It’s really, really low to pick on Quakers trying to get a meeting house (read: church) built. Inga Saffron reports: Vandals with an acetylene torch crept onto the project’s muddy construction site in the middle of the night. Working out of view in the meetinghouse’s freshly cemented basement, they sliced off dozens of bolts securing the bare steel columns and set fire to the building crane, causing $500,000 in damage. Police detectives deemed the attack arson because of a series of confrontational visits from union officials days before the incident. They say the torch could only have been operated by a trained professional, and believe it was almost certainly the work of disgruntled union members.
Eric Foner’s article on the Emancipation Proclamation is quite excellent. There’s a lot of bad history around and he cuts right through it. More importantly, he articulates something I wish I emphasized more – how revolutionary the directness of the document is: In it, Lincoln addressed blacks directly, not as property subject to the will of others but as men and women whose loyalty the Union must earn. There’s one line of the Proclamation in particular, where the Executive “will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom,” that not so subtly implies this.