Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance
The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the
Obama's Greatest Speeches (CD set)
* * *
Counting on Your Silence, on Amnesia
Speech by President
University / Bowie, Maryland
Hello, Bowie! Oh, it is good to see you all. Thank you.
Thank you so much. It is—
(Obama, Obama, Obama)
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, BSU. Thank you.
Thank you so much. It's good to be back in Maryland.
It is an honor to be standing here with one of the
best governors in the United States of America, Martin
O'Malley. It's great to be with someone who has always
had my back, your congressman and our Majority Leader,
Steny Hoyer, in the House. I'm proud to be here with
your outstanding Senators, Barbara Mikulski and Ben
Cardin—some of your outstanding Congressmen, Chris Van
Hollen and Elijah Cummings and Donna Edwards and John
Sarbanes. I'm proud to be here with Lieutenant Governor
Anthony and I went to law school together. He looks
younger than me, though. Doesn't have as much grey hair.
And I want to thank the President of Bowie State,
Mickey Burnim. Thank you so much for your hospitality.
Now, let me say up front a few words about Martin.
Here is a man who made tough choices in tough times to
move Maryland forward. His rock-solid support for public
education has made Maryland schools the best in America
two years in a row, the best in America—not the best on
the East Coast, not the best in the Mid-Atlantic
states—the best in America.
His innovative policies have helped drive violent
crime down to its lowest level since 1975. His smart
leadership helped turn around Chesapeake Bay. And thanks
to decisions that he made, along with my good friend,
Tim Kaine, in Virginia, the blue crab population is up
60 percent over last year. And that's good news to folks
who make their living on the Bay, and it's good news to
folks who like good eating.
So Martin has been a great governor for a great
state—which is why I hope you are fired up in these last
few weeks. I hope you're ready to fight for Martin so he
can keep fighting for you. Because there's an election
coming up that's going to say a lot about the future—
your future, but also the future of this country.
(We love you, Obama!)
I love you back. But I've got a good—but I want to
talk about this election now. I do love you, though.
Two years ago, you defied the conventional wisdom in
Washington. You remember. They said, you can't overcome
the cynicism of our politics. You can't overcome the
power of the special interests. You can't make progress
on the big challenges of our time.
(Yes, we can!)
You can't elect an African American with a funny
name. They said, no, you can't.
(Yes, we can!)
I'm sorry, what did you say?
(Yes we can!)
You said, yes, we can.
(Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can!)
Now, here's the thing, though, here's the trick.
Because I know everybody here remembers the
inauguration, and even though it was cold, everybody was
having a great time. And Beyoncé was singing and—and
Bono. And everybody thought this is great.
But our victory in that campaign, that wasn't the end
of the road. That was the beginning. The campaign by
itself didn't deliver the change that we needed. It just
gave us the chance to make change happen. And it made
each of you shareholders in the mission of rebuilding
our country and reclaiming our future. And I'm back
today, two years later, because the success of that
mission is at stake. We've got a lot at stake right now.
On November 2nd, I'm going to need you just as fired up
as you were in 2008. Just as fired up.
I want to just go down Memory Lane here for the last
20 months, so we understand where we've been, what we
have to do, and where we're going. After that last
election, it was my hope that we could pull people
together, Democrats and Republicans, because we had to
confront the worst economic crisis since the Great
Depression—the worst by far in most of our lifetimes.
Because although we're proud to be Democrats, we're
prouder to be Americans. We wanted to bring everybody
together. And I know there are plenty of Republicans who
feel the same way in this country.
But, unfortunately, when we arrived in Washington,
the Republicans in Congress, they had a different idea.
They knew it would take more than a couple of years to
climb out of this unbelievable recession that they had
created. They knew that by the time the midterm rolled
around that people would still be out of work; that
people would still be frustrated. And they figured that
if we just sat on the sidelines and opposed every idea,
every compromise that I offered, if they spent all their
time attacking Democrats instead of attacking problems
that somehow they would prosper at the polls.
So they spent the last 20 months saying no—even to
policies that they'd supported in the past. No to middle
class tax cuts. No to help for small businesses. No to a
bipartisan deficit reduction commission that they had
once sponsored. I said yes; they said no. I'm pretty
sure if I said the sky was blue, they'd say no. If I
said there are fish in the sea, they'd say no. See,
their calculation was if Obama fails, then we win.
That was their calculation. Well, they might have
thought that playing political games would get them
through an election, but I knew it wasn't going to get
America through our crisis. So I made a different
choice. Instead of playing politics, I took whatever
steps were necessary to stop an economic freefall—I did
what we needed to do even if it wasn't popular, even if
it wasn't easy. Because you all did not elect me to do
what was easy. You didn't elect me to spend all day
looking at the polls and figuring out how to keep me in
office. You elected me to do what was right. That's why
you elected me, to do what's right.
And 20 months later, 20 months later, we no longer
face the possibility of a second depression. Our economy
is growing again. The private sector jobs have grown
eight months in a row. Thanks to Martin O'Malley's
leadership, Maryland has gained over 33,000 jobs since
January—the best start of a year since 2000—which, by
the way, was the last time Democrats were in charge.
There are three million Americans who wouldn't be
working today if it weren't for the economic plan we put
But the truth is we've still got a long way to go—we
all know that. The hole we were in was so deep. There
are still millions of Americans without work. There are
still millions of families who can barely pay the bills
or make a mortgage. Middle-class families, who were
struggling even before the crisis hit, and now they're
just treading water.
So, of course people are frustrated. People are
impatient with the pace of change. They want things to
move a little quicker. I understand that. I'm impatient,
too. But the other side, they don't have an answer. All
they have decided to do is to ride that frustration and
that anger all the way to the ballot box. And right now
you've got pundits who are saying, well, the other
party's supporters are more excited. They're saying
they're going to turn out at higher levels.
They say that all of you who worked so hard in 2008,
you might not be as pumped up, might not be as
You might not care as much—that you might be willing
to let the other folks who left the economy in a
shambles go back to Washington and go back to Annapolis.
Well, Maryland, I think the pundits are wrong. But
it's up to you to prove them wrong. Don't make me look
bad, now. I'm betting on you, not on them. But it's up
to you to defy the conventional wisdom. It's up to you
to show the pundits that you care too much to let this
country fall backwards. You want it to keep moving
forward; that you're ready to fight for our future.
So, make no mistake. This election is a choice. And
that choice could not be clearer. I mean, think about
it. This is not as if candidates in the other party were
offering new ideas. They didn't go meditate and say,
boy, we really messed up, let's try to figure out if we
can do some things better. That's not what happened.
It's not as if they've changed their agenda since the
last time they ran Washington or the last time they ran
In fact, the chairman of one of their campaign
committees promised that if Republicans take control of
Congress, they will follow "the exact same agenda" they
pursued during the last administration.
That's what they said. And we all know what that
agenda was. Basically, you've been there, done that. . .
. Basically, what they're saying is we're going to cut
taxes, mostly for millionaires and billionaires. Then
we're going to cut regulations for special interests.
We're going to cut back on investments in education and
clean energy, in research and technology. And basically,
the idea is if we just put blind faith in the
marketplace and if we let corporations play by their own
rules, and we leave everybody else to fend for
themselves, then America is going to somehow grow and
prosper. What did this young lady say? Been there, done
I mean, there is a problem with their approach, which
is we tried it, and it didn't work. It didn't work for
middle-class families who saw their incomes fall by 5
percent when they were in power. Middle class incomes
fell. That's not—don't take my word for it. That's the
Wall Street Journal. Meanwhile, your costs for
everything from health care to college tuition went
up—when they were in charge. Job growth, when they were
in charge, was slower than any time since World War II.
Think about that. They weren't creating jobs. They're
going around talking about jobs now. They had eight
years. They took a record surplus left by President Bill
Clinton—they came back with a record deficit by the time
I took office. Now, they're out there talking about
deficit reduction. We saw what you had to do with the
deficit. It didn't work when there was a free-for-all on
Wall Street that led to a crisis that we're still
struggling through today.
Now, I bring this up not to re-litigate the past. I
just don't want to relive the past. I don't want to go
through that mess again. That's the philosophy the other
side wants to bring to Washington and wants to bring to
Annapolis if they win in November. That's the philosophy
that Martin's opponent espouses. Republicans might have
given it a new name—they called it "The Pledge to
America"—but it's the same old snake oil they've been
peddling for years. Same old stuff. Same old stuff.
Now, I want everybody to take a look at this "Pledge
to America." It's interesting—they put it out with great
fanfare, but now nobody is really talking about it. But
let's examine their Pledge. For starters, it turns out
the Pledge was actually written in part by a former
lobbyist for AIG and Exxon-Mobil.
You can't make this stuff up. . . . So they helped
write this thing. The centerpiece of the Pledge, their
big idea, is a $700 billion tax cut for the wealthiest
two percent of Americans. That's their big idea. So how
many folks here make more than $250,000 a year? Just a
show of hands here. All right. You need to donate to
Martin O'Malley's campaign. . . . For the rest of you,
their idea isn't much. I mean, these are the folks who
want to lecture us on fiscal responsibility. They want
to borrow $700 billion, and then they want to give out
tax cuts worth an average of $100,000 to millionaires
And when you ask them, well, where you going to get
this $700 billion, they don't have an answer. They don't
have an answer. They don't know. I guess we'd have to
borrow it from China. . . .
But when you look at the "Pledge to America," it
turns out they do have an idea about how to pay for a
small portion of it. They want to cut education by 20
That's a cut that would reduce financial aid for
eight million college students, including a whole bunch
of college students right here at BSU.
Now, I want to just focus on this for a minute,
because here in Maryland, you know understand how
important education is to our economy, how important it
is to our future. Martin O'Malley knows that, too. His
opponent raised college tuition in this state by 40
percent when he was in charge. This is at a time when
the economy was doing better. Now, even in the toughest
of times, over the last two years, Martin O'Malley froze
in-state tuition, so he kept the cost of this school and
other schools affordable for Maryland's families. And
thanks to his unprecedented investment in Maryland's
education, as I said before, you've been ranked the best
when it comes to public schools the last two years in a
row. That's what Martin O'Malley does. He walks the
walk, doesn't just talk the talk.
But we can't maintain this progress if our opponents
have their way. At a time when the education of our
country's citizens is one of the biggest predictors of
economic success, they think it's more important to give
another tax break to folks who don't need it and weren't
even asking for them than to invest in our young people.
Let me ask you—I want to ask my Republican friends a
question here: Do you think China is cutting back on
education right now?
Do you think South Korea is making it harder for its
citizens to get a college education?
Those countries aren't playing for second place. And
guess what. The United States does not play for second
place. We play for first place. We're going to make
investments in you.
As long as I am President, and as long as Martin
O'Malley is your governor, we will not allow politicians
in Washington or Annapolis sacrifice your education for
tax cuts we can't afford. That is the choice in this
Martin, me, Barbara, Steny, the rest of the folks up
on this stage, we've got a different idea about what the
next two years should look like, and it's an idea rooted
in our belief about how this country was built. We know
government doesn't have all the answers to our problems.
We don't believe that government's main role is to
create jobs or prosperity. We think government should be
lean, we think it should be efficient.
That's why Martin actually cut spending by $5
billion. He's reduced the size of government in this
state. That's why I've proposed a three-year freeze and
set up a bipartisan fiscal commission to deal with our
But what we also understand, in the words of the
first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln, is that
government should do for the people what they cannot do
better for themselves.
(I think we might have had somebody faint down here.
So if we got the paramedics— right here up front,
everybody is pointing at him. Now—they'll be all right,
just make sure you give him some space. And if somebody
has a bottle of water, you might want to get it to him.)
Look, we believe in a country that rewards hard work
and responsibility. We believe in a country where we
look after one another; where say, I am my brother's
keeper, I am my sister's keeper. That's the America I
know. That's the America Martin cares about. That's the
choice in this election.
Instead of tax breaks for millionaires and
billionaires, we want to make permanent the tax cuts we
gave to middle-class Americans—because you deserve a
break. Instead of the other side's plan to keep tax
breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas, we want to
give tax breaks to companies that invest right here in
the United States of America, to small businesses,
American manufacturers, American clean energy companies.
I don't want solar panels and wind turbines and electric
cars built in Asia or built in Europe. I want them made
right here in the United States of America by American
(USA! USA! USA!)
Instead of cutting education, cutting student aid, we
want to make permanent our new college tax credit. This
is a credit worth $10,000 in tuition relief for every
young person going to four years of college. That means
you, Bowie State.
We will fight to keep the reforms we've made to the
student loan system. Thanks to those reforms, tens of
billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies that would
have gone to big banks are now going to where they
should—to students like you.
If the other side wins, they'll try their hardest to
give free rein back to the insurance companies and the
credit card companies and the Wall Street banks that
we're finally holding accountable. We can't let them do
that. We can't go back to the days of taxpayer-funded
bailouts, or when credit card companies could just jack
up your rates without reason. We can't go back to the
days when insurance companies could just drop your
coverage because you're sick. We've got to keep in place
the new law that says if you're out there looking for a
job or have one that don't offer you coverage, you
should be able to stay on your parents' insurance policy
until you're 26 years old.
That's the choice in this election. That's what's at
stake right now. So, Maryland, it comes down to this: A
lot of folks running in the other party, these are the
exact same people who spent the last decade driving this
economy into a ditch. And so, for the last 20 months, me
and Martin and Steny and Barbara and all these folks, we
have gotten down into the ditch, put on our boots. We're
down there. It's hot. We were sweating. Bugs everywhere.
We're down there pushing, pushing, pushing on the car.
Every once in a while we'd look up and see the
Republicans standing there. They're just standing there
fanning themselves . . . sipping on a Slurpee. . . .
And we'd say, "Come on down and help." They'd say, "No,
that's all right." . . . They say, "You're not pushing
the right way. You got to push faster."
And we just kept on pushing and pushing. And finally
we got this car up on level ground. Finally we got it
up on level ground. Now, this car is a little beat up
now because they drove it into the ditch. It's got some
dents, needs a tune-up. But it's pointing in the right
We want to start back on that road to prosperity, but
suddenly we feel this tap on our shoulder—we look back,
who is it? It's the Republicans. And they say, "We want
the keys back." And we got to tell them, you can't have
the keys back because you don't know how to drive. . . .
You don't know how to drive. We'll give you a ride if
you want, but you got to sit in the backseat. We'll take
you to prosperity but you got to sit in the backseat
because you don't know how to drive.
Have you ever noticed, when you get in your car if
you want to go forward, what do you do? You got to put
it in "D." If you want to go backwards, what do you do?
You put it in "R." That is not a coincidence. We don't
want to go backwards.
But it's up to you to make sure they don't get the
keys back. See, the other side sees a chance to get back
in the driver's seat. And, by the way, thanks to a
recent Supreme Court decision, they are being helped
this year like we've never seen before by special
interest groups that are spending unlimited amounts of
money on attack ads. And then they don't disclose who is
behind them. . . . Because of the Supreme Court law,
they don't have to disclose who is behind it.
It could be the oil companies. It could be the
insurance industry. It could be Wall Street. You don't
know. Their lips are sealed. The floodgates are open,
though. And almost every one of these independent
organizations is run by Republican operatives. They're
posing as nonprofit, non-political groups. They've got
names like "Americans for Prosperity," or the "Committee
for Truth in Politics," or Moms for Motherhood.
Actually, the last one I made up. . . .
But you'd think—there was a recent report that in
recent weeks, conservative groups like this have
outspent Democratic groups by seven to one.
(There's another one up here who got a little hot.
Let him sit down. Let him sit down. All right, you got
another bottle of water? If we can get another bottle of
water up here and a medic up here. Now, I want you to
remember, next time you guys come out here, make sure
you drink something and eat something before you're
standing here, especially when you got a bunch of
politicians talking. . . .)
But I want you to understand this, because this is
important. It is estimated that Democratic groups are
being outspent seven to one. In Indiana's Senate race,
it's nearly six to one. In a House race there, a
conservative group has spent nearly as much as both
parties combined. In Colorado, they're outspending the
Democratic Party nearly two to one. In Missouri, the
Republicans' Senate Committee hasn't spent a dime, but
outside groups have dropped $2 million of negative ads
to help the Republican candidate.
Just this week, we learned that one of the largest
groups paying for these ads regularly takes in money
from foreign corporations. So groups that receive
foreign money are spending huge sums to influence
American elections, and they won't tell you where the
money for their ads come from.
So this isn't just a threat to Democrats. All
Republicans should be concerned. Independents should be
concerned. This is a threat to our democracy. The
American people deserve to know who's trying to sway
their elections. . . . And if we just stand by and allow
the special interests to silence anybody who's got the
guts to stand up to them, our country is going to be a
very different place.
So here's the bottom line. We're going to need to
work even harder in this election. We're going to need
to fight their millions of dollars with millions of
voices—everybody here who is ready to finish what we
started in 2008. Because if everybody who fought for
change in 2008 shows up on November 2nd, I am absolutely
confident we will win.
What the other side is counting on, the other side is
counting on, is that this time around you're going to
stay home. They're counting on your silence. They're
counting on amnesia. They're counting on your apathy,
especially the young people here. They don't believe
you're going to come out and vote. They figure Obama is
not on the ballot; you're not going to come out and
Maryland, you've got to prove them wrong. Let's show
Washington one more time change doesn't come from the
top. It doesn't come from millions of dollars of attack
ads funded by special interests. Change happens from the
bottom up. Change happens because of you.
So I know times are tough. And I know we're a long
way from the hope and the excitement we all felt on
election night and inauguration day. But we always knew
this was going to take time. We always knew it was going
to be hard. I said it was going to be hard. Change has
always been hard.
From the first days of our nation, every time
Americans have tried to bring about real, meaningful
change, we faced setbacks and disappointments. From the
founding of this country—George Washington experienced
setbacks and disappointments. We've had to face fear and
doubt. Harriet Tubman had fear and doubt. But as
Americans, we have always moved forward. We have always
kept fighting. We've always remembered that in the
United States of America, our destiny is not written for
us; it is written by us. That's how we got through war.
That's how we got through depression. That's what civil
rights workers understood. That's how we got women's
rights and workers' rights. And that's what's being
tested right now.
And if we've got the courage to keep moving forward,
even in the face of difficulty, even in the face of
uncertainty, I guarantee if all of you are out there
knocking on doors and making phone calls, and voting for
Martin O'Malley and Barbara Mikulski and the rest of the
Democratic ticket, then we are not just going to win
this election, but we are going to make sure that the
American Dream is alive and well for future generations.
Thank you, everybody. God bless you. And God bless
the United States of America.
7 October 2010 4 pm
* * *
Obama Heckler At Bowie State—October
7, 2010—A heckler tried to disrupt
President Obama's speech at Bowie State University. The
president was at the school for a campaign rally for
Governor Martin O'Malley and Senator Barbara Mikulski.—YouTube
* * *
Obama Speech at Bowie State—October
7, 2010—President Barack Obama
made an historic visit to Bowie State University, the
oldest historically black college in Maryland, on
October 07, 2010. This is a video record of that event.—C-Span
* * *
Obama's White Men: Do They Hear Something Blacks
Don't?—Glen Ford—Obama wasn't taking any chances. His
strategy from the very beginning has been to flip the historical
script by appealing directly to the most backward demographic in
electoral politics: white males. This "white male
strategy"—smelling eerily of a previous Republican "southern
strategy"—required constant assurances to white men that Obama's
run would signal the end of race as a point of political
contention in the United States. No longer would whites,
especially males, be compelled to answer for their privileged
status. A 40-plus year annoyance was nearly over, since Blacks
had "already come 90 percent of the way" to equality. Obama told
them so. Reagan-loving whites—especially the white men who have
always led the "backlash" against real and perceived African American
gains—found themselves wooed by a Black man who understood their sense of
revulsion at "the excesses of the Sixties and Seventies." Wow! That's the
kind of change we've been waiting for, exclaimed increasing numbers of white
males. A new day beckoned, free at last of psychological harassment from the
likes of Reverends Jesse and Al. . . .
But that's OK. Obama knows his most enthusiastic
supporters—the ones that claim him as their own as a matter of blood - will
stick by him without complaint. Hell, their "leaders" show every sign of
allowing him to wine and dine and make promises to everybody else BUT them,
at least until he is comfortably in office - maybe for the entirety of his
first term. For the time being, though, Black folks aren't even hearing what
he's saying to the white men or anybody else - they're just enjoying the
music: "It's been a long, a long time coming, but I know, a change gonna
* * *
Threat Response—Charles M. Blow—October
16, 2010—The president and fellow Democrats have taken a
page from the Republican playbook. They’re unabashedly using
racial-solidarity politics to animate voters. In this case, the
Democrats’ appeal is to black voters, the most unwavering
portion of President Obama’s base, and the message is simple:
The president is under attack, and black voters must mobilize to
protect him. . . . And Friday, The Washington Post
reported that a poll by that newspaper, the Henry J. Kaiser
Family Foundation and Harvard University found that “80 percent
of black Democrats are as interested or more interested in the
midterms than they were in the 2008 presidential election.”
And Friday, The Washington Post
reported that a poll by that newspaper, the Henry J. Kaiser Family
Foundation and Harvard University found that “80 percent of black Democrats
are as interested or more interested in the midterms than they were in the
2008 presidential election.”
A large black turnout next month could
prove decisive and upset the predictions of most pundits. If blacks do turn
out in record numbers, it would almost certainly be because they are drawn
out by their devotion to Obama, a devotion he’s counting on. As the
told an audience last week at
Bowie State University, a historically black
college, in Maryland: “I think the pundits are wrong. But it’s up to you to
prove them wrong. Don’t make me look bad, now.”—NYTimes
Smoke and Horrrs /
Marijuna Policy Report
* * *
* * *
By Lizz Wright
Don´t tell me to stop
Tell the rain not to drop
Tell the wind not to blow
Because you said so
Tell me love is not true
It´s just something we do
Tell me everything I´m not
But don´t tell me to stop
Tell the sun not to shine
Not to get up this time
Let it fall by the way
Leave me here, where I lay
Tell the leaves not to turn
But don´t tell me I´ll learn
Take the black off a crow
But don´t tell me to go
Tell the bed not to lay
Like the mouth of a grave
Not to stare up at me
Like a calf on its knees
Keep on telling me love isn't true
It's just something we do
Tell me everything that I'm not
But don't tell me to stop
* * *
* * * * *
Super Rich: A Guide to Having it All
By Russell Simmons
Russell Simmons knows firsthand that
wealth is rooted in much more than the
market. True wealth has more to do with
what's in your heart than what's in your
wallet. Using this knowledge, Simmons
became one of America's shrewdest
entrepreneurs, achieving a level of
success that most investors only dream
about. No matter how much material gain
he accumulated, he never stopped lending
a hand to those less fortunate. In
Super Rich, Simmons uses his rare
blend of spiritual savvy and
street-smart wisdom to offer a new
definition of wealth-and share timeless
principles for developing an unshakable
sense of self that can weather any
financial storm. As Simmons says, "Happy
can make you money, but money can't make
* * *
The Making of African America: The Four Great Migrations
By Ira Berlin
Berlin (Many Thousands
Gone) offers a fresh reading of American history through the
prism of the great migrations that made and remade African and
African American life. The first was the forcible deportation of
Africans to North America in the 17th and 18th centuries,
followed by their forced transfer into the American interior
during the 19th century. Then came the migration of the mid-20th
century as African-Americans fled the South for the urban North,
and the arrival of continental Africans and people of African
descent from the Caribbean during the latter part of the 20th
Berlin sees migration and
the reshaping of communities to their new environments as
central to the African-American experience.Movement is a
matter of numbers, and Berlin provides them in detail kept fully readable by
his attention to the cultural products of the shifts. In particular, he
follows the church as it moves, the music as it takes on new themes, and
kinship as it broadens. Berlin's careful scholarship is evidenced in his
rich notes; the ordinary reader will be pleased by the fluidity and clarity
of his prose.—Publishers
* * * * *
The White Masters of the
The World and Africa, 1965
By W. E. B. Du Bois
W. E. B. Du Bois’
Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization
* * *
Ancient African Nations
* * * * *
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Negro Digest /
Browse all issues
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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan
The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll
Only a Pawn in Their Game
Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for
George Jackson /
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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg
Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804
January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of
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(Books, DVDs, Music, and more)
posted 19 October 2010