“I sit with Shakespeare and he winces not.”

“I sit with Shakespeare and he winces not.”

Elizabeth Alexander, the poet, ponders a single sentence from W.E.B. Du Bois’ The Souls of Black Folk (1903) as she talks about his life and work in a recent episode of “On Being,” with Krista Tippett. Note first, she points out, that it’s in iambic pentameter. Du Bois is saying to Shakespeare, look: I can do what you do. I sit with Shakespeare and he winces not. It is a brilliant stroke–Robert

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Reading the Declaration “In Defense of Equality”

Reading the Declaration “In Defense of Equality”

My reading for this July 4 weekend is Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence In Defense of Equality, a welcome contribution to our understanding of our founding document by Danielle Allen, a MacArthur genius and a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton.  With strategies of close reading and recovery of draft work and historical context, Allen argues that within the Declaration, the concepts of

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Habitat Orange County: 30 years strong

Habitat Orange County: 30 years strong

The ache for a home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned. –Maya Angelou This year, Habitat for Humanity of Orange County celebrates 30 years of making the dream of home ownership possible for people for whom it would otherwise be out of reach. It was an honor to join some 300 supporters on Saturday at a celebratory

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Housing First in Orange County

Housing First in Orange County

Last week brought news that the national 100,000 Homes campaign has met its ambitious goal of permanently housing 100,000 of our most vulnerable individuals and families. The New York Times noted this milestone’s significance: “It means that many American cities are currently on track to end chronic and veteran homelessness by the end of the decade or earlier.” The 100,000 Homes campaign takes on chronic homelessness with a strategy called

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Chapel Hill’s Rosenwald School

Chapel Hill’s Rosenwald School

The Roots of the Piedmont conference recently held by Preservation Chapel Hill and Orange County featured a panel on the Rosenwald Schools in North Carolina. Julius Rosenwald, the son of a German-Jewish immigrant who led Sears, Roebuck & Co. to its position, in 1909, as the largest retailer in the world, felt a special obligation to help African Americans. “The horrors that are due to race prejudice come home to the Jew

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The Land Trust’s Astonishing Roots

The Land Trust’s Astonishing Roots

Attending the National Community Land Trust Network conference in April, with Robert Dowling, executive director of our own Community Home Trust, I expected to learn a lot about contemporary operation of land trusts and ideas for keeping them successful–and I did. But a session that I happened onto on the history of the land trust movement left my head spinning. “Roots of the Contemporary Land Trust Movement,” a tutorial on

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