Edmond Taylor

Edmond Taylor

Edmond Taylor was a journalist who published The Strategy of Terror in 1939. Donald Chase Downes, in his autobiography, The Scarlett Thread (1953) argues that it was Taylor's book that inspired him to join the British Security Coordination: "I suppose it was Edmond Taylor who led me into my five years' career of paralegal crime. In 1939 he had published The Strategy of Terror, which described how Hitler was deploying a fifth column through all the democratic world and by paralysing the will to resist. I read the book over and over; it explained all the things I had seen on my recent trips to Europe."

Ernest Cuneo, who worked for British Security Coordination (BSC) made contact with Taylor. Jennet Conant, the author of The Irregulars: Roald Dahl and the British Spy Ring in Wartime Washington (2008) argues that he was "empowered to feed select British intelligence items about Nazi sympathizers and subversives" to friendly journalists such as Taylor, Walter Winchell, Drew Pearson, Walter Lippman, Dorothy Thompson, Vincent Sheean, Raymond Gram Swing, Edward Murrow, Eric Sevareid, Edgar Ansel Mowrer, Ralph Ingersoll, and Whitelaw Reid, who "were stealth operatives in their campaign against Britain's enemies in America".

Taylor admitted to what he did for the BSC via his contact with Robert E. Sherwood, in his autobiography, Awakening from History (1971): "The propaganda wing, called the Foreign Information Service, was to be headed by Robert E. Sherwood, the noted playwright and one of President Roosevelt's most talented speech writers. I knew Sherwood slightly, from some of the overlapping interventionist committees with which we were both connected, and admired him greatly."

In an interview with Thomas E. Mahl, for his book, Desperate Deception: British Covert Operations in the United States, 1939-44 (1998), Edmond Taylor, admitted the role played by the British Security Coordination in his journalism: "What they did more often, especially before Pearl Harbor and in the early months of the war, was to connive, usually is non-committally as possible, with Americans like myself who were willing to go out of regular (or even legal) channels to try to bend U.S. policy towards objectives that the British, as well as the Americans in question, considered desirable."

Percy Winner has argued on the publication of Taylor's Richer by Asia (1947): "Edmond Taylor is an intelligent, sensitive, political journalist who, after some fifteen years as a correspondent in France, served during the war as an expert in cloak-and-dagger psychological warfare, then spent several years in India. Richer by Asia is an interesting, colorful description of how, personally enriched by his experiences in the East and by the introspection they induced, Mr. Taylor became an ardent and eloquent missionary for the concept of one world not only as a universal political goal but as the specific means of the western individual's personal psychological integration."

I suppose it was Edmond Taylor who led me into my five years' career of paralegal crime. I read the book over and over; it explained all the things I had seen on my recent trips to Europe.

The propaganda wing, called the Foreign Information Service, was to be headed by Robert E. I knew Sherwood slightly, from some of the overlapping interventionist committees with which we were both connected, and admired him greatly.

Edmond Taylor Papers, 1935-1992 | MS Manuscripts

Edmond Taylor was born on February 13, 1908 in St. Louis, Missouri. He attended Washington University in St. Louis, but abandoned school during his freshman year for journalism, starting as a police reporter for the St. Louis Globe-Democrat. Traveling to Europe in 1928, Taylor joined the Chicago Tribune’s Paris edition, first as a reporter then as news editor. He joined the Chicago Tribune’s foreign news service in 1930 and became head of the Paris Bureau in 1933. Taylor covered the major events leading up to World War II, including the rise of Nazi Germany, the Spanish Civil War, the Austrian Anschluss, Mussolini’s invasion of Ethiopia, and the fall of France.

Taylor’s book, The Strategy of Terror, was published in 1940 and played an important role in revealing the nature and methods the psychological warfare waged by Nazi Germany. As a result, he was invited to join the Office of Coordinator of Information (1941-1942) and later the planning board of the Office of Strategic Services (1942-1946). In 1943, he served as a Navy commander in the North African Theater, and then, until 1946 as a member of Lord Louis Mountbatten’s staff in the South East Asia Command. Taylor was awarded the Bronze Star. Taylor returned to the United States in 1946 and wrote about his experiences in India and Thailand in Richer By Asia, published in 1947.

Between 1948 and 1950, Taylor worked in the Mass Communications Department of UNESCO. Taylor then worked as study director for the Council on Foreign Relations on a project on strengthening democratic leadership abroad (1950-1952), a consultant for the Office of Public Affairs for HICOG (1951), and as Assistant Director for Office of Plans and Policy for the Psychological Strategy Broad (1952).

Beginning in 1954, Taylor served as chief European correspondent of The Reporter magazine. Taylor also wrote a weekly newspaper column for a number of American dailies including the Washington Post. In addition, Taylor published two more books, the Fall of the Dynasties (1963) and Awakening From History (1969).

Taylor had two children, William and Caroline, with his first wife, Irene Silverstein Taylor. He also had two children, Michael and Anne, with his second wife, Anne Verena de Salis Taylor. He passed away at the age of 90 on March 30, 1998.

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Early life and education Edit

Edmund Taylor Whittaker was born in Southport, in Lancashire, the son of John Whittaker Esq. and his wife, Selina Septima Taylor. [3] He was described as an "extremely delicate child", necessitating his mother to home school him until he was eleven years old, when he was sent off to Manchester Grammar School. [8] Ernest Barker, a classmate of Whittaker's at the Grammar School with whom he shared the office of prefect, later recalled his personality: "He had a gay, lively, bubbling spirit: he was ready for every prank: he survives in my memory as a natural actor and I think he could also, on occasion, produce a merry poem." [9] While at the school, Whittaker studied on the "classical side", devoting three-fifths of his time to Latin and Greek. [8] Whittaker struggled with the poetry and drama which was required by the upper school, and expressed gratitude for being allowed to leave these studies behind and specialise in mathematics. [8]

In December 1891 Whittaker received an entrance scholarship to Trinity College, Cambridge. [1] [8] After completing his education at the Manchester Grammar School he went on to studied Maths and Physics there from 1892 to 1895. [10] He entered Trinity College as a minor scholar in October 1892 to study mathematics. [11] Whittaker was the pupil of Andrew Russell Forsyth and George Howard Darwin while at Trinity College and received tutoring throughout his first two years. [12] With an interest more in applied than pure mathematics, Whittaker won the Sheepshanks Astronomical Exhibition in 1894 as an undergraduate. [12] He graduated as Second Wrangler in the Cambridge Tripos examination in 1895. [13] The Senior Wrangler that year was Thomas John I'Anson Bromwich and Whittaker tied John Hilton Grace for second, all three along with three other participants, including Bertram Hopkinson, went on to be elected Fellows of the Royal Society. [1] He also received the Tyson Medal for Mathematics and Astronomy in 1896. [14]

Career Edit

Whittaker was a fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge from 1896 to 1906 when took on the role of Royal Astronomer of Ireland. He held this post in Dublin until 1912, when he was appointed chair of mathematics at the University of Edinburgh, a role he went on to hold for just over a third of a century. Throughout his career, he wrote papers on automorphic functions and special functions in pure mathematics as well as on electromagnetism, general relativity, numerical analysis and astronomy in applied mathematics and physics, and was also interested in topics in biography, history, philosophy and theology. [8] He also made several important innovations in Edinburgh that had a large impact on mathematical education and societies there. [15]

Trinity College, Cambridge Edit

In 1896, Whittaker was elected as a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, and remained at Cambridge as a teacher until 1906. In 1897, Whittaker was awarded the Smith Prize for his work on the paper "On the connexion of algebraic functions with automorphic functions", published in 1888. [13] In 1902, Whittaker found a general solution to Laplace's equation, which received popular news coverage as a "remarkable discovery", though the mathematician Horace Lamb noted that it did not offer any new features. [16] He also wrote several celebrated books in his early career, publishing A Course of Modern Analysis in 1902 and following it up with A Treatise on the Analytical Dynamics of Particles and Rigid Bodies just two years later in 1904. In September of that year, Whittaker was forced to sell six silver forks at an auction to pay back taxes which he had previously refused to pay due to the 1902 Education Act requiring citizens to pay taxes to fund local Christian schools, such as the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England. [17] Prior to being compelled by a magistrate to repay the tax burden, Whittaker was one of several activists who engaged in passive resistance by refusing to pay the taxes. [17] In 1905, Whittaker was elected as a fellow of the Royal Society in recognition of his achievements. [2]

Trinity College, Dublin Edit

In 1906, Whittaker was appointed Andrews Professor of Astronomy at Trinity College Dublin, which came with the title Royal Astronomer of Ireland. [2] He succeeded Charles Jasper Joly at the post and was appointed upon recommendation from the astronomer Robert Stawell Ball. [18] Ball's recommendation, which was published in a collection of his letters in 1915, stated that Whittaker was the only person he knew who could "properly succeed Joly" and that the role would "suit him in every way". [19] [18] He then describes Whittaker as "modest" and "charming" and as "a man who has infinite capacity for making things go". [19] [18] Ball claims that Whittaker was a world leading expert in theoretical astronomy and that, in relation to Whittaker's discovery of a general solution to Laplace's equation, notes that he "has already made one discovery which the greatest mathematician of the last two centuries would be proud to have placed to his credit". [19] [18] The Royal Astronomers acted as directors for the Dunsink Observatory, which used outdated astronomy equipment it was understood that the primary responsibility of the role was to teach mathematical physics at Trinity College. [2] [20] During this time, the relative leisure of his post allowed him to complete the reading required to write his third major book A History of the Theories of Aether and Electricity, from the age of Descartes to the close of the nineteenth century. [21] Also during this time, he wrote the book The Theory of Optical Instruments, published six astronomy papers, and published collected astronomical observations. [18]

University of Edinburgh Edit

Whittaker became Professor of Mathematics at the University of Edinburgh in January 1912, where he remained for the rest of his career. [2] [20] The role was left vacant by the death of his predecessor, George Chrystal in 1911. [20] He was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1912, after being nominated by Cargill Gilston Knott, Ralph Allan Sampson, James Gordon MacGregor and Sir William Turner. [3] He served as Secretary to the Society from 1916 to 1922, the Vice President from 1925 to 1928 and 1937 to 1939, and was President of the Society from 1939 to 1944, through the war years. [3] Whittaker began holding "research lectures" in mathematics at the University, typically given twice a week. [22] He was said to be a great lecturer by one of his previous attendees, who stated that his "clear diction, his felicity of language and his enthusiasm could not fail to evoke a response" and that he was very good with illustrations. [23] [24] Freeman Dyson commented on Whittaker's lecture style by saying that students were "warmed, not only by the physical presence of a big crowd packed together, but by the mental vigour and enthusiasm of the old man". [25] Whittaker's efforts helped transform the Edinburgh Mathematical Society from a teachers society to an academic research society and was a major driving force in introducing computational mathematics education to the UK and America. [15]

Shortly after coming to Edinburgh, Whittaker established the Edinburgh Mathematical Laboratory, one of Great Britain's first mathematical laboratories. [26] The laboratory was the first attempt of a systematic treatment of numerical analysis in Great Britain and friends of Whittaker have said he believes it his most notable contribution to the education of mathematics. [26] Subjects taught at the laboratory included interpolation, the method of least squares, systems of linear equations, determinants, roots of transcendental equations, practical Fourier analysis, definite integrals, and numerical solution of differential equations. [22] The laboratory program was so successful, it resulted in many requests for an extra summer course to allow others to attend who previously were unable, ultimately leading to the establishment of a colloquium through the Edinburgh Mathematical Society. [22] In 1913, Whittaker established the Edinburgh Mathematical Society Colloquium and the first was held over five days in August of that year. [22] The textbook The calculus of observations was compiled from courses given at the Laboratory over a ten-year period the book was well received and ultimately went through four editions. [27]

Fellowships and academic positions Edit

Outside of the Royal Astronomer of Ireland and his roles in the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Whittaker held several notable academic posts, including president of the Mathematical Association from 1920 through 1921, president of the Mathematical and Physical Section (Section A) of the British Science Association in 1927, and was president of the London Mathematical Society from 1828 through 1829. [28] Whittaker also held the Gunning Victoria Jubilee Prize Lectureship for "his service to mathematics" with the Royal Society of Edinburgh from 1924 through 1928. [29]

He was elected either Honorary Fellow or Foreign Member in a number of academic organisations, including the Accademia dei Lincei in 1922, the Societa Reale di Napoli in 1936, the American Philosophical Society in 1944, the Académie royale de Belgique in 1946, the Faculty of Actuaries in 1918, the Benares Mathematical Society in 1920, the Indian Mathematical Society in 1924, and the Mathematical Association in 1935. In 1956, he was elected as a corresponding member of the Geometry section of the French Academy of Sciences a few days before his death. [4] Whittaker was also awarded honorary doctorates from several universities, including two LL.D.s from the University of St Andrews in 1926 and the University of California in 1934, an Sc.D. from the University of Dublin in 1906, and two D.Sc.s from the National University of Ireland in 1939 and University of Manchester in 1944. [2]

Later life Edit

Whittaker published many works on philosophy and theism in the last years of his career and during his retirement in addition to his work on the second edition of A History of the Theories of Aether and Electricity. He released two books on Christianity and published several books and papers on the philosophy of Arthur Eddington. [30]

Christianity Edit

Whittaker was a Christian and became a convert to the Roman Catholic Church in 1930. [18] In relation to that, Pope Pius XI awarded him with the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice in 1935 and appointed him to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in 1936. [5] He was a member of the Academy from 1936 onward and served as Honorary President of the Newman Society from 1943 to 1945. [4] Whittaker published two book-length works on the topic of Christianity, including The beginning and end of the world and Space and spirit. [31] The first of which was the result of the 1942 Riddell Memorial Lectures at Durham while the second is based on his 1946 Donnellan Lecture at Trinity College, Dublin. [32] It has been remarked by physics historian Helge Kragh, [33] that in these books, Whittaker was "the only physical scientist of the first rank" who defended the strong entropic creation argument, which holds that as entropy always increases, the Universe must have started at a point of minimum entropy, which they argue implies the existence of a god. [31] Whittaker published several articles which draw connections between science, philosophy and theism between 1947 and 1952 in the BBC magazine The Listener, one of which Religion and the nature of the universe was republished in American Vogue, making him "a rare, if not unique, example of a man whose published work not only crossed disciplinary boundaries, but was published everywhere from Nature to Vogue." [28]

Retirement Edit

Whittaker retired from his position as chair of the mathematics department at the University of Edinburgh in September 1946, a role he held for over thirty-three years. [34] He was awarded emeritus professor status at the University which he retained until his death. [20] In retirement, Whittaker worked tirelessly the second edition of his A History of the Theories of Aether and Electricity, releasing The Classical Theories just a few years later. [5] He also continued publishing works in philosophy and theism. James Robert McConnell noted that Whittaker's research in the connection between physics and philosophy spanned nearly forty publications written over his last fifteen years. [35] During the three years prior to the publication of second volume of his History, Whittaker had already determined that he was going to give priority for the discovery of special relativity to Henri Poincaré and Hendrik Lorentz in the new book. [36] Max Born, a friend of Whittaker's, wrote a letter to Einstein in September 1953 explaining that he had done all he could over the previous three years to convince Whittaker to change his mind about Einstein's role, but Whittaker was resolved in the idea and, according to Born, he "cherished" and "loved to talk" about it. [36] Born told Einstein that Whittaker insists that all the important features were developed by Poincaré while Lorentz "quite plainly had the physical interpretation", which annoyed Born as Whittaker was a "great authority in the English speaking countries" and he was worried that Whittaker's view would influence others. [36]

Death Edit

Whittaker died at his home, 48 George Square, Edinburgh, on 24 March 1956. [37] He was buried at Mount Vernon Cemetery in Edinburgh, with "mathematical precision at a depth of 6 ft. 6 inches", according to the cemetery register. [28] His entry in the Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society was written by George Frederick James Temple in November 1956. [2] He received published obituaries from Alexander Aitken, [38] Herbert Dingle, [39] Gerald James Whitrow, [32] and William Hunter McCrea, [40] among others. [41] [23] His house was owned by Edinburgh University and was demolished in the 1960s to expand the campus and now holds the William Robertson Building. [42]

Personal life Edit

In 1901, while at Cambridge, he married Mary Ferguson Macnaghten Boyd, the daughter of a Presbyterian minister (and granddaughter of Thomas Jamieson Boyd). [2] They had five children, including the mathematician John Macnaghten Whittaker (1905–1984), two other sons, and two daughters. [5] His elder daughter, Beatrice, married Edward Taylor Copson, who would later become Professor of Mathematics at St. Andrews University. [43]

George Frederick James Temple noted that Whittaker's home in Edinburgh was "a great centre of social and intellectual activity where liberal hospitality was dispensed to students of all ages", [2] and went on to note that Whittaker had a happy home life and was well loved by his family. [2] Whittaker kept a piano in his home which he did not know how to play, but enjoyed listening to friends play when they would come over. [5] Whittaker was also known to take a person interest in his students, and would invite students to social gatherings at his house. [5] [23] He also continued to keep track of his Honours students over the years. [5] His home was also the location of many unofficial interviews that would have a large impact on a student's future career. [23] After his death, William Hunter McCrea described Whittaker as having a "quick wit" with an "ever-present sense of humour" and was "the most unselfish of men with a delicate sense of what would give help or pleasure to others". [40] He notes that Whittaker had a "vast number of friends" and that he "never missed an opportunity to do or say something on behalf of any one of them". [40]

In addition to his textbooks and other works, several of which remain in print, Whittaker is remembered for his research in automorphic functions, numerical analysis, harmonic analysis, and general relativity. He has several theorems and functions named in his honour. In June 1958, two years after his death, an entire issue of the Proceedings of the Edinburgh Mathematical Society was dedicated to his life and works. [44] The volume included an article by Robert Alexander Rankin on Whittaker's work on automorphic functions, [45] an article on Whittaker's work on numerical analysis by Alexander Aitken, [20] his work on Harmonic functions was covered in an article by Temple, [46] John Lighton Synge wrote about his contributions to the theory of relativity, [47] and James Robert McConnell wrote about Whittaker's philosophy. [35] Among others, Whittaker coined the terms cardinal function and Mathieu function. [48] The School of Mathematics of the University of Edinburgh holds the annual Whittaker Colloquium in his honour. [6] [49] Funded by a donation from his family in 1958, the Edinburgh Mathematical Society promotes an outstanding young Scottish mathematician once every four years with the Sir Edmund Whittaker Memorial Prize, also given in his honour. [50]

Namesakes and notable research Edit

Whittaker is the eponym of the Whittaker function or Whittaker integral, in the theory of confluent hypergeometric functions. [51] This makes him also the eponym of the Whittaker model in the local theory of automorphic representations. [52] He published also on algebraic functions, though they were typically limited to special cases. [20] Whittaker had a lifelong interest in automorphic functions and he published three papers on the topic throughout his career. [53] Among other contributions, he found the general expression for the Bessel functions as integrals involving Legendre functions. [51]

Whittaker also made contributions to the theory of partial differential equations, harmonic functions and other special functions of mathematical physics, including finding a general solution to Laplace's equation that became a standard part of potential theory. [54] Whittaker developed a general solution of the Laplace equation in three dimensions and the solution of the wave equation. [55]

Notable works Edit

Whittaker wrote three scientific treatises which were highly influential, A Course of Modern Analysis, Analytical Dynamics of Particles and Rigid Bodies, and The Calculus of Observations. [56] In 1956, Gerald James Whitrow stated that two of them were not only required reading for British mathematicians, but were regarded as fundamental components of their personal libraries. [32] Despite the success of these books and his other researchers and their influence in mathematics and physics, the second edition of Whittaker's A History of the Theories of Aether and Electricity has been called his "magnum opus". [5] [32] [20] In reference to the title's popularity, William Hunter McCrea predicted that future readers would have a hard time acknowledging it was the result of just "a few years at both ends of a career of the highest distinction in other pursuits." [57]

Whittaker also wrote The theory of optical instruments during his time as Royal Astronomer of Ireland as well as several books on philosophy and theism. [56] Whittaker's bibliography in the Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society includes eleven total books and monographs, fifty-six math and physics articles, thirty-five philosophy and history articles, and twenty-one biographical articles, excluding popular and semi-popular articles published in magazines such as Scientific American. [48] In the bibliography compiled by McCrea in 1957, there are thirteen books and monographs and the same journal articles, also excluding popular articles. [58] Among other topics, Whittaker wrote a total of ten papers on electromagnetism and general relativity. [47]

Whittaker & Watson Edit

Whittaker was the original author of the classic textbook A Course of Modern Analysis, first published in 1902. [59] There were three more editions of the book all in collaboration with George Neville Watson, resulting in the famous colloquial name Whittaker & Watson. The work is subtitled an introduction to the general theory of infinite processes and of analytic functions with an account of the principal transcendental functions and is a classic textbook in mathematical analysis, remaining in print continuously since its release over a hundred years ago. [43] It covered topics previously unavailable in English, such as complex analysis, mathematical analysis, and the Special functions used in mathematical physics. [56] George Frederick James Temple noted that it was unmatched in these aspects "for many years". [56] The book was an edited set of lecture notes from the Cambridge Tripos courses Whittaker taught and contained results from mathematicians such as Augustin-Louis Cauchy and Karl Weierstrass which were relatively unknown to English speaking countries. [60] A. C. Aitken noted the books have been widely influential in the study of special functions and their associated differential equations as well as in the study of functions of complex variables. [20]

Analytical Dynamics of Particles and Rigid Bodies Edit

Whittaker's second major work, A Treatise on the Analytical Dynamics of Particles and Rigid Bodies was first published in 1904, and quickly became a classic textbook in mathematical physics and analytical dynamics, a branch of classical mechanics. [61] It has remained in print for most of its lifetime, over more than a hundred years, and has been said to have "remarkable longevity". [61] The book represented the forefront of development at the time of publication, where many reviewers noted it contained material otherwise non-existent in the English language. [61] The book was a landmark textbook, providing the first systematic treatment in English for the theory of Hamiltonian dynamics, which played a fundamental role in the development of quantum mechanics. [60] A. C. Aitken called the book "epoch making in a very precise sense", noting that just before the development of the theory of relativity, the book provided a detailed summary of classical dynamics and the progress that had been made in Lagrangian mechanics and Hamiltonian mechanics, including work from Henri Poincaré and Tullio Levi-Civita. [20] The book has received many recommendations, including from Victor Lenzen in 1952, nearly fifty years after its initial publication, who said the book was still the "best exposition of the subject on the highest possible level". [62] It was noted in a 2014 article covering the book's development, published in the Archive for History of Exact Sciences, that the book was used for more than just a historical book, where it was pointed out that of the 114 books and papers that cited the book between 2000 and 2012, "only three are of a historical nature". [61] In that same period, the book was said to be "highly recommended to advanced readers" in the 2006 engineering textbook Principles of Engineering Mechanics. [63]

A History of the Theories of Aether and Electricity Edit

In 1910, Whittaker wrote A History of the Theories of Aether and Electricity, [64] which gave a very detailed account of the aether theories from René Descartes to Hendrik Lorentz and Albert Einstein, including the contributions of Hermann Minkowski. The book was well received and established Whittaker as a respected historian of science. [65] A second, revised and extended, edition was later released. The first volume, subtitled the classical theories, was published in 1951 [66] and served as a revised and updated edition of the first book. The second volume, published in 1953, [67] extended this work covering the years 1900–1926. Notwithstanding a notorious controversy on Whitaker's views on the history of special relativity, covered in volume two of the second edition, the books are considered authoritative references on the history of classical electromagnetism [68] and are considered classic books in the history of physics. [69] Due to the book's role in the relativity priority dispute, however, the second volume is cited far less than the first volume and first edition, except in connection with the controversy. [70]

Relativity priority dispute Edit

Whittaker is also remembered for his role in the relativity priority dispute, a historic controversy over credit for the development of special relativity. In a chapter named "The Relativity Theory of Poincaré and Lorentz" in the second volume of the second edition of A History of the Theories of Aether and Electricity, Whittaker credited Henri Poincaré and Hendrik Lorentz for developing the theory he attributed to Einstein's special relativity paper relatively little importance, saying it "set forth the relativity theory of Poincaré and Lorentz with some amplifications, and which attracted much attention". [71] Max Born, a friend of Whittaker's, wrote to Einstein expressing his concern about the book's publication and wrote a rebuttal in his 1956 book. [36] [72] The controversy was also mentioned in one of Whittaker's obituaries by Gerald James Whitrow, who said that he had written Whittaker a letter explaining how the latter's views "did not do justice to the originality of Einstein's philosophy", but remarked that he understood why Whittaker felt the need to correct the popular misconception that Einstein's contribution was unique. [32] Max Born's rebuttal, published in his 1956 book, also argues that while the contributions of Lorentz and Poincaré should not be overlooked, it was the postulates and philosophy of Einstein's theory that "distinguishes Einstein’s work from his predecessors and gives us the right to speak of Einstein’s theory of relativity, in spite of Whittaker’s different opinion". [72] Though the dispute has lasted decades, most scholars have rejected Whittaker's arguments and scientific consensus has continued to hold that special relativity was Einstein's development. [73]

Whittaker's views on philosophy was analysed by James Robert McConnell for the Whittaker Memorial Volume of the Proceedings of the Edinburgh Mathematical Society. [35] McConnell noted that Whittaker's research into the connections between physics and philosophy were spread across approximately forty publications. [74] Whittaker's worldview was classified as neo-Cartesianism in the volume, a philosophy described as being "founded on the principle that the search for a universal science should be modelled on the procedure of physicomathematicians." [75] McConnell notes several of Whittaker's original contributions to René Descartes' philosophical system, but goes on to sum up the work by saying that while he admired Whittaker's attempt at the problem, he was not satisfied with the many transitions between mathematics, aesthetics, ethics. He stated that "If the transitions from mathematics to moral values are not firmly established, Whittaker's attempt does not succeed in remedying the defects of Descartes' solution." [76] Whittaker published work in several other areas of philosophy, including research on Eddington's principle, a conjecture by Arthur Eddington that all quantitative propositions in physics can be derived from qualitative assertions. [30] In addition to publishing Eddington's Fundamental Theory, Whittaker wrote two other books pertaining to Eddington's philosophy. [30] Whittaker also wrote at length about the impacts of then-recent discoveries in astronomy on religion and theology, [77] determinism and free will, [78] and natural theology. [79] In the conclusion of his article, McConnell sums up Whittaker's philosophic works as appearing as though it came from "that of the scholarly Christian layman". [79] On metaphysics, he goes on to note that there are very few scholars who are competent in both physics and metaphysics and states that future work could benefit and draw inspiration from Whittaker's research in the area. [79]

In 1931 Whittaker received the Sylvester Medal from the Royal Society for "his original contributions to both pure and applied mathematics". [80] He then received the De Morgan Medal from the London Mathematical Society in 1935, an award given once every three years for outstanding contributions to mathematics. [81] He received several honours in his seventies, including being knighted by King George VI in 1945, [82] and receiving the Royal Society's Copley Medal, their highest award, "for his distinguished contributions to both pure and applied mathematics and to theoretical physics" [83] in 1954. [18] In the opening remarks of the 1954 address of President Edgar Adrian to the Royal Society, Adrian announces Whittaker as that years Copley medallist saying he is probably the most well-known British mathematician at the time, due to "his numerous, varied and important contributions" as well as the offices he had held. [84] Noting contributions to nearly all fields of applied mathematics and then-recent contributions to pure mathematics, relativity, electromagnetism, and quantum mechanics, Adrian goes on to say that the "astonishing quantity and quality of his work is probably unparalleled in modern mathematics and it is most appropriate that the Royal Society should confer on Whittaker its most distinguished award." [84]

Whittaker also gave several distinguished lectures, some of which formed the base of books he would later write. [2] He held the Rouse Ball lectureship at Trinity College, Cambridge in 1926, the Bruce-Preller lectureship of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1931, and the Selby lectureship at the University of Cardiff in 1933. He also held the Hitchcock professorship at the University of California in 1934, the Riddell lectureship at the University at Durham (Newcastle) in 1942, the Guthrie lectureship of the Royal Physical Society of Edinburgh in 1943, and the Donnellan lectureship at the Trinity College Dublin in 1946. [2] He gave the Tarner Lecture at Trinity College, Cambridge in 1947 and held the Larmor lectureship of the Royal Irish Academy and the Herbert Spencer lectureship at Oxford University, both in 1948. [2]

Edmond Nelson and Jane Taylor

  • Edmond Nelson 1799-1850
  • Jane Taylor Nelson 1805-1870
  • Related through: Dan's grandmother Elvira Wilde Langford

He married Jane Taylor October 3, 1820 in Monroe County. She was born January 1, 1805, the daughter of Billington and Mary Elizabeth Modglin Taylor. The Taylors had also moved from North Carolina to Tennessee, and then on to Illinois, first settling in St. Clair County, and later in Monroe County. At the time of their marriage Edmond was not quite twenty-one years of age, and Jane was not quite sixteen years of age. A record of their marriage license was found in Waterloo, Illinois which is where they were probably married.

Their first son, Price Williams, was born at Keokuk, Iowa. Edmond and Jane had probably gone north up the Mississippi river possibly to work in the timber at the ferryboat crossing. However, by the time Elizabeth was born in 1824 they had moved back south and settled in Jefferson County near Mt. Vernon, Illinois. A few years later his father moved into that vicinity.

Edmond Nelson and his brothers had heard a lot of talk about the Mormons. It seems that they were coming in from all over the world, and people were getting worried that they would soon be so numerous that they would take over the whole country. Some steps had been taken against them but Edmond did not like some of the stories and evil boasting he heard from men he met. He felt that no people should have been treated so cruelly just because of their belief in a strange prophet.

Then came the day when the first Mormon missionaries stopped at his home. He invited them in and treated them kindly. He was interested in hearing their side of the controversy. But they seemed to have no enmity toward their persecutors. They answered quietly and simply that if those who had been guilty of the many atrocities against their faith and people had known and understood the true principles of the Gospel as taught by the Prophet Joseph Smith, they would never have mistreated his people. Edmond wanted to know about these principles for which they were willing to suffer and die. He listened with sober interest to every word of their message. There was a ring of pure and undefiled truth in what they claimed. Edmond called in his brothers, and perhaps his parents, to hear this new message from God. He made the decision that would shape the rest of his life and his death and he was baptized in 1836.

(The following life of Edmond Nelson is recorded as told to Taylor Nelson by William Goforth Nelson, son of Edmond Nelson.)

My father was a farmer and a stock raiser by occupation. The family lived in Jefferson County about nineteen years. I can remember witnessing my father’s baptism about the year 1836. An Elder by the name of Burquett officiated. My mother was not baptized until the year 1838.

In the spring of 1836 my father sold his home in Illinois and his livestock, with the exception of five head of horses, and started, together with the church, to Missouri. My father and his three brothers: James, Abraham and Hyrum, and their families also went. The four brothers located within two miles of each other. James and Hyrum located on the west bank of the Grand River Abraham bought a ferry right, and one flat boat and one canoe, on the Grand River one mile below. My father filed on a quarter of section of land one mile from the river. He then bought quite a number of stock and hogs. It was while we lived here that the Prophet Joseph Smith stayed overnight with us. That was the first time any of us had ever seen him.

We lived there on year and a half when in the fall of 1838 a general conference of the Church was held at Far West, Missouri. My father was one that attended. The Prophet counseled the Saints to gather there at Far West, forthwith. My father was the only one of the four brothers to immediately comply with the counsel of the Prophet. He started at sunrise the next morning after getting home taking a wagon in which his family could ride comfortably. He took five horses, one yoke of oxen, three cows, and a small bunch of sheep. He left 34 head of cattle and fifty head of hogs in the woods. His brothers were so slow to comply with the word of the Prophet and the mob robbed them of nearly all their property. They took possession of Abraham’s ferry and charged them for crossing on it when they started to Far West.

Our first days travel was through thinly settled country — we often saw, in a distance, the smoke rising from burning houses and we frequently saw members of the mob riding through the fields on horseback, but we were not molested by any of them. At night we camped with a family whose house was then burning, having been set on fire by the mob. My father helped the man, whose name I do not remember, to build a rack to take to the place of his wagon box which also burned. The man traveled with us one day and then went on another road so as to travel with some of his relatives.

On the third day my father sold one horse for $30.00 and loaned the oxen to another man to drive. I do not remember how many days we were on the road to Far West, but it was not many. When we reached Grand River, my mother was baptized by Lyman Wight. Far West was soon packed with people, so that before we reached the town instructions had been given for the rest of the saints to camp at Shoal Creek, two miles from Far West, so we remained there for the winter. All who camped there lived in their own wagons and tents.

It was during this winter that the saints were called upon by the governor of Missouri to deliver up their arms which request was complied with. My father and oldest brother were among those who delivered their guns to members of the mob. The mob was on horseback — the men all had painted faces. The next coming there were three light wagons, each pulled by two large horses. Our brethren were commanded to follow in behind the wagons. The next company of the mob came in behind our wagons. They stopped in a little prairie about a mile below, and our brothers were ordered to lay their guns and ammunition in the wagons. Then the third party came up, half of the men dismounted, leaving two horses and two guns with one man and then the footmen started to plunder the wagons in the camp, claiming that they were hunting for ammunition. Our people had their horses and cattle all tied up because they had no other place for them and thus were our wagons searched and much property stolen by the mob.

It was while we camped on Shoal Creek that Joseph Smith Nelson (our ancestor) was born. My eldest brother Price was sick nearly all winter. My father could not find employment of any kind by which to help secure a living so that our food during the eventful winter consisted entirely of beef and boiled corn. In the early spring of 1839 we started for Quincy, the place which had been designated by the Prophet Joseph for the Saints to cross the Mississippi River. But before we reached there we were compelled to stop on account of the sickness of Price and myself. Father rented a house in which we lived until we had regained sufficient strength to continue on our journey. We crossed the river at Quincy and then started north. But we traveled very slowly, it being spring and the rainy season of the year. We rented a house about 30 miles east of Commerce, (afterwards called Nauvoo). Father helped a man fence a piece of land and then got the privilege of planting six acres of corn which yielded an abundant crop.

Late in the fall father and Price went to Nauvoo and built a two room log house but we did not move to Nauvoo until early the next spring (1840). Father bought a lot and a half in Nauvoo which ran east and west. The house referred to was built on the west end of the plot. We opened a rock quarry on the west end. Hyrum and I helped father quarry rock, most of which we sold in the city. Father paid his temple work and most of his tithing in rock from the quarry, all of which was used in the temple. We also rafted a great deal of wood and saw timber down the river. We at one time went eighteen miles up the river, after a raft of saw timber which we sold to a man by the name of Ellis for three dollars per thousand feet. He ran a sawmill on the bank of the river. Hyrum and I spent one summer in Nauvoo working the brick yard, making brick which was used in building the Nauvoo House. We remained in Nauvoo until the first day of May 1846, at which time we started west with the church.

We lived in Mt. Pisgah for about four years. As soon as we camped we plowed some ground and planted three and one half acres in corn, and one-half acre of buck wheat and a good garden. Shortly after arriving Father and most of the children took sick with the chills and fever, and did not recover until September. During the month of July, I was bitten by a rattlesnake on my heel, but was only laid up for about ten days. Late in the fall of the same year I was bit by a dog on my right leg just below where it had been cut with the foot-ads spoken of above. I got along pretty well for about two weeks at which time Father and Mr. Mansfield went hunting. While they were away the children were playing near the house when a small tree fell. A limb hit my brother, Mark who was then about two years old and broke his skull. Father was sent for and got home in about forty-eight hours after the accident. All was done for him that could be, but he was left cripple for the rest of his life, his right side being paralyzed. It was about one year before he could walk at all.

It was on the 8th day of May, 1850, that we started from Mt. Pisgah to Council Bluffs thence across the plains to Salt Lake Valley. We started with two good wagons and good ox teams. We also had a number of cows. We traveled pretty much alone until we had come four miles west of Council Bluffs, where we found a camp of saints. On June 4th the camp was organized with Thomas Johnson as captain, ready to start on our journey west the next day. There were fifty wagons in the company. My brother, Price, met us at Council Bluffs and came to the valley with us while Hyrum came in another company the same year.

When we were at Sweet Water my father contracted the mountain fever and never fully recovered. We reached Salt Lake City on September 9, 1850. We camped on the public square for two days. My father wanted to live on a farm accordingly, we went about 30 miles south to Mountainville (Alpine) which is about four miles northeast of American Fork. We built a long house and moved the family into it. Price, Thomas and myself then went to the Mill Creek Canyon and began getting out shingle timber. We cut and hauled two loads into the mill in a day. The miller sawed and packed the shingles and sold them at Edmond Taylor - History,[nobr][H1toH2]

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On Route 66, every mile was a minefield. Businesses with three “K”s in the title, such as the Kozy Kottage Kamp or the Klean Kountry Kottages, were code for the Ku Klux Klan and served only white customers. Black motorists of course also had to avoid sundown towns such as Edmond, Oklahoma. In the 1940s, the Royce Café, located right on Route 66, proudly announced on its postcards that Edmond was “‘A Good Place to Live.’ 6,000 Live Citizens. No Negroes.” The humiliation of being shut out of not only public spaces but entire towns was bad enough, but for black people, there were always plenty of even bleaker fears—every stop was a potential existential danger. The threat of lynching was of particular concern when black people traveled through the Ozarks on Route 66. For instance, the Ku Klux Klan ran Fantastic Caverns, a popular tourist site near Springfield. They held their cross burnings inside.

For many, the vulnerability of the road meant always having a plan, a cover story, or even a disguise. One popular safety precaution? A chauffeur’s hat. Black motorists who drove nice cars were especially susceptible to regular harassment by law enforcement. In 1930, the black columnist George Schuyler wrote, “Blacks who drove expensive cars offended white sensibilities,” and some black people “kept to older models so as not to give the dangerous impression of being above themselves.”

In the 1950s, my stepfather, Ron, experienced this firsthand as a child. His father had a good job with the railroad and owned a nice car. After being stopped by a sheriff while on vacation with his family, the sheriff asked Ron’s dad where he got the car. Knowing better than to say it was his, Ron’s father pretended to be a chauffeur. When the sheriff asked about the other people in the car, Ron’s dad pretended they weren’t his family. He said the woman sitting next to him (his wife) was his employer’s maid, and he was taking her and her son (Ron) home. The sheriff asked, “Where’s your chauffeur hat?” Ron’s dad was ready he had one in the car: “Hanging right up in the back, Officer.”

AP / Wikimedia / NYPL / Paul Spella / The Atlantic

Despite all the dangers, millions of black vacationers, like Ron’s family, did explore the country—many relying on a unique travel guide, The Negro Motorist Green Book. Victor H. Green, a black postal worker from Harlem, New York, published his guide from 1936 until 1966. His Green Book featured barbershops, beauty salons, tailors, department stores, taverns, gas stations, garages, and even real-estate offices that were willing to serve black people. A page inside boasted, “Just What You Have Been Looking For!! NOW WE CAN TRAVEL WITHOUT EMBARRASSMENT.”

Green modeled his book after Jewish travel guides created for the Borsht Belt in the 1930s. Other black travelers’ guides existed—Hackley and Harrison’s Hotel and Apartment Guide for Colored Travelers (1930-1931), Travel Guide (1947-1963), and Grayson’s Guide: The Go Guide to Pleasant Motoring (1953-1959)—but the Green Book was published for the longest period of time and had the widest readership. It was promoted by word of mouth, and a national network of postal workers led by Green sought out advertisers. Esso Gas Stations (Standard Oil, which operates as Exxon today) sold the Green Book and hired two black marketing executives, James A. Jackson and Wendell P. Allston, to promote and distribute it. By 1962, the Green Book reached a circulation of 2 million people.

The Green Book covered the entire United States, but during the time it was in publication, Route 66 was easily the most popular road in America. And driving was the most popular pastime. Automobile travel symbolized freedom in America, and the Green Book was a resourceful, innovative solution to a horrific problem. People called it the “Bible of black travel” and “AAA for blacks,” but it was so much more. It was a powerful tool for blacks to persevere and literally move forward in the face of racism.

Although 6 million black people hit the road to escape the Jim Crow South, they quickly learned that Jim Crow had no borders. Segregation was in full force throughout the country. Out of the eight states that ran through Route 66 (Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California), six had official segregation laws as far west as Arizona—and all had unofficial rules about race.

It was assumed the West was more liberated than the South, but thanks to the enormity of the American West’s expanses, it in some ways was even more dangerous. The farther west anyone traveled, the fewer services were available—for white people and especially for black people. Food and lodging were scattered over long distances, and there were also just fewer people living out West in general, and fewer black people in particular, which reduced the chances that black travelers could find trustworthy help in case they had car trouble or needed directions. In the Pulitzer Prizewinning The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration, the writer Isabel Wilkerson recounts Dr. Robert Foster’s harrowing journey in the West, where he would fall asleep at the wheel from exhaustion simply because he had been turned away from every motel he stopped at for being black.

Even once black travelers reached a multiracial city, such as Albuquerque, New Mexico, only 6 percent of the more than 100 motels along Albuquerque’s slice of Route 66 admitted them. And although there were no formal segregation laws on the books in California, both Glendale and Culver City were sundown towns and the sun-kissed beaches of Santa Monica were segregated. Route 66 epitomized Americana—for white people. For black folks, it meant encountering fresh violence and the ghosts of racial terrorism already haunting the Mother Road.

This is why the cover of the Green Book warned, “Always Carry Your Green Book With You—You May Need It.” In Chicago, for example, there were no Green Book businesses on Route 66 at all for nearly three decades. (There were Green Book businesses in other parts of Chicago—but not on the Road of Dreams.) After leaving Chicago on Route 66, the next Green Book sites were more than 180 miles away in Springfield, Illinois. But Springfield at least was helpful, with 26 listings: 13 tourist homes, four taverns, three beauty parlors, two service stations, and one restaurant, barbershop, drugstore, and hotel. If you were black and didn’t have this information, how would you know where to go? You could easily wind up in the wrong town after dark.

Of course Route 66 wasn’t any more racist than any other road in America at the time. What makes Route 66 different is that the open-road branding associated with it celebrated a time when black Americans had to navigate racial violence and the Jim Crow policies that shut them out of businesses and recreational sites. Plus, the desolation of Route 66’s stretches left black motorists particularly exposed. The American ideals associated with Route 66, then and now, have usurped the narrative, erasing the more harrowing aspects of the nation’s past. So when the United States promotes freedom and democracy, fights for those values abroad, and then fails to abide by them at home, the hypocrisy feels cruel.

During World War II, Route 66 played a major role in military efforts, becoming a primary route for shuttling military supplies across the country. It was used so heavily that a 200-mile stretch of asphalt was thickened so that it could better handle military convoys. At that time, American soldiers fought for human rights overseas, but the troops were still segregated at home. As a result, black soldiers made good use of the Mother Road. For black soldiers stationed at Fort Leonard Wood near Rolla, Missouri, for example, their best option for a little R&R was a full 80 miles away: Graham’s Rib Station in Springfield, Missouri, an integrated local landmark that opened in 1932 and was owned by an African American couple, James and Zelma Graham. The onsite motel court was built during the war specifically to offer lodgings to black soldiers—but Pearl Bailey and Little Richard stayed there as well. (Today, nothing remains of Graham’s, except a tourist cabin that an area law firm uses as its storage shed.)

The vast American landscape meant long, lonely stretches of perilously empty roads, and places like Graham’s and other Green Book properties were vital sources of refuge. Today, they still play a critical role in U.S. history, revealing the untold story of black travel. Many of the buildings along Route 66 are physical evidence of racial discrimination, providing a rich opportunity to reexamine America’s story of segregation, black migration, and the rise of the black leisure class. But the current passion for gentrification and suburban sprawl is expunging the past: Most Green Book properties have been razed and many more are slated for demolition. That’s why the National Park Service’s Route 66 Preservation Program approached me in 2014 to document Green Book sites on Route 66 and to produce a short video. I’ve estimated that nearly 75 percent of Green Book sites have been demolished or radically modified, and the majority that remain have fallen into disrepair, so it’s crucial to preserve whatever sites are left.

That means places such as the Threatt Filling Station, a one-story sandstone bungalow with a slightly pitched and gabled roof, wide eaves, and a wooden door. Alan Threatt Sr., a black man, owned the gas station and served black motorists from 1915 to the 1950s in Luther, Oklahoma. His family quarried the native sandstone on their homestead land to build the filling station, which bordered their property at the intersection of Route 66 and Pottawatomie Road. And, although it’s no longer open to the public, the building still stands. The National Park Service included the Threatt Filling Station on its National Register of Historic Places in 1995.

The De Anza Motor Lodge on Route 66 in Albuquerque was built in 1939 and run by a prominent Zuni Indian trader the motor lodge served black folks on a stretch of road where there were few options available to them. The Spanish-Pueblo Revival style of the building features a conference room with seven 20-foot murals painted by a Zuni artist. The motor lodge was slated for demolition when the city purchased it in 2003. Still, the property sat empty for more than a decade after that purchase. (Although, the motor lodge did have a brief gig as the setting for a scene in Breaking Bad.) Now, the city has an $8.2 million plan to convert the property into a condo-hotel hybrid with shops and restaurants.

One Green Book business that did survive over the decades is Clifton’s, a quirky Depression-era cafeteria in downtown Los Angeles at the corner of 7th Street and South Broadway—the original terminus of Route 66. Clifton’s closed for a few years starting in 2011 to undergo a $10 million renovation before reopening last year. It’s now possibly the largest and most unusual cafeteria in the world—with five floors of history and taxidermy and a giant fake redwood tree rising up through the center. In the evenings, classic concoctions like absinthe are served at the bar, which features a 250-pound meteorite sitting on it. The original owner—a white man, a Christian, and the son of missionaries—Clifford Clinton, had traveled with his parents to China, where he witnessed that country’s brutal and abject poverty firsthand. He couldn’t understand how America, a country with so much wealth, could allow its citizens to go hungry. So he never turned away any customers—even those who couldn’t afford to pay. Clinton followed what he called the “Cafeteria Golden Rule.” His menu read, “Pay What You Wish” and “Dine Free Unless Delighted.”

One of the Green Book’s most unusual Route 66 sites was Murray’s Dude Ranch. This lost gem was billed as “The Only Negro Dude Ranch in the World”—which it very likely was. The 40-acre ranch was situated on the edge of the Mojave Desert, with Joshua, yucca, and mesquite trees dotting the landscape. A black couple, Nolie and Lela Murray, owned the property and offered black people traveling on Route 66 much-needed lodging and some good old-fashioned Western recreation. All manner of black and white celebrities visited, from Lena Horne and Joe Louis to Hedda Hopper and Clara Bow. Pearl Bailey ultimately bought the property in 1955 but sold it in the mid-1960s. Sadly, today there’s no physical evidence that Murray’s Dude Ranch ever existed.

The colorful historic sites of Route 66 have been mostly lost to time and neglect. But when a site is nurtured, like Clifton’s, or commemorated, like the Threatt Filling Station, it can be an important connection to the past. In Tulsa, for example, travelers can now visit the Greenwood Cultural Center to learn about the Tulsa Race Riot. The Greenwood District—“Black Wall Street”—was eventually rebuilt now the John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park offers a space for healing, with a 25-foot memorial and three 16-foot granite sculptures honoring the dead.

Russell Contreras / AP / Bettmann / Getty / NYPL / Paul Spella / The Atlantic

In 1978, at the age of 7, I was riding in the car with my mother in Houston, Texas, when I saw a prison chain gang shackled men were working in a sugarcane field. I said, “Mom, isn’t slavery over?”

I said, “Why are all of these black men in chains working in a field?”

She had no answer, or maybe she just didn’t know how to explain institutional racism to a 7-year-old. Either way, it was painfully obvious to me that there was a problem. I’ve been questioning the existence of racial equality ever since.

When I talk to people about the full history of Route 66 and the Green Book, they say, “Thank God we don’t need that anymore.” But while black people may not have to worry about KKK cross burnings at tourist sites, they still have to worry about being shot by the police. The spot where Michel Brown bled out in the street for four hours in Ferguson, Missouri, is just a couple of miles from the original Route 66.

In a country that desperately, fitfully, tries to be color-blind, even the first black president has not been able to stop the bleeding, let alone heal the old and deep wounds of white supremacy and systemic racism. Black veterans were once blocked from taking advantage of the GI Bill, missing out on valuable educational resources. The Federal Housing Association redlined neighborhoods and denied loans to black people, preventing them from accessing wealth-building opportunities freely given to white people. Since the 1970s, the black male prison population has skyrocketed by 700 percent, and Justice Department data now predicts that one in three black male babies born in America will be incarcerated in their lifetimes.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Green Book ceased publication right around the time the Civil Rights Act passed. Of course, the Civil Rights Act did not fix racism, and discrimination persisted. As the Equal Justice Initiative’s Bryan Stevenson points out: Civil rights in America is too often seen as a “three-day carnival: On day one, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus. On day two, Martin Luther King led a march on Washington. And on day three, we passed the Civil Rights Act and changed all the laws.” Problem solved.

Given this mass denial, it’s not surprising that Route 66 is weighted down with nostalgia, suffocating from an idealized past that never was. But Americans should not be so quick to pat themselves on the backs just because, nowadays, black people can drive U.S. highways mostly without incident. Not when a struggle for social mobility continues to take a debilitating toll on black Americans. And it is too early to celebrate the nation’s racial tolerance when ongoing racism and xenophobia is camouflaged under the banner of patriotism.

Today, Route 66 has surrendered to a series of bypasses, causeways, and highways, but the path it traced is still troubled: “American Owned” signs line the old Route 66 they are code for “Not Owned by Immigrants.” In Noel, Missouri, Somali immigrants say they are not welcome at Kathy’s Kountry Kitchen, where even now servers wear T-shirts reading, “I got caught eating at the KKK.” Stories like these are why the rosy hue of Route 66 nostalgia leaves a bitter chill in the souls of black people.

I only learned about the Green Book after being commissioned to write a Moon Series travel guide on Route 66. As I paged through all the kitschy advertising of postwar suburban white families in Airstream Trailers and chrome-finned Chevys getting their “kicks” at campy Americana landmarks, I wondered: Where are the black people? I discovered that more than 90 percent of those who have written about the Mother Road are white—and male. I may be the only black woman to have written a travel guide about Route 66. And after discovering the Green Book, I was never able to look at America’s favorite highway the same way again—the way those other tour guides seem to.

I wanted to share the real story of Route 66—its promise of freedom and its failure to live up to that promise. For black Americans who hit the road with a copy of the Green Book, a guide expressly created to keep them safe in a wildly perilous landscape, they surely already understood that the hopeful Mark Twain quote gracing almost every Green Book cover—“Travel is fatal to prejudice”—was purely aspirational.

Taylor Family Free Genealogy Site

William TAYLOR was born about 1749 in Virginia. He married Sarah Garrett FOSTER.

Children of William Taylor and Sarah Foster are:

1. Jesse TAYLOR born 1791 Wythe or Grayson VA d 12 March 1862
2. William TAYLOR born about 1780
3. Joshua TAYLOR born about 1788
4. Richard TAYLOR born about 1792
5. Thomas Andrew TAYLOR born about 1793
6. James TAYLOR born about 1800
7. George TAYLOR born about 1775
8. John TAYLOR born about 1777
9. Nancy TAYLOR born about 1779

Jesse TAYLOR (William) was born 1791 in that part of Grayson County VA that became Wythe County and died 12 March 1862 near Barbourville, Knox Co., Kentucky. He married Nancy GREEN 09 July 1818 in Ashe County VA, daughter of William Green.

In 1814 Jesse was drafted for the War of 1812 at the Grayson County Courthouse into Captain Saunder's 7th Regiment of the Virginia Militia. Jesse served from August of that year until February of the following year in Captain John Trimble's Company which was later taken over by Captain Michael Shivley. They spent most of their time in Norfolk, Virginia. After the war, Jesse apparently spent some time in North Carolina where he probably met, then married Nancy Green 9 July 1818 in Ashe County, North Carolina. They lived for a time in Grayson County and moved westward into Russel and Lee Counties in Virginia. All their children were born in Virginia. but not long after the birth of their youngest Jesse like many other Taylors moved often he made his last move to Harlan County, his arrival in Harlan county was probably in 1842 as he received a 200 acre land grant from the Commonwealth of Kentucky on 13 July 1842. This grant was located on Brownies Creek waters of the Cumberland River. William Riley Taylor eldest son of Jesse and Nancy purchased most of this land on 25 Aug 1849. In the 1850's Jesse applied for and received land warrants for his wartime service, one of which was for 80 acres in Missouri. Many of the veterans eligible to receive such land warrants were themselves too old to make the move west and Jesse, like many others sold his bounty warrants.

According to his widow's pension application, Jesse died 12 March 1862 near Barbourville in Knox County, Kentucky. In 1878 when Nancy filed her pension application, she was living at Boone's Path in Lee County, Virginia. One of the papers in the pension file is an affidavit by Nancy swearing that due to the infirmities of old age. She is unable to appear at a courthouse to have her application sworn to and she further states that she has not been one half mile from home in five or six years.

In 1870, she had been living in Harlan County with one of her son Noah Taylor, and assuming the pension statements are correct, must have moved to Lee County about 1872 or 1873. In January of 1894, Nancy, who like her husband, Jesse, was illiterate, had a letter written for her to the pension office complaining that she had not received her pension funds, stating that she is "92 years old, almost totally blind and suffering for help". She goes on to say, "You will do me great justice by forwarding my claim. The government agent came to see me and found me still alive". The pension file then notes that Nancy Taylor, pensioner, was dropped from the rolls due to death on 17 May 1894. [Sources for Jesse Taylor]

Children of Jesse Taylor and Nancy Green are:

1. Grief TAYLOR born about 1824 Norton, Russell County VA died Rosehill, Lee County VA
2. William Riley TAYLOR born May 1820 VA died 11 May 1904 Harlan KY
3. Benjamin TAYLOR born about 1824 VA md Margaret --?--, said to be twin to Griifith
4. Andrew J TAYLOR born about 1826 VA
5. Nancy TAYLOR born about 1828 VA and married David LEE 1852, son of Stephen LEE and Joicey NAPIER or SHAKLEFORD
6. Elijah Taylor born about 1830 VA
7. Jesse Irwin TAYLOR born about 1832 Whitley County KY died Jan 1898 Lebanon KY md(1) Mary Anna MINK, 30 March 1856 Harlan KY md(2) Mary ZARBERRY about 1866
8. Mary A TAYLOR born about 1835 VA md Irvin TAYLOR 10 Mar 1858
9. John Wesley TAYLOR born about 1836 VA died after 14 Feb 1865 Harlan KY
10. Noah TAYLOR born 27 Nov 1839 VA died 3 Mar 1919 VA md Joicy LEE 1865

Grief TAYLOR (Jesse, William) was born 1824 in Norton, Russell County VA, and married Catherine GRIMES 21 Feb 1853 in Clairborne County TN. Grief and his wife both died in Rose Hill, Lee Co., Virginia. As of now [Feb 1995] I am unable to locate a year for either of their deaths. [Sources for Grief Taylor]

Children of Grief Taylor and Catherine Grimes are:

1. Andrew Jackson TAYLOR born about 1855 Harlan KY died 1926 Rosehill, Lee County VA
2. Nancy Jane TAYLOR born 2 Dec 1853 Harlan KY died 25 Jul 1877 Rosehill, Lee County VA
3. Mary TAYLOR born 1856 Harlan KY died 30 Sep 1858 Harlan KY
4. Prisilla Elizabeth TAYLOR born 15 May 1858 Harlan KY md Joseph CHEEK, 23 December 1874, Clairborne County TN
5. Matilda TAYLOR born May 1860 Harlan KY md Earl GERMAN 19 Jun 1876, Lee County VA
6. Joseph George TAYLOR born Abt 1863, Harlan Co., KY
7. Berry TAYLOR born 1864 Rosehill, Lee County VA
8. JOSHUA TAYLOR born 1864, Rosehill, Lee Co., Virginia d. 1938, Corbin, Whiltey Co., Kentucky.
9. Rachel O TAYLOR born 15 Jun 1867 Rosehill, Lee County VA md Arch B KINDER, 15 Oct 1885, Clairborne County TN
10. Noah TAYLOR born about 1868 Rosehill, Lee County VA md E. GRIMES, 17 November 1884 Lee County VA
11. MARTHA TAYLOR, b. Abt 1870, Lee Co., VA
12. John Wesley TAYLOR born 8 Jun 1871, Lee County VA md Nancy TAYLOR 27 Oct 1893
13. Frank TAYLOR born about 1872 Rosehill, Lee County VA
14. Enoch TAYLOR born 28 Sep 1873 Rosehill, Lee County VA died 12 Oct 1961, Gray, KY md Sarah A ELDRIDGE, 1 Nov 1893 Lee County VA
15. Charles Fred TAYLOR born about 1875 Rosehill, Lee County VA
16. James TAYLOR born about 1878 Lee County VA

William Riley TAYLOR (Jesse, William) was born May 1820 in Virginia and died 11 May 1904 in Harlan, Kentucky. He married (1) Icella TINSLEY 1836, (2) Nancy LUNDY 7 Mar 1843, and (3) Sarah VAUGHN 19 Apr 1861, all in Harlan County KY. [Notes for William Riley Taylor]

1. William Taylor and Icella Tinsley had: Martha TAYLOR born 1841 KY md Hiram J HOWARD in 1860 Lee County VA

Children of William Taylor and Nancy Lundy are:

2. Leander TAYLOR born 1843 Harlan County KY md Nancy LAWSON
3. Ducilla TAYLOR born 1845 KY
4. Burdine TAYLOR born 1847 Harlan County KY
5. Manerva Jane TAYLOR born 1849 KY
6. Zachariah TAYLOR born 1852 Harlan County KY
7. John TAYLOR born 1854 Harlan County KY
8. Rachel TAYLOR born 1855 Harlan County KY
9. Nancy TAYLOR born 1856 Harlan County KY
10. Sarah F TAYLOR born 1856 Harlan County KY
11. Ruthie TAYLOR born about 1858 Harlan County KY

Children of William Taylor and Sarah Vaughn are:

12. William TAYLOR born 1864 Harlan County KY
13. Anna/Annie TAYLOR born 1864 Harlan County KY
14. James J TAYLOR born 1867 Bell County KY
15. Louisa TAYLOR born 1867 Bell County KY
16. Thomas TAYLOR born 1869 Bell County KY
17. Margaret TAYLOR born 1872 Bell County KY
18. Archie TAYLOR born 1874 Bell County KY

Andrew J TAYLOR5-422 (Jesse, William) was born about 1826 in Virginia and married Sabria ELY.

Children of Andrew Taylor and Sabria Ely are:

1. Sarah TAYLOR born 1858 Harlan KY
2. George TAYLOR born Jan 1860 Harlan KY

John Wesley TAYLOR (Jesse, William) was born 1836 in Virginia and died after 14 Feb 1865 in Harlan County, Kentucky. He married Martha Jane ELY about 1856 in Harlan County, Kentucky.

The Camp Morton Indiana Register No. 1 and Louisville Kentucky Register No. 4 disclosed the following information: on December 15, 1862, in Jonesville, Virginia, John Wesley Taylor enlisted for service in the Confederate Army during the Civil WAr. He was a private in Company G-A, 1st Battalion of the Kentucky Mounted Rifles. "The records also show that John was captured on October 7, 1863, near Farmington, Tennessee. He was taken to Louisville Kentucky Military Prison for five days ending October 15, 1863. John was the transferred to Camp Morton in Indianapolis, Indiana. He arrived at the camp on October 16, 1863. "On February 14, 1865, John put his mark on an allegiance for his country. On the same document, he was described as having a dark complexion, black hair and hazel eyes. John's height was 5 ft. 10 in. He was released on an oath that he go to Kentucky and remain a loyal man. John was a prisoner of war for one year, four months and seven days." [Sources for John Wesley Taylor]

Children of John Taylor and Martha Ely are:

1. Leroy TAYLOR born 1858 Harlan County KY
2. Andrew TAYLOR born 1859 Harlan County KY
3. Isaac Newton TAYLOR born 8 Jun 1860 Harlan County KY died 3 Sep 1935, Leamington, Essex, Ontario.
4. Sarah TAYLOR born 15 Nov 1861.

Andrew Jackson TAYLOR (Griffith, Jesse, William) was born 1855 in Harlan, Harlan, Kentucky, and died 1926 in Rosehill, Lee, Virginia. He married Easter ELDRIDGE 13 April 1875 in Lee County, Virginia, daughter of King and Sarah Eldridge. [Sources for Andrew Jackson Taylor]

Children of Andrew Taylor and Easter Eldridge are:

1. John Newton TAYLOR born 24 Mar 1879, Rosehill, Lee County VA died 16 Nov 1941, Pathfork KY
2. Nannie TAYLOR md L G CHANCE 6 Feb 1893 Lee County VA
3. Henry TAYLOR born Lee County VA md Sarah CARMINY 3 May 1902, Lee County VA
4. Jack TAYLOR
5. James TAYLOR
6. Andrew Jackson TAYLOR Jr
7. Princes TAYLOR
9. William TAYLOR md Bessie ROBERTS
10. Millard Lawrence TAYLOR
11. Mary TAYLOR born 1877 and Henry HATFIELD
12. Robert TAYLOR born 1900 Rosehill, Lee County VA died 1949, Rosehill, Lee County VA and married Bessie ROBERTS 12 Aug 1919 in Hancock County TN

BERRY TAYLOR (Griffith, Jesse, William) was born 1864 in Rosehill, Lee County, Virginia, and died in Louisville, Kentucky. He married (1) Jerusha in Lee County, Virginia and (2) Nancy SHORT 27 May 1903, daughter of James Short and Jerusha Johnson.

Child of Berry Taylor and Jerusha is:

1. Milton TAYLOR born abt 1883. He married Ada HATFIELD.
2. Malinda TAYLOR born abt 1884
3. Millard TAYLOR born abt 1890
4. ROBERT TAYLOR born Abt 1892
5. BOWEY TAYLOR born Abt 1893
6. JOHN TAYLOR born Abt 1894
7. Noah TAYLOR born 1899

Charles Fred TAYLOR (Griffith, Jesse, William) was born 1875 in Rosehill, Lee County, Virginia. He married (1) Martha Belle NICHOLS 1896 in Lee Co. Virginia, daughter of John C Nichols and Sarah Hunley. He married (2) Melinda BARNETT 22 Oct 1910 in Lee County, Virginia.

Children of Charles Taylor and Martha Nichols are:

1. Noah W TAYLOR born Apr 1897 Lee County VA died 7 Dec 1969 KY and md (1) Vernie and (2) Fannie
2. Virdie TAYLOR born Nov 1898 Ewing, Lee County VA died 21 May 1979, Fort Wayne, Allen County IN md James Garfield LEE 8 Aug 1914 in Lee County, Virginia, son of Richard LEE
3. Ellen Dewie TAYLOR born 7 May 1900 md Edgar AKERS
4. Sarah Catharine TAYLOR born 5 Jan 1903 Bell County KY died 28 Nov 1972 Lee County VA md William David WILSON
5. James Oscar TAYLOR born 1904 Bell County KY md Margaret
6. Rosa Mae TAYLOR born 22 Dec 1907 md (1) Richard GARBER md (2) Cleon LEE

James TAYLOR (Griffith, Jesse, William) was born 1878 in Lee County, Virginia. He married (1) Annie FRY in Lee County, Virginia and (2) Phoebe DANIELS.

Child of James Taylor and Annie Fry is:

1. General TAYLOR married Martha WILDER

Leroy TAYLOR (John Wesley, Jesse, William) was born 1858 in Harlan County, Kentucky. He married Phoebe LEE 6 Aug 1876, daughter of Stephen and Phoebe HOWARD LEE, in Harlan County, Kentucky.

Children of Leroy Taylor and Phoebe Fee are:

1. Jane TAYLOR born 1878
2. Margaret TAYLOR born Oct 1879

Isaac Newton TAYLOR (John Wesley, Jesse, William), always known as Newt, was born 8 Jun 1860 in Harlan County, Kentucky, and died 3 Sep 1935 in Leamington, Essex, Ontario. He married Charity MIRACLE 1877 in Kentucky. [Sources for Isaac Newton Taylor]

Children of Isaac Taylor and Charity Miracle are:

1. Isaac Newton TAYLOR Jr. born 11 Jan 1884 Brownies Creek, Harlan County KY md Jane Rachel Catherine DANIEL
2. Lucinda Jane TAYLOR born 1 Oct 1878 Brownies Creek, Harlan County KY died 1 Nov 1912 Tipton, Paulding County, Ohio married John Floyd DANIEL 20 Nov 1896 in Pineville, Bell County KY son of Isaac Daniel.
3. Leroy Jasper TAYLOR born 7 Aug 1881 Brownies Creek, Harlan County KY died 13 May 1972 Tillsonburg, Oxford, Ontario md Joicey Priscilla DANIEL 16 Mar 1901 in Harlan County KY
4. Mary Catharine TAYLOR born 3 Mar 1886
5. James Henry TAYLOR born 2 Mar 1890
6. Sampson TAYLOR born 20 Nov 1891
7. Lucy Anna TAYLOR born 8 Oct 1894
8. William McKinley TAYLOR born 16 Sep 1901
9. Theodore Roosevelt TAYLOR born 9 Jul 1904

John Newton TAYLOR (Andrew Jackson, Griffith, Jesse, William) was born 24 March 1879 in Rosehill, Lee County, Virginia, and died 16 November 1941 in Pathfork, Kentucky, aflling off a logging truck. He married Mary Katherine CHEEK 14 December 1898 in Lee Co., Virginia.

John Newton Taylor was a logger. Grandpa's sister Lizzabeth told me he was a kind man and that he used to sit the children down at night and read to them out of the newspaper and Bible. She also remebers John Newton Taylor reading to them about a new invention called a television. Great Aunt Lizzabeth said "he died before he ever got a chance to see one". [Sources for John Newton Taylor]

Children of John Taylor and Mary Cheek are:

1. Lloyd TAYLOR born 7 Mar 1914 Jonseville, Lee County VA died 28 Oct 1994, Belleville, Michigan married Helen Rose NORRIS in 1942 daughter of Grady NORRIS and Nettie WRIGHT. Grandpa said he was a coal miner, instead of logger like his father "because Lumber's made two dollars and twenty five cents a day and coal miners made three dollars and fifty cents a day, so I was a coal miner". I remember him to be very loving and to have a kind heart. I also remember getting off the schoolbus everyday to find Grandpa waiting for me so we could go water our pony. Grandpa passed away in his sleep at the age of 80 years old. He is laid to rest beside Grandma Helen [Norris] [Taylor] Schiller in London Cemetery in London Township, Monroe Co., Michigan. This Cemetery is on Plank Road. Grandpa was very kind man and loved baseball.
2. Trent TAYLOR married Victoria ELDRIDGE
3. William TAYLOR born 1 Aug 1902 died 18 Sep 1992 Rose Hill, Lee County VA md Gracy HOBBS
4. Hettie TAYLOR born 3 Sep 1904 VA died 19 Dec 1939 Bakamy, KY md Houston GILBERT, 1936
5. Irene TAYLOR born 1908 Rosehill, Lee County VA died 3 Mar 1938 Rosehill, Lee County VA md Bill CHEEK
6. Frank TAYLOR born 1909
7. Lillie TAYLOR born 1913 Wise County VA died 28 Sep 1995 Milan, Monroe County, Michigan married George HOWARD
8. Lizzabeth TAYLOR born 1917 Jonesville, Lee County VA md (1) Robert RUSSEL and (2) Bernie HALL
9. Elsi TAYLOR born 1920 married Bill AYERS 12 Oct 1935 in Hagort, TN
10. Nannie Lee TAYLOR born 25 Dec 1921 Rosehill, Lee County VA married Cecil HAMMONS 6 May 1939 in Pineville, Bell County KY son of William Hammons and Martila Roberts
11. Mable TAYLOR born 1924 VA died 22 Mar 1991 Middlesboro KY md Sam FARMER
12. Gladys TAYLOR born 2 Jul 1927 Pathfork KY md Timp KEYS

Jesse Taylor
Harlan Daily Enterprise, under "Following the Footsteps" Mary A. (Lee) Hoffman, 6376 N. 400 W. ,Decatur, Indiana, 46733-7806 1850 & 1860 Harlan, Harlan Co., Kentucky census records Bicentennial History Of Lee County Virginia 1792-1992, by Lee County Historical And Genealogical Society, Inc.
Griff Taylor
1860 Harlan, Harlan Co., Ky. 1870 Lee Co., Virginia Census, Harlan Co. Death Records, Lee Co., Va. Marriage Book II, Lee Co., Va. Marriages 1885-1915 Book Mary A. (Lee) Hoffman, 6376 N. 400 W. Decatur, Indiana, 46733-7806 Bicentennial History Of Lee Co., Virginia 1792-1992.
John Wesley Taylor
Harlan Connections "A Taylor Family Tree and History" National Archives (Civil War).
Andrew Jackson Taylor
1860- Harlan, Harlan Co., Ky. 1870-Harlan, Harlan Co.,Ky. 1880 Census Great Aunt Lizzabeth [ Taylor ] Hall said he was buried around Ewing, Virginia in Lee county Bicentennial History Of Lee County, Virginia 1792-1992.
Isaac Newton Taylor
Book in possession of Shirley Taylor Halwas, daughter of #9, Ted. Also in "A Taylor Family Tree and History" by Sharon Miller Shea, Sharol Miller Garrett, Danny Miller, Dennis Miller, 1993.
John Newton Taylor
Grandpa Lloyd Taylor, Uncle Jim " Ron " Taylor, Great Aunt Lizzabeth (Taylor) Hall (for John & Mary Katherine Cheek's children) 1920 Census, Great Aunt Lizzabeth.

Parts of this web site produced 17 Oct 1999 by Personal Ancestral File , a product of
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
updated March 2, 2010

Was Beethoven Black? Probably Not, but These Unsung Composers Were

An old question circulated on Twitter last week: Was Ludwig van Beethoven, the famous German composer, a black man?

In short: probably not. Many scholars over the years have refuted the theory, but the resurgent question serves as an opportunity to highlight the pressing discussion about inequality and systemic racism in classical music and its history, scholars say.

The social media conversation about Beethoven’s origins was sparked by a resurfaced 2015 article in The Concordian, the student-run publication for Concordia College, reports J’na Jefferson for The Root. But the theory that Beethoven was black has been around for decades. In 1990, musicologist and historian Dominique-René de Lerman, writing in the Black Music Research Journal, cited evidence of the claim being discussed as long ago as 1907. Historian Joel Augustus Rogers helped to popularize the theory in the 1940s, as Nicholas T. Rinehart reports in a 2013 article in the journal Transition.

Those who argue in favor of Beethoven’s black heritage point to contemporary accounts of his likeness that describe the composer in ways stereotypically associated with people of African descent. In just one example, a 1969 article in the Chicago Daily Defender cites Frau Fischer, an acquaintance of Beethoven’s, who described the composer as “Short, stocky, broad shoulders, short neck, round nose, blackish-brown complexion.”

Conventional scholarship dictates that Beethoven (1770-1827) was born to Johann and Maria Magdalena van Beethoven, whose genealogy is Flemish. Those who dispute the composer's whiteness argue that his mother might have had an affair with a Spanish person with African ancestry, or that Beethoven’s Flemish ancestors mixed with people of African descent when their region was briefly under Spanish monarchical rule. Berbers from North Africa—known to Europeans at the time as “Moors”—have a long historical connection to Spain, de Lerma notes.

“This theory, however, is not based on genealogical studies of Beethoven’s past, which are available to the public. Rather, it is based on the assumption that one of Beethoven’s ancestors had a child out of wedlock,” writes the Beethoven Center at San José State University on its website. “[…] [I]t is important to note that no one called Beethoven black or a moor during his lifetime, and the Viennese were keenly aware both of Moors and of mulattos, such as George Bridgetower, the famous violinist who collaborated with Beethoven.”

A likeness of violinist George Bridgetower by Henry Edridge, circa 1790 (Public domain via Wikimedia Commons)

Many scholars of black studies and musicology, meanwhile, have found no substantial evidence exists that Beethoven had African ancestry. In addition to de Lerma, musicologist Donald Macardle and novelist Darryl Pinckney have also disputed the claim, Rinehart notes.

But the argument has sticking power, in part because it’s a provocative one. German historian and musicologist Kira Thurman studies black musicians in Europe (and has a book on the subject coming out in 2021.) “I am less interested in if that question is true, and more interested in the history of it,” says Thurman in a phone interview. “It really comes out of a place in the 1930s when a lot of African American intellectuals and journalists and artists and musicologists were starting to really research and write books on the black past.”

“There’s a way in which white people, historically, have constantly denied black people any kind of association with genius,” she continues. “And in a lot of ways, there is no figure that we associate more with genius than Beethoven himself. The implication of the idea that Beethoven might be black was so powerful, was so exciting and so tantalizing, because it threatens to overturn how people have understood or talked about race and racial hierarchy in the United States and around the world.”

Thurman, a professor at the University of Michigan, hopped onto Twitter to share her perspective on the conversation in a thread, which went viral last week. She says she can’t speak to the question of Beethoven’s race. However, she suggested that those who focused on whether or not the composer was black are missing an important part of the picture: the number of black composers, including Bridgetower, Beethoven’s contemporary and friend, who have received relatively little attention in history and popular culture up to this point.

“So instead of asking the question, ‘Was Beethoven Black?’ ask ‘Why don’t I know anything about George Bridgetower?’” Thurman wrote in the thread. “I, frankly, don’t need any more debates about Beethoven’s blackness. But I do need people to play the music of Bridgetower. And others like him.”

There are already many Black European composers whose music deserves our ears. Chevalier de St. George. Samuel Coleridge Taylor. Edmond Dédé. Amanda Aldridge. Instead of programming Beethoven's 5th another time, why aren't musicians performing their works? pic.twitter.com/t2jrME6M40

— Dr. Kira Thurman (@kira_thurman) June 18, 2020

“There is a long history of black musicians in Europe, performing and composing and concertizing,” Thurman added in the interview. “And they were doing amazing things. But oftentimes their stories are not told, or they have sort of been left to the wayside, because they don’t fit our narrative of classical music and talent.”

Bridgetower (c. 1780-1860), the son of a Caribbean father and a German mother, was a child prodigy who excelled at the violin, according to the University of Cambridge. Beethoven dedicated his “Sonata No. 9 in A major” to Bridgetower, although the two later had a falling out.

He numbers among the many black composers working around the time of Beethoven, including Joseph Bologne a.k.a. the Chevalier de Saint-Georges (1745-1799), a celebrated French composer and the British composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912), who wrote a trilogy of cantatas “The Song of Hiawatha,” based on a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

These composers were “hyper-visible” as part of a small black population working in Europe’s music scene at the time, says Thurman. “But then what happens in some ways is they get rendered invisible, because they don’t necessarily fit the narratives of what Europe is supposed to be like in the 19th and 20th centuries.”

The United States also has a long tradition of black classical composers, perhaps most famous among them being William Grant Still (1895-1978) and his “Afro-American Symphony,” one of the most popular American symphonies of all time. Other examples of African American contributions to classical music abound: Florence Price (1887-1953) made history as the first black female composer to have a symphony played by a major American orchestra, when the Chicago Symphony Orchestra performed her “Symphony in E Minor” in 1933, per NPR. When William Levi Dawson’s (1899-1990) “Negro Folk Symphony” was performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1934, it received a standing ovation—although it later fell into obscurity, as musicologist Gwynne Kuhner Brown writes in a 2012 article in Journal of the Society for American Music.

Today, the classical music landscape continues to be overwhelmingly white and male, classical musician Chi-chi Nwanoku wrote in a Guardian op-ed last year. A League of American Orchestras study of the field in 2014 found that less than 2 percent of musicians in American orchestras were African American, and only 4.3 percent of conductors were black.

Many organizations are working to remedy the imbalance: Nwanoku founded the Chineke! Foundation to create better opportunities for black composers in the United Kingdom and Europe, per the organization’s website. And in the United States, the Detroit-based Sphinx Organization supports young black and Latinx classical musicians.

Last week, many people have took advantage of Juneteenth celebrations to amplify the work of black composers and classical musicians. Garrett McQueen, host and producer for Minnesota Public Radio’s classical station, created a Juneteenth “musical celebration” highlighting black classical composers throughout the years.

In honor of Juneteenth, Sphinx is proud to share a 2-part musical offering. Please join the Sphinx Virtuosi as they reflect on the injustices of the past & present with Elegy: In Memoriam - Stephen Lawrence by Philip Herbert https://t.co/MbBrtcZeYS

— Sphinx Organization (@SphinxOrg) June 18, 2020

And last Thursday, the Sphinx Virtuosi chamber orchestra released a 2-part performance of black British composer Philip Herbert’s “Elegy: In Memoriam,” a work created in honor of British teenager Stephen Lawrence who was murdered by a white gang in 1993. “We perform this work in remembrance of Stephen Lawrence, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others who have been taken from this world unjustly,” the group states in the video.

For Thurman, it’s these black musicians—past and present—that deserve the same attention we give to musicians like Beethoven. “Instead of spending our energy debating this issue, let’s take our energy and our efforts into lifting the treasure trove of black composers that we do have,” says Thurman. “Because they’re not getting enough time and attention as they are.”

Running for President: George Edwin Taylor, 1904

In the article below Bruce Mouser, professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse, discusses his new book, For Labor, Race, and Liberty: George Edwin Taylor, His Historic Run for the White House, and the Making of Independent Black Politics which describes his efforts to chronicle the life of the first African American to run for the Presidency of the United States.

In 1968, I accepted a position at the University of Wisconsin in La Crosse. I was the new historian of Africa and some of my colleagues thought it reasonable to expect that I would teach African American history as well. That didn’t happen but they persistently provided me information about La Crosse’s early black settlers that they had discovered in their own research. Yet I also knew that writing about a local topic, which some in my department equated with local history or antiquarianism, would not help my chances for promotion. I collected evidence nonetheless and eventually an outline, at least as it related to the La Crosse region, began to take form. I started to think that local black history could be reconstructed. By the 1980s, promotion was no longer a concern, but the problem of finding a venue for publication remained.

That situation changed in mid 2008 when it seemed that a black person might actually become the presidential candidate of a major party. That event surprised me as much as the fall of the Berlin Wall, the collapse of the Soviet Union, or the end of Apartheid in South Africa. But I also was surprised for another reason. In the course of my study of black La Crosse, I had come upon the story of George Edwin Taylor, a local newspaper owner and editor, graduate of Wayland University, leader in the Wisconsin Union Labor Party, and in 1904 candidate for president of the United States. Most remarkable, Taylor was African American. I had followed Taylor’s career in La Crosse, but once he left Wisconsin for Iowa, I abandoned my research on him. The topic still intrigued me and Barack Obama’s election as president in 2008 tipped the scale in favor of a return to my elusive subject from La Crosse.

Born in Arkansas in 1857, George Edwin Taylor and his single mother left that state for Illinois just before the Civil War’s outbreak. Taylor’s mother died in 1861 or 1862, leaving him with no known sponsor or relative. He survived (a miracle in itself) and arrived at La Crosse, Wisconsin, in 1865, onboard a side-paddle wheeler. Local authorities viewed this “streetwise” eight-year old orphan as potentially troublesome, and a La Crosse court fostered him to Nathan Smith, a black farmer until he reached the age of 20. Taylor’ placement with Smith, however connected him with a politically savvy farmer who insisted that his young ward obtain a superior education. He sent Taylor to Wayland University where the young man learned the skills of oratory and debate.

After completing his higher education, Taylor rose rapidly in the Wisconsin Labor Movement and became involved in local and state government. By 1886, he owned and edited The Wisconsin Labor Advocate, a La Crosse newspaper with an overwhelmingly white readership. In it Taylor revealed an uncanny command of language and an ability to know when to lead and when to follow.

Taylor interested me for many reasons, but perhaps most intriguing was a near void of information about his time in Iowa before his run for the presidency. There were no diaries or journals, no articles or publications and the newspaper he edited in Iowa did not survive. Writers of black America mentioned him only occasionally, but always as an unknown who just happened to have run for president in 1904. There were no personal photographs. He had no children, so there were no blood relatives to consult. I knew nothing about his life in Iowa and very little about his 1904 election campaign. Of course, neither did anyone else. I had no notion of where his story might lead me, but I knew that apparently many had judged his experience and ability as extraordinary, otherwise how could he have become the candidate of a political party for the office of president? That question alone drove me forward, if only to satisfy my curiosity as to how it was possible for historians to have so easily passed him by.

Luckily my friends who work in libraries were eager to share their knowledge of new resources being added almost daily in their discipline. Databases are opening vast storehouses of information as never before. Census records exist online through programs that increasingly are available in a nearby public library or on one’s basement computer. NewspaperArchive.com, however, supplied the key to data regarding Taylor’s activities in Iowa. That database assembled past editions of newspapers from more than 200 Iowan communities. Additionally, the company has digitalized and organized nearly 6,000 newspapers nationwide into a single searchable database.

For a time I thought I understood Taylor’s Wisconsin years as a rare story of a late 19th Century black political activist in the labor movement. With the Iowa information I now realized that Taylor was unique for his time and place. He had shared the stage–literally–with Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, and W. E. B. Du Bois and was a business partner with George Woodson, founder of the National Bar Association. He knew Buffalo Bill Cody personally and had worked for “Brick” Marcus Pomeroy, editor of the National Democrat. He associated with journalistic greats such as T. Thomas Fortune and Calvin Chase. Yet, both his name and his story were missing from the history books.

I asked a colleague to suggest a title for my manuscript on Taylor, He gave me the one which now graces the book’s cover: For Labor, Race, and Liberty. His suggested title captured the essence of Taylor’s life. George Edwin Taylor began his political career in the labor movement in Wisconsin where he played a prominent role at a time when African Americans seldom ventured outside the black political community and when most labor leaders were indifferent at best and often hostile to black workers. Nonetheless Taylor focused on the plight of the entire working class regardless of color. His use of populist, greenback, and labor language illustrated that, at least for a time through his prism, race was relatively unimportant.

Taylor’s views began to change in the mid-1880s when the country drifted away from the promises of Reconstruction. Soon after he moved from Wisconsin to Iowa he turned to the Republicans but the GOP had by this point abandoned the South to conservative white Democrats and the remainder of their political program proved unfriendly to labor, populism, or civil rights. For Taylor, labor and populist issues remained foundational. He asked his now mostly black listeners and readers to vote Democratic to protect their own political and economic interests as workers. Despite the politics of Southern Democrats, he believed the national Democrats, who were pro-labor, were at least on the right track.

Yet Taylor would ultimately reject the Democrats as he had earlier abandoned the Republicans. When the leaders of the National Liberty Party, an all-black third party, asked him in 1904 to become the standard-bearer, Taylor was at that moment perhaps the most influential black person in the National Democratic Party. His tenure as president of the National Negro Democratic League (the party’s Negro Bureau) from 1900 to 1904, however, had been marked by internal strife and a steady decline in the ability of black voters to influence elections or of the National Democrats to pursue their votes. By 1904, Taylor realized that, despite his best efforts, both parties increasingly were ignoring black issues, and that black Americans were losing personal and political rights at an accelerating rate. He wrote in 1904, “We are doomed.”

Taylor knew his run for the presidency was a futile, thoroughly symbolic gesture, and that it would likely bring him ridicule and end his political life. It did both. But Taylor also believed it to be “a duty to his race” to continue to fight for civil rights and economic opportunity for African Americans regardless of the outcome of the next presidential election.

Taylor’s story in For Labor, Race, and Liberty, tells us much about the emergence of independent black politics at the nineteenth century’s end, and of the conundrum of young activists who watched the erosion of rights won through struggle and who could not prevent the nation from sliding into the abyss of “Jim Crow” segregation. But Taylor’s story also informs us of an uncomfortable and ultimately unsuccessful struggle by one journalist-politician to reconcile the interests of white labor and black civil rights. Ironically Taylor’s work anticipated the emergence of the New Deal political coalition of the 1930s but he did not live to see the fruits of his own political labor.

Awakening from History

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  • Seller's Description:
  • Very Good. Prompt shipment, with tracking. Very good hardcover in good, rubbed and little edge-torn dust jacket. First printing. Clean pages. Light foxing to edges.
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  • Edition:
  • 1971, Chatto & Windus
  • Hardcover, Good
  • Details:
  • ISBN: 0876450168
  • ISBN-13: 9780876450161
  • Pages: 400
  • Publisher: Chatto & Windus
  • Published: 1969
  • Language: English
  • Alibris ID: 16456367598
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  • Edition:
  • 1971, Chatto & Windus
  • Hardcover, Good
  • Details:
  • ISBN: 0701116463
  • ISBN-13: 9780701116460
  • Pages: 400
  • Publisher: Chatto & Windus
  • Published: 1971
  • Language: English
  • Alibris ID: 16584433677
  • Shipping Options:
  • Standard Shipping: $4.05

Choose your shipping method in Checkout. Costs may vary based on destination.

Books by Edmond Taylor

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Today, the field of forensic science has all but exploded. Advancements in technology allow for better analysis and understanding of scientific principles in all types of evidence. This, in turn, allows crime scene investigators to branch out and gain expertise in areas such as bloodstain pattern analysis and ballistics.

The advancements of the twentieth century were built largely upon the groundwork laid in the nineteenth century, perfecting techniques in both analysis and preservation of evidence. In the late 1900s, though, perhaps the largest breakthrough in crime scene investigation since fingerprinting became standard practice came with the advent of DNA analysis and identification.