Indian Masala Spices Up American Grassroots Politics By A. Venkata Narayana
Reconnecting to His Roots An Interview with Satveer Chaudhary
Publisher Michael H. Anderson
Against All Odds By Clarissa Myrick-Harris
Editor-in-Chief David Kennedy
Reconstructing Malcolm X
Editor Lea Terhune Associate Editor A. Venkata Narayana Copy Editor Dipesh K. Satapathy Editorial Assistant K. Muthukmnar Art Director Hemant Bhatnagar Deputy Art Director Sharad Sovani
By Manning Marable
Soul Force By Lea Terhune
Baltimore Revival By Tom Chalkley
Fresh Eyes By Bryan F Le Beau
Writing With Light Photoessay
by Kiran Singh
Production/Circulation Manager Rakesh Agrawal
Should Corporations Be Praised for Their Philanthropic Efforts?
Yes: A Golden Age
AIRC Documentation Services, American Information Resource Center
By Paul Ostergard
No: Always an Angle By Benjamin R. Barber
Impact Partners Front cover: Front view Shore, part of Art Deco Miami's South Beach; Anis, 1940. Photograph See story on page 30.
of The Berkeley buildings along architect Albert by Kiran Singh.
Note: SPAN does not accept unsolicited manuscripts and materials and does not assume responsibility for them. Query letters are accepted.
By Shailaja Neelakantan
Saving Mothers' Lives By Lea Terhune
The Other Global War By Nachammai
Eco-Iogic Published by the Public Affairs Section, American Center, 24 Kasturba Gandhi Marg, New Delhi 110001 (phone: 23316841), on behalf of the American Embassy, New Delhi. Printed at Ajanta Offset & Packagings Ltd., 95-B Wazirpur Industrial Area, Delhi 110052. The opinions expressed in this magazine do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the U.S. Government. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without the prior permission of the Editor. For permission write to the Editor. Price of magazine, one year subscription (6 issues) Rs. 125; single copy, Rs. 30.
By Michael Hawley
Another "Genius Grant" Goes to Indian American By Dipesh Satapathy
(12599) Singhal By Ajay Kanchan
nce again a new year dawns with the prospect of renewal and bright future. This is particularly true for a number of Indian Americans who will take their seats in legislatures
and other government bodies across the United States. Our lead article, "Indian Masala Spices Up American Grassroots Politics," tells about the hot competition, the winners, and the importance of political involvement to the South Asian immigrant community in the U.S. One dynamic state senator, Satveer ChaudhalY, is from my home state Minnesota, where he was reelected in November from a suburban Minneapolis-St. Paul district that has relatively few Asian American voters. Chaudhary recently was in Delhi and we had a chance to chat in between his visits with relatives and talks with local government officials and businesspersons. It was clear from his crowded schedule that he is committed to doing his part to foster closer Indo-U.S. relations. The active role he plays in serving Minnesota is evidence oftraits handed down by his parents, who moved to the U.S. from India in the 1960s. As the Senator says, "My parents taught me to value education, hard work, and to never forget how we began." Political involvement has always been critical to the African American community, whose leaders fought battle after battle to win emancipation from slavery, voting rights, and guaranteed civil rights. early 40 years after the U.S. Congress passed the Civil Rights Act, African Americans are at the top of many professions. To mark Black History Month, SPAN offers a package of articles dealing with past and present: "Against All Odds," by Clarissa Myrick-Harris, tells the story of Ida B. Wells, whose activism early in the 20th century brought the horrors of lynching to public attention and helped to ensure that African Americans obtained justice under the law; "Reconstructing Malcolm X," by Columbia University scholar Manning Marable, reassesses a man once considered radical but now viewed as a mainstream civil rights leader; "Soul Force," by Lea Terhune, surveys outstanding African Americans in various fields. And in "Baltimore Revival," Tom Chalkley takes us on a tour of Fells Point, one of America's oldest multiracial neighborhoods. Philanthropy is becoming part of company policy for more and more businesses. But there are at least two opinions on any issue. In "Should Corporations Be Praised for Their Philanthropic Efforts?" Paul Ostergard takes the side, "Yes: A Golden Age," while Benjamin R. Barber says, "No: Always an Angle." Then leap to Mumbai, where a small public venture finn funded by nonresident Indians is turning philanthropy on its
PUBLISHER head. Impact Partners are venture capitalists who
put business principles to work for grassroots organizations involved in education, women and children's issues, health, rural ilIDovation and the arts. Shailaja eelakantan tells the story. Gas that improve health care for Linking pregnant women and newborns is the focus of White Ribbon Alliance, a U.S.-based organization dedicated to lowering maternal mortality rates. Networking happened in a big way during White Ribbon Alliance's first international conference held in New Delhi last October. "Saving Mothers' Lives," by Lea Terhune, examines the problems and solutions of this largely preventable death toll. Innovation contributes to all levels of society, and should be rewarded. A young Jaipur student and whiz kid, 17-yearold Akshat Singhal, is getting his accolades early: he received the singular honor of having a planet named after him. See "(12599) Singhal," by Ajay Kanchan. Dipesh Satapathy writes about the coveted MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, or "genius grant," and the Indian American winners that include last year's Sendhil Mullainathan. MIT, famous for round-the-clock innovation, uses unusual methods for monitoring the environment, as described by Michael Hawley in "Eco-Iogic." The fight against HJV/AlDS is ongoing, and has gained new momentum in India with donations from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Richard Gere India Foundation Trust, and an infusion of millions of dollars fi'om U.S. government agencies. Tambaram Hospital in Chennai is the recipient of U.S. grants and expeliise to build upon its impressive start as the largest inpatient AIDS treatment center in South Asia. Nachammai Raman writes about it in "The Other Global War." Art and political commentaly mingle in "Fresh Eyes," by Bryan F. Le Beau. ew works discovered in an old warehouse show the Christmas card favorites, 19th centUly atiists CUITier & Ives, were not focused only on quaint village atmosphere. Finally, our photo essay is a rare treat. India-born, transplanted to California, photographer Kiran Singh was inspired by the architecture of Miami's Art Deco hotels. His meticulous portraits of Miami's Art Deco buildings are truly stunning. South Beach has never looked more ethereal. Happy reading, and from all of us at SPAN, may you have a very happy 2003.
was t celebration time for the Senate. The outstanding perforThe November 2002 election saw Indian American community mance in this election was the more than 25 Indian American after its remarkable run in victory of Democrat Swati November 2002 election. More Dandekar. She made history in candidates bid for political office at than 25 Indian American aspiher maiden bid for a seat in the local, state and federal level. rants ran for various political the Iowa State Assembly by Five of them succeeded. offices of the U.S. federal defeating her controversial Republican rival. All three conCongress, state legislatures and county and municipal levels. testants are Democrats. At the Even though none of them has made it to ran for smaller, issue-based third forces grassroots level, Uma Sengupta had a the Congress, their wins in state assembly, like the Green Party. successful bid to the Assembly District of district and school board elections show Among the candidates who had a sucQueens in New York and Leela Rai how America embraces capable individuthe trustee of the Yuba cessful run in the November election is became als not only in the workplace, but in Kumar Barve, who contested a record Community College District in Sutter the democratic process itself. Indian fourth time for the Maryland House of County, California. Americans fought as nominees of the Delegates. Senator Satveer Chaudhary The Indian American community never Democratic and Republican parties, and retained his office in the Minnesota State before reaped such rich political divi-
Swati Dandekar, the jirst Indian American woman legislator elected to the Iowa State Assembly in November 2002 election. Dandekar is seen here with her family, (from leji) husband Arvind, and sons Govind and Ajay. Left: Dandekar spends time with children. She has done excellent work improving education and served on many educational boards in Iowa.
dends. Since the doors opened to the Indian immigrants in the 1960s, Indian Americans have mostly avoided politics. The Indian community initially established itself economically and culturally. It then became aware of how political issues shape their lives. The next logical step was joining active politics. Congressman Dalip Singh Saund was a forefather to the new generation ofIndian American politicians and social activists. This U.S. Congressman from California, a Sikh, won the election in 1956 and was reelected twice, but his term ended when he had a debilitating stroke in 1962. More than a quarter-century after his death, Saund continues to inspire Indian Americans, especially political aspirants. Indians ran for political office in the 1980s and '90s, but their political power was negligible compared to other, more vocal ethnic communities. The November 2002 election galvanized the 1.5-millionstrong Indian American community to get involved in the political process with new vigor. The November election was fought on local issues and party agenda. Personal charisma and major national issues took a back seat in the campaign compared to state-level concerns. Democrat Kumar P. Barve, who retained his seat for the fourth time in a row to District 17 of the Maryland state legislature, won with 62.5 percent votes. Barve was the first person of Indian origin in the history of the United States to be elected to the state legislature in 1990, and re-elected twice in 1994 and 1998. He is a leader in Maryland state legislatui'e and is the longest-serving elected official of Indian origin in the United States. He represents the Montgomery County which has a population of more than 110,000. Barve, 43, is known for his sharp wit, self-effacing sense of humor and deep commitment to his community. He was endorsed by former Ohio Governor and Ambassador to India Richard F. Celeste. He distinguished himself with his vigorous, grass roots appeal-going door to door and explaining his agenda, which included such major issues as environment, education and women's rights. He
underlined the need for the community to get more involved in the political process. In an exclusive SPAN interview, Barve said: "I win in my district by focusing on issues that matter to my constituents. I don't run for office in a polarized' county, my district is heavily Democratic-leaning in Maryland." He believes that being a candidate of Indian origin is no disadvantage in American politics. "In America anyone can succeed, even in politics," he says. Barve chairs the science and technology subcommittee on economic matters and he has focused on health care reform and technology issues. He introduced and helped enact the Patient Access Act-the first bill in the United States to regulate HMOs (health maintenance organizations) which permits patients to see doctors outside of their HMO network. He was also the architect of the Maryland law that banned insurance companies from using pre-existing conditions to deny coverage. He authored Maryland's version of Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act. Kumar P Barve, the longest serving Indian American in any political office, was re-elected to the Maryland state legislature for a record fourth time.
In January 2002, with the curtain going up on the general assembly session the following week, the Montgomery Gazette asked a cross-section of 25 state House insiders, including governors, former legislators and journalists, to rate delegates and senators based on their effectiveness. Kumar Barve ranked in the top ten most effective members of the Maryland state legislature. A third generation American, Barve was born in New York State and did his graduation at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. He first got involved in politics as a student and helped write the Students Rights and Responsibilities Code. Barve is the chief finance officer of QueBlTS, a software development company. He also manages Environmental Management Services which provides services for clean up of toxic waste sites. Another remarkable win was that of Minnesota State Senator Satveer Chaudhary, 33, who was re-elected from the newly-carved 50th District. He is a Democrat and won with 55.5 percent votes. "To be re-elected by the people in my district was a moving experience, but also filled me with a great sense of duty. There are roughly 70,000 people for whom I am the voice in the state legislature, and that is a responsibility I take very seriously," said Chaudhary in an e-mail response to SPAN. Chaudhary faced a stiff challenge from a member of his own party in the primary election last September. Then in the November election he faced a Republican candidate, but prevailed by a comfortable margin. "So it was twice as much work, but twice as much reward as well," says Chaudhary. He feels that campaigns in Minnesota and throughout the U.S. are taking on an increasingly personal tone with each passing election. But he chose to rise above mudslinging and ran a spirited campaign focused on issues and not on personal attacks. Chaudhary is the highest-ranking Indian American elected official in the U.S., the first Asian American elected in Minnesota's history and the youngest State Senator in Minnesota. He served on seven Senate committees including trans-
Reconnecting to His Roots atveer Chaudhary, the Minnesota State Senator who was re-elected for a second term in ovember, recently visited "Mother India," to reconnect with his roots. After the triumphant run of five Indian Americans in midterm elections, he wanted to celebrate the history Indian Americans had made in the 2002 elections. He dubbed it his "India Victory Tour," adding, "this is a proud moment not only for Indian Americans but also for Indians across the world." Although Chaudhary came to meet his friends and relatives here, he also wanted to introduce his home state of Minnesota to the country of his parents' origin. To that end he explored international exchange relationships between his home state of Minnesota and Haryana, the state from where his mother hails. "I am interested in establishing a twin state or twin city relationship. I met Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala who brought up the possibility of sister state relationship between Haryana and Minnesota," says Chaudhary. He feels the proposed relationship between Haryana and Minnesota is natural because both have many commonalties: they are primarily agricultural states with growing technology sectors. "One has a Jat Senator and the other a Jat Chief Minister," Chaudhary quips. He has Indo-U.S. commercial ties in
Satveer Chaudhary, a Minnesota Senator, on a victory tour to India.
portation, finance, public safety, crime prevention, education and finance. He has worked for stricter gun control and child pornography laws. His next project is a legislative task force to deal with missing persons. Chaudhury lives in Findley. He graduated in political science from St. Olaf College and received a law degree from the University of Minnesota Law School. He later studied British and American foreign policy at Oxford University. Swati Dandekar, who now represents District 36 of the Iowa state assembly, is the first successful Indian American woman candidate in the United States. In the last days of her campaign, her
mind, also. "There is a good deal of expertise in Minnesota with regards to food processing. orman E. Borlaug, an alumnus of the University of Minnesota, pioneered the Green Revolution in India in the 1960s," says Chaudhary. "Whenever any Indian businessman is willing to do business with Minnesota I am going to lend my hand," he states emphatically. Receptive business leaders from Haryana and the Rajasthan Chamber of Commerce and Industry met Chaudhary and discussed possibilities of increasing trade relations. They also discussed exchanges in various fields of expertise available on both sides in exploring new markets. Stressing the importance of ethical politics, Chaudhary maintains: "Good politicians can shape people's lives in a positive way." American politics is always evolving. "We have a democracy that is going to see the rise of the immigrant population in the U.S., whether it be Hispanic, Asian or other immigrant community. The Indian American community is of course going to become a growing force." Chaudhary would like to see more representation from minority groups. He has great faith in Indian Americans, "I don't think there is any immigrant or any other group that networks across the United States better than Indian American immigrants. I criss-crossed the country trying to help Indians become more politically involved and I work along those lines. I think the future is bright for Indians across the country." -A.Y.N.
Republican opponent, Karen Balderston, made India's caste system an election issue. In an e-mail she questioned Dandekar's ethnicity and qualifications. "While I was growing up in Iowa, learning and reciting the pledge of Allegiance to the Flag, Swati was growing up in India, under the still existent caste system. How can that prepare her for legislating in Iowa or any other part of our great United States?" She added: "Will a person raised to function in the upper caste of India, the most repressive form of discrimination on the planet, be able to shed such recessionist views and fully and effectively represent the citizens of House District 36?" The Republican Party disagreed with her campaign style
and withdrew its support for her. Dandekar was unfazed by the attack and said she believed she can serve her constituents in government. She won 57.4 percent of the vote, showing the electorate agreed. "I am deeply moved by the show of support from the community and its leaders," Dandekar says. Responding to her rival's charges, she says, America is a land of equal opportunities for everyone. Dandekar, 51, was born in Tagpur and educated in Bombay. She migrated to the United States 27 years ago and became a resident of Marion, Iowa. She has an excellent track record of community work and leadership. When she was approached (Continued on page 49)
February is Black History Month in the United States. The month is dedicated to recognizing the contributions that black Americans have made to world history. Americans owe the cele路 bration of Black History Monthand more importantly, the study of black history-to Carter G. Woodson, an American historian. Carter Woodson (1875-1950) was disturbed to fInd in his studies that history books largely ignored the black American population. When blacks did fIgure into the picture, it was generally in ways that reflected the inferior social position they were assigned at the time. Woodson decided to take on the challenge of writing black Americans into the nation's history. He established the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. In February 1926, he launched the fIrst annual Negro History Week as an initiative to bring national attention to the contributions of black people throughout American history. Woodson chose the second week of February for Negro History Week because it marks the birthdays of two men who greatly impacted the American black population-Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln-as well as the anniversary of the founding of the National Association for Advancement of the Colored People (NAACP). Renamed Black History Week in 1972, the observance was extended to become Black History Month in 1976.
Small, feisty and born a slave in the middle of the Civil War, Ida B. Wells fought tenaciously to end lynching in America. One September day in 1883, Ida B. Wells stepped aboard a train in Memphis. She was 21 and a public school teacher. After she took a seat and opened a book to read, a conductor demanded that she move to a car designated for black passengers. She refused. When the conductor grabbed her arm, Wells bit his hand. Hard. "I had braced my feet against the seat in front and was holding to the back," she would later recall. "As he had already been badly bitten, he didn't try it again by himself." Though she was no more than about 1.5 meters tall, it took three men to roust her from the seat. Still, she refused to sit in the other car and got off the train at the next stop. Wells sued the Chesapeake, Ohio, and Southwestern Railroad in 1884 for violating equal accommodation statutes-and, incredibly, won. But the Tennessee Supreme Court overturned the verdict in a ruling that would lay the groundwork for the "separate but equal" doctrine that kept racial segregation in place for decades. Her ordeal, with its intriguing parallels to Rosa Parks' civil disobedience aboard a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, 72 years later, not only reveals Wells' fierce will but also essentially launched her lifelong, often dangerous struggle to secure the rights of African Americans. This fearless woman would do more than anyone to curtail the terrorizing of blacks by lynch mobs. She would also publish a newspaper, help found a number of African American self-help organizations-including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)-advance women's rights and run for the Illinois Senate. Although she pioneered tactics Wells comforting Betty that would become crucial to the civil rights Moss, seated, after the movement decades later, she is not nearly as vigilante murder of well known as contemporaries Frederick Moss' husband. Until Douglass, Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. recently, Wells' brave Du Bois. But that is changing. fight for black civil A traveling exhibition of photographs oflynchrights was overlooked ing victims-profoundly disturbing images that by history.
have tom at old wounds and stin'ed controversy--called attention to the wave of atrocities that Wells risked her life to stop. Joseph Jordan, curator of the exhibition "Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in America," says Wells "stands apart as the most recognizable and effective antilynching clUsader in history." A new play that sketches and celebrates Wells' life, Constant Stm; has been staged in several cities, including Washington, D.C., Hartford and Pittsburgh. Playwright Tazewell Thompson says he was moved to investigate the "insane lawlessness" of lynchings and to write about Wells' crusade against them after viewing a 1989 documentary, Ida B. Wells: A Passion/or Justice. "It haunted me that this tiny woman had to become the drum majorette for this campaign," says Thompson, a theater director. "Wells believed it was a land oflaws, and by God she was going to see to it that everyone was treated as if 'all men are created equal.' " And a Wells biography scheduled for publication this year is expected to shine more light on Wells' uncompromising vision, which rankled some civil rights figures and partly accounts for why, until recently, she has not received the recognition her achievements warrant. "She did not hold her tongue at all. And she didn't like to follow," says the book's author, Paula 1. Giddings, a professor of Afro-American Studies at Smith College in Massachusetts. No less important, Wells has received only limited attention in academia, where the reputations of most historical figures are formed. "Black women tend to be marginalized both in Afro-American studies and in women's studies," Giddings adds. After slavery ended in the United States in 1865, Southern states enacted several Jim Crow laws denying equality to African Americans. White supremacist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan terrorized black citizens. Racist ideology dressed up as "science" depicted blacks as lascivious and inferior. It was in this charged atmosphere that some of the most heinous crimes ever committed in the United States were sanctioned by the white community at large, and even by law officials themselves.
rallied Wells, then 29, to the antilynching cause. By then, Wells had become a full-time journalist. When a series of articles she had written about her court case against the railroad was picked up by African American newspapers across the United States (and eventually led to a column), Wells knew what she wanted to do with her life. She bought part-ownership in the Free Speech, a black Memphis newspaper, and became its coeditor. "She has plenty of nerve, and is as sharp as a steel trap," said T. Thomas Fortune, editor of the New York Age, a leading black newspaper. One of her closest friends was Thomas Moss, who owned a grocery store in Memphis with two other black men. A white businessman, angered by competition from the new store, had pressured town officials to close it down. When a scuffle broke out between black and white youths near the black-owned store, he and other white residents threatened to destroy it. After a group of white men marching toward the store at night were fired upon and at least one was wounded, police rounded up and jailed more than a hundred blacks. But Moss and his two partners were "carried a mile north of the city limits and horribly shot to death," Wells wrote in Free Speech. A local white newspaper reported Moss' last words: "Tell my people to go West-there is no justice for them here." The murders devastated Wells, who was godmother to the Mosses' daughter. "The city of Memphis has demonstrated that neither character nor standing avails the Negro if he dares to protect himself against the white man or become his rival," she wrote in an editorial. Echoing Moss' last words, Wells and other black leaders encouraged black Memphians to leave the city, which, she said "will neither protect our lives and property, nor give us a fair trial in the courts, but takes us out and murders us in cold blood." Thousands of blacks joined the "Exodusters" migrating to Oklahoma and other points west. Wells urged those who remained to boycott streetcars and white businesses. Railway officials, assuming that black passengers were staying away out of a mistaken belief that the electric cars were hazardous, pleaded with Wells to tell her followers the cars were safe. "Keep up the good work," she told her After the Civil War, which emancipated slaves in the United States, white readers. supremacy was enforced by custom and later by law, particularly in the Driven by anger and grief, Wells plunged into Southern states. Blacks were segregated in public places, including schools, a wide-ranging investigation of lynching in theaters, public transport, restaurants, even compelled to use separate drinkAmerica, documenting the circumstances of more ing fountains and entrances. than 700 incidents over the previous decade. She traveled alone across the South to the spots where lynching parties had shot, hanged and burned Lynching-the kidnapping, torturing and killing of men, VIctims, taking sworn statements from witnesses, scrutinizing women and children by vigilante mobs-became commonplace. records and local newspaper accounts, sometimes hiring private Between 1880 and 1930, approximately 3,220 black Americans investigators. She studied photographs of mutilated bodies hanging from tree limbs and of lynchers picking over the bones and were reported lynched, along with perhaps 723 whites. The l880s ushered in a dramatic and prolonged rise in the ashes of burned corpses. percentage of African American victims. These lawless execuHer findings would astonish many Americans, appall others and tions, blind to any constitutional guarantee of due process, often outrage white supremacists. She aroused the strongest ire by venattracted large crowds. Some spectators brought along children turing into the taboo realm of sexuality. The excuse frequently and even picnic baskets, as though the horrific murder of used for the lynching of black men was that they had raped white another human being constituted entertainment, or worse, women. But her research showed that rape had never been alleged edification. It was the brutal lynching of a friend in 1892 that in two-thirds of the lynchings, and when it was, the "rape" was
often alleged after a secret relationship was discovered or fol- ~ lowing nothing more than a suggestive look. In one editorial, ~ Wells dared suggest that many of the white women had had con- .~ sensual sex with the men. ~ Wells was en route to New York when white newspapers路~ reprinted the editorial. Vandals ransacked the Free Speech ~ offices, and fearing for his life, her coeditor fled the city. Racist whites promised to lynch Wells if she returned. A Memphis paper, the Evening Scimitar, threatened the editorial's author, whom the paper believed to be a man. "Tie the wretch who utters these calumnies to a stake ...brand him on the forehead with a hot iron, and perform upon him a surgical operation with a pair of tailor's shears." Wells, who had armed herself with a pistol after Moss' lynching, vowed to die fighting. "I had already determined to sell my life as dearly as possible if attacked," she would later write. "If! could take one lyncher with me, this would even up the score a little bit." T. Thomas Fortune met with Wells during her trip and convinced her to remain in New York City. There she parlayed the subscription list of the now-defunct Free Speech into part-ownership of the New York Age, which published the findings of her investigations. She also published a pamphlet, Southern Horrors: Lynching in All Its Phases, for which renowned abolitionist Frederick Douglass, then in his seventies, penned the preface. "Brave Woman!" he wrote, "If American conscience were only half alive ...a scream of horror, shame and indignation would rise to Heaven wherever your pamphlet shall be read." Her crusade gaining momentum, Wells toured Great Britain in 1893 and 1894, speaking in packed churches and lecture halls. The "sweet-faced" orator spoke with "singular refinement, dignity and self-restraint," wrote a London observer. "Nor have I ever met any agitator so cautious and unimpassioned in speech. "What a wonderful place in the scheme of things the Creator has given But by this marvelous self-restraint itself, she moved us all the women, " Wells said after the birth of son Charles in 1896. more profoundly." 1917 Wells, her husband .Ferdinand (both seated) andfamily bade Sh'e so lmpresse d th e Duk e 0 fAr gy,II S路lr J 0 hn G ors,t th athIne . farewell to Ferdinand, Jr. (zn uniform), who served in Europe. '" d' 'd f h L d An . L h' b ecame t h e loun mg presl ent 0 t e on on tl- ync mg c Committee, the first of many such chapters in Great Britain and E the United States. The London membership included the arch- 8, bishop of Canterbury, members of Parliament and the editors of ~ England's most prestigious papers. On a dare by Southern papers ~ in the United States and to get at the truth about lynching in .~ America, Sir John and his committee visited the United States in 搂 the summer of 1894. The mere presence of the British visitors, who threatened a boycott of U.S. goods, infuriated white Americans. Governor John Altgeld of Illinois said Southerners should retaliate by visiting Ireland "to stop the outrages there." As it happened, the British delegation was touring the States when a lynching party killed six black men near Memphis. "If Ida B. Wells had desired anything to substantiate the charges against the south," noted an Ohio newspaper, "nothing more serviceable could have come to hand." That incident marked a sort of turning point. Even the Evening Scimitar, which had called for lynching Wells herself two years before, now sounded contrite. "Everyone of us is touched with blood guiltiness in this matter," the paper editorialized.
g out to leal11carpentry. After the war, he worked as a paid employ搂 ee for the carpenter who had taught him, but lost his job when he -g> ~ refused to vote for the Democratic ticket of white supremacy. In a ~ display of the grit that he evidently passed on to his daughter, he opened his own business across the street from his f0l111eremploy~ er. Ida Wells' mother, Elizabeth, was a cook, an "outspoken ~ woman who was constantly whipped and beaten as a slave," says go playwright Thompson. The reason she wasn't killed outright, he ~ avers, is that "she was known as the finest cook in the South." (3 Ida Wells' fearlessness, says Giddings, came in part from her father, a leader of the local black community who attended political meetings in spite of an ever-present threat of ten-orism by the Ku Klux Klan. Mississippi's SecretaJy of State during Reconstruction, James Hill, was a family friend. In due course Holly Springs became home to one of two blacks in the state senate. Ida's forceful personality emerged at a young age. She was expelled from school after a confrontation with the institution's president. It isn't known what the fight was about, but as McMurry notes, "Ida's fiety temper often got her into trouble." The greatest crisis of her young life occurred when a yellow fever epidemic struck Holly Springs in 1878 and killed both of her parents and her Five different actresses depict Wells in the play, Constant Star, here baby brother. Family friends arranged to place her five surviving in the opening production in Washington, D. c., spring 2001. brothers and sisters in homes aJ'ound the county, but 16-year-old It toured several other Us. cities. Controversial in her day, Ida B. Wells was honored by a commemorative stamp in 1990 (below). Ida vetoed the plan. She lengthened her skilis (to look older) and got a job as a country schoolteacher, suppoliing her siblings on a salaJy of $25 a month. Historian Philip Dray, author of At the Hands of Persons In 1881, she accepted a better-paying teaching position in Unknown, a history of lynching in America, says Wells' work Woodstock, Tennessee, even as she dreaJ11edof a more exciting effected a deep change in racial thinking. "In an age when blacks career as a "joul11alist, physician or actress." She studied elocution were written about almost exclusively as a problem," he says, "she that must had established lynching as a practice in which whites were the and drama at Fisk University in Nashville-training have proved helpful when she later took to the lecture circuit. problem and blacks those in need of compassion and justice." She was 32 and already a noted joul11alist and activist when she One tactic that made Wells effective, says historian Paula路 married in 1895. Frederick Douglass had recruited Wells and Giddings, was that she persuaded NOlihem and foreign investors Ferdinand Lee Bal11ett,a prosperous black attorney and publisher that lynchings were a form of anarchy, which was poison for ecoof The Conservator newspaper in Chicago, to help write a pamnomic development. This view threatened investments earmarked for the South. Her calls for boycotts in the South by the black labor phlet protesting the exclusion of black participants fi'om the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago. force caused states that previously ignored lynchings to rethink Barnett, as militant as Wells, was once jailed for telling an auditheir complacency. Following Wells' campaign, the number oflynchings went down, ence that America was a "dirty rag" if it didn't protect all of its citfrom a peak of235 in 1892, to 107 by 1899, and antilynching legis- izens. A widower with two sons, Barnett soon proposed to Wells, lation was enacted in parts of the South. "She was responsible for who eventually agreed to marry him. She persuaded BaJ'nett, who was busy with his legal the first antilynching campaign in the United work, to sell The Conservator to her. Joul11alism,she States," says Giddings. "And she staJied it almost later wrote in her autobiography, "was my first, and single-handedly." might be said, my only love." A few days after the Wells was born a slave in Holly Springs, ~ wedding, Wells took charge of the newspaper. Mississippi, in the midst of the Civil War in Julyg Typically ahead of her time, the new bride adopt1862. The child's first three years were punctuated ~ ed a hyphenated last name, Wells-Barnett. The couby the sound of gunfire and the frenzy of minor ~ ple had two daughters and two sons. For Wells, as skimlishes, according to Wells biographer Linda.~ for many career women, balancing work and famiMcMuny in To Keep the Waters Troubled, pub-l ly was a challenge. Her friend, suffrage leader (and lished in 1998. The town was captured and recap- ~ spinster) Susan B. Anthony, chided Wells that tured by opposing armies throughout the conflict, ~ "since you have gotten married, agitation seems changing hands at least 59 times, writes McMurry.} practically to have ceased." Wells' father, Jim, was the son of an enslaved ~ But while Wells struggled daily with a sense of woman named Peggy and her white owner. More ~ divided duty, she still managed to speak at antiprivileged than some slaves, Jim was apprenticed ~
lynching rallies and at women's club conventions, even while women in America. She helped the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car nursing. In 1898, baby Herman went along on his mother's fivePorters, a key labor union, gain a foothold in Chicago. And she week trip to Washington, where she discussed lynchings with inspired black women across the countly to organize-a movePresident William McKinley and also lobbied the U.S. ment that gave rise to the ational Association of Colored Women. Congress-unsuccessfully-for a national antilynching law. At least twice Wells tried to retire trom public life, only to have new Although Wells was probably the most prominent black female injustices lure her back into the fi路ay.At 59, she traveled from Chicago journalist and activist of her era, she did not succeed Frederick to Little Rock, Arkansas, to investigate the case of 12 black men on Douglass as the acknowledged leader of the African American death row. The men, sharecroppers who had organized a union, were community after the "grand old man" died in 1895. Today's scholconvicted for conspiling to kill whites and steal their land. After the ars speculate why that was so. Giddings thinks it was due mainly inmates told Wells that they had been tortured, she published a pan1to her gender. Also, she spoke openly about sexuality and mur- phlet that described their plight and distributed it throughout the state. der-issues deemed unbecoming of a lady in the Victorian era. For Officials later pardoned and fl'eed all 12 prisoners. At 67, saying she was tired of the "do-nothings" in politics, she African American women at the tum of the centulY, writes Patricia Schechter in Ida B. Wells-Barnett and American Reform, 1880ran for the Illinois state senate. She finished last but vowed to learn from the mistakes of the campaign. 1930 progressive reform "favored professional expelis, well-fundShe devoted much of her remaining energy to an autobiography. ed national organizations, and men." And there's no question that Wells' militancy and fiery tem- "Our youth are entitled to the facts of race histOly which only the perament worked against her. She was unusually fierce and paliicipants can give," she wrote in the preface. She stopped writing mid-sentence in what would be the last chapter of her book. uncompromising in her devotion to her ideals and she clashed with contemporaries along ideological lines. "Wells stayed militant at a time when other leaders believed a moderate relationship with the power structure was the Turn-of-the-century black leader Booker T. Washington urged most effective way of doing things," says Giddings. blacks to improve their lives through blue-collar labor, but The person who had emerged to lead black America compromised on segregation. Wells criticized him for asking at the turn of the 20th centUly was Booker T. blacks "to be first-class people in a Jim Crow car" rather Washington, the head of the Tuskegee Institute. He not than "insisting that the Jim Crow car be abolished." only urged blacks to improve their lives through bluecollar labor but also proposed a compromise that would leave Southern blacks segregated and disenfranchised. After a day of shopping, she complained of feeling ill. Two days Wells criticized Washington's accommodation policy, says later, she lapsed into a coma; she died of kidney disease on March 25, 1931. Dorothy Sterling in Black Foremothers: Three Lives. She lacerated him for urging blacks "to be first-class people in a Jim Crow Today, Wells is remembered as a social pioneer, a woman of many firsts-in journalism and civil rights. But she's best known car" rather than "insisting that the Jim Crow car be abolished." And when several blacks were killed by white rioters in NOlih for her courageous and often lonely battle against the scourge of Carolina (following the murder of a black postmaster and his lynching. "She had a vision of how to execute that kind of struginfant son in South Carolina), Wells charged McKinley with indif- gle, not on moral grounds alone, but as a social justice issue," says ference and inaction. "We must do something for ourselves, and "Without Sanctualy" curator Joseph Jordan. "Her methodology do it now," she advocated. "We must educate the white people out would not only be used throughout the antilynching movement but of their 250 years of slave history." Labeled a hothead by both also in the work of the NAACP and by the civil rights and human Washington and McKinley supporters, Wells found herself rights activists that followed." spurned by the very organizations she had helped create. "The awful crimes that OCCUlTed in this countly should not be forIn 1909, black and white organizers met in New York to choose gotten," says Tazewell Thompson. "They can still happen today, as a "Committee of Forty" to shape the agenda for the emerging the lynching in Jasper, Texas [of James Byrd in 1998], proves." But NAACP. When they voted down Wells' motion to make lobbying thanks in pali to Wells, the Byrd lynchers were not greeted by cheerfor an antilynching law a priority, she walked out. Fellow black ing crowds or aided by lawmen. They were prosecuted. activist W.E.B. Du Bois, who thought Wells too radical and outNo letter pleased Ida B. Wells more than the one she received spoken, scratched her name from the committee. Wells was rein- from a Mississippi sharecropper during her antilynching camstated only after her supporters protested. But she would never paign. "The only thing to offer you in your great undeliaking have an easy relationship with the NAACP. When its magazine, [is] prayer," the man wrote. "The words 'God bless her' is writThe Crisis, published an article in 1912 about the people who cam- ten here on every acre of ground and on every doorstep and paigned against lynching, Wells was not even mentioned. inside of every home." 0 Yet she was never down for long. In 1910, she had established the Negro Fellowship League to assist poor black migrants About the Authors: Clarissa Myrick-Harris directs the Southern Black streaming into Chicago fi'om the rural South. She served as the Communities Oral History Center at Morris Brown College in Atlanta, first black female probation officer in Chicago. In 1913, she orga- Georgia. Genie Wray works with the public affairs section of the nized what was likely the first suffrage organization for black American Embassy in New Delhi.
Nation of Islam A sect founded by Robelt Poole, later called Elijah Muhammad, was steeped in controversy from its inception. It is dismissed as unislamic by Muslims because followers view Elijah Muhammad as a prophet, "the long awaited 'Messiah' of the Christians and the 'Mahdi' of the Muslims," among other differences. Long associated with radical rhetoric, current head Louis Farrakhan keeps the organization's profile high.
school, stayed at the Michigan State Detention Home. In 1941 Malcolm's half-sister on his father's side, Ella Collins, brought the teenager to her home in Boston, Massachusetts. Over the next five years, he held a wide variety of jobs in Boston and New York City. Known on the streets as "Big Red" and "Detroit Red," he entered the underground economy of the ghetto, running numbers and selling liquor and illegal drugs. In the Spike Lee film, Detroit Red's life is typical of the hepcat world of young black and Latino urban men of the World War II era. Malcolm became friends with many jazz musicians and entertainers, including Billie Holiday and Lionel Hampton. The historian Robin D.G Kelly emphasized that the zoot-suited Malcolm Little, immersed in the black popular culture of the 1940s, should not be overlooked or forgotten in our understanding of the later Malcolm X. In January 1946 Malcolm Little was arrested and charged with grand larceny and breaking and entering. He was sentenced to prison in Charlestown, Massachusetts, and would live behind bars until his release sixand-a-half years later. At the Concord Reformatory prison, in Massachusetts, to which he had been transferred in 1947, he was introduced to a black-nationalist Islamic sect, the Nation of Islam, during a visit by his younger brother, Reginald. Malcolm joined the sect and began a frequent correspondence with its leader, Elijah Muhammad, formerly Robert Poole. The ation of Islam's core tenets, among them that blacks are racially superior and whites are literally devils, were extremely attractive to Malcolm. Paroled from prison in August
1952, he took the surname X, which stood for the lost true name of his African ancestors. In early 1953 he lived briefly in the home of Elijah Muhammad, and quickly rose in the hierarchy of the sect. He was named minister of the newly established Boston Temple No. II in the fall ofthat year and became the minister of New York's Temple No.7 in June 1954. He would lead it for the next 10 years. A powerful and magnetic speaker, Malcolm X traveled extensively throughout the country on behalf of the Nation of Islam. He initiated and directed the development of new temples in many cities and established a national newspaper, Muhammad Speaks. A 1959 television documentary on the Nation of Islam, with the provocative title The Hate That Hate Produced, brought the sect into national Malcolm X addresses a rally in Harlem in New York City on June 29, 1963
prominence. That same year Malcolm X visited Egypt, Iran, Syria, Ghana, Nigeria, and Sudan. By the late 1950s and early 1960s he was actively involved in protesting police brutality against "black Muslims," the name the media gave members of the Nation. Malcolm X constantly urged African Americans to break from their psychological, cultural, and political dependence on white values and institutions. For selfdetermination to work, he argued, blacks had to build strong institutions, and with them the ability to negotiate with the white establishment. The philosophy of racial assimilation, he believed, could never really help poor and working black people. In the Autobiography he observed: "The American black man should be focusing his every effOlt toward building his own businesses, and decent homes for himself. As other ethnic groups have done, let the black people, wherever possible, however possible, patronize their own kind, hire their own kind, and start in those ways to build up the black race's ability to do for itself. That's the only way the American black man is ever going to get respect!" Meanwhile, in 1956 Malcolm X met Betty Sanders, a new convelt who had joined Temple No.7. Even though he was attracted to her, he feigned indifference right up to his proposal of marriage, given in a call from a gas-station telephone in Detroit in January 1958. Two days later the two were married by a white Justice of the
Peace in Lansing, Michigan. Back home, Temple No.7 members were surprised that their minister, who never appeared to be interested in any female member, including Betty, had wed. The newlyweds moved into a small two-family flat in the borough of Queens, and over the next seven years they had six daughters, Attalah, Qubilah, Ilyasah, Gamilah, Malaak, and Malikah. Despite his extensive travels, Malcolm always stayed close with his family. As early as 1959 Malcolm X began reaching out to mainstream civil rights leaders and black elected officials, such as the Harlem congressman Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., in an effort to build a national black united front. In September 1960, he met with Fidel Castro dming the Cuban's visit to the United Nations. The next February, he led a demonstration at the United Nations to denounce the killing of the prime minister of the Congo, Patrice Lumumba. Many white Americans, particularly college students, became fascinated with Malcolm as an articulate and uncompromising voice of black militancy. He became a sought-after campus speaker, lecturing at Harvard Law School in March 1961 and many other institutions. His high profile brought him under intense surveillance by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other law enforcement agencies and fed hostility and resentment among Nation of Islam leaders close to Elijah Muhammad, who feared that Malcolm X had grown too powerful to control. As a result, he practically disappeared from the pages of Muhammad Speaks in 1963. At the same time, rumors that Elijah Muhammad was carrying on adulterous relations with numerous women in the Nation of Islam were proved true. An outraged Malcolm X refused to be silent on the subject, but did attempt to minimize the damage to the sect's credibility. A close analysis of the actual content of Malcolm X's public lectures, selmons, and media interviews between 1960 and 1963 reveals many more similarities than differences to his post-Nation of Islam views. His basic goal was to get black people to see themselves as actors in the making of their own history. He linked the anticolonial revolutions of Africa, Asia, and the
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Caribbean with the struggles of African Americans for self-determination inside the United States. He sharply criticized Martin Luther King's philosophy of nonviolence, and ridiculed the 1963 March on Washington as nothing but "a picnic, a circus." Yet, at the same time, he made nwnerous efforts to connect with liberal integrationist leaders, in public forums as well as in private meetings. "If capitalistic Kennedy and communistic Khrushchev can find something in common on which to form a United front despite their tremendous ideological differences," he wrote in a 1963 letter to Dr. King, inviting him to a rally in Harlem, "it is a disgrace for Negro leaders not to be able to submerge our 'minor' differences in order to seek a common solution to a common problem posed by a Common Enemy." In the wake of President John F. Kennedy's assassination, in November 1963, Malcolm X remarked to the media that the Chief Executive's murder was a case of "the chickens coming home to roost," symbolizing white America's tendency to violence and hatred. The press seized on this, and Elijah Muhammad used the public controversy as an excuse for expelling his powerful protege from the Nation of Islam. Malcolm X was first ordered to submit to a 90-day "period of silence," but as the disciplinary period came to an end in early March 1964, it became clear that the ation would never accept him back. That same month, he
The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. (left), and Malcolm X smile for photographers March 26, 1964, in Washington, D.C. The two had a growing affinity, although they were characterized as opposites.
called a press conference and resigned from the sect. Soon after his departure, he created two new organizations: Muslim Mosque, Inc., a spiritual refuge for former Nation of Islam members and others, to reach out to the orthodox Islamic community; and the Organization of Afro-American Unity, a black-nationalist group that sought to overcome the ideological and political divisions within black America. Malcolm X's views on U.S. domestic and international affairs moved ever leftward. He was one of the first prominent Americans to denounce the growing U.S. military involvement in Vietnam. Leaving the United States on April 13, 1964, under the name Malik EIShabazz, he made a pilgrimage to Mecca. The religious experience in itself did not "radically transform" him, as both Alex Haley and Spike Lee have suggested. However, his new commitment to orthodox Islam did allow for much greater flexibility in the pursuit of his societal ideals. In 1970 Dr. Betty Shabazz commented about her husband's jomney to Mecca, and his return to the United States a little over a month later as El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz: "When [Malcolm] retwned he did have a new perspective. Pati of it, I think, was the human experience of seeing people from different countries functioning together because of a common philosophy ....Malcolm's basic goal or objective never changed: He was totally committed to fi'eedom for oppressed people ....Malcolm's [new] feeling was that (Continued to page 54)
CEO; Dick Parsons, head of AOL-Time Warner; Franklin Raines, CEO of top financial services provider Fannie Mae, a company noted for its large number of executives from minority groups; John Thompson, CEO of Symantec in Silicon Valley. Or former advisor to President Clinton, Vernon Jordon, who is now senior managing director of the investment bank Lazard LLC. Kevin Cohee, a 44-year-old Harvard Law School grad, heads the Boston Bank of Commerce, America's largest black-owned bank. Cohee says after civil rights, he wants "silver rights," economic independence for the black community. According to Fortune, membership in the Executive Leadership Council, an association of senior black executives, has risen from 19 in 1986 to 275 today. The list includes plenty of women. Oprah Winfrey parlayed her acting talent and business acumen into the phenomenally successful Harpo Inc., of which she is chairman and CEO. Myrtle Potter is COO at Genentech, a cutting-edge genetic research company. Pamela Thomas-Graham is president and CEO of CNBC. Brenda Gaines, president of Diners Club, North America. These are just a few of the dynamic black women in business, a roster that would doubtless tickle Madam C.J. Walker, a daughter of slaves whose line of hair-care products made her one ofthe first black millionaires early in the last century. African Americans have always been known as talented entertainers, producing a fair share of legends: from Louis Armstrong to Billie Holiday to Paul Robeson to Miles Davis to, yes, rapper Sean Puffy Combs, aka Puff Daddy or P. Diddy. Combs and a few other rap entrepreneurs who moved from being performers into being heads of hot record or design companies court controversy when street violence spills over into their business relationships in bloody turf wars. But there are lots of young blacks working hard and doing a brisk trade without such dramas, like Lee Chapman III and Curtis Lewis II who started the first black-owned brewery, Mojo Highway. Microbiologist Deborah Sawyer, CEO of Environmental Design International, cleans up toxic waste and makes millions doing it. 2002 was a very good year at the Oscars, too, with Denzel
Washington and Halle Berry bagging best actor and actress awards. Once relegated to playing maids and shoeshine boys, African Americans are now top stars, and films exploring black culture such as Soul Food and Waiting to Exhale have become classics. Leading African American director Spike Lee has made black movies box office hits. Politically, African Americans now head police departments, are mayors, members of state and federal legislatures. The Rev. Jessie Jackson was a candidate for president. Former Joint Chief of Staff and General Colin Powell holds one of the highest positions in the U.S. government, as Secretary of State. Condoleezza Rice is National Security Advisor, and has tremendous clout in the White House. African American writers and poets abound: Ralph Ellison, Amir Baraka, Toni Morrison, Jamaica Kinkaid, Alex Haley, Maya Angelou, to name a few better-known names. There are many others. Sport is another domain where blacks have always excelled. Nothing has changed there. Tiger Woods continues to astound the international golf world, a previously white purview. Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson are equally legendary in basketball. Magic Johnson, who went public with the news that he is HJV positive, started the Magic Johnson Foundation in 1991 to promote H1V/AIDS education and prevention, and respond to other health needs in the inner cities. In the context of America, there are still more battles to be won by African Americans, and by blacks and whites together, working toward social homogeneity. "With the civil rights victories, black identity became more carefully calculated around the pursuit of power, because black power was finally possible," writes Stanford sociologist Shelby Steele. The debate about the place of blacks in society, the workplace, the intellectual discourse, has moved from being a black and white question to a formulation among blacks themselves as they deal with changing attitudes and circumstances. Steele characterizes it as a shift from an age of white racism to an age of white guilt, which will, in time, find balance. "We should help people who need help," he writes. "There are, in fact, no races that need help; only individuals, citizens." 0
Baltimore Revival The city is rejuvenating many long-neglected landmarks of Maryland's African American history aving grown up in Maryland, ] 've always been aware of my state's role on both sides of the conflict during the Civil War, and of its more recent Jim Crow past. Until] moved to Baltimore in 1979, however, T didn't realize the extent to which those ancient traumas could trouble the modern landscape. The city honored H.L. Mencken
and Edgar Allan Poe and Babe Ruth, but where was Frederick Douglass? Eventually I found a statue of Baltimore's greatest son standing tucked away on the campus ofthe historically black Morgan State University. Over the past few years, the city's promoters have begun to acknowledge its vast trove of African American histOly. In 2000, for the first time, the Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Association pub-
lished a glossy "Guide to African American Attractions." In September last year, the city unveiled a long-overdue set of historic plaques in Fells Point commemorating scenes from the life of the young Douglass, who spent much of his formative first 20 years there, long before he went on to become a leading American abolitionist. Black Baltimore's stOly begins in the tobacco fields of colonial Matyland. Ignoring
He has been called the father of the civil rights movement. He was an abolitionist, human rights and women's rights activist, orator, author, journalist, publisher, and social reformer. Committed to freedom, Douglass dedicated his life to achieving justice for all Americans, in particular women, and minority groups. He was the first black American to receive a major government appointment in the United States. He served as an adviser to
President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War. He helped recruit black soldiers for the Union army and fought for the adoption of constitutional amendments that guat路anteed voting rights and other civil liberties for blacks. Douglass held various political appointments under five U.S. presidents. Five state legislatures adopted resolutions of regret when he died in 1895, and his 150th birth anniversary in 1967 was marked by the release of a United States postage stamp. -Genie Wray
Above: Fells Point district, Baltimore, a thriving, traditionally multiracial neighborhood; right: Frederick Douglass IV, in costume, near the homes his ancestor built in the Fells Point. Fells Point overlooks a deep-water harbor that gave employment to maritime workers in the old days. It is now a prime tourist attraction; far right and top: Boats at the marina; and the esplanade.
Underground Railroad Pre-Civil War abolitionists cooperated in smuggling escaped slaves to safe havens in the North. These secret routes came to be called the Underground Railroad. the antislavery decrees of their English lords, Maryland's farmers purchased large numbers of Africans during the early 1700s to grow their labor-intensive crops. Little remains of that era in the city; the sole surviving plantation house, Mount Clare, a typical Georgian-style manor surrounded by parkland in southwest Baltimore, presents a sanitized image of gracious living, devoid of social context. For a fuller picture of plantation life, you can drive nOlth to Hampton, a late-18thcentury mansion in suburban Towson and now a National Historic Site. For nearly 200 years Hampton was the seat of the Ridgely family, whose wealth came ii-om iron mining. Their properties, at one time about 9,700 hectares, sprawled across present-day Baltimore County, and their 33room mansion, up on a hilltop, presided over a far-flung complex of farms and shops, with slaves housed in quarters scattered around the vast holdings. Altogether, the estate resembled a medieval fiefdom. Today just three of Hampton's former slave dwellings survive, tucked behind a farmhouse about half-a-kilometer downhill from the mansion. Each of these simple four-room homes, one of chinked logs, two oflocal fieldstone, housed two to four families, in rooms less than six square meters. Guides at the Hampton site say the Ridgelys kept as many as 350 slaves, and their families, unlike those at most Southelll plantations, were allowed to remain intact. One of the masters of Hampton, Charles Carnan Ridgely, who also served as the state's governor, freed most of his captives in his 1828 will. By then Baltimore had over 10,000 free black citizens, more than any other city in the United States, and despite laws passed to restrict them, they chipped away at distinctions between black and white. In 1835 a Northern visitor named Ethan Allen Andrews noted with surprise that "free blacks in Maryland are not excluded by law
Hampton, a vast Maryland estate, held more than 300 enslaved blacks in quarters like these (top); the interior (above) of one of the three surviving cabins.
from any trade of employment which may be practiced by whites." The close-knit physical structure of Baltimore's earliest neighborhoods worked against a strictly defined caste system. Visit the stately neighborhood known as Mount Vernon, 10 blocks north of the Inner Harbor, or the old Fells Point waterfront area, flanking Broadway, and you can still see vestiges of the 19th-century city where people of all races and classes lived in close contact. Many of the streets are still lined with antebellum buildings in the Federal and neoclassic styles. In general, rich folks owned mansions on main atteries such as Mt. Veillon's Calvelt and Cathedral Streets; the middle class occupied side streets; and the poor lived in alley houses one room wide
and two stories tall. In one of time's endless ironies, many of the little alley houses have recently been renovated as stalter homes for the upwardly mobile, while many of the mansions are now subdivided into cheap rental housing. Nevertheless, these old communities continue to be places where Baltimoreans of all classes and complexions work, live, and mingle. While many of Baltimore's slaves enjoyed what the historian Christopher Phillips has called "quasi-freedom," especially when they were hired out as dockworkers or housekeepers, there were those whose owners sold them to plantations in the Deep South. Along the Pratt Street corridor, within a few blocks of the Inner Harbor, half a dozen slave dealers operated
auction houses and maintained "slave pens"-jail-like guardhouses-for their human chattel. From the auction houses nearby, thousands of Maryland-born blacks were marched or transported east along Pratt Street and across a now-vanished drawbridge that extended from Pier 6 (now the site of a concert pavilion) to the deepwater port of Fells Point. Where today's pleasure boats bob, slave ships waited to carry the prisoners south. By the 1830s even slave dealers realized that Baltimoreans were growing uncomfortable with their trade's meanest aspects, so they usually moved their captives at night, to avoid public attention. Frederick Douglass, remembering his childhood on Fells Point's Philpot Street, wrote, "In the deep still darkness of midnight I have often been aroused by the dead heavy footsteps, and the hideous cries of the chained gangs that passed our doors." As the slave trade grew, so did Baltimore's abolition movement, originally led by white Quakers, who had formally renounced the institution in 1778. Members who failed to free their captives could be expelled. In 1781 Baltimore's Quakers built a meetinghouse on the corner of Asquith and Fayette Streets in the district called Old Town, opposite today's main post office. During recent renovations, workmen uncovered a trapdoor leading to a narrow crawlspace and a hidden room, indicating that the building may have been a station on the Underground Railroad. Local historians, skeptical about the trapdoor, argue that a Quaker meetinghouse would have been the first place slave hunters would look. But the meetinghouse has an unimpeachable connection to the Railroad. One of the members of its congregation was Elisha Tyson, Maryland's foremost abolitionist in the early 19th century. A well-to-do businessman, Tyson established an escape route for captives seeking freedom in Pennsylvania in the early 1800s, years before the term "Underground Railroad" came into use. He also gave crucial sup-
could not coexist. In an port to the creation of Baltimore's first important 1825 speech, Watkins black institution, the African boldly declared that "the Academy, at Sharp and descendants of Africa Lombard Streets, now long never were designed by gone. their Creator to sustain an Founded in 1797, the inferiority, or even a Academy came to serve as mediocrity, in the chain of both a school and a progresbeing." sive church, later known Both the Sharp Street as Sharp Street Methodist Methodist and Bethel Episcopal. Among its most Mother Lange founded an order A.M.E. congregations of African American nuns, the continue to this day, outspoken leaders was a Oblate Sisters of Providence, to flamboyant teacher and minhaving relocated from teach children of free blacks. ister named Daniel Coker. downtown about a cenIn 1815 Coker broke away from the con- tury ago to the area known as "Old West gregation, protesting its subservience to Baltimore." Sharp Street Memorial Church the white Methodist hierarchy, and founded stands at the corner of Dolphin and Etting the city's first wholly independent black Streets, while Bethel is just a few blocks north, at 1300 Druid Hill Avenue. A bitterchurch, Bethel African Methodist Episcopal, which grew into Baltimore's largest sweet sign of our times is that Bethel, still and wealthiest black congregation. The Baltimore's wealthiest and most sociallyscholarly Watkins, who taught nearly every active black church, is today on the verge subject at the Sharp Street school, actively of moving out of the city to the western opposed the colonization scheme because, suburbs, where many of its parishioners alhe believed, it was based on the assumption ready live. that blacks and whites were unequal and A very different educational legacy lives on at St. Frances Academy at SOlE. Chase Street. Located in one of Baltimore's Schoolchildren race down the steps of Bethel A.ME. Church, where a congregation toughest neighborhoods and dedicated to has met for more than 200 years. the education of disadvantaged black children, St. Frances looks from the outside like something out of Charles Dickens' London, with high protective walls and arched windows. It is run by the Oblate Sisters of Providence, the oldest order of black nuns in North America, founded in Baltimore by a remarkable woman named Mary Elizabeth Lange. A mixed-race Creole from Haiti, Lange came to Fells Point in 1812 along with other refugees from the uprising led by Toussaint L'Ouverture. Finding that few schools that would accept children of color, she began teaching at her home on Bank Street. Eventually, her work was noticed by a Catholic priest, Father Joubert, who had been trying vainly to get white nuns to teach black students. Joubert fi-
nally persuaded the city's archbishop to create an order of African American nuns, and in 1827, "Mother" Lange and two other Creole women took their vows. DefYing the church's own official racism, Lange and her Oblate sisters went on to establish schools in Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New Orleans. By the time she died in 1882, Oblates (the word means "dedicated to God") were working across the United States, in the Caribbean, and Central America. Efforts are currently under way to have Lange canonized. If the campaign succeeds, she will become the first black American woman so honored. Around the time Mother Lange was teaching Creole children in Fells Point, a young boy who would go on to make history himself arrived in the neighborhood. Fred Bailey, just eight years old, had been born a slave on Maryland's rural Eastern Shore; in Fells Point, he would live with and work for most of 10 years for Hugh Auld, a shipwright. The streets and docks became Bailey's schoolrooms; later in life, known as Frederick Douglass, he would identifY Fells Point as the place where he first tasted something like freedom. The neighborhood is now largely occupied by trendy bars and boutiques, but Fells Point, once the heart of maritime Baltimore, is still the best place to capture its early19th-century flavor. Tugs, yachts, and tour boats hug the wharves where the air once rang with the sound of the shipwright's hammer. The actual houses where Douglass lived are long gone or unknown, but many of the community's distinctive brick row houses date back to his time, . and visitors can follow a "Path to Freedom" tour along stone-paved streets that the young man knew well. One of Douglass's childhood chores was to keep his master's toddler son away from the heavy horse carts that rumbled along Aliceanna Street as they served the docks and shipyards. Narrow
Durham Street, then called Happy Alley, was home to a community of poor fi'eemen, two of whom took up with Douglass. Charles Lawson, a pious wagon driver, offered spiritual support, and James Mingo befriended Douglass at a secret black debating club called the East Baltimore Mental Improvement Society. When the Auld household moved to now-vanished Philpot Street, on the western extremity of Fells Point, Douglass began to befriend white boys and gain through them much second-hand schooling. With money earned polishing boots along the waterfront, he went to a bookstore on Thames Street and bought a copy of The Columbian OratOl~ a volume that would have enormous impact on both his ideas and his style of writing. Auld, in settling a dispute with his brother, hired Douglass out as a field slave in 1833, whereupon the boy spent a short but brutal time back on the Eastem Shore. There he fought to a draw the overseer, a notorious "slave breaker," and he was brought back to Baltimore, "the very place of all others, short of a free state, where I most desired to live," he later wrote. He was hired out as a ship caulker, and for a while he worked at William Price's ship-
yard, at the east end of Thames Street. The yard specialized in building swift Baltimore clippers, several of which were used illegally to smuggle slaves from Africa during the 1830s. In 1838 the 20-year-old Douglass made his famous escape from Baltimore, disguised as a sailor. Just two weeks after slavely was abolished in Matyland, in 1864, he returned to the city for the first time in 26 years. On one of his last trips, in 1891, he discovered that the black church he had attended on Strawberry Alley had been abandoned. He bought the site, demolished the building, and built five simple row houses there. He intended them as modest homes for low-income black families, but a few years after he put them up, two still stood vacant. Douglass had underestimated the community's lingering poverty. The houses on Strawberry Alley, now called Dallas Street, still stand, and they provide the strongest physical link to Douglass's presence in Baltimore. The middle one, o. 520, bears the legend DOUGLASS PLACE. A few years ago the Maryland Historical Society placed a commemorative plaque on the front of the southernmost unit, which is privately owned. On special occasions, Frederick Doug-
lass IV accompanies the "Path to Freedom" tours dressed as his great-great-grandfather, in frock coat and top hat. Recently retired from an administrative post at Morgan State University, Douglass devotes himself full-time to perpetuating his ancestor's legacy. He and his wife, B.J. (who pOltrays Anna, wife of the great abolitionist), have performed across the eastern United States. Along the way, they have met the descendants of both slaves and slave owners, including Marylanders who trace their ancestry to the Auld family. "I've always been haunted by Fells Point," Douglass says. "I was drawn there even before I got into the history of my great-great-grandfather. I have a sense of his presence there. When people live very intense lives in a place, some part of them remains there." After emancipation, black Marylanders' lives improved very little. The state began to provide schools for African American children, but they were funded solely with scant tax revenues from the mostly impoverished black community. African Americans were increasingly clustered in ghettos and had to develop their own businesses, churches, and places of enteltainment. One of the first large black-owned businesses in Baltimore was the Chesapeake Marine Railway and Drydock Company, in Fells Point. It was founded by a former ship caulker, Issac Myers, soon after the Civil War. In late 1865, as black caulkers began to lose jobs to an influx of white immigrant
A mural in West Baltimore commemorates Thurgood Marshall, among others. The Great Blacks in Wax Museum brings local heroes nearly to life.
Above: Baltimore native Billie Holiday, cast in bronze, sings the blues on aforlorn Pennsylvania Avenue corner; right: Billie Holiday c. 1950.
workers, Myers came up with the breathtakingly bold idea of buying his own shipyard and connecting railway line and setting them up as a cooperative business. Black investors, mainly from Bethel A.M.E. Church, came up with $10,000; Myers borrowed an additional $30,000 from a ship's captain and opened for business in 1866. He achieved such quick success that he was able to payoff the debt within five years. By 1890, the hub of black Baltimore's history had shifted away fi路om the harbor districts to the city's first extensive black neighborhood, Old West Baltimore. Centered on Druid Hill Avenue, it produced generations of leaders, lawyers, publishers, and performers whose impact was felt throughout the United States. In 1935 the publisher of the newspaper The AfroAmerican recruited a dynamic woman
named Lillie May Can路oll Jackson to revitalize the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement for Colored People (NAACP). "Ma" Jackson, as she was called, was already a full-time civil rights crusader, having been moved to activism in the late 1920s when her two daughters were denied college admission because of their race. In 1933 she and her 18-year-old daughter, Juanita, picketed West Baltimore's white-owned businesses under the slogan "Don't Buy Where You Can't Work." One by one, the merchants yielded. Jackson's powers of persuasion were legendary. Governor Theodore McKeldin of Maryland famously said, "I'd rather have the devil after me than Mrs. Jackson. Give her what she wants." Her house at ifi 1320 NOIth Eutaw Place became a head~ qualters for civil rights activists during the z <3 1960s, and was opened as a civil rights isa: museum in 1975. Although it was closed to ~ the public in 1996, when Morgan State '" University became its owner, the university hopes to reopen the museum. In the heart of Old West Baltimore, a bronze statue at Pratt and Sharp Streets salutes another product of the neighbor-
hood. Barely noticed by pedestrians, it represents a man who in life was hard to miss, Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. His lifelong campaign for social justice began when the segregated University of Maryland Law School denied him admission. Undaunted, he attended Howard University, graduated first in his class, and soon after, at the age of27, argued the case that forced the University of Maryland to change its admission policies. As chief counsel to the NAACP, he argued 32 civil rights cases before the Supreme Court and won 29 of them. In 1967 he became the country's first black Supreme Court Justice, named by President Lyndon Johnson, and he served until 1991. While Marshall was striding the political stage in Washington, other native sons and daughters were wowing crowds in theaters across America. Baltimore was the birthplace and training ground of Cab Calloway, Chick Webb, Billie Holiday, and the ragtime composer and entertainer Eubie Blake, all of whom would often perform at the 1,300-seat Royal Theater, on Pennsylvania Avenue. From the 1930s through the '60s, the Royal was Baltimore's answer to Harlem's famed Apollo, and the Avenue, as it was called, was a glittering chain of clubs, taverns, and hotels that catered to blacks, who were barred from white-owned establishments. The Royal came down in 1971, and today Pennsylvania Avenue is a half-vacant shadow of its past glory, undermined by creeping urban decay. A statue of Billie
Mount Auburn Cemetery, founded in 1872, is the resting place of 79, 000 black Baltimoreans. This angel is typical of old-style fimerary monuments.
Holiday stands near the intersection of Pennsy Ivania and Lafayette Street. She looks like she's crying. A happier visage presides over the Eubie Blake National Jazz Museum and Cultural Center, at 857 North Howard Street, near Mount Vernon. Blake himself takes center stage, in an extensive display of memorabilia relating to his life and career. He started out playing piano in East Baltimore's saloons and bordellos and ventured to New York in 1921, when he was 38, to stage Shuffle Along, Broadway's first allblack show. But unlike most of Baltimore's native jazz stars, he spent much of his creative life back home. That's one reason why he gets top billing at the center. As happened elsewhere, the hard-won prize of desegregation backfired on Baltimore's black communities, even as it benefited black people individually. Free to shop anywhere, African American consumers stopped funneling their dollars into black-owned businesses. Pennsylvania Avenue was just one of many urban commercial strips that faded. As a student of my adoptive city's history, I can't help but see Ma Jackson's shuttered house as a symbol of Baltimore's under-appreciated black legacy. At the far south end ofthe city, another austere example is provided by Mount Auburn Cemetery,
where she is buried. The sprawling, hilly graveyard is the resting place of hundreds of former slaves and thousands of black workers, business owners, clergymen and doctors. There lies John H. Murphy, the founder of the Baltimore Afro-American. Sharp Street Memorial Church, which built the cemetely in 1872, can no longer afford to maintain it. In the summer, weeds and wildflowers turn the slopes into an unruly yet hauntingly beautiful meadow. On weekends every summer, families and community volunteers show up mowers and trimmers and do their best to carve paths and clearings around cherished monuments. In much the same way, the keepers of Baltimore's black heritage struggle to contend with the onslaught of the urban present. To visit the fascinating Great Blacks in Wax Museum, at 1601 East North Avenue, school buses must ferry children past some of the toughest neighborhoods in Baltimore. The 20-year-old museum, a brainchild ofthe late Dr. Elmer Maliin and his wife, Dr. JoAnne Martin, features more than 125 wax figures of African American trailblazers and achievers. More than just a field-trip destination, it's a beacon of aspiration. "Showing children scenes of past struggle and oppression," JoAnne Martin says, "is a way of keeping it real for them." Baltimore's youth will reap a tangible benefit from the Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park slowly taking shape in Fells Point. The 0.6-hectare site, which is being developed by the nonprofit Living Classrooms Foundation, will not only educate visitors but also provide jobs and training for city youths. When it opens, in September 2003, its young trainees, like shipyard apprentices of old, will learn woodworking, wooden ship restoration, and other crafts. Here, at last, is a way to harness the power of great history to provide for the city's future. As I stand by a construction fence, watching the conversion of an ancient warehouse into a living monument, I imagine Frederick Douglass and Isaac Myers watching with me, and approving. D About the Author: Tom Chalkley, afreelance illustrator and writer, is co-author of Charmed Life (Woodholme House Publishers, 2000), a collection of essays on the history and culture of Baltimore.
It turns out the America portrayed by printmakers Currier and Ives was not all sleigh rides in the snow
ikemost Americans familiar with their work, I had long thought of Currier and Ives as creators of nostalgic Christmas cards showing snow-covered villages, views of "home sweet home" and other aspects of calendar Americana. Then, in the spring of 1994, I got an invitation that led me to a major reconsideration of the printmakers' place in history. Not long after international food services giant ConAgra acquired the Beatrice companies, a Midwestern food manufacturer, in 1990, ConAgra employees discovered crates full of old, framed prints in a Beatrice warehouse in Chicago. Uncertain of what they'd come upon, they brought in David Hunt, then of Omaha's Joslyn Art Museum, who identified the find as an extraordinary collection of more than 500 original Currier and Ives prints. It turned out that the prints had been brought together in the 1950s and '60s by a private collector, who sold them to Esmark, a Chicago-based holding company purchased in 1983 by Beatrice. With the provenance of the collection established, Hunt agreed to help hang many of the prints in ConAgra's new Omaha headquarters. When the collection was installed, curator Hunt, who knew of my interests in 19th-century Americana, invited me to the opening. Most of what I saw confirmed my earlier impression. But then 1 was told about some prints in storage that the company believed too controversial to exhibit. When I looked at those prints, which included some that were very demeaning to immigrants and to African Americans and some, intensely nationalistic, I saw that as a group, the prints provided a unique window into mid-19th-century American life. Thus began the research that formed the basis of my book, Currier & Ives:
America Imagined, which makes the case that Currier and Ives charted not only the dreams, enthusiasms and fantasies of Americans but also the nation's biases, ambitions and fears. Much of what we thought we knew about Currier and Ives came from collector Harry T. Peters, who published his studies in the 1920s and '30s, decades after the company had been largely forgotten. While Peters did suggest that the prints presented a "well-rounded, comprehensive, and truly representative picture" of the period, he also chose mostly to publish prints that encouraged a nostalgic view of 19th-century American life. Peters, after all, was as much a product of his times as Currier and Ives had been of theirs, and nostalgia is what he and other Americans of the day most wanted. Largely absent from Peters' selections were Currier and Ives' harsher representations. Scholars of the day, most of whom knew only what Peters had chosen to publish, neglected to pursue the matter. It was left for us of a more critical age to take another look back at the prints and their manufacturers. You could say that Currier and Ives got its start on the evening of January 13, 1840, when more than 100 passengers and crew perished after a Long Island Sound steamboat, the Lexington, caught fire. When news of the disaster reached the New York Sun, printer and lithographer athaniel Currier suggested to editor Benjamin Day that they illustrate an "extra" edition with lithographs of the sinking. Within an unprecedented three days, an illustrated special edition of the Sun hit the streets, a feat that gained the paper national attention and created a sizable market for Currier's timely and newsworthy prints. By then, the 27-year-old Currier had been in business for six years. Born in 1813 in Roxbury, Massachusetts, he had become
Currier and Ives' "Darktown" series and other prints played upon racism to lampoon minorities. In A Corinthian Race, 1883 (far left), grotesquely caricatured African Americans competed on mules and horse, while an undated lithograph (left) satirized Indian visitors to Washington, D. C. The lithographers' I860-era Central Park in Winter depicted the kind of nostalgic scene for which Currier and Ives would become known.
an apprentice to Boston lithographers William and John Pendleton in 1828, at the age of IS. Around 1834, Currier moved to New York, where he and John Pendleton intended to start another printing business. But Pendleton sold his share to Currier, and after another brief partnership, 22-year-old "N. Currier" found himself the sole proprietor of a lithography shop. One ofthe few practical and inexpensive ways to reproduce illustrations, the lithographic process applied oil-based inks and water to a flat stone printing surface to transfer copies of an original image to sheets of paper. Though only very specialized printers-such as some who make very high quality art prints-use stones today, other aspects of the process are still widely employed. This magazine was printed with techniques that trace their lineage in part to lithography. Attracted by Currier's skill as well as his shrewd business sense, some of the most prominent men of the period, including Henry Ward Beecher, Horace Greeley and P.T. Barnum, sought his services. Though relatively little is known about Currier, one contemporary said he possessed fine critical artistic judgment and a remarkable awareness of public taste. Another recalled that he was gentlemanly and liberal, philanthropic but not much of a joiner. Though a registered Republican, he seems not to have engaged in politics. Nathaniel Currier's principal business partner, James Merritt Ives, was born in 1824 and raised in New York City. Unlike Currier, he was active socially and politically in the town of Rye, a New York City suburb, where he lived. As in the case of Currier, we don't know much about Ives' personal life beyond the fact that he married a sister of Currier's brother's wife, loved art and kept meticulous records. Cmrier's brother Charles, Ives'
brother-in-law, recommended him to Nathaniel, who hired him in 1852. After five years, Currier made Ives a partner. A competent artist in his own right, rves' particular talent was combining features from various sketches into a well-designed whole. This was a frequent Currier and (ves device, and many of their prints were the work of more than one artist. More important, lves has been credited with persuading Currier to add to their inventory of timely, newsworthy events the very type of idyllic print-the daily experiences and pleasures of American life-whose sales eclipsed all others and for which the two men would be remembered. In their choice of subjects, the pair usually avoided controversy and, when forced to take a stand, as during the Civil War, chose the Union-the side of heaviest artillery. But some prints-like those disparaging immigrants-conveyed critical, negative or at least cautionary messages, in obvious and in subtle ways, again reflecting the concerns or fears of their audience as well as their creators. Such well-known artists as George Inness, Eastman Johnson and George Catlin contributed to the enterprise, but most Currier and Ives prints were made from paintings or sketches by littleknown artists, or by artists in the partners' employ. American artists were plentiful, but young, well-trained graphic artists from England, France and Germany fueled the company's rapid expansion. English-born Frances Flora Bond Palmer was the most prolific of them all, producing a wide range of rural scenes, German-born Louis Maurer, a lithographer as well as painter, is most closely associated with Currier and Ives' many fine horse prints. Englishman Charles Parsons is best known for his clipper ships; his countryman Alihur Fitzwilliam Tait for hunting and
fishing scenes. Fellow Englishman James Butterworth specialized in marine and naval prints. Staff artists called del ineators drew the pictures or copied the drawings of these independent illustrators and artists. Prints were often reworked by a team of company artists and lithographers led by Currier and Ives themselves. In a few cases, even published lithographs got reworked and reissued. Tn the 1848 copy of Washington Taking Leave of the Officers of His Army, the general raises a wineglass to toast his men. Temperance groups objected to the image, and when Currier and Ives reissued the print in 1876 for America's centennial, both glass and a nearby decanter were absent. Though some of Currier and Ives' prints were sold uncolored, most were produced in black and white and then hand colored by a staff of about a dozen, mostly young women. Each colorist applied one color and passed the print on. A "finisher" then checked the print and touched it up where necessary. Larger, more expensive folios were sent to artists who worked outside the shop. Currier and Ives paid one cent apiece to colorists for the small prints, and one dollar per dozen prints for the larger folios. The smaller prints, 20 by 30 centimeters, sold for up to a quarter apiece (about $3 in today's val ue); the larger ones, from 51 by 66 centimeters to 71 by 102 centimeters, for up to $3 (about $50 today). Today a large Currier and Ives print, in good condition, can command up to $25,000 or more at auction. Currier and Ives were the first American lithographers to establish a national and intel11ational print market, distributing the prints widely throughout Europe and even Australia. Their comic and clipper-ship prints were particularly popular in France, while customers in Germany and Great Britain preferred panoramic views and Western scenes. Altogether, Currier and Ives created more than 7,000 prints that sold in the uncounted millions of copies-at one point 95 percent of all lithographs in circulation in the United States were theirs. Styling itself "The Grand Central Depot for Cheap and Popular Prints," the company advertised its prints as "suitable for framing or the ornamenting of walls ...the backs of bird cages, clock fronts, or any other place where elegant tasteful decoration is required." The catalog boasted that the firm sold "the Best, Cheapest and Most Popular Pictures in the World." But it was the variety of Currier and Ives' work that most distinguishes it from the many other commerciallithographers of the time. Currier and Ives prints included views of cities, towns and countryside; portraits of nearly all the celebrities of the day; historical prints; transportation, especially trains and steamboats; horses, especially trotters but also Thoroughbreds; sporting scenes, including hunting, shooting and fish-
ing; elegant clipper ships and steamboats; temperance and morality prints; cartoons; sentimental and comic scenes, and more. Because of Currier and Ives, mid-19th-century America was documented more completely than any other time and place in history before the widespread use of photography. It was photography that led to the firm's demise. According to James Ives' son Chauncey, as reported by Harry Peters, one day in the I860s, Nathaniel Currier's old friend P.T. Barnum strode into the store with midget Tom Thumb on his shoulder to discuss a new lithographed portrait of Thumb to use for promotional purposes. In the middle of the conversation, Thumb interrupted: "Barnum, 1 have a better idea. Let's go uptown to Sarony, and ['11 pose for a photo. He does all the big boys, and these old lithos are out of date." By the 1870s, newspapers and illustrated magazines such as Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper and Harper:S had taken over the job of providing the
In a time when horse racing was one of the most popular sports in the nation, Currier and Ives sold many thousands of prints such as Peytona and Fashion, depicting a match race of May 13, /845. In it, Peytona defeated Fashionfor the then huge $20,000 purse.
public with pictures. New kinds of images-reproduced from photographs by the photoengraving process-replaced lithographs on the walls of American homes as well. Social change, too, played its part. The religious, patriotic pre-Civil War popular culture had yielded, after the war, to something more secular, tougher, less sentimental and more sophisticated. Currier and Ives continued to publish its Celebrated Mammoth Catalogue until 1894, and there were times when events revived interest in the company's prints. But overall, the demand for cataloged prints, and consequently the production of new prints, fell off dramatically. Nathaniel Currier had retired from the firm in 1880 and died eight years later, to be succeeded by his son Edward. James Ives remained active until shortly before his death in 1895. He was followed in the business by his son Chauncey. In 1894 the firm had moved its retail shop to Fulton Street, and in 1896 it closed altogether, though the main office moved into the Spruce Street factory building. The last known prints with the Currier and Ives imprint, cover-
ing the Spanish-American War-such as Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders and the USS Maine before it was blown upwere issued in 1898. Some have suggested that Currier and lves were America's preeminent romantics, that they "schooled our citizens in what it meant to be American." Others say the images of the United States the pair peddled abroad amounted to artistic imperialism. My own view is that Currier and Ives were all of these things and more and that their work was the product of a consensus between themselves and the buying public. Moreover, the pair helped 19th-century Americans-their confidence shaken by war, reconstruction, unrest and economic hard times-believe that American resilience would ultimately triumph. It was a service that, then as now, cannot be underestimated. D About the Author: B,yan F Le Beau is John C. Kenefick Faculty Chair in the Humanities and chair of the histOly department at Creighton University in Nebraska. This piece is taken from his book, Currier & Ives: America Imagined, published by the Smithsonian Institution Press.
Writin WithLig t Kiran Singh/s passion for Miami Art Deco
ttracted by what he says sounded like an "urban state park," Kiran Singh went to Miami. He was drawn to a 20-block strip of hotels and other buildings along Miami's South Beach. Here he found what is perhaps the largest, well-preserved collection of Art Deco buildings in the world. Art Deco was a design movement that began around the turn of the 20th century and was celebrated at the 1925 Paris Exposition des Arts Decoratifs et Industries Modernes, where a culmination of new ornamental trends was exhibited. This style combined geometric forms with sty lized natural forms and borrowed from ancient Egyptian, native American Indian and Mayan art to create a modernistic synthesis. Decades later the term Art Deco was coined to describe this significant international arts movement that influenced not only architecture but objects d'art, jewelry and even ordinary household furnishings in the
1920s and '30s. There are many examples of Art Deco buildings in the United States and elsewhere, but Miami's South Beach is a showcase of the style. Kiran Singh is a Punjabi who relocated to Berkeley, California, 20 years ago. His degree from St. Stephen's College, Delhi, was in English literature, but he soon gravitated to computers and textile design. He and his wife started Laura & Kiran Design Company in Berkeley. "We made our living with color," he says. He has always liked graphics and photography. While most of his creative photographic work is accomplished on trips home to India, he also does still photography for architectural firms. His work is definitely out of the ordinary. At his October photo exhibition at the India International Centre in New Delhi, he observed, "People walk in here all the time and say, 'lovely paintings.' " Sometimes it is hard to tell the difference when looking at his painterly architectur-
Top left: Ocean Drive by night. Above left: Man in window. Left: The Cardozo Hotel at sunset, architect Henry Hohauser, 1939.
al photographs. Singh says his goal has always been simplicity: "To make a simple statement is a very difficult thing to do, and that's what's taken my energy, to simplifY." He adds, "Simplicity is breaking up a complex thing to show the beauty of something that exists." Achieving this is not simple at all. It involves frequent cross-country trips lugging kilos of equipment, and long waits for the perfect moment when the light is right. Singh does not alter the photos in the lab or the computer: "Although most of the photography is done in the morning and evening, in the day I go around taking copious notes of where I
want to be at what time. Because I've seen the picture, but I have to be there at the right time. This is photography. It's writing with light. So you have to be there when the light is right. Or you can create it. I don't create light. A lot of photographers create light. This is all available light." Kiran Singh was greatly influenced by his mentor, architect Joseph Allen Stein, who died last year. The exhibition was dedicated to his memory. Singh says after a little more work, he will be ready to publish the photos in what he hopes will become an architectural resource book. -L.T.
Should Corporations Be Praised for Their
Philanthro ic Ef orIs Golden Age
are becoming philanthropists in a big way, funding projects in education, the arts, environmental conservation, preservation of heritage sites, and sports among other things. Is this a wonderful new trend? Or is it the old hard sell in disguise? Paul Ostergard and Benjamin R. Barber spar over the nature of corporate giving.
an engine of growth, business has driven the American economy to new levels of prosperity, and profits are at ecord highs. Yet corporate phjlanthropic donations haven't kept pace, and many question why. After all, if not now, when coffers are full, when? And since leaders of the business community have been among those arguing for reduced government spending, shouldn't companies be doing more to fill the gaps? The problem with this view is that it is too narrowly focused on annual giving numbers. What it overlooks is an array of corporate activities undertaken by companies to demonstrate good citizenship. These are valuable contributions to communities above and beyond philanthropy strictly defined. Such initiatives include organized volunteering, fund-raising events, cause-related marketing, social investments, and donated advertising, among others. More important, companies have shifted their involvement from merely handing out annual checks to becoming directly involved in programs, and the results are encouraging. The bestmanaged companies are focusing their community involvement in areas that draw upon skills and resources they use every day in their businesses. The days in which companies arbitrarily reacted to solicitations--or, worse, supported organizations because the CEO or his spouse liked them-have passed. Some companies, particularly those in the "New Economy," see themselves as venture philanthropists, seeding initiatives that tackle heretofore intractable problems. New technologies are offering more options to employees to give their time and money online to causes that engage them. Innovative techniques are
being pioneered that make it easier for companies to donate not only cash but surplus assets such as real estate, patents, and art, as well as products and services. Start-up companies are exploring ways that they too can help connect with communities, with gifts of pre-IPO stock, or stock options. An example of a company's integration of giving strategies with business strategies is Citigroup's promotion of financial literacy in its markets worldwide. Working with nonprofit partners, the company organizes employee volunteers to lead students through technology-driven simulations. While there are measurable returns in terms of student performance, it is also in the company's own interest to invest in a future workforce and customer base that is financially savvy and comfortable with technology. The increased prevalence of strategic philanthropy and paltnerships doesn't mean that, as some assert, corporate giving is simply "down." Granted, it hasn't kept pace with the increased spending by stock-market-rich foundations, but it has grown deliberately over the last half-century and it continues to grow. Why do the numbers appear flat? While more companies are attempting to quantifY the value of their broader-reaching activities and to describe them more fully in corporate-citizenship pages of annual reports, the sector as a whole is still measured by an outdated contributions yardstick. At best this yardstick undercounts C01-P0rate support for non profits by at least $2 billion to $3 billion a year. At worst, it fails to account in any way for the billions of dollars worth of corporate activities that fall under the heading. Ironically, corporations rarely talk about their commitments to
good citizenship in dollar amounts. They don't compete to be listed among the largest corporate donors. They see corporate contributions as an input, somewhat like government spending, which tells little, if anything, about successful outcomes. They think there should be more emphasis on results. An example is arts education in New York City. For years, youngsters growing up in the city that likes to call itself the "cultural capital of the world" had little or no access to its rich array of arts offerings. That changed overnight when companies like GE began to work with NYC Kids ARTS to list and promote cultural events and to post them in schools. To help with the cost of admission, companies like Citigroup collaborated with a nonprofit called High Five to offer discounted tickets for $5. Most companies select initiatives they want to be involved with based upon their expertise. Fannie Mae and Chase, for example, have worked successfully with community-development organizations to expand affordable housing and reenergize small business in low-income communities. IBM has won several awards for its leadership in improving K-12 education. Johnson & Johnson, Merck, and SmithKline Beecham have taken the lead in improving the quality of health care and access to it. Texaco has built upon its longstanding support of the Metropolitan Opera to offer an extensive arts-education program, particularly in schools where public programs have been eliminated. ExxonMobil has been a major supporter of engineering education with an emphasis on diversity. Chevron underwrites awards to conservation "heroes." Despite these large investments in the vitality of communities, the flawed corporate-giving yardstick still creates the perception that companies are not doing their share. Corporations gave $11 billion in 1999, up 14 percent over the prior year. This amounted to 1.3 percent of worldwide earnings before taxes. Some critics point to corporate giving as high as two percent of earnings in the mid-1980s, and urge companies to return to that level of generosity. The mid-'80s spike, however, had more to do with companies reporting negative earnings than it did with increased generosity. The long-established corporate pattern, dating back to the 1930s, when the charitable deduction was introduced, is roughly one percent of earnings, give or take two-tenths of a percent. The principal excep-
tions have occurred during war times when excess taxes were in place and companies gave more. A robust economy such as that ofthe United States (the current slump notwithstanding) always stimulates growth in giving across the board. In the case of individuals, those who give more than the average take into account their net worth as well as their annual income. The clearest link between the performance of the economy and individual giving is seen in the case of individuals who give appreciated stock. The segment of individual giving that grew fastest in 1999 was bequests, up 14 percent. This is evidence that the much-talkedabout transfer of $40 trill ion or more in intergenerational wealth, much of it generated in the corporate sector, has already begun to cycle through the baby-boom generation. Both the health of the economy and a new awareness of giving, together with easier ways to give, many of them online, have caused some to suggest that we are in the initial stages of a new golden age of philanthropy in the United States. Private foundations are leading this surge. In the mid-'80s, corporations and foundations each gave about $5 billion per year. When the economy took off in the early '90s, foundation giving took off with it. In 2000 it reached about $20 billion, almost twice the amount of corporate giving. The reasons are clear: The values of assets in foundation portfolios have soared. If corporate earnings and the performance of financial markets contributed substantially to the increased capacity of individuals and foundations to give, why hasn't corporate giving kept pace? Some would answer that it has, particularly as a percentage of earnings. Others would say that corporate giving grew at a slightly slower pace in the '90s than in the '80s. Both observations are correct. The pattern of corporate giving over the past 50 years has been one of growth at a deliberate pace. Companies see this as a long-term continuum. When budgeting for next year's annual contributions, most companies avoid rigid formulas. They prefer to track giving and earnings over a period of time and to stay within a band of plus or minus one percent. They also like to benchmark themselves with other corporate givers, especially competitors, and position themselves at what they see as the appropriate level for their size and performance. The companies that tend to be the largest givers are those that are achieving results in their communities and adding value to their cor-
government-relations opportunities are maximized as well. In the aggregate, the largest single recipient of corporate giving in the United States is health and human services. This includes support for thousands of national and local agencies, some through United Way or other workplace campaigns. It also includes access to clinics and hospitals, as well as disaster relief on a global scale. Corporate leadership in this sector has been key, especially with senior executives serving as board members and campaign chairs. Corporations have also staffed day-to-day activities at the community level, such as soup kitchens and meals-on-wheels programs. Companies invest heavily in higher education, too. In part, it's because of business self-interest in recruiting talented people and in funding research. Companies have been at the forefront in expanding minority access to higher education through programs like the United Negro College Fund, and the Hispanic Scholarship Fund where companies such as Anheuser-Busch, Toyota, Ford, and GM have been highly visible. Corporate involvement in K-12 education is more recent. It began in the mid-'80s after the "Nation at Risk" repoli drew attention to the sorry state ofpublic education. GE was one of the first to see what it could do to help. It joined a community-based effort Even though corporate giving is relatively small compared to other in East Harlem to giving, it is critical to the successes that have been achieved in reopen the failed Benjacertain fields, such as health and human services, the largest single min Franklin High School as a new Manhattan recipient of corporate giving in the United States. Center for Science and Mathematics. The company added an array of enrichments large and small aimed at only recently begun to pick up the slack. Another is the accelerputting students at the Center on an even footing with students atated rate of mergers and acquisitions. One plus one rarely equals two in the first year or two after a merger, especially when the tending the country's best high schools. It also arranged for GE combining companies are headquartered in the same city. The employees to become involved as mentors and tutors to new company usually moves quickly to eliminate overlaps, du- students. The college-going rate at the school is now among plications, and inconsistencies in giving, before it starts to in- the highest in the city. GE's experience in East Harlem became the basis for its award-winning College Bound crease giving again. Even though corporate giving is relatively small compared to program. Long before the Community Reinvestment Act, financial-serother giving, it is critical to the successes that have been achieved vices companies and banks were leaders in supporting commuin certain fields, such as education, community development, health and human services, the arts, and the environment. nity-development programs. They have helped expand Moreover, many grant-seekers see corporations as the most ac- affordable housing and revitalize neighborhoods by working with grass-roots community-development corporations, financial cessible donors, with fewer paperwork requirements and faster intermediaries, government, and business groups such as the decision-making. Corporations are also attuned to opportunities New York City Partnership. to generate public awareness with successful community partnerThe globalization of business has caused leading companies to ships, and can shop across organizational lines to fund different pieces of a larger project. When Citigroup and the New York see value in establishing clear priorities for their corporate Philharmonic partner to tour outside the United States, the or- citizenship initiatives worldwide. They see value, for example, in chestra's formal relationship is with the Citigroup Foundation. It finding common initiatives, in multiple markets for higher impact and wider public, investor, and employee awareness. The is the marketing side of the company, however, that underwrites the tours, and it is Citigroup businesses in the host countries that result is that companies have high identification with these sponsor business entertainment in conjunction with the tours. A initiatives, are adding to their own expertise, and are affording senior Citigroup executive sits on the Philharmonic board, and a their employees in diverse locations similar volunteer variety of corporate staffs cooperate to assure that public- and experiences. The next stage will be to promote "success transfer"
pOl'ate reputations. These include pharmaceutical and high-technology companies that make substantial product donations. There are also many companies in the top rank of givers that give simply because they think it is the right thing to do. To keep corporate giving in lockstep with rapidly rising earnings could be a challenge. Recent earnings gains would require some large givers to make huge increases in annual giving just to stay within the range of one percent. Such quantum leaps would break with the traditional growth pattern and could invite investor backlash. There are also concerns about sustaining higherthan-usual giving levels when the economy slows. While this may appear overly cautious, the established patterns has some virtues. Corporate giving may be slow to rise in good times, but it is also slow to decline when the economy turns down. Some companies have created corporate foundations for that very reason, to provide a kind of "surge tank" that builds up when profits are up and draws down when they decline. There are other factors that contributed to slower growth in corporate giving in the '90s. One is the continuing shift from manufacturing to services. Manufacturers have traditionally been among the most generous givers, and services companies have
of lessons learned in these community-building activities from one market to another. Citigroup Argentina, for example, developed a financial-literacy simulation called Banks in Action. With the cooperation of Citibank businesses and Junior Achievement in neighboring countries they expanded the program into a cross-border competition. Subsequently, with the help of the Citigroup Foundation and Junior Achievement International, the simulation was translated into other languages and introduced by Citigroup businesses and Junior Achievement in Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Russia. The new Committee to Encourage Corporate Philanthropy was launched in November 1999 to help companies increase their giving and involvement in communities and to counter the perception that the corporate commwlity is not doing its share. Its interim goal is to increase annual corporate contributions from $9 billion in 1998 to $15 billion by 2004. The Committee now believes it may reach this goal as early as 2002. The Committee is also emphasizing strategic philanthropy, linking business interests and core business strengths with giving opportunities. At the same time, it is mindful that many companies give because they think it is the right thing to do, and the Committee is helping to promote that attitude as well. CEOs of leading companies such as IBM, Xerox, Met Life, Merck, SmithKline Beecham, Cisco, FleetBoston Financial, Goldman Sachs, Fannie Mae, Charles Schwab, Eli Lilly, JP Morgan, America Online, Verizon, AlG, Pharmacia, Ogilvy & Mather, Hallmark, and Black Enterprise, among others, are participants. Their primary role is to advocate the value of corporate giving within the business community. They do this by recruiting other CEOs. They also enlist other companies to do their part to help make the $15 billion goal and to create wider public awareness of what companies are achieving with their philanthropic initiatives. The Committee's second role is education, especially the promotion of best practices in corporate giving. If corporations are going to playa larger role in philanthropy, they will have to think about new ways to contribute and new ways to create public awareness of what they do beyond corporate contributions. As givers, they can look at corporate assets they can put to work in their communities. These would include surplus real estate, equipment that might be auctioned on the Internet by or for nonprofits, art collections, and stock options among others. Considering all the potential, it is not at all an exaggeration to suggest that we are in the initial stages of this new golden age of corporate philanthropy.
BENJAMIN R. BARBER responds: Since the bulk of Paul Ostergard's frank and fact-festooned essay is devoted to acknowledging and wanly defending the extraordinary failure of America's corporations to "keep pace" with the American economy as it achieves "new levels of prosperity," Tfind little in what he writes to rebut. Tndeed, since much of his effOli to encourage additional philanthropic outlays fo-
cuses on the self-serving and self-interested motives of the corporate sector in giving in the first place, his piece actually provides corroboration for my own argument that corporate philanthropy is little more than business by other means. Ostergard observes, for example, that corporate giving is closely tied to the charitable deduction. What this means, of course, is that for both individuals and corporations, a sizable portion of every "gift" offered is actually subsidized by the government-reducing still further the diminishing charitable spirit involved, as well as giving private companies the privilege to dispose of public dollars as they choose rather than as we (the ones who pay the taxes) choose. He agrees that corporate giving has not only failed to rise above about one percent of earnings but has refused even to keep that pace as earnings grew during the recent boom, suggesting a meanness that is hard to fathom during a period of remarkable growth. Ostergard refers vaguely to "investor backlash," reminding us again that charity is more or less beside the point. In fact (and most impotiantly), Ostergard understands that the primary incentives for corporate giving have less to do with goodwill than with "business self-interest"-that is to say, such things as "adding value to corporate reputations" and "high identification" with global initiatives that highlight brand identities. This, presumably, is why Citigroup and other companies hand over such projects as orchestra tours to "the marketing side of the company." Having been so candid in his portrayal, Ostergard makes his final ascent to hyperbole at the end of his essay seem a tad foolish. Hence, in his non sequitur of a conclusion, he strains to imagine that the cautious, trivial, and self-serving flitiation of business with charity suggests "that we are in the initial stages of[a] new golden age of corporate philanthropy." I'm afraid that in truth the age is made oftin-or perhaps overvalued e-stocks-and that corporate philanthropy remains little more than high-concept marketing. But again, let me emphasize that I see nothing wrong with this. The presence of a pressing need for private charity usually betokens the absence of any pressing sense of public responsibility. When the health of the public sector depends critically on whether private donors step in, it means that citizens have stopped doing their job. What is scandalous is not how little corporations have managed to give away of the unprecedented bounty they have reaped in the last 20 years, but how much we have come to depend on them as a surrogate for what should be robust public spending on behalf of health, education, and the arts. Maybe it's time for ordinary citizens to match the efforts of Ostergard's private Committee to Encourage Corporate Philanthropy by creating an analogous Citizen's Council to Encourage Public Responsibility. Then Ostergard could get back to the real business of business (securing profits for shareholders) fulltime, while the rest of us could stop worrying about how much-or little-his colleagues are spending to make up for the glaring public-sector deficits that America's civic miserliness has generated.
Should Corporations Be Praised for Their
Philanthro ic Ef orIs Rlways an Angle
merican corporate executives can be generous philanthropists and attentive citizens as individuals, but the corporations they manage often exploit philanthropy as a form of stealth merchandising-a cheap way both to reinforce their brand and associate it with "culture" and "good works." Those being "helped" may lose control of their own cultural trademarks and civic meaning while their autonomous activities are subordinated to the market interests of their "benefactors." The beneficiaries are commercialized even as their commercial sponsors are sanitized. In short, the intervention of corporations in what should be public-sector, nonprofit artistic, cultural, and civic projects too often undermines the public character of the institutions putatively being underwritten. The abuses of private marketing "philanthropy" cannot be blamed on corporations alone, however, since these abuses are possible only when public institutions and taxpayers default on their public responsibilities, creating a sense of urgency, sometimes desperation, among struggling civic and cultural institutions that leads them to reluctantly embrace self-interested private-sector donors. When institutions and activities that should be supported by public funds are thrown on the mercy of the private sector, we cannot really blame the private sector for doing what it is designed to do: pursue the business of doing business by putting the enhancement of shareholder profitability first. Corporate philanthropy is always going to be a branch of merchandising and branding; for recipients to pretend otherwise is self-deception.
When corporations are serious about being silent partners with civic organizations unable to obtain public funding, they treat giving as a civic duty and employ their generosity to accentuate the public character of the activities they underwrite. But for the most part, their aim is simply to brand public institutions with private trademarks and at the same time glamorize those brands through association with civic and cultural goods. Examples abound: Take the renaming of public theaters and sports arenas with private corporate trademarks and brands. Ford and Texaco have rebranded theaters, and, perhaps most notably, American Airlines has become a sponsor of the New York's best repertory companies-the Roundabout Theatre-putting its own name on Roundabout's new space in Times Square. Where the names of actors like Helen Hayes or playwrights like Neil Simon or critics like Walter Kerr or Brooks Atkinson or producers like Belasco and the Nederlanders once were considered the only proper names for New York's theaters, the new trend is to sell marquees like advertising billboards to the highest bidder. Public sports arenas, along with theaters and museums, are among our society's prime civic spaces and, exactly for that reason, are being even more egregiously privatized and commercialized. New Jersey's basketball arena deleted the name of a respected former governor (Brendan Byrne) in favor ofthe local hub airline (Continental). New stadiums throughout the nation bear the names not of city areas (Fenway Park) or even teams (Yankee Stadium) but of corporations. Of course, nowadays the teams themselves are owned by transnational telecommunication companies involved only peripherally in sports (Disney or News
Corp., for example), and there isn't much of the civic or the public left in the world of professional sports in any case. So it is perhaps churlish to complain about the "commercialization" of what are already fully privatized commercial businesses. The educational domain, on the other hand, is supposed to retain an independent public character, and commercialization in the name of philanthropy and corporate underwriting has been far more corrupting here. With taxpayers no longer willing to support public schools and colleges, and desperate administrators turning to the dubious "benevolence" of the private sector, corporations are salivating over the chance to move their merchandising and branding operations into the heart of a supposedly independent, critical pedagogical arena that affords them a legitimacy money can't buy (but does!). Channel One, originally part of the Chris Whittle "let's-profit-off-the-sadstate-of-public-schools" empire, is today showing soft-news television in more than 12,000 mostly poor neighborhood high schools, "giving" away the "service" along with leased hardware as an excuse to sell vendors access to the minds of the nation's most attractive demographic clienteleteens in the classroom. Nine minutes of "news" and three minutes of advertising are force-fed to a coerced audience during regular class hours, giving the ads a "feel" of academic legitimacy. I can think of no educational justification for this, no public excuse, no legitimizing democratic theory-only the crass exploitation of schoolchildren for the benefit of the "benefactors." Even computer and software companies tend to focus their "gifts" on developing users (and hence customers) for their products. "Free" computers to schoolkids guarantee lifelong brand loyalty. Cola companies have also been busy negotiating exclusive contracts with schools and universities on the pretext of "helping" by extending fellowships or "gifts" that cost a fraction of
what standard advertising would. Coca-Cola purchased 10 years' worth of Rutgers University's once-good name, a period during which only its food and beverages can be sold on campus, and it retains the right to use and exploit the Rutgers logo and name in its advertising. High schools too have been targets, the clients being even younger and more vulnerable. In a notorious example of how deleterious the new arrangements can be to real education and critical thinking, three years ago a Georgia high-school principal suspended a student who wore a Pepsi shirt to the school's "Coke in Education Day." Pepsi cuts similar deals: In its arrangement with Florida's South Fork High School, Pepsi requires that the school "make its best effort to maximize all sales opportunities for Pepsi-Cola products." In Colorado Springs, a deal with Coke required that public-school buses carrying primary-school kids also carry ads for Coke and Burger King. Is there any educational rationale for such arrangements? Would parents paying private-school tuition tolerate ads during their pampered kids' history classes? Would any American abide selling access to the bodies of 12-year-olds on the open market as a necessary price for a little tax relief? Why is selling their minds any different? Or any better? Corporations also "support" public television and cultural institutions by presenting programs and sponsoring exhibitors. Again, the pretext is philanthropic, while the reality is the inexpensive purchase of highly respected cultural billboards of minimalist advertising-the primary goal of which is to display and inculcate their brands in uplifting surroundings. Or to associate trademarks with celebrity names and media controversies. The Body Shop has made the environment its branded theme, just as Benetton has organized its advertising campaigns around idiosyncratically abrasive takes on social issues like AIDS, drugs, and holy war.
Most egregiously, Oldsmobile sponsored a 2000 youth-vote campaign with placards that used automotive double entendres to simultaneously make a civic and a corporate point-e.g., "Get Out of Neutral" or (with a picture of an Olds Aurora) "Take a Friend to Vote." Talk about having it both ways: Oldsmobile here appeared as a "good corporate citizen" urging voter turnout while insinuating its products into the good civic atmosphere it promoted. The tagline for its Take a Friend to Vote campaign (organized by the cash-hungry League of Women Voters) was shameless: "On behalf of the entirely new, remarkably agile, politically impartial 2001 Aurora, we encourage you and your friends to drive the vote." More conservative companies sponsor a museum exhibition, apparently thinking they are hiring Rembrandt to shill for their products and engaging Picasso to paint their logos, while at the same time getting credit for being arts benefactors. Marshall Field's in Chicago recently ran what initially appeared to be a marvelous "support for the arts" insert in fashion magazines-
artistic or civic merit only afterward-say, the Olympics (since sponsors want maximum exposure and high-profile venues). Fourth and last, the donor receives credit for high-minded philanthropy for arrangements that contribute directly (and often inexpensively) to its own commercial purposes and are at best neutral (if not pernicious) with respect to the purposes of the receiving institution. In a time when ads on a televised football game may cost hundreds of thousands of dollars for 30 seconds, branding an entire stadium in perpetuity is one hell of an advertising deal. When targeting teens is a primary merchandising strategy of many consumer companies, how rewarding to be able to advertise to them directly during class time while "assisting" in their education. And if a cheaply bought association with high culture can burnish the image of a crassly commercial company (say, an investment firm or fast-food multinational), what a remarkably efficient way to shine up a corporate image it is to sponsor a museum exhibition or a public-television program. But what does this have to do with philanthropy, let alone The problem today with corporate philanthropy is not the the public and cultural purposes tainted character of funding sources, rather, the impact that philanthropy is supposed to serve? of merchandising and branding on the beneficiaries. These strategies all play by the rules, but the rules have changed Victor Skrebneski photographs of "The Heart of Chicago" were radically over the last three decades as traditional boundaries have eroded. The lines once clearly separating public and private, featured-until it became apparent that the most prominent name not-for-profit and for-profit, culture and commerce, and civilizaon each of the dozen or more pages of this "Marshall Field's Project Imagine" supplement was not Steppenwolf or the Chicago tion and consumerism have all grown porous and uncertain. Symphony Orchestra or Hubbard Street Dance, but Marshall Public television is scarcely distinguishable from commercial Field's itself, whose logo dominated the sumptuous layout. broadcasting, municipal museums depend on corporate sponsorCharles Saatchi, the British advertising superstar, sponsored a ship to pay for the shock-and-schlock art exhibitions that pull in show of works from his own collection at the Brooklyn Museum otherwise-reluctant patrons, and public education cannot survive (the scandalmongering "Sensations" show) and made sure that public niggardliness without selling access to its students to prithe show would inflate the collection's value to his own benefit. vate companies. The very idea of public goods-the old res publica in the interest of which republican government was And when Philip Morris COSoInc. sponsors operas, it is helping established-has lost its viability in this era when private means the arts or burnishing its tobacco-stained image? In George better and every public institution, from schools and hospitals to Bernard Shaw's play Major Barbara, the arms maker Undershaft prisons and transportation systems, is under siege. Where once tries to persuade his crusading daughter that the Salvation Army ought not to worry about the source of its funds (the munitions upon a time philanthropy meant to nurture public goods anonymakers and alcohol merchants) as long as those funds do good mously as a contribution to a public sector from which private works. But the problem today with corporate philanthropy is not companies and individuals conspicuously benefit, it is now just the tainted character of funding sources but, rather, the impact of one more way to exploit the celebration of "things private." In the end, however, this distortion of philanthropy and the merchandising and branding on the beneficiaries. It's not the origin but the purpose ofthe philanthropy that is suspect. privatization of our res publica that occasion it are not the fault of There is a sad but certain formula at work in each case of business. Businesspeople are merely doing what they always do: corporate philanthropy: First, the needy client turns to the pribusiness, by figuring an angle, selling a product, spinning a message, selling a brand, making a profit. If philanthropy appears to vate sector only out of desperation and by default, when publicsector support ceases to be forthcoming-usually because of them as one more way to do business, that's OK. The problem the refusal of taxpayers and politicians to take responsibility for lies with us, with our unwillingness to support the public sector that in turn supports the "things of the public" that we need to public goods. Second, the benefactor makes support conditional on a prominent display of the brand or logo and, where nurture civility, culture, and civilization. relevant, the exclusivity of its contract. Third, an exhibition If we don't want to pay to educate our kids in public goods, in critical thinking, and in intellectual autonomy, corporations will theme or public event is selected that has mass appeal first and
happily step in and pay to educate them in brand names and consumerism and uncritical dependency on the corporate message. If we are offended by certain forms of postmodern shock art and therefore discontinue all public arts funding, how can we complain when museums sell their exhibition space to wealthy individuals and corporations that in turn are delighted to support only the most egregious shock art that is guaranteed to put their logo in the public eye? If we let public sports arenas named for great public citizens become private arenas named for the material products we are supposed to buy, evelY Lincoln Memorial will transform itself into a McDonald's arch or get branded with a Nike swoosh, and the arenas will become an extension of the mall. Anti-trust laws can today still challenge Bill Gates' software monopoly, but the exercise will be pointless if Gates meanwhile buys the country by branding its schools and monopolizing the Internet until one day we are conll-onted with a "White House Brought to You by Microsoft." Corporations today, while more polite and attentive to image than their Gilded Age forebears, are no more philanthropic than the monstrous robber barons of the Gilded Age were. If guilt and a lust for immortality drove the Carnegies and Rockefellers, at least we could see their selfishness as heroic-almost Nietzschean. Today's corporate ambitions are shallower, more bureaucratic, and purposeful-comprising above all strategies of marketing and merchandising. When it is effectively altruistic, philanthropy is self-effacing, putting the interests of the beneficiary front and center. But for today's corporate philanthropists, in every good deed there has to be an angle, a way to make money. No surprises there. Yet if for-profit businesses continue to take over and distort our educational and cultural institutions, it will be not because they have defaulted on their public commitments (they have none) but because we have defaulted on ours. Philanthropy, even at its best, is often a surrogate for public responsibilities left unfulfilled. Coca-Cola and The Gap, even more than nature, hate a vacuum. Where citizens won't act, business will rush in. And if it ends up "giving the business" to those it affects to help, it will be nobody's fault but our own.
PAUL OSTERGARD responds: The point is taken that we should be more supportive of education, the arts, economic development, the environment, health and human services, and other activities that add to the quality oflife in our communities. There is no evidence, however, that funding them through taxation is more virtuous or efficient than through nonprofits, which receive both private and public support. While projected government surpluses might provide additional support for non profits in the future, a surer bet is the private sector. Individual giving will be increasingly augmented by bequests and trusts as the intergenerational transfer of wealth accelerates. Private foundation and corporate giving will also continue to grow. This mix of support for nonprofits has served us well. It reflects
the blurred distinctions between public and private that we've grown up with and that balance both ideas and power. It may offend some sensibilities that large private donors are offered naming opportunities when they give, but politicians name highways and airports for each other regularly when they allocate the public purse. Some look at this and see civic leadership and virtue: others see tastelessness and naked vanity. Most of us see a bargain that brings wider support to community activities that need it. The vast majority of private givers, including corporate givers, receive nothing more than a "thank you" and inclusion on the list of donors in exchange for their generosity. While it's true that a university may be more accommodating to recruiters from companies that support it, how many graduates choose future employers based upon genorisity to their alma maters? Graduates may choose to join a company, on the other hand, because they like its civic-mindedness in supporting community organizations and because it enables them to be more generous through, for example, gift or volunteer matching programs. Corporate-sponsorship initiatives, on the other hand, are looking for more than a "thank you." These are usually marketing-led agreements between companies and non profits to generate new revenues for the latter, and to increase business for the former. Use of a particular credit card, for example, can generate cents per dollar for a charity and increase usage of the issuer's card. Other sponsorships may be less focused on increased business and more directed at corporate image promotion. Placing a company's name on a sports arena or a theater might fall into this category. Sometimes giving and sponsorships overlap. A company may offer a grant from its philanthropic arm to support a group's work, and agree through its marketing arm to a sponsorhip that is more highly visible for both the nonprofit and the company. Estimates are that corporate sponsorships provide $3 billion a year to nonprofits beyond the $11 billion given to them as corporate contributions. It's in this area of sponsorships that some corporations and nonprofits have overstepped the bounds. Making the right agreements requires careful due diligence by the parties. Each must pay close attention to the other's reputation and capacity to deliver. Failure to observe this discipline increases the risk of adverse public reaction or, worse, loss of public confidence. To some, sponsorship agreements between companies and nonprofits will always suggest corporate overreaching and the whiff of "tainted" money. To others, nonprofits must reach out more aggressively to broaden their sources of income and rely less on the kindness of strangers and fi路iends. To most of us, the only problem with so-called tainted money is, 'tain't ever enough. 0 About the Authors: Paul Ostergard is president and CEO of Junior Achievement International. He is former head of the Committee to Encourage Corporate Philanthropy, the Citigroup Foundation, and the GE Fund. Benjamin R. Barber is director of the Walt Whitman Center for the Culture and Politics of Democracy at Rutgers University and author of A Place for Us: How to Make Society Civil and Democracy Strong (Hill and Wang).
A venture capital firm that puts street kids on the Magic Bus to betterment has significant success not only in Mumbai, but in New York City
March n 1999, British national Matthew Spacie had a life-changing experience. Spacie, then Mumbai-based chief operating officer of Cox & Kings, India's largest and the world's oldest travel company, took some children from Mumbai's slums and pavements for a weekend at a local hill station. The children, most of whom had never been anywhere beyond Mumbai streets, were overwhelmed with joy, and that was a revelation for Spacie. He had already volunteered coaching street children in rugby, and so had become familiar with their issues and problems. But he only understood the magnitude of their poverty-stricken surroundings on that trip to the hills. "For those children it was a journey away from their current existence. All it took was a bus ride away. It was a life-changing moment for me," he says. Spacie started to organize monthly trips in association with Mumbai-based educational agency, Akanksha. He wanted to become more involved, but "it wasn't convenient because of job pressures. It made me realize that this was a common restriction that potential volunteers from corporations faced." In February 2001, a public service venture firm, Impact Partners, then recently staI1ed by New Yorkbased venture capitalist Ramanan Raghavendran, persuaded Spacie to give up his for-profit job and concentrate exclusively on setting up Magic Bus. "A decision I will never regret." Magic Bus, one of Impact Partners' first social investments, now helps more than 3,500 marginalized children in Mumbai. It has collaborations with 15 other NGOs and over 250 volunteers. Impact Partners found Spacie, rather than the other way around. "They were looking for innovative and sustainable models to grow on and I think our par1icular niche inspired them. They have been fully instrumental in the early stages of development in many ways," says 32-year-old Spacie. Impact Partners' encouragement has paid rich dividends. Maru, a two-year-old abandoned girl, spoke her first words, an expression of joy, on a Magic Bus
camp in the middle of a swimming session at the paddle pool. "She surprised not only the volunteers but also all the other girls with her enthusiastic outbursts at all the fun she was having on Marve beach! She made us all realize the value of just letting her play and grow up with a smile," says Spacie. This is the kind of success story that Impact Pal1ners' cherishes. Founder Ramanan Raghavendran, 33, prefers to call what he does "societal venture capital." Raghavendran has been a venture capitalist for 1I years and is currently chairman and chief executive of Connect Capital (India). His unique perspective on aid and social work has informed Impact Partners' activities from its inception. Sitting in on a board meeting ofImpact Partners is like watching a corporate board meeting in progress. Performance metrics, investment return ratios and accountability are just some of the issues being discussed. This could be a board meeting of Infosys, except, Impact Partners isn't a corporation. It is a public service venture finn, the first of its kind in India, that manages investors and investments in the social work field in a "for-profit" manner, with no expectations of financial returns. Just like in any corporation, Impact Partners looks for transparency, innovation, effectiveness, and scalability. It holds one-on-one meetings, round-table discussions, conducts regular site visits, and, as necessary, participates as a board member of organizations involved in Impact projects. When Raghavendran decided to stat1 a venture capital firm in India in early 2001, he decided to found a public service venture capital firnl as well. "When I created Connect Capital in India I knew I would be spending a lot of time here and since I had always wanted to focus on the Indian community, the time seemed just right. I have a hard core for-profit background and I know what it takes to scale an organization," he says. At the satne time, Raghavendran met Deval Sanghavi, who had quit a high profile job at the mergers and acquisitions department at Morgan Stanley in New York. Sanghavi had been in India since September 1999 and had worked with various grassroots organizations throughout India. "He had built a wealth of experience in that field, so I decided it would be a great combination of my skills and his," says Raghavendran. Sanghavi is a co-founder of Impact Partners and was the person responsible for bringing, among others, Magic Bus' Matthew Spacie into the Impact orbit. The main financial backer of Impact Partners is Connect Capital, a venture capital film that is New York-based Insight Partners' Asia investment vehicle. The three other investors at'e U.S,-based nonresident
Children joyride on a monthly outing organized by Magic Bus; kids display their creative talents through colors.
Indian entrepreneurs. "They wouldn't want their names disclosed but what I can say is that Impact stmted with a pool of over a million dollars and that was two years ago," says Raghavendran. Having grown up in India, Raghavendran is acutely aware of how hard it is for the least privileged of society to eke out a living. "For the most part, Impact Pattners is focused on children women, literacy and hunger. We m'e not involved in anything to do with any of the middle classes. We want to provide the infrastructure for the implementation of ideas that will lead to positive and systemic social change in India," he says. "We believe we must earn the right to advise or invest in social entrepreneurs. Whether that means strengthening their strategic planning, accessing talented individuals, building sector networks, or assisting in fundraising beyond our own commitment, we know it takes more than money to build successful, groundbreaking organizations," he says. Raghavendran's first serious exposme to phi lanthropy came in 1992 when he worked at U.S. venture capital firm, General Atlantic Partners, which set up an GO called Echoing Green, a pioneering effOtt in venture philanthropy. "It was very successful, but they were very focused on individual founders. They gave the founder a stipend and said 'Don't worry about your bills, do what you have to do.' At Impact I have taken that several steps further. From
my venture capital work 1've come to the conclusion that organization building is important. To that end, we actually go on the boards of organizations we fund, just like we do when fund a business entrepreneur. That is why Impact Pminers doesn't have huge volume; we just fund a few organizations but our commitment is total," says Raghavendran. Impact Partners invests and calls down capital and repOtts back to investors on performance. "I can't report back to my investors unless I drive my NGOs in a for-profit, metric manner. We have driven NGOs on concrete metrics on performance; things like the number of children served, the cost-per-child and other NGO-specific metrics that we have derived. We work with the NGO to help them define their own metrics. So they don't produce numbers merely to satisfY investors," he says. Impact Partners also believes in building a visible brand and selecting portfolio organizations which can mobilize creative and young people to consider social entrepreneurship as an exciting and serious career option. Also unique is Impact Partners' proactive "outbound" method of identifYing capable and distinguished social entrepreneurs. For example, an organization looking for financial help could well approach Impact Partners, but what usually happens is that Impact Partners selects the best NGOs in their field. "We pick the sectors we want to operate in, do a detailed review
ofNGOs working in that sector and narrow down who suits our needs best." This ensures we get the best NGO in that space and I don't mean the largest or most visible one ....one that has all the ingredients for being scalable and effective." Mumbai-based Akanksha was one of those investments that had the right ingredients. The organization, which provides under-privileged children with a balanced education that focuses on both intellectual and emotional development, was founded II years ago by Shaheen Mistri, then a college student. "We saw around us thousands of slum children who needed and wanted to be educated. We were part of the thousands of college students who had the energy, enthusiasm and time to teach these children. And we noticed the pockets of available spaces located in schools that seemed ideal teaching environments. The simple idea then was to bring together the three-kids, student volunteers and spaces. And the first Akanksha center was born," says Mistri. Today Akanksha reaches out to as many as 1,500 children in 27 centers in Mumbai arid Pune. While it built a great product, Akanksha was having problems retaining teachers and good volunteers. Impact Partners' for-profit vision pushed Akanksha into building itself up as a brand and improving its metrics to determine how to retain teachers and volunteers and to change its operating model, if necessary. Impact Partners urged Akanksha to consult with McKinsey to develop specific
metrics like teacher performance and drop-out rates. "We plan to further refine our metrics, increase the number and quality of our teacher training programs, redesign our curriculum with more focus on employability, and focus on moving each center closer to our vision ofthe Akanksha model center," says Mistri. Raghavendran says Impact Partners will always be on the lookout for organizations focused on children. "The ripple effect of changing one child's life is huge. Catch a child in his or her teens, or younger, change the life of that child, and that child could change a thousand lives," he says. Suruchi Foods, with a Mumbai-based kitchen run by street adolescents, is another Impact Partners project that focuses Below: Founder Ramanan Raghavendran (far right) with members of the impact Partners team; right and bottom: Snooze time for tykes and yoga classes.
on children. Impact P311ners is developing this homegrown organization into a profitable business that caters quality food to leading corporate clients. The street adolescents are trained by experts in the catering business and in hotel management and they graduate from Suruchi Catering College as qualified professionals with entrepreneurial skills. "We ensure that they find good jobs that allow them to grow professionally as well as individually," says Raghavendran. Impact Partners is also looking to assist the South Asian community in other countries. Its first overseas investment in New York-based South Asian Youth Action, or SAYA, founded in 1996. SAYA provides support services to newly immigrated South Asian children aged 11 to 19, to ease their entrance into the American school system and American society. "They [Impact Partners] contacted us, they just cold-called us, and said we'd like to help," says SAYA executive director Annetta
SeechalTan. The timing couldn't have been more 0pp0l1une. "When I joined SAYA in September 2001, I didn't know that just one week after starting my job, the community with which I work would be facing one of its biggest collective crises. The events of September II had a devastating impact on the lives of South Asian youth and their families. Following the initial shock, many South Asian youths and their families found themselves subject to bias attacks, employment and housing discrimination and racial profiling," says Seecharran. SAYA had to strengthen and expand its programs. "But the need for our services is larger than what we are able to respond to. Our ability to reach every needy South Asian youth in New York City will depend on organizational development and a strong individual donor base in South Asian American community, both of which Ramanan and Impact Partners have begun to help us strategize." Impact Partners provides funds, experience and even the man power to many of the organizations in which it invests. It is on the board of several of its investments and has played a role in recruiting and promoting people who can take the administrative burden off the key moderators of these organizations. "Most agencies stop their involvement once the check is written. We don't. We get involved at the board level of these investments and that's why we don't make 25 investments. We just make a few," says Raghavendran. And like any other venture capital project, Impact Partners has an exit strategy too, but without the financial payoff of a venture capital investment in business. "We don't want our investments to only depend on us for financial assistance. We share a majority of the NGO's budget for the first couple of years. After that our funding commitment becomes a matching commitment." Businessman Raghavendran knows this strategy strengthens organizations whether the entity profits investors or philanthropy profits society at large.  About the Author: Shailaja Neelakantan freelance writer based in New Delhi.
Indian Masala Spices Up
Ameriean Grassroots PoljtjeS
Far left: Uma Sengupta won election to Queens, New York, assembly district. Seen here with husband Suprabhat (left) and Councilman Jim Gennaro. Left: Leela Rai was elected as a trustee to the Yuba Community College Board.
to run from the newly-created 36th Midwest District on a Democratic ticket, nobody was surprised. The district has 20,000 voters and Republicans have an edge. But Dandekar, as member of board of directors of Linn-Mar Community School District since 1996, director of the Iowa Association of School Boards since 2001, and member of board of directors of Vision Iowa Board, has solid experience as community leader and volunteer. She was a natural choice for a nomination. In 2000, Dandekar was presented with the lC. Penny Education Golden Rule Award. Describing her stint in local politics, she said, "My experience as a LinnMar Board of Education member taught me that I can positively influence hundreds of students and make a difference in their lives," adding, "as a member of the Vision Iowa Program Board, I feel that I am making a difference to the lives of our young people by promoting initiatives that will allow young Iowans a chance to economically prosper and grow in Iowa." Her husband, Arvind, is the CEO of Fastek International of Hiawatha. She has two sons, Ajay, 26, a fOUlih year student of a medical school at the University of Iowa, and Govind, 23, a strategic analyst for Walt Disney Company in Burbank, California. At the district and local level, Uma Sengupta, a Democrat, won the office of district leader to the 25th Assembly District, Queens, in New York. Sengupta
than a dozen contestants won their bid. Professor Q Nanjundappa, who contested from the 72nd District of Cali fomi a assembly seat on a Democratic Party nomination for the second time, campaigned for improved educational system, health care, reducing crime and violence, affordable ~ and quality day care and housing, and effi~ cient energy alternatives. Professor Nanjundappa migrated to U.S. in 1968. is the first South Asian candidate to Shawn Aranha, Democrat, contested for the 41st district of the Illinois House of be endorsed by Queens Democratic Committee and all the big names in the Delegates. He is a medical student, but already acquired degrees in political sciDemocratic Party in New York. She ence and psychology. Author and antiwar migrated to the U.S. in 1970. She founded the Rainbow Montessori School. She activist Rahul Mahajan of the Green Paliy wants to work toward ensuring good life, ran for the office of Texas Governor. He quality education and housing, and plans opposed accepting corporate contribution to help senior citizens. Another leader at for election campaigns, and focused on human rights instead of corporate rights. the grassroots level in California is Leela Rai who had a successful bid to the office An interesting aspect of Indian Americans in this election was that the two of a trustee in the Yuba Community College Board of Trustees. Her parents dozen-odd candidates represented the were among the first immigrants to the diversity of India. Now pillars of their U.S. in this area, which now boasts a large American community, their roots are traceethnically Indian population. Rai became able to Punjab, West Bengal, Haryana, the first woman president of the Yuba City Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and South Sutter Chamber of Commerce in 1997. India. Three Indian American candidatesSenior leaders like Satveer Chaudhary Vij Pawar, Ayesha Nariman and Stuart feel that it's better to run at state and local John- made a bid for the U.S. Congress. level than for higher offices. "While I Even though they did not win, they made applaud anyone who has the courage and a qualitative difference to the election stamina to run for higher office, I feel that Indian Americans who have run for campaign by debating various issues. Democrat Pawar was nominee for the Congress with no political background New Jersey's 11th Congressional district. have expended a great deal of resources He provided a spirited challenge for that could have been put to better use. Start on the local level, and it is a better path to four-time winner Rodney Frelinghuysen campaigning better social security, eventual success on a higher level," advishealth and education policies. The 27- es Chaudhary to new aspirants. Election 2002 signaled a new vibrancy year-old political science and law graduin the Indian American community. ate will be someone to watch in the future. Born in Bhopal and brought up in There is excitement among the Indian diaspora about their growing political Bombay, Pawar migrated to U.S. when he was 12. voice, and the 2004 elections are just around the corner. 0 At the state level, only three out of more
The White Ribbon Alliance network plugs into India to promote better care for mothers and infants nMother's Day 1999, five women sat around a table in a Washington, D.C., pub, discussing ways to make motherhood safer. Some of them, like Teresa Shaver and Nancy Russell, had seen first hand how precarious the lives of mothers and infants are around the world. They saw that women, even in the United States, are uninformed about basic health practices and too often have no access to health facilities. Teresa Shaver was a Peace Corps volunteer in Maw'itania, where she worked as a pediatric nurse with a tribal h'aditional birth attendant. Her experience there inspired her to take a degree in midwifery. Nancy Russell, with a track record developing social programs in urban low-income neighborhoods, went to Nepal in 1991 where she helped organize a safe motherhood network, under the auspices of the Center for Development and Population Activities (CEDPA). Shaver, Russell and the other women around the table perceived inadequate health care for mothers and infants as a vast and silent problem worldwide. They vowed to do something about it. So began the White Ribbon Alliance (WRA), an advocacy group that to date includes about 200 individual and organizational members in 19 countries who are dedicated to reducing maternal deaths through grassroots outreach. Now seated at a table in a hotel coffee shop on the other side of the world, in New Delhi, three years later, Shaver and Russell discuss the first international conference on safe motherhood organized by White Ribbon Alliance, just concluded in India's capital city. Shaver explains that the white ribbon was chosen as a symbol because of its multiple meanings throughout the world. "In some places it means hope, in others it means mourning," she points out. For WRA the white ribbon symbolizes mourning for all women who have died in pregnancy and childbirth, and the hope that, in the future, these mostly preventable deaths can be avetted by increasing public awareness. The theme of the October conference was "Saving Mother's Lives: What Works." But its principal message was more starkly phrased: "For women, ground zero is childbirth." According to WRA statistics, one woman dies of pregnancy-related complications evety minute, nearly 600,000 women each year worldwide. In India, it is one
woman evelY five minutes, or 100,000 annually, placing India among the leaders in maternal mortality. The sobering statistics have spurred NGOs in India to do some excellent work toward solving the problem. The conference was a place to share these ways and means with similarly committed delegates from more than a hundred countries. WRA co-founder Teresa Shaver repeatedly emphasizes the importance of adapting to cultures: "Midwifety in different countries has different policies and protocols for what a midwife can do if she goes through a formal government training. One ofthe thjngs we are trying to do is insure that if midwives go through a cettain training, they are allowed to work and are protected legally." She adds, "We need to communicate respectfully and appreciate traditional medicine and traditional practitioners, and bridge that gap" between trained medical practitioners and traditional birth attendants. This gap is a constant source of debate and division among safe motherhood advocates. Until every woman has access to health facilities, she says, "We need to work respectfully with the traditional practitioners and also with the skilled, trained midwives." Nancy Russell cites another imperative, "to get the message out beyond the core group that knows everything," reflecting a basic WRA contention that every individual can be a safe motherhood advocate. It is a matter of changing attitudes at all levels of society, and the more sectors involved-government, non-government, local communitythe better. That is why opportunities for interaction between diverse groups are so important. "Many people at this conference said they learned from the experts. And the expetts said they are listening to these people, because these people are the ones who are trying to implement in the field, and many expetts are not aware that the people in the field don't have all the information they need," Russell said. The conference was remarkably successful, the women agreed. In Shaver's words, it was" a wonderful combination of resources coming together for something that we believe really will have sustainable, long lasting effects. Although led by White llibbon Alliance, significant conference SUppOitcanle from CEDPA, CARE, the Depattment of International Development, John D. and Catherine T. MacAtthur Foundation, EngenderHealth, Save the Children-US, UNICEF, Population Services International, WHO and USAID, among others. Shaver praised USAJD's support, which gave WRA scope to handle thjngs in its own way, fl:om the country level, rather than via diktats passed down from a central authority. The real work of implementation of conference goals, i.e., the reduction of maternal and neonatal deaths, continues with a new infusion of ideas. The India Secretariat of White llibbon Alliance works out of the CEDPA office in New Delhi, and is co-chaired by Matta Levitt-Dayal and lndu Kapoor. The affiliation with 26-year-old CEDPA is serendipitous. CEDPA is an international cooperating agency for USAID, specifically working on an "innovations and family plannjng services" project. "It is the largest reproductive health project funded by USAID in the world," say Levitt-Dayal, who is also CEDPA country director. The conference, "Call to Action," urges WRA members to lobby "governments, donors, providers, communities and families" for more resources, wider information dissemination, more medical facilities and trained bilth attendants. Paltnership between "indigenous and western biomedical systems" is also lugh on the agenda, as is skjlled attendance for mothers before, dwing and after deliveries, whether the delivery happens at home or in a hospital. In a place where 65 percent of deliveries happen at home, Levitt-
Dayal sees "Our biggest issue is how we are going to get skilled attendants at delivery." She says although antenatal care is better, "there is no postpartum care, though we know that the majority of mothers and newborns die in the postpartum period." She feels the traditional bilih attendants need a solid link to medical facilities in case of an emergency. This includes "the community taking charge of the emergency transpOliation, to make sure people have an emergency fund that they can tap into, and families being prepared, knowing that things can go wrong, and what to do about it and where to go." A two-way communication must take place between the dais and the medical establislunent. "They have to know that only as a team they can make a difference," she says. Janet Chawla, project director of Matrika, an NGO that researches traditional bilih practices, agrees that objectives such as referral links to medical facilities is ideal. But, realistically, dais must be given some ways to handle emergencies. "If a woman is hemorrhaging, the medical facility is 80 miles away, and the transpoliation is in a bullock cart, the woman will probably die," she says. Chawla has worked in maternal care for more than two decades, as a teacher of natural childbilih and researcher into indigenous bilih methods. What is the most pressing safe motherhood concern in India? She responds without hesitation, "You mean if! had a magic wand? Food." Poor people are malnourished, she says, and adds, "Safe motherhood people don't want to talk about food. They want to talk about emergency obstetrical care and skilled attendants because it's in their domain. Understandably, but if you really go out there, interact with people, see their problems-it's about food." Malnutrition results in conditions such as anemia, cited by Levitt-Dayal as one of the top problems. Chawla feels such conditions can be handled with "locally available, indigenous kinds of things, by maximizing what's right next to you. For anemia, iron kadais." Chawla maintains that village midwives have abundant skills. She adds, "The dai gets beaten over the head for her responsibility for high rates of matemal mOliality, but what is the causal factor? Is it anything the dai does, or is it because she serves the poorest of the poor, and that their health is already compromised?" She notes that one reason for the big divide between western medical and traditional views is perception of health threats: "For the Western medical system, the infection and danger postpaItum comes from outside. It comes from lack of hygiene ...but for the dais, in postpalium certain energy has to exit the body, so the threat is from within the body, not from outside." Both sides are right, she says, "but the problem is how to get them to talk to each other." Echoing Teresa Shaver, Nancy Russell and others in the safe motherhood movement, Chawla places a great deal of importance on "political will." Doctors should be encouraged to practice in rural areas. But she warns against a self-serving approach by agencies bent on "income generation for professionals, whether they be health planners, health communicators, policy analysts, doctors, nurses, or auxiliary nurse midwives." And she, like Mmia Levitt-Dayal, says there is a lack of coordination and cooperation between the different people in the field. Chawla adds, "Everybody is trying to respond all the time to global initiatives. So first it was population, now it is HlV IAIDS." While those are both critical issues, other equally im-
Above: Delegates to the first White Ribbon Alliance international conference on "Saving Mothers Lives: What Works, " hold up the "Ribbon of Life" quilt fashioned during the four-day meet. It represents the commitment to promoting safe motherhood around the world. Lefi: Former Miss India and social activist Nafisa AU and Teresa Shaver, Global Secretariat, White Ribbon Alliance, meet at the conference.
pOl1ant issues should not be abandoned. And much valuable advocacy for family planning and illY IAIDS prevention in India stal1s in antenatal clinics. Resource investment must be matched by performance and by realistic expected outcomes. Often, that is not what happens. Aparajita Gogoi, CEDPA communication and advocacy officer, says the medical establishment is moving closer to accepting dais as partners in childbirth, and training them, but it's a slow process. She is optimistic about a community-based distribution approach, where a trained local woman goes door to door providing information and counseling. "Because she is a local, they let her into their homes, They trust and accept her," says Gogoi. CEDPA works in pal1nership with local NGOs and dairy cooperatives. It does most of its capacity building in Uttar Pradesh, and more recently in Jharkhand and Uttaranchal. India is rich in model safe motherhood projects. SWATCH in Chandigarh and SEARCH in Maharashtra are two examples. A project in Orissa developed a "clean delivery kit" the size of a bar of soap which, for Rs. 5, provides all the essentials for delivery: soap, twine, a clean blade and a plastic sheet. Safe motherhood advocates concur that there are good projects, but they work in isolation. And, when the grant runs out, too often the project grinds to a halt. The consensus is that these dynamic programs must be linked and replicated, and funded in ways that encourage sustainability. The White Ribbon Alliance safe motherhood conference was a big step in networking and getting people talking about the right things. According to LevittDayal, "It's brought safe motherhood to the forefront and it's keeping 0 it there. We are not letting it go."
hile New York mourned its loss of the previous year, Chennai geared up to stem its loss in coming years. On September 11,2002, the Government of Tamil Nadu signed a memorandum of agreement with the Centers for Disease Control (CDe), based in Atlanta, to upgrade HIV IAIDS treatment at the Government Hospital of Thoracic Medicine (GHTM) in Tambaram. "We are here as a partnership along with the government [of Tamil Nadu]," says Dr. Dora Warren, country director of CDC Global AIDS Program. According to Dr. Warren, Tamil z Nadu approached CDC to assist GHTM in ~ its IDYl AIDS program. From CDC's perspective, this was the hospital where pa- ~ tients were really coming and it seemed ~ like a good idea to build its capacity techni- ~ cally. At the current rate of HIV infection, ยงUNAIDS predicts that India will catch up with Africa in the epidemic proportions "of the disease if the spread is not checked then, developed quickly into a full-fledged vigorously. The center's assistance will tuberculosis hospital with an operating thestrengthen the hospital's technical and ater, an X-ray machine and a laboratory. information-gathering capacity in fighting After independence, the state government the infection. took it over. The hospital soon became faTucked away on the outskirts of Chemous as the "Tambaram TB Sanatorium." nnai, GHTM, commonly known as the When the incidence of tuberculosis started Tambaram Hospital, is the biggest IDVI declining in the early 1980s, the hospital AIDS treatment center in India. According expanded its scope to include the whole to deputy superintendent Dr. S. Rajagamut of chest diseases. It was renamed the sekaran, the hospital has no less than 300 Government Hospital of Thoracic MediAIDS inpatients and around the same cine. Then, an interesting development at number of outpatients at any given time. Madras Medical College changed the Founded in 1928 by Dr. Muthu, a British future direction of the hospital. resident of Indian origin who wanted to The hospital's first association with replicate a particular sanatorium of his HIV/AIDS treatment was coincidental. In adopted country in his native land, the hos1986, a woman seeking medical care at pital was sold to the Madras Presidency in Madras Medical College was found to 1937. The TB Sanatorium, as it was called have a complicated form of tuberculosis.
Because Tambaram Hospital was the state's leading lung disease hospital, she was referred there. This was India's first known AIDS case. With the diagnosis of more cases, it became clear that a significant number of HIV IAIDS patients were affected by tuberculosis because their debilitated immune systems made them vulnerable to opportunistic infections. The frequent coexistence of AIDS and tuberculosis made Tambaram Hospital an ideal place to develop HIV/AIDS treatment. In 1993, the hospital formally committed itself by admitting two HIV positive patients with tuberculosis to its wards. While the early success rate of treatment was only half-partly because of the small sample size-in recent years this has become on level with the hospital's fine track record in treating tuberculosis.
Left: Tambaram Hospital, Chennai, is the largest HIVIAIDS treatment hospital in India, with 300 beds and an equal number of outpatients. Top: Siddha medicine is employed along with allopathic retroviral drugs. Above: Serum testing in the laboratory. The Us. Global AIDS Program contributes to upgrading facilities and building the care capacity of the hospital.
Dr. Rajasekaran explains that AIDS can be controlled, but never cured. "This is a killer disease, but it no longer [necessarily] has a killer prognosis. It can be managed as a chronic disease [with the right medical care]." Patients with low literacy often have difficulty understanding the implications of the disease, which is why they seem to underreact when they are told they are IllV positive. "To them it is like any illness. When we tell them they have this, then they say, okay you cure us," he points out. He says that to really control the spread of HIV /AIDS, the sine qua non is "liberation
from ignorance." But public education and outreach are not currently in the purview of his hospital, which so far has left those areas to NGOs such as the USAID-funded AIDS Prevention and Control Project and the Tamil Nadu State AIDS Control Society. Tambaram Hospital is "very focused" on treatment, Dr. Rajasekaran adds. The hospital's concentration on affordable HIV/AIDS treatment has earned it respect worldwide. While the conventional mix of antiretroviral drugs, better known as the AZT cocktail, can cost up to Rs. 1,2002,400 per month, the hospital's regimen of siddha drugs at Rs. 100-150 costs just a fraction of the cost of allopathic drugs. Siddha is a traditional form of herbal medicine indigenous to Tamil Nadu. Verses sung by ancient Tamil sages, known as siddhars, and recorded on palm leaves contain remedies for many ailments. These are the basis for the alternative siddha system of medicine. Allopathic drugs that are cheaper and slightly older than AZT are used as adjuncts to the life-long prescription of siddha medication which patients at the hospital get. The expensive AZT cocktail is used only in acute cases. Between 8:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., outpatients line up at the dispensary to refill their siddha prescriptions: a month's worth of green capsules, white tablets, and a plastic jar of a gooseberry-based herbal conserve known as lehyam. Some of the ingredients in these siddha medicines are deceptively simple: pepper, cardamom and cumin, the very things that drove Vasco de Gama to discover the sea route to India. Nurses pick up weekly doses for inpatients. According to matron Janaki Kasturi Rangan, HIV positive patients in the eight designated wards also get a special nutritious diet of pongal (rice cooked with dal), dates, groundnuts, eggs and a selection of vitamin-rich fruits. Their usual number of bed days is between 7 and 30 after which outpatient treatment begins. CDC funding has enabled the hospital to set up a basic computerized database of treatment records that helps track patient
progress. In the bigger picture, the database is an information storehouse that will help determine the efficacy of treatment protocols and drugs, and which may yield breakthroughs in IllV /AIDS treatment. The laboratory renovation and upgrading at the hospital that CDC hopes to accomplish in the "near future" will provide clinical information. The Global AIDS Program is funded by the U.S. Congress, which sees the disease as an urgent, universal problem. Ambassador Robert D. Blackwill underscored the gravity of the IllV /AIDS epidemic in a November speech in Chennai: "With IllY/AIDS lethally active in every nation, it damages the lives of many millions more than it infects because it creates orphans at a heart-rending pace. It devastates entire generations in some countries." He noted that the number of infected Indians, around four million, is one tenth of the world's IllV/AIDS cases and even with the strong political will demonstrated by government agencies and NGOs, it will be an uphill battle. He announced that in addition to the $63 million the U.S. government has dedicated to fighting IllV /AIDS in India over the past five years, "over the next five years, the total contribution will be $120 million." Funds are channeled through various U.S. government and international agencies such as USAID, U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources, Department of Labor and Department of Defense in cooperation with Indian government and nongovernment organizations. The U.S. National Institutes for Health and the CDC collaborate with Indian institutions in research, prevention and care. Because of the commitment of the hospital staff and the Government of Tamil Nadu, is the CDC confident that the project will be effective. "We are always impressed with the level of commitment and expertise in the Indian community," adds Dr. Warren. D About the Author: Nachammai Raman is a freelance writer based in Chennai.
A lighter moment: Malcolm X (jar left) snaps a picture of world heavyweight champion Cassius Clay, who later changed his name to Mohammed Ali, at a Florida soda fountain in 1964.
if a group has an answer to the problems of black people, then they should help solve the problems without having all black people join that group. In this sense his scope had been broadened." Younger civil rights activists and black artists and writers developed a deep-cultural and political respect for El-Hajj Malik EIShabazz even before his assassination in 1965. Amiri Baraka, the leader ofthe Black Arts Movement of the 1960s and 1970s, writes that Malcolm X was, for him, the personification of "blackness ...my maxiAttallah Shabazz, second from right, daughter of Malcolm X, looks on during the rededication ceremony of the Malcolm X postage stamp in Philadelphia, in 1999. Others with Shabazz are David Fineman, left, Postal Service Governor, and Sonia Sanchez, extreme right, professor at Temple University. The family of Malcolm X sustained many blows, including the death of his widow, Betty Shabazz, in a fire started by her grandson.
mum leader/teacher." After his death, as the Black Arts Movement blossomed, hundreds of poems, cultural essays, plays, and public events celebrated his towering importance. With the publication of his autobiography, his reputation among millions of white Americans also grew. But those who had been privileged to know Malcolm personally recognized the vast difference between his public and private images. As the white attorney William Kuntsler observed in 1994: "I liked Malcolm instantly ...! thought Malcolm would be a fire-eater, burning with hatred, with no sense of humor. He was actually quite the opposite, a warm, responsive human being, not at all as he was depicted by the media ....He spent most of his public life trying to convince his black audiences that they had to resist the white avalanche 'by any means necessary.' A failure to resist, he often said, was part of a residual slave mentality. I completely agreed with him." In the late 1980s a new generation of African Americans came to discover Malcolm X in the dire context of rapid deindustrialization and economic decay in America's cities, the collapse of public institutions providing services to the poor, and the devastation of the crack-cocaine epidemic. America's political and corporate establishment was retreating from serious discussion of ways to solve press"f ing urban problems, and in this environ~ 5: ment what became known as the hip-hop ~ generation found a charismatic, powerful I voice to express its own rage, alienation,
and spirit of resistance-that of Malcolm X. He was frequently mentioned in the music of virtually every major hip-hop artist and group, from Public Enemy and N.W.A. to Lauryn Hill and Wu-Tang Clan. But in taking excerpts from Malcolm's writings and samplings from his speeches, they frequently obscured or lost the full meaning of what he had attempted to accomplish, both politically and culturally. As the historian Michael Eric Dyson has written, the greatest significance of Malcolm X lies in his personal example of relentless self-criticism, and his belief that everyday people possess the capacity to change themselves and thus change the conditions under which they live. In Making Malcolm: The Myth and Meaning of Malcolm X; Dyson observes: "Malcolm's push near the end of his life was for the people to learn and grow as much as they could in the struggle to free mind and body from the poisonous persistence of racism and blind ethnic loyalty, as well as economic and class slavery. He apologized for his former mistakes, took his lumps for things he'd done wrong in the past, and tried to move on, even though, as he lamented, many devotees (and enemies) wouldn't allow him to 'turn the comer.' For Malcolm's sake, and for the sake of our survival, black folk must turn the corner." D About the Author: Manning Marable is a professor of history and political science, and the founding director of the Institute for Research in African American Studies at Columbia University in New York.
Eco New sensing technologies are helping researchers monitor and measure ecological phenomena like weather and plant growth
topping over in Phoenix on my way home to Boston a few years ago, I was treated to a rare desert sight: a storm roaring into the city. The skies opened and rain began pouring down. Then, five minutes after the tempest started, the hotel's lawn sprinkler system came on. Pretty dumb sprinklers. In a city like Phoenix you'd think the gardeners would be running around with Dixie cups to catch every precious drop. Maybe someday the sprinklers will at least be smart enough to check the Internet for a weather report before they start watering. Or maybe they'll just ask the plants themselves. I wish they could. When I got home to Boston, the plant in my office had withered into a desiccated, brownish heap. Unable to cry for help, incapable of reaching the keyboard to send me a desperate e-mail, neglected and ignored by the graduate students and custodians who occasionally peeked in to see ifI'd returned, the poor Spathiphyllum jloribundum (a.k.a. indestructible generic office plant) really looked like it was pushing up daisies. Somehow, even with my black thumb, I nursed it back to
An MIT-developed weather probe for the 1998 Mount Everest expedition stationed at the base camp. The probe gathered data on temperature, biometric pressure and level of light. Two of the probes were left at Everest and data was received daily until the batteries ran out in August 1998.
health with a combination of Poland Spring water and Peter's Plant Food. But it really irked me that, in this day and age of imported strawberries and bioengineered corn, my poor office plant was forced to sit in a clay pot full of dirt with no means of support whenever I had to be away, doomed to wither and die without a plant-sitter at hand. When I complained to the graduate students about their shameless neglect of a dying soul, their immediate response was to construct an automatic plant-caretaking system. Called Robocrop, it was designed to use a handful of sensors to monitor growth and dispense light, water and nutrients. Aside from how to prevent office ecological disasters, the questions were: What's the optimal cycling of resources to promote plant growth? Would it be better to simply leave the grow-lights on 24 hours a day, or to cycle them? Should the light sources move (like the sun) or just remain overhead? Could a time-lapse camera watch and measure the plant's response to various stimuli? Does playing Mozart really grow the biggest tomatoes, or could the students systematically put Napster to work to hone in on the MATT LAU absolute best music for tomato production? Often the cycles of a busy life make it impossible to properly care for plants. And just as often, your own instincts about when to water or supply plant food may not be in tune with the plant's true needs. So perhaps a little Internet-controlled herbal garden, with a sensor network and computer-driven dripwatering and misting system could keep a supply of basil and other cooking plants fresh and healthy and at hand. I often think that such a system would make a nice addition to, say, Hewlett-Packard's catalog of scanners and printers. Maybe someday little packets of seeds will be hanging next to the ink-jet cartridges at CompUSA. There is a real opportunity and need to better connect with the lives of plants, and it isn't only about keeping your office lily alive, or about applying "green" techniques to your lawn. There are larger ecosystem issues that need a more vigorous systems
By sprinkling enough of climate sensor nodes in an area, you can blanket a critical piece of territory with all the sensing required to form a much more detailed picture of what's going on ecologically.
approach. For example, climate change and the coevolution of various species are clearly critical issues, but in some respects we know about as much about those issues as we do about our own backyards, which is to say, not much. A few years ago, MIT students Matt Reynolds and Rich Fletcher were inspired by an expedition to Mount Everest to construct a device to measure the weather there. They built a bombproof (and Everest-proof) weather sensor in a plastic pipe and bolted it to the mountain, where it recorded the data for nearly a year and transmitted the results via satellite onto the Internet. Conveniently, U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration satellites swing overhead about ten times a day. It's a store-and-forward system: the probe tosses up a 32-byte payload (enough for a couple hours of weather samples), and that packet blinks off the satellite and onto the Internet. At base camp, support teams can radio the climbers at higher-elevation camps ("It's calm and sunny on the summit-now go for it!"). Even the Weather Channel got interested enough to fund a few such probes ("It's 26 degrees Celsius in Boston, partly cloudy, and ...this just in, folks: the live weather from Mount Everest is..."). This work is still at the stage in which computer engineers are probably learning more than ecoscientists, but it's a valuable start. More recently, a team of ecologists from the University of Hawaii was introduced to engineers at MIT. The group's tactical mission: gather information about the extremely rare Silene hawaiiensis, a plant that lives in the southwest rift zone of the Halemaumau crater amid the volcanoes on the big island of Hawaii. Island ecosystems are known for the starkly drawn lines
between species. This is why Darwin discovered a living laboratOlYin the Galapagos, and why Alfred Russel Wallace was bowled over by the Indonesian archipelago. The island of Hawaii is home to a number of intriguing species, including curiosities like thornless berries and nettleless nettles: plants that enjoyed the paradise so much that they relaxed their natural defenses. In recent decades, though, Hawaii has become an ecological battlefield as alien species invade and disrupt the old balance. Fieldwork for this project began on the northeast shore of Hawaii, in Hilo, the United States' rainiest city. But a 50-kilometer drive southwest to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park brings you into a desert microclimate. Going from rain forest to desert in the space of a few kilometers makes this one of the world's more sharply delineated climate zones. There, around the ash-crusted rim of the massive Kilauea caldera, a few hundred scrappy little Silene plants are growing. They're an endemic species, and not much is known about them. We don't know how they pollinate, and we don't really have a handle on the very particular climate in the area in which they're growing. Not too far from the Silene, you'll find another extremely rare plant, the Portulaca sclerocarpa. There are perhaps only a hundred of these on earth, and they grow in one tiny patch in a place called Puhimau. What's especially interesting about their little grubstake is that if you walk a few hundred meters away from the Portulaca and stick a thermometer five or six centimeters into the ground, the temperature reads 85 degrees Celsius. And when you look around, you see the charred remains of a forest. What's happening is that an underground
1. A view of the volcanic area at Halemaumau crater, Hawaii. along a tree trunk. 3. Researchers, but few others, know that one of these rocks has silicon implants. 4. A sensor being placed on an ohia tree. 5. Hardy little Silene, the object of the MIT-Hawaii study. A unique endemic species, it grows only in the desert microclimate o[this Hawaiian region. 6. Precariously placed POliulaca sclerocarpa. Only about a hundred of these plants exist in a tiny patch near Puhimau. Afew hundred meters away the ground temperature is 85 degrees Celsius. Underground lava is flowing and will likely wipe out the plant s territory in a few years. 2. A tephranode neatly camouflaged
lava flow is heating the soil, killing the plants above, and it could easily wipe out the precarious Portulaca patch. These sorts of phenomena require time-lapse logic, and timelapse thinking. Because we're in a wilderness within a national park, any instrumentation needs to be autonomous and wireless and very unobtrusive. So the combined MIT and Hawaiian teams came up with a novel approach. Students Andy Wheeler, Roshan Baliga, Ben Brown and Paul Pham built a tiny computerized climate sensor to measure light, temperature, humidity and wind speed. The nodes look like eight-by-eight-by-three-centimeter blocks, and they have radio links designed to self-aggregate into a wireless network. By sprinkling enough ofthese in an area, you can blanket a critical piece of territory with all the sensing required to form a much more detailed picture of what's going on ecologically. And with clever camouflage that looks like logs and rocks, the sensors blend into the ecosystem. Biology professor Mike Huddleston, associate professor of botany Kim Bridges, and their team at the University of Hawaii built some remarkable faux rocks and logs to hold the assorted electronics. In principle, a scientist simply walks out from the observatory with a bag of these high-tech rocks and drops one every 15 meters or so to form a daisy chain that leads out to the nearby Silene patch. The rocks look uncannily like the local
chunks oftephra that are blasted out of volcanoes, and that's how this first tephranet got its name. If it works, it should run for several months, producing the first intimate data snapshot of this extraordinary ecosystem. Lush plants are a healthy part of life. Whether it's a happy plant on the office window ledge, or a deeper understanding of how the last few members of a species are clinging to life, directing new capillary sensor networks into ecosystems can bring us real insight into problems that matter. Maybe the idea of a joint venture between Hewlett-Packard and seed giant Burpee seems a little far-fetched. But when I saw MIT student Andy Wheeler with his laptop walk over to an unsuspecting pumice rock and log into it via the tephranet radio, it was as ifhe'd opened a door to a new world. 0 About the Author: Michael Hawley works at the MIT Media Lab and is a contributing writer for Technology Review. He was recently on a project in Bhutan.
"Remember how you looked forward to a son to go on hikes with?" Copyright
© 2001 The Saturday Evening Post Company. Reprinted by permission.
Copyright © The New Yorker Collection 2001 Arnie Levin from Cartoonbank.com.
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ON THE LIGHTER SIDE
Copyright © 2001 The Saturday Evening Post Company. Reprinted by permission.
Copyright © The New Yorker Collection 2001 Leo Cullum from Cartoonbank.com.
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Another "Genius Grant" Goes to Indian American MacArthur Foundation's Fellowship honors Americans with extraordinary capability and exceptional creativity. Four Indian Americans have bagged it to date.
astyear Sendhil Mullainathan, professor of economics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), became the fourth Indian American to be awarded the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation fellowship. Earlier recipients were New York-based writer Ved Mehta, poet and professor AX. Ramanujan and sarod player and composer Ustad Ali Akbar Khan. Called the "genius grant," certain attributes of the fellowship make it unique. American citizens or residents with extraordinary originality, exceptional creativity and dedication in their creative pursuits are awarded the fellowship by the MacArthur Foundation under its Fellows Program every year. Instead of being routed through institutions, the fellowship is directly~ awarded to individuals so that those without~ institutional affiliations are also included. The8
recipients may use the fellowship money to improve their expertise, engage in interdisciplinary work and even make a different career move altogether. John D. MacAtthur (1897-1978), fow1der-owner of Bankers Life and Casualty Company and other businesses, set up the foundation in 1978. His wife Catherine (J 909-1981) held positions in many of his companies and served as the director of the foundation. The MacArthur Foundation today has assets of $4.2 billion and makes total annual grants worth $227 million. The fellowship stipend of $500,000 is delivered in equal quarterly installments over five years. The fellows are neither expected to produce specific reports on their activity during the fellowship term, nor are they evaluated. An individual cannot apply for a MacArthur grant. Every year the foundation invites a group of experts from various fields to nominate the most creative people they know in their respective fields. There are always more than a hundred active nominators. Strict confidentiality and anonymity is maintained for the nominators, evaluators, and selectors and their cOlTespondence. Nominations are evaluated by an independent selection committee consisting of about a dozen expelts from the mts, sciences, humanities and nonprofit organizations. After a thorough, multi-step
review, the final list of fellows-between 20 and 3D-is announced in June. Six hundred and thirty-five people have bagged the fellowship since its inception in June 1981. The 2002 Indian American recipient Sendhil Mullainathan works on behaviorial and developmental economics, social problems in the U.S. economy, and corporate finance. He is also a faculty research fellow in labor and corporate finance at the National Bureau of Economic Research. Hailed by the MacAlthur Foundation for pushing the boundaries of economics, Mullainathan was awarded the grant for his studies on executive compensation, the economic role of social networking, resource allocation within extended families in developing countries, racial discrimination in the American marketplace, and the limited use of checking accounts by the poor. "The money is big enough so you can do something substantive," he reportedly said. The first Indian American to receive a MacAtthur grant was Ved Mehta in 1982. Blind since childhood, he went on to become a versatile nonfiction writer and journalist. He studied at the Arkansas School for the Blind, em'ned two bachelors degrees in arts from Pomona College, California, and Balliol College, Oxford, and a masters degree from Harvard. He started writing for The New Yorker while he was still a student. Mysore-born A.K. Ramanujan received the fellowship in 1983. A brilliant poet, linguist, folklorist, translator, and short story writer, he has authored 17 books, including seven volumes of his own poetry in English and Kannada. He is especially renowned for his extraordinary translations of early classical Tamil poetry (circa 100 B.C.-250 A.D.), The Interior Landscape and Poems of Love and War. He also wrote The Folktales of India. He served as William E. Colvin Professor of Dravidian studies and linguistics at the University of Chicago from 1962 until his death in 1993. In 1991 sarod maestro Ustad Ali Akbar Khan was awarded the fellowship for his groundbreaking work which gave Indian music authentic exposure in the United States. He continues to teach sarod at his Ali Akbar College of Music in San Rafael, California. Apart from the Fellows Program, the MacArthur Foundation also has three other programs-the General Program, the Program on Human and Community Development and the Program on Global Security and Sustainability-to sUppOtt research and work on regional policy, public education, mental health, juvenile justice, international peace and security, population and reproductive health, media and violence prevention. The Program on Global Security and Sustainability has special initiatives in Russia and Africa. All these programs share the foundation's philosophy that the healthy, educated, creative individual is an essential instrument of constructive change. -D.S.
At 17, he's at the beginning of his career ladder. But it is a stellar entry: Akshat Singhal already has a planet named after him.
is nimble fingers dance on the computer keyboard like a pianist's on his instrument. But this 17-year-old class XII student of Jaipur's St. Anselm's Pink City School doesn't follow any notations while playing the keyboard. He actually writes his own. His original software designs and codes are music to the ears of computer gurus, and he has received attention at places as diverse as NASA and Intel. His name is Akshat Singhal, and for the last three years he has been one of the most talked about IT talents in India. For many he is another Bill Gates in the wings. He already has more than
Akshat with father Sudhir Singhal, mother Sun ita and sister Yamini. 30 Web sites to his credit and eams anything between Rs. 10,000 and Rs. 40,000 for developing each site. Laurels aplenty are coming in for him. He was given a paid internship with the American IT giant, Agilent Technologies, last summer. By the age of 13 Akshat had mastered Java and C languages for developing Web-based applications. At 14, he was declared India's youngest Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer. A year later, he became the world's youngest Certified Lotus Professional. He was declared the "Face of the Millennium" by MTV two years ago and was also listed in the Limca Book of
Records 200 I for being a young computer talent.
A Planet in the Universe:
Akshat's notable achievements to date include becoming the first Indian to have a planet named after hin1 by the prestigious Lincoln Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston. It is one ofMIT's largest laboratories. Its LINEAR (Lincoln Near Earth Asteroid Research) program detects and catalogs nearearth asteroids, comets and minor planets. It rewards selected students by naming a minor planet after them. (12599) Singhal-named after Akshat-is a minor planet between Mars and Jupiter. Akshat got this rare honor when his project, a software application for Web-based document management, was selected among the top entries in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Kentucky in May last year. Over a million students of classes between IX and XlI compete in this fair held in 500 centers across the world. The 'Minor Planet' honor is given to the fmalists of the Intel ISEF on the basis of a project and a written submission on why they would like to have the honor. The panel of judges shortlisted 1,200 students for ISEF from 40 countries. In the finals, the jury, comprising 50 leading international scientists, felt Akshat's Intelligent Document Management System (lDMS) stored digital documents in a far more organized way than other existing systems. It provides a better way of accessing documents on small computers. The system allows encryption, compression, revision and control of documents and searching through multiple documents. Its a Hobbv: Akshat's affair with computers began when he was an eight-year-old curious about anything new. A childhood visit to a nearby computer institute provided the spark. He was amazed by "the infinite capabilities of
the machine" and "had a whale of a time making designs in LOGO." Three years later he was struck by the beauty of a high-tech machine at a friend's place. "The 3D computer games and the multimedia system were really fascinating." That summer he enrolled in a basic computer course and "enjoyed every moment of it." His growing interest in computers prompted his father to buy a PC. "I was thrilled," he says. "1 went overboard conducting my little experiments with it. It's really a coincidence that I got into computers as a career, because it's more of a hobby than a profession," says Akshat. Source of Inspiration: From where does the whiz kid draw his inspiration? "[t comes from somewhere within me," he says. His father has a cooking gas agency and his mother is a homemaker. But he says his mother has had the greatest influence on him: "Without any formal education in computers, she has always encouraged me to go ahead and achieve the impossible. She is my pillar of strength." Akshat developed a software program based on the Buddhist epic Dhammapada. Named "Dhan1lTIapada Online," it pops up a wise saying of Lord Buddha every time the computer is switched on. The software is appreciated by many Buddhist organizations around the world. Later, he developed another application on the Shirdi Sai Baba, titled "The Sayings of Sai Although a photo of (12599) Singhal was unavailable, the minor planet (243) Ida in the image is similm: Minor planets represent material left over fi'om the formation of the solar system.
Onhis exPerience at the Intel Fair,louisville, Mav 2002 Baba," which is a runaway hit among the devotees. He is now working on a Web site dealing with Christian gospel and hymns, showing his respect for all religions in the country. "I was as silly as any other kid may be of my age, only I preferred working on my computers and experimenting with software to watching TV. It's more fun," he says when asked about his intellectual abilities. His career goal is to fmish class XII with a good score and then attend college either in India or the United States. He would like to do research in computer science. Once he finishes his schooling, he will decide whether he wants to join a firm or go on his own. His prized possession is the MP3 player that MTV gave him. He plays basketball, loves pizzas and movies and confesses to have seen The Matrix 40 times. And his dislikes, too, are strongly defined-cricket, Sylvester Stallone and yellow dal. With so much under his belt does he have any more ambitions? "Yes," says Akshat, "just one. I would like to go to my planet and put up a McDonald's and a Chinese restaurant there!" 0 About the Author: Ajay Kanchan is a New Delhi-based filmmaker and writer.
t the Intel Fair, we had a chance to meet students from different parts of the U.S. and the world. Everyone had a great idea, and quite unlike what you'd find in smaller science fairs in India, everyone was friendly toward each other and each other's ideas. The hostility of competition somehow vanishes, maybe because everyone comes to know that there are so many brilliant kids around the world, doing things greater or equal to them, that they get humble about it. The sheer number of fmalists at the Intel Fair kills all thoughts about competition-nobody thinks in terms of whether he'd win or not because it all seems so confusing with so many projects. As for me, I could see people better than me. Like me, for so many ofthem it was a humbling experience. At the same time, the fair did make me happy about whatever I've done. It set me in the category of young geniuses from around the world, and that was my honor. It was a humbling, yet encouraging experience. I was lucky at the first awards ceremony, the Special Awards ceremony, where I won the award from Agilent. The majority of the
awards went to people from the U.S. because of the percentage of participation as well as the uniqueness of the projects. China and Puerto Rico were the next best. And, then suddenly they announced 'Jaipur, Rajasthan, India.' I was really happy and thrilled because I had finally managed to make a mark for India at that intemationallevel.
About his first travel to the U.S. The first time I started believing that I had left India was when I could see the German countryside from the airplane window. It all looked like a toy world, built out of plastic blocks, somehow put in full bright light, extending infinitely. It seemed as ifI was in the large plane flying slowly just a few meters above the toy world, but then suddenly came the touchdown time-the whole plane seemed to vibrate a bit, and then we actually got into this toy world made of huts, farms and highways. We landed in Washington, D.C., and cleared our security checks in a hurry, but we had to wait for another few hours at the Washington airport. I had a good look around the place, had my first Starbucks coffee and enjoyed it till the last drop. Never before had I spent two hundred
rupees on a single路路coffee!] was surprised to finihtrmanrlntlians over there-the percentage was far more than I expected. We boarded a small plane to Louisville and reached there in about two hours. It was cold in Louisville, but I loved it because I had come from the boiling hot Rajasthan. I loved Louisville. Maybe because it was the first city I visited in the U.S., but also may be because it very much resembled my home town Jaipur in terms of the amount of hustle and bustle. Louisville is a quiet and clean, yet big, city with almost everything in it. I visited many places, took photographs with a variety of cars, and actually saw the world that I had always seen in those glossy magazine pages, photographs and pixels. I found to my amazement that America is exactly like it looks in the photographs-it is a beautiful place, and the people are so varied and different. I also visited the University of Louisville on a casual tour. I loved the computer science facility and the amount of support for research available there. With so many computers and books and soda cans-who needs anything else? Louisville is a lovely place-if I ever get rich, I'll visit it again. 0