Thursday, June 25, 2009

Deuteronomy 16:20

The theme for the 75th Carnival of Genealogy is Justice and Independence.

This is timely for those of both American and Canadian roots as Canadian Independence Day is July 1st, and US Independence Day is July 4th.

We were asked for this issue of the carnival to:
1) Tell a story of an ancestor(s) who fought for freedom.
2) Tell a story about how Independence Day was celebrated by your ancestors.
3) Post the lyrics of a song that exemplifies how Justice and Independence have worked in the lives of your ancestors and/or family.
I considered where my focus should be. It can be argued my Confederate ancestor, Ebenezer Denyer, was fighting for his concept of justice, though I disagree with it, and I don't truly know his motives.

A case can be made for my United Empire Loyalist ancestors fighting for their sense of justice as well, even though it differed from the sense of justice held by the revolutionaries, the ultimate victors of the war, and the reason for which we celebrate US Independence Day.

I thought about interviewing my parents on their activities during the civil rights movement, or about my paternal grandfather, Melvin Newmark's activities with the St. Louis chapter of B'nai B'rith, which advocates for human rights internationally. This is definitely something I wish to do at some point, but now wasn't the time.

I've learned through my research that my second great grandfather, Selig Feinstein, was active in the Chesed Shel Emeth Society, a Chevra Kadisha, or 'holy society.' It concentrated on providing free burials to all, treating rich and poor equally, so that indigent families need feel no shame at such a critical time. 1 (Not freedom or independence, but definitely justice.)

For the 59th CoG I argued apathy is foreign to my genes. I was raised on the music of Peter, Paul & Mary, and The Kingston Trio. I was raised on the words of Deuteronomy, Chapter 16, Verse 20:

(Justice, justice, shall you pursue.)

After much thought, I've decided to go with the third option. The choice of an appropriate song that exemplifies how I was raised to view the importance of pursuing justice for all. If I Had a Hammer. Written by Pete Seeger and Lee Hays, one of the best known recordings is by Peter, Paul and Mary. Below is a video of the trio singing it in 1963.

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