majority of enslaved Africans to two places: the Caribbean and Brazil. Of the more than 10 million enslaved Africans to eventually reach the Western Hemisphere, just 388,747—less than 4 percent of the total—came to North America. This was dwarfed by the 1.3 million brought to Spanish Central America, the 4 million brought to British, French, Dutch, and Danish holdings in the Caribbean, and the 4.8 million brought to Brazil.” — and ,

An interactive map shows where slaves came from and where they went.


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Mexico City Beckons

I’ve never been to Mexico. This article makes me want to visit Mexico City.

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It’s Difficult for Americans NOT to Have America-Centric View of the World

Spending a few weeks in the states, I had to consciously fight against the mindset that America is the center of the universe. My experiences as a world traveler tell me that the US most definitely is not the center of the universe, but US-based media certainly give me the impression that it is. Ours is such a huge country that domestic news fills almost all of the available time and space in a given day for news. I decided to forgo some of the endless chatter and speculation about the domestic scene and instead listen to PRI’s The World, read The Economist and peruse National Geographic.

To avoid an America-centric outlook, it seems to me you have to CONSCIOUSLY and DELIBERATELY CHOOSE to tap into international media and seek out international perspectives to avoid becoming ethnocentric.
* And yet, paradoxically, Americans who do travel are some of the most open-minded and least bigoted people on the planet. Because of the civil rights revolution America went through less than 50 years ago, Americans generally consider it politically incorrect to engage in ethnic slurs. Other nationalities routinely engage in negative generalizations about people from neighboring countries. Bigotry is common and socially acceptable in these countries.

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How We Are All Related


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80 Years of Photographs By NC’s Hugh Morton

Hugh Morton, pioneering North Carolina photographer for 80 years, from the 1920s to early 2000s, left his huge archive to his wife, who in 2007 donated it to the North Carolina Collection at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The blog, “A View to Hugh,” was created in 2007 to publish Morton’s iconic photos in context, and has won awards.

For me so far the most interesting posts are about the UNC athletic program and celebrities: famous journalists, musicians, and actors native to NC such as Andy Griffith; visiting politicians and presidents, including Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy.

From the “About” page:

In late 2009, the North Carolina Humanities Council, a statewide nonprofit and affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities funded the hiring of a group of scholars and writers to produce thirteen essays (1,000-1,500-words long, based on 3-5 images), highlighting some of the predominant themes represented in the Hugh Morton photographic collection.  These essay are a part of A View to Hugh. We highly encourage readers to comment on these essays to add your voice to the these in-depth analyses.

Now that the collection is processed and available for use, A View to Hugh now relates stories or provides background information about individual or groups of images within the collection, with the same goal of encouraging dialog among its visitors.  The blog also serves as a springboard into the digital collection of more than 8,000 images available for viewing online.

So please visit often, make comments, help us identify people and places depicted in the Morton photographs, and enjoy treasures from this wonderful and important collection!

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