Original Wobbly

I met the daughter of Pierce T. Wetter in August. Pierce was an original Wobbly. He was arrested in 1917 … More

Remembering Butch Lewis

One friend of Butch’s called him the Pastor of Hartford’s North End. “A pastor is a shepherd, and everyone came to Butch with their problems.” With other Vietnam vets Butch started the Black Panther Party in Hartford. He never became a politician, never used his reputation for fame.

Rock and Roll vs. Racism

In 1955, the most racially integrated public space in Connecticut might have been the rock & roll concerts at Hartford’s … More

Selma, Not So Far Away

Father Leonard Tartaglia was sometimes called Hartford’s “Hoodlum Priest.” Like the 1961 film of the same name, Tartaglia ministered to … More

The Woman in Red

If she hadn’t worn her red dress to the picket line, Amelia Sabich might have lived a normal, quiet life. … More

The Language of the Unheard

“No Danger of Race Riots in Hartford, Police Officials Say.” It was August 4, 1919.  Hartford’s African American ministers feared … More

Yanquis or Yankees?

Are we yanquis or yankees? In my small state of Connecticut (pop. 3.5 million), we have been both. From the … More

aka Jim Pembroke

The Reverend James W.C. Pennington, D.D. had been warmly received in Scotland, had his biography published in England, and was … More

Isabel Blake, Welfare Warrior

Isabel Blake challenges state legislators to “meet with us and talk things over.” The legislators stay silent. “We don’t bite,” … More

Mayor Mark Twain

Could Mark Twain have become mayor of Hartford? Apparently, the Knights of Labor thought so. This 19th century labor union … More

Shoeleather Quiz #2

1. What was the last film to play at the Meadows Drive-In Theater before it closed? 2. Which one of … More

Baseball Crazy

No ESPN, no sports radio, no internet scores. In 1913, all Hartford baseball fans had was the Megaphone Man. He … More

Shoeleather Quiz # 1

1. From where did Mayor George Athanson broadcast his overnight radio show? 2. Which famous person spoke in Hartford? (a) … More

The Gandhi Strike

It’s been more than 75 years since the legendary Flint sit-down strike by Michigan autoworkers, a watershed event in American … More

No Room at the Inn

Ethel Thompson and her family reached Hartford after midnight. She entered the Hotel Essex on Main Street and went to … More

Heroes & Anti-Heroes

For more than a year, the prison authorities would not allow Avelino Gonzalez-Claudio proper medical treatment. Then, a month before … More

Strange Fruit

What was the murder of Trayvon Martin if not a lynching? The definition of the word is clear: “an extrajudicial … More