Three Figures, in Life and Death: Naomi Parker Fraley, Barbara Bush, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela

An American Legend

For seven decades, the real identity of an American legend was kept quiet. “Rosie the Riveter” was the focus of a campaign aimed at recruiting females for industry work during World War II. Her image of a strong, working woman brought the attention of many. A record number of American women entered the workforce during the war, filling the vacancies left by men who left for war.

The real Rosie the Riveter’s identity was not revealed for decades. The woman behind the image, Naomi Parker Fraley, was a waitress in California. Fraley died at the age of 96 in January of 2018.

In 2016, when her connection to the feminist touchstone became public, Fraley told People magazine that she did not want “fame or fortune, but I did want my own identity.” She had worked in a Navy machine shop during World War II. Her appearance was captured by a photographer, focusing on the bandanna she wore in her hair for safety. This photograph was first published in a newspaper. Later on, the image was used for the well-known Rosie the Riveter campaign poster.

After the war, she became a waitress, married, and began a family. When she first saw the poster, she thought the woman looked like her, but did not at first connect it with her picture in the newspaper all those years ago.

Fraley and her sister attended a reunion of female war workers in 2011, where the image was largely displayed. Fraley recalled: “I couldn’t believe it. I knew it was actually me in the photo.”

Fraley wrote to the National Park Service, from which she received a letter in response asking her to help determine “the true identity of the woman in the photograph.” She was not pleased that her identity was being disputed, but after the photographer’s original photographer and location was uncovered, there was no question that Fraley was the infamous woman.

In the People magazine interview, Fraley described the importance of having strong female icons. She said, “The women of this country these days need icons. If they think I’m one, I’m happy.”

The description of the original photograph was: “Pretty Naomi Parker looks like she might catch her nose in the turret lathe she is operating.”

Death Not Feared

Barbara Bush, former first lady of the United States, passed away in April of 2018. She was 92 years old. Prior to her death, she was often referred to as “America’s warm hearted grandmother.”

Bush had faced many health problems for years. She reportedly battled chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and congestive heart failure for years. She had been previously hospitalized a few times for her health, but two days before her death it was announced that Bush had “decided not to seek additional medical treatment.”

Throughout her life, Mrs. Bush was constantly in the public eye. She was seen as various public symbols, such as “consummate wife” and “homemaker.” Her husband, former president George H.W. Bush, began as a Texas oilman, and worked his way up to becoming commander in chief. Their eldest son George W. Bush, one of six, also became president.

Before her passing, Mrs. Bush said that she “didn’t fear death,” perhaps because the family faced serious tragedy in the past. The death of their eldest daughter left a lasting impression on the family, especially Mrs. Bush.

Pauline Robinson “Robin” Bush, was typically rowdy and healthy, like her siblings. However, she began showing signs of fatigue, so she was taken to a pediatrician. A few days later, the Bush family received the news that Robin was diagnosed with leukemia. She passed away at age 3.

Barbara Bush did not fear death. She had suffered an unthinkable tragedy early in her life, and spent a majority of her adult life in politics.

Family friend and former president Bill Clinton said after her passing: “She had grit and grace, brains and beauty. Barbara joked that George and I spent so much time together I had become almost a member of the family, the ‘black sheep’ that had gone astray.”

Mother of a Nation

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela passed away at the age of 81. She was best known for being a South African anti-apartheid campaigner and former first lady, once married to Nelson Mandela.

For over a year, Mrs. Mandela had been in the hospital numerous times due to a “long illness.” She had spent most of her life in the public eye, yet later in life her reputation had been tainted.

She met Nelson Mandela in 1957 when his marriage to Evelyn Mase was ending. After their marriage, they were known for being the country’s most famous political couple. Both were jailed for their roles in the anti-apartheid movement. The political activism kept them both apart from each other for quite some time during the movement. There was a period when they were in hiding, keeping them further apart still.

When her husband was jailed in 1964, she increased her role in politics and was constantly harassed by South African security police. She became an international symbol of resistance for her fight against the apartheid movement. She rallied for poor, black township residents who demanded freedom. Her husband was released from his life sentence in 1990.

After spending some of her life in solitary confinement for her activist role, she was banished to a remote rural area, but returned to the township soon after. Her home was burned down, and the suspected perpetrators were members of the South African security forced. She became widely known as the “Mother of the Nation.”

The Mandelas divorced in 1996, but she chose to keep his surname. They kept close ties, yet critics began accusing her of using his name for political gain. Her reputation was put on the line once more when she was accused of fraud and murder, both of which she denied.

When a 14-year-old township militant, Stompie Seipei, was murdered, the senior anti-apartheid activists accused Winnie. She had a group of young men as her bodyguards, known as the Mandela United Football Club. She had great influence over young, radical activists, which contributed to the growing controversy.

Stompie had been seized by her bodyguards in 1989 before he was found dead. She was charged with assault and kidnapping of Stompie and one of her bodyguards was charged with the murder. Mr. Mandela continued to support his future ex-wife during this troubling time.

She claimed not-guilty but was sentenced to six years in jail. An appeal court reduced the sentence to a fine.

President Mandela later accused his ex-wife of adultery and fired her from her role as deputy minister of arts and culture. She was accused of leading a lavish and expensive lifestyle while standing among poor, black South Africans whom she was fighting for. She was described as a modern-day Robin Hood, often taking loans for people who had little money, but critics said she “should have known better.”

The conviction for theft was overturned, but she was given a three-year-and-six-month suspended sentence for fraud.

Near the end of her life, she was elected to numerous party committees, extending her influence in politics. She was present for the last moments of her ex-husband’s life, and was also in a prominent position at his memorial services.

Her controversial life ended peacefully this past April. She often praised President Cyril Ramaphosa, who said regarding her death: “In the face of exploitation, she was a champion of justice and equality. Shew as an abiding symbol of the desire of our people to be free.”

Cross Country Senior Spotlight: Alex Schoen

The following responses were provided by Alex Schoen, a senior on the cross country team this year. Schoen reflected on her time on the team and offered advice to prospective and future team members.

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TPN: What prompted your interest in the team? Did you play prior to college?

AS: I actually started college my freshman year on the rowing team. I rowed for four years in high school and it is my first love, but due to discrepancies between me and the team[,] I decided to quit. Ever since I was little I was always part of team sports; soccer, swimming, dancing, rowing; so not being on a team going into [my] sophomore year was unnerving. That’s when I discovered the cross country team (XC) through a Facebook post from a teammate, Grace. She said that the XC team was looking for new members and I had run a marathon in the spring, so I decided to give it a try.

TPN: How would you describe your time on the team?

AS: My time on the team has truly shaped my St. Mary’s experience. As soon as I joined I was [greeted] with such love and respect, not only for each other but for myself. Running is an interesting sport because you are always competing against other teams, your own teammates, and yourself at all times. There is an elegant destructive nature to a running team: you have to destroy yourself to make the team better.

TPN: Do you have any memorable experiences with any of the players, or a favorite event?

AS: There are two memories that stick out for me during my time on the team. First, this past season the women’s team took home 3rd at [a meet at Hood College]. I [had] never won an individual medal or taken home any awards, this was the first one. The best part was that every woman on the team contributed to our success, whether it was scoring or pushing each other to go harder.

TPN: The typical college student questions: What is your major, and why did you choose it? What are your plans for after college? Do you intend to continue the sport?

AS: I am a biology major with a math minor. I have always loved science and biology is a lifelong passion. Recently I accepted a position next year at the Endocrinology Reproductive Lab in Disney World, where I will be participating in an internship for the next seven months. I intend to keep running for the rest of my life. Running is something you can’t just give up, it becomes additive, an obsession. I have already completed five marathons and at least ten half-marathons. Running is joy and I get that from my dad who in running his 60th marathon in a month.

TPN: What would you say to students who are considering joining the team next year?

AS: There is no looking back. Once you become a runner you never “un-become” one. It doesn’t matter how fast you are or your times compared to someone else, it matters if you are better than yesterday. The team is comprised of all kinds of people, some who are really fast and some who are there to be healthy. Everyone on the team is a better person when they wake up the day after a long run.

TPN: Is there anything else about you or about the team you would like TPN to know?

AS: I can not emphasize how much running is an addiction. Sometimes I wake up for an early morning run and it takes me an hour to get out of bed because I don’t know why I choose to do this to my body. But I always get up and I always enjoy how I feel later in the day. I don’t run to look good or go fast, I run because my mental state would fall apart without it. I always run to eat. I like to eat things that are bad for me so I have to compensate somehow.

Photo Courtesy of Alex Schoen

Tennis Senior Spotlight

As the school year comes to an end, sports teams are saying goodbye to the senior members. The tennis team is wrapping up a successful season, and the seniors are reflecting on their time as part of the team. Sara Eaton and Marissa Romanek, two of the graduating seniors, shared some of their experiences with The Point News.

Eaton grew up playing soccer and was recruited for the soccer team here at St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM). After playing two years with the team and suffering from a couple concussions, she decided not to continue with the team. It was “one of the hardest decisions, since this sport was something I’d been playing my entire life and the team had become my closest friends.”

Joining the team has been a rewarding experience for Eaton and she looks back fondly on her time on the team. “It’s been a really great decision for me. I loved getting to be part of a team again and to learn and improve so much.”

Eaton has enjoyed “getting to know everyone this year” and will miss “getting to hit and hang around with everyone next year” after graduation. “I’m especially going to miss all the team roasts,” she said.

Eaton is majoring in Math and Economics. She took an economics class the fall of my senior year of high school and wanted to learn more about the subject. Being a math major has “been one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done.”

After college, she plans to move back to Portland, Oregon where she will work as an economist for the Bonneville Power Administration. “I’m especially excited for my road trip out west and getting to do a lot of backpacking in the southwest. I definitely plan to play tennis after college and I’ve forced my dad into playing mixed doubles with me,” she said.

As for Romanek, she knew as soon as she arrived at SMCM that she wanted to be a part of the tennis team because of her past experience on her high school’s team. She had played “tennis since my freshman year of high school at Huntington High and I wanted to keep up with the sport competitively.”

Romanek transferred to SMCM last year and described how the team helped the transition go smoothly. I made friends on the team very quickly. I also came in the same year as the new head coach, Tyler Robinson, so it was nice to be a part of that transition as well.”

Romanek is a Sociology major. After graduation, she plans to obtain her masters degree in Social Work and is planning to continue playing tennis as well. “The good thing about tennis is that you can play it at any age. Of course it will never be the same as being on a competitive team, but the sport itself is something I will definitely not be giving up,” she said.

Both Eaton and Romanek advice prospective tennis players, experienced or not, to join the  team next year. Romanek said: “To anyone who is thinking about joining the team next year, do it. Any collegiate sport is a lot of commitment, but it is worth it. Through this team I learned the importance of balance, commitment, and hard work. I also made lifelong friends. Joining the team made my SMCM experience amazing and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”

In addition, Eaton says that “playing on a team at St. Mary’s has given me some incredible memories and friendships. I would say that it’s not been without hard-work. […] It’s definitely worth it and has given me a lot of discipline on and off the court. I’ve loved being a Seahawk and am really going to miss everyone.”

 

SGA Investigates The Bike Shop

The Bike Shop on campus has been under investigation by the Student Government Association (SGA) for the past few weeks. The Point News (TPN) first found out about the investigation at the SGA meeting on April 10. SGA’s internal investigation confirmed that the shop was not adequately using funds.

Grayson McNew, Class of 2019 President, proposed a resolution to cut funding from the Bike Shop after evidence surfaced that the shop provided SGA with inaccurate funding reports and refused SGA’s invitation to brief on the fiscal budget, among other violations, according to McNew’s resolution.

Resolution 17:06, A Resolution to Remove Funding of the Bike Shop, did not pass, however SGA will now be more involved in the Bike Shop due to the accepted Bylaws Amendment 17:01: The Bike Shop. In this amendment, SGA will have more oversight capabilities. SGA will appoint next year’s manager of the shop as well as receive more frequent updates about the shop’s funding and progress.

According to Kelly Schroeder, the shop charged the college for full-day hours when workers did not show up for their scheduled shifts in addition to other discrepancies. SGA has also been getting complaints about the quality of the repairs, the length of time that the shop took to fix the bikes, and the shop’s constant closures.

One student, for example, turned in a bike at the beginning of the fall 2016 semester and did not get an email from the shop confirming the job was completed. When the semester ended, the student went to pick up the broken bike, yet it was in worse shape than when it was initially brought to the Bike Shop. This is only one example of the discrepancies surrounding the shop. Schroeder declared that SGA would have refunded this student for the repairs paid for out of pocket when the shop failed to fix it.

All services are required to present progress updates, and when the shop compiled, “the numbers weren’t what people were experiencing,” according to Schroeder. The shop reported data regarding what types of jobs had been done, yet the supply ordering history did not match the report.

SGA’s main concern with closing the shop completely was that “we don’t want to take away student employment. Clearly it’s bad management,” Schroeder explained. She also said that mechanics hired for the shop were not properly trained at the beginning of their work experience.

Joanne Goldwater, Associate Dean for Retention and Student Success, conducted a survey that proposed various other uses of the space the shop occupies in case McNew’s bill passed. Even though the shop will not be closing next year, the highest results from the survey was that students voted for an arcade to replace the shop for an alternative activity to drinking and partying.

As a result of the resolution passing, next year’s operating budget will be cut in half, from $10,000 to $5,000. It has also been proposed that Bike Shop employees may need to clock in and out from their shifts through TimeClock, an online timekeeping process. Clubs that pay students on an hourly basis, such as SafeRide, may also implement this strategy.

A worker at the Bike Shop said that student Bike Shop employees often recorded hours before working the shifts. In addition, anonymous information was received from a mechanic that claimed that they not only were not trained for their position, but also that the current management was not well-suited for the positions. Bike Shop management did not respond to TPN’s request for comment.

With the Bylaws Amendment reconstructing the shop for next year, many changes will be made through SGA. “We’ll see how it goes next year,” Schroeder said. Some substantial changes are being made, yet the discrepancies reported are still a valid concern for students and faculty moving forward into the next school year.

Incidents of “Low Tech, Soft Target” Terrorism Increase Worldwide

In late 2016, a truck plowed through a Christmas market in Berlin. This kind of attack, known as “low tech, soft target terrorism” is the kind of attack that is virtually unpreventable. Aside from the constant act of gathering intelligence, there is not much that can be done to foresee an attack of this nature.

Attacks perpetrated through using vehicles in crowds is an unfortunate growing trend around the world. These attacks require very little planning and minimal resources. Shiraz Maher, senior research fellow at the International Centre for Study of Radicalization and Political Violence (ICSR) in London, describes these acts of terrorism as “what authorities fear the most – a low tech weapon that can be obtained by anyone and used at any time.”

These acts of terrorism are not only occurring in areas where well-established threats are already in place, such as Afghanistan and Iraq; it is a growing threat in the United States and throughout Europe.

The Department of Homeland Security warned about the growing nature of these vehicle attacks in 2012. “Vehicle ramming offers terrorists with limited access to explosives or weapons an opportunity to conduct a Homeland attack with minimal prior training or experience,” the department said, urging vigilance against “attempts to infiltrate closed areas where traffic usually moves but where crowds are gathered.”

The “low tech, soft target terrorism” can be carried out by anyone with access to a vehicle, which eliminates the risk of becoming part of a terror unit or risk having to travel to behind enemy lines to perpetrate the attack. NBC News reports that such attacks are “easy to replicate.”

Considering how simple the plan of attack seems to be, it is difficult for law enforcement to track and prevent major attacks like the one in Berlin late last year. NYPD Deputy Commissioner John Miller claims that “absent intelligence” is a major factor of not being able to prevent the acts of terrorism. “[It’s] the same way you can’t stop someone from shooting into a crowd, there isn’t a magic way to stop someone from driving into a crowd.” He continued, “What we seek to do is minimize the threat in pedestrian malls like Times Square, where you have the largest crowds.”

Aside from the attack in Berlin, this increasingly prominent type of terrorism has been surfacing around the world. In Dec. 2014, two attacks took place in Nice, France where motor vehicles killed one and injured more than 20. Following this attack, in Jan. 2015, French soldiers were struck by a vehicle while guarding a mosque.

Those two attacks were not the only acts of “low tech, soft target terrorism” in Nice. According to BBC News, “dozens of people were killed, including children, when a lorry ploughed into a large crowd watching a fireworks display in Nice to mark the Bastille Day holiday.” The attacker was identified after he fired shots into the crowd. This act of terrorism occurred in Aug. 2016.

London was also the victim of such attacks. In March 2017, a vehicle crashed into pedestrians near Britain’s Parliament. Three were killed when the 4×4 vehicle collided with people on Westminster Bridge. The attacker was subsequently killed by a gunshot.

Brian Michael Jenkins, expert on terrorism and senior adviser to RAND Corporation president, claims: “There are precedents for this [type of attack], and the attractiveness to terrorists is that weapons acquisition is very easy, it doesn’t require you to get a firearm.”

In Nov. 2016, a terrorist vehicle-ramming attack occurred on Ohio State University in the United States. A student crashed his car into a group of people on campus, then proceeded to lunge at another with a knife. The student was killed after he refused to cease the attack, CNN reports.

More recently, in Stockholm, Sweden, a truck attack killed five people in April, 2017. The government of Scandinavia names this an act of terror, or yet another example of “low tech, soft target terrorism.” A hijacked beer truck was driven through a crowd at the center of the capital of Sweden. The government announced that this act of terror is part of an increasingly common method of attack for jihadist terror groups and organizations.

Jihadist terror organizations are increasingly using this attack to perpetrate “low tech, soft target terrorism;” these and other organizations are attempting to spread the message to the world.

According to CNN, in 2011, a document was found on a body of an Al Qaeda operative which stated: “Our objectives are to strike London with low-cost operations that would cause a heavy blow amongst the hierarchy and Jewish communities, using attacks similar to the tactics used by our brothers in Mumbai.” Preventing this type of attack is nearly impossible due to the lack of plans uncovered and the terrorists’ dedication to causing the most harm with little resources.

Recently, an ISIS video was circulated that called for followers on the global scale to “run down Westerners,” according to the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism (ICSVE). The video instructed followers to “fill your cars with gas.” Al Qaeda’s Inspire magazine suggested in 2010 that “running over them with your cars and trucks” was a preferred method of attack because of the ease at which terrorists can obtain a vehicle and attack with no warning.

These threats are difficult to prevent, but for now, law enforcement all over the world is preparing to fight these terror attacks and will create counter-terrorism strategies like Britain’s, which involve the creation of “safer places and buildings that are less vulnerable to terrorist attack and, should an attack take place, where people are better protected from its impact,” according to NBC News. Locations with large crowds are the most vulnerable to “low tech, soft target terrorism” attacks, but the impacts are more widespread than just the site of the attacks.

 

In Remembrance of Dr. Kate Chandler

Katherine “Kate” Chandler, Professor of English, died April 1, 2017, at age 67. Her battle with cancer came to an end after two years.

Her extensive educational background and many publications were not the only accomplishments she achieved. Kate taught us how to grow. She taught us the importance of community, how to love unconditionally, and what it truly meant to embody kindness, compassion, and heart. Her perspective on life and faith continues to inspire all of us. It was a privilege and a joy to know her and learn from her.

Her legacy lives on in our community and our hearts, and the following students, alumn, and professors would like to share their thoughts and memories of our beloved professor.

Condolences to the family may be made at: http://www.brinsfieldfuneral.com.  

 

By Elaine Bucknam ‘16

Psychology and Studio Art double major, minor in Neuroscience

There is an inscription just above the door of the Campus Farm’s greenhouse; it’s a quote from Kate’s writings. “The spirit of the place draws them there, and the connection is personal.”  Kate’s warm, openhearted spirit is integral to the spirit of the Farm. For myself and many other students who worked and learned with her there, our connection to Kate and to the Farm is deeply personal. We put that inscription up not quite two years ago–a few weeks after Kate was diagnosed with cancer–as a small thank-you for the immeasurable time, effort, and love she poured into the Farm and into our lives.

It’s humbling to think about the enormous impact Kate had on so many others. The Farm would not be the incredible SMCM institution it is today without Kate. I would not be the person I am today without Kate. She taught me to find life in the compost, awe in the sprouting of seeds, and wonder in the weeds.

 

By Addie Schlussel ‘17

Biology and Environmental Studies double major

“If I do nothing with my life but make dirt, I will be happy with what I’ve accomplished.”

Since the farm’s establishment, Kate Chandler has been the heart of the farm. She kept the farm alive over the summers when most of us students were no longer around for the season. She taught us how to compost, how to plant, how to make lasagna beds, and how to tell the all-important difference between straw and hay. On a farm that has seen many students come and go, Kate was a constant. And she was a joy to work with. She was an advisor, a teacher, and a friend.

Kate has said on multiple occasions that, even if she did nothing with her life but make dirt, she would be happy with what she’d accomplished. But clearly she accomplished so much more.  And for that, we are so, so grateful.

 

By Georgiana Hardesty ‘19

English and Environmental Studies double major

This time about a year ago, I was visiting our beautiful campus as a newly accepted student. When asked by student leaders what I wanted to study, I told them proudly that I planned to pursue both English and Environmental Studies. A barefoot boy whose name I can’t remember smiled at me, and dropped her name. Apparently I was going for the Kate Chandler major, although I had no idea what that meant at the time. I do now, and I could not be more honored to carry on her legacy here.

As I found a place for myself on campus and learned more and more about the wonderful faculty, I finally figured out who she was when I volunteered at the campus farm. Her name evokes glamour, youth, and grace, and you embodied them in ways I hadn’t expected. After finally meeting her, I felt that I was beginning to understand the kind of person I want to be in my lifetime.

When I spoke with her,  I couldn’t help but think of my late grandmother and namesake. I never got to meet her, but I somehow felt uplifted and overwhelmed by her presence in the time I spent with Dr. Chandler. My grandmother was the first in my family to go to college, where she majored in biology and taught it at the high school level. She was an avid gardener and birdwatcher, and an all around loving person from what I’ve been told. One day I hope to be like her, and like Dr. Chandler. I will be forever grateful that I had the opportunity to meet such an inspiring and kind woman, who might have even given me a glimpse at a woman I never got to know.

I hope that Dr. Kate Chandler will be remembered as the kind of woman who was not only strong and inspiring, but soft and kind in a way that could bring people unimaginable comfort in a single conversation.

 

By Michael S. Glasier

Professor Emeritus of English

Among the many things I continue to treasure about Kate Chandler:

Kate had the courage to follow her own different drummer – which she did with typically demure quietness.  She was a beautiful example of the truth of a statement often attributed to Goethe but actually penned by W.H. Murry, the mountaineer and author of The Evidence of Things Not Seen:  “Whatever you think you can, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”

 

By Barry R. Muchnick, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies

Charming. Generous. Gracious. Kind. Funny. Peaceful. Loving. Wise. Deeply Missed.

 

By Beth Charlebois

Associate Professor of English

I loved Kate Chandler. She was a dear friend, colleague, and one of the most generous and truly kind human beings I will ever know. There are so many stories but one that stands out is from 2011 when the English Department nominated Kate for the Homer L. Dodge Teaching Award, the most distinguished award in teaching at SMCM. Kate won the award and she had to give a speech. In preparation she wrote to each one of us, her colleagues in the department, and asked us to send her excepts from things that our students had written to and about us over the years.  And what did she do with those quotes? Her acceptance speech beautifully wove them together, thereby honoring us and the relationships that are forged between teachers and students here at St. Mary’s. She basically gave the award back to us! That was pure Kate Chandler. She never sought credit or praise but rather made it her goal to find ways to make other people shine and flourish. (This tribute in the The Point News would make her squirm!)

 

By Jeffrey Hammond

Professor of English

It’s difficult to convey the respect and affection that the English faculty had for Kate Chandler. She was a wonderful friend and a stimulating colleague: smart, funny, and kind. One aspect of my friendship with her was our shared interest in religion. While I had an outsider’s view of it as a literary historian, Kate knew it from the inside, as a believer. Over the years we had many conversations about religion, and despite our differences, they were always great fun. Regardless of the topic, I always felt better after chatting with Kate than I did before. I wasn’t alone in feeling this way, either: she was the nicest person among us — the heart of our department.

 

By Colby Nelson

Lecturer of English

I remember first meeting Kate over a decade ago and thinking, after only five minutes of conversation, that I wanted to be her friend. She had a remarkable ability to convey more warmth, kindness, humor, and thoughtfulness in just a few moments than anyone else I know. And even more remarkable: if you were lucky enough to become her friend, you got to discover how she was in fact as warm, kind, funny, and thoughtful as those first five minutes promised. She was, in short, the real deal.

I also remember a conversation we had years ago on her back porch during the early summer that precedes the sweltering heat of the later season. I complained at length about summers here in the county, invoking my west coast roots and making all kinds of exasperated (and in hindsight probably whiny) claims about bug bites and the oppressiveness of humidity. “How can you enjoy summers here?!” I asked. She chuckled, and replied, “You know, Colby, you’re right.  Those things are rough. What I have to do is make myself think about what this place offers and what enjoyable things are here that I can’t get anywhere else.” I have been thinking repeatedly about this encounter over the past week, probably because it is a snapshot of what most of my conversations were like with Kate and what made her such a wonderful teacher and friend: the careful listening free of condescension or snark, the good humor, the consideration and validation of a perspective other than her own, and the gentle offer to think about things from another point of view. A challenge, in other words, to reconsider, to keep thinking, to preserve a curiosity about what I may not know.  I’m reminded here of what Henry James says in “The Art of Fiction”: “Experience is never limited, and it is never complete; it is an immense sensibility.”  I think this “immense sensibility” is what Kate cultivated in her own life, and her gift to me was the loving reminder to cultivate this sensibility in my own life as well. She was the best, and I will miss her very much.

 

By Christine Wooley

Department Chair and Associate Professor of English

The fact that so many of her students and colleagues will miss Kate is a testament to her. Those of us who have worked closely with her– not to mention my colleagues who knew her best– will always feel her absence. She taught me to value a sustainable professional life. I am so grateful for her example, and I will think of her when I make time to work in my garden or sit outside with a good book.

 

By Brian O’Sullivan and Jennifer Fossell O’Sullivan

Associate Professor of English and his wife

“If I could do two things before I leave this world,” Kate told us once, “it would be to teach young people how to grow things, and to make some good dirt.” She accomplished both of those goals, and much more. She taught not just young people, but the rest of us too, to grow not just vegetables but community; and she made her mark not just on the landscape of Southern Maryland, but also on those who live and pass through here. We’ll miss her welcoming, comfortable presence.

 

By Jennifer Cognard-Black

Professor of English

Kate Chandler was generosity personified, both in and beyond the classroom.  As a teacher, she gave of herself:  meeting repeatedly with students during extended office hours, agreeing to assist with projects and papers galore, helping students launch their own initiatives (such as starting the Campus Farm), teaching her classes about nature writers out in the glorious sun and on the rippling waters of the St. Mary’s River, and often baking her infamous pumpkin-chocolate chip bread to help get students through midterm madness.  As a colleague, she was quick to offer assistance in whatever way it was needed, whether that was attending dinners with job candidates or guest lecturers, offering to do all kinds of work on Departmental subcommittees, attending most everything her colleagues put together (from VOICES readings to musical concerts to plays to lectures), and even offering up her own home each and every year for our holiday gatherings.  And, finally, as a friend, Kate Chandler was my Southern Maryland family–the big sister I never had.  Over the years, she brought me, my spouse Andrew, and my daughter Katharine all manner of goodies (often Oreos in surprising flavors and a tofu chocolate pudding that Kate made herself); she took my Katharine on many a nature hike, baked pies with me and Katharine on our annual “Pie Day” (the day before Thanksgiving), ran a kind of “test kitchen” with me to discover the best recipes for apple crisp, attended theatre and music performances galore that Katharine was a part of from ages five to age seventeen, and would often show up at my office–chocolate in hand–on many an occasion when she knew that I was stressed and needed a lift.  I cannot think of another person who was more generous with her time and her spirit than my fellow teacher, colleague, and dear, dear friend Kate Chandler. I miss her–I will always miss her–and hope that I can live my life with the same generosity, kindness, and care that she perpetually gave to me.

 

Death of a Prominent Anti-Apartheid Activist

In 1955, the most prominent Asian South African anti-apartheid activist, Ahmed Kathrada, was arrested for being in Bloemfontein, or the Free State, without a permit. Kathrada recalled that the head of police was unfamiliar with where to put him. NPR reports that “I’ve never seen an Indian in my life. I’ve got a cell for whites, I’ve got a cell for blacks. I don’t have a cell to put you,” the head of police told him.

Kathrada combated racial injustice throughout the anti-apartheid movement. On March 28, the anti-apartheid activist passed away from complications from a cerebral embolism at age 87. He died in Johannesburg at a medical center. His burial the next day was in accordance with Islamic rituals.

Kathrada’s life consisted of fighting to end the apartheid movement, a system of racial discrimination and segregation in South Africa. The institutionalized racism was prominent from 1948 to 1991 when abolition occurred.

Kathrada’s already prominent role in the political movement increased after he was arrested in 1955. NPR reports that at first, Kathrada followed the passive resistance movement. Next, he supported the African National Congress, which became a political party after it was established as a “struggle movement.” Finally, Kathrada founded an armed resistance movement in an attempt to overthrow the government to end the institutional racism.

Kathrada spent numerous decades in jail with Nelson Mandela, the anti-apartheid icon. In 1963, Kathrada was indicted and charged with attempts to “overthrow the government, start a guerilla war, and open the door to invasion by foreign powers,” according to New York Times (NYT). Mandela had been in prison since 1962 but faced additional charges at the Rivonia trial.

The Rivonia trial began in April 1964. During his three-hour long speech, Mandela “told the judge that he was ‘prepared to die’ for ‘the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities,” according to NYT. A total of eight defendants, two of whom being Mandela and Kathrada, were sentenced to life in prison on accounts of plotting a “violent revolution.”

While in prison, the group continued educating themselves on the revolution. NYT reports that they “deepened their conviction that only continued pressure, at home and abroad, would help bring about an end to apartheid.”

Demonstrators Charged After Killing Sheep, Stripping Naked, and Chaining Themselves to Auschwitz Main Gate

At the end of March, eleven people gathered outside the gates of Auschwitz in southern Poland to slaughter sheep, strip naked, and chain themselves to the gates at the entrance of the former Nazi-Germany concentration camp.

Investigators claim that the group are pacifists who were attempting to send an antiwar message, according to New York Times (NYT). Previously thought to be neo-Nazi extremists, the eleven people originally met online and met for the first time in person at the demonstration.

The Auschwitz complex, a now-memorial to the more than one million Jewish people who died there, is guarded by officials. Officials were stunned, according to NYT, by the demonstrators’ actions.

During World War II, the extermination camp was under German Nazi control, but was redesignated into southern Poland during the relocation of land after the war ended.

The protestors chained themselves to each other and to the main gate in an attempt to promote peace. Most of the demonstrators were between the ages of 20 and 27, with one being about 40 years old. In addition, BBC reports that a drone was used by the group to film the event.

The group was detained by police shortly after their demonstration began. The group was comprised of six Poles, four Belarusians, and one German, according to NYT. When questioned by police, the group claimed that their actions were to protest innocent people being killed.

However, their motivations made no difference to the officials. NYT reported that The Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum, on-site at Auschwitz, said on Twitter: “Using the symbol of Auschwitz for any kind of manifestations or happenings is disrespectful to the memory of all the victims.”

Mariusz Slomka, deputy regional prosecutor in the town of Oswiecim, where Auschwitz is located, was questioned about the group’s motives. As a part of the demonstration, the eleven people draped a white banner that read “Love” in red letters over the main gate. The banner also contained “Arbeit Macht Frei,” or “Work Makes You Free” in German.

When asked how these actions, in addition to the killing of sheep and the stripping of clothes, communicated a desire for peace, Slomka replied: “I’m not even going to attempt to answer this question. That’s really not my department.”

The protesters were charged with desecrating a symbolic location commemorating historical events, according to NYT’s report. The one person who actively killed the sheep will be facing charges under an animal protection law in addition to the desecration charges. If convicted, they could be imprisoned or faced with hefty fines. However, all the protesters have been released from interrogation.

Long-lost Medieval Jewish Cemetery Clues Uncovered in Rome

Evidence of persecution in Rome’s “Field of Jews” has been uncovered recently in a long-long Jewish cemetery. This cemetery dates back more than 500 years ago and was loosely referred to in Latin as “Campus Iudeorum,” or “Field of Jews.”

This site has been recorded in literary sources for decades; however, it has been physically lost until the recent excavation exposed the remains in Rome under Palazzo Leonori in the Trastevere district. The discovered graves may date back to 1300-1600, late in Rome’s medieval period. These findings support the idea that the history of Roman Jews extended from ancient times and continued past the late middle ages.

While living in medieval Rome, Jewish people had their own communities, such as neighborhoods within the city as well as their own synagogues. It took until nearly the end of the 14th century, however, for the community to hold official judicial status as “Universitas Iudeorum Urbis,” or a corporation.

The bodies were buried following traditional Jewish practices of the time. The skeletons were found in wooden caskets with no markings and no objects. However, two of the bodies were found with jewelery.

The 38 well-preserved skeletons were found by archaeologists who were “monitoring a building restoration,” according to New York Times (NYT). Two female bodies uncovered were wearing gold rings, and the rest of the bodies were male.

Even though the number of uncovered bodies is certainly not close to the millions buried in the city, this unveiling of evidence is crucial to unlocking more information about the persecution the Jewish communities suffered from under papal rule.

“I am very happy we have found important information about this cemetery, perhaps for the first time ever,” Daniela Rossi, the project’s head archaeologist, explained in USA Today. “It is testimony to the important presence of the Jewish community in earlier times.”

Archaeologists dug more than 26 feet below the ground’s surface in order to recover the remains. Even though the the cemetery was well-documented within maps and written documents, the site had been physically missing for centuries.

Additional evidence found was a fragment of marble with “here lies” written in Hebrew. “Here lies” has been associated with the cemetery, says Alessio De Cristofaro, an archaeologist with the excavation. “All the elements converged to identify this [site] as the Campus Iudeorum.”

In addition to the cemetery, archaeologists also uncovered remains of a tannery dating back to the third century. When the work is completed for both the cemetery and the ancient tannery, both sites will be converted to a museum. According to NYT, “the excavation was documented and the skeletons will be entrusted to Rome’s Jewish community.” The bodies will be buried in the correct form and with respect.

 

Your Annual Horriblescopes

Aries (March 21-April 19): It’s birthday time for Aries. Don’t forget about the highly-anticipated (dreaded?) pond tradition here at SMCM. Despite the crazy Maryland weather, you’ll have a decently well-rounded month. Recommended news source: Scott Zimmerman’s Facebook page.

Taurus (April 20-May 20): Senioritis is probably hitting you right about now, but that’s fine – you’re probably already failing anyway. So, where are you going with your life, hm? Hmmmmmmmmmmmm? Recommended technological device: a GPS.

Gemini (May 21-June 20): If you’ve been seeing more of your Gemini friends lately, they may be procrastinating some work that they didn’t finish over this past Spring break. If this is the case, order them a pizza, lock them in their room with their work, and hope for the best. Recommended heated debate: whether or not pineapples belong on pizza.

Cancer (June 21-July 22): This will be a vaguely interesting month for Cancer. This is a challenging sign to decipher, so you may want to ask your Sagittarius friends for some advice. Recommended grammatical detail: the Oxford comma.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22): Puns are great, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Example: What does a nosey pepper do? It gets jalapeño business. If you didn’t laugh, something’s not right and I don’t wanna taco ‘bout it. Recommended movie: The Return of Cool Cat (not yet rated).

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): This might sound cheesy, but I think Virgo peeps are pretty grate. (Still nothing? A chuckle? No?) Recommended journalist: Drew Merryman.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Libras may need a bit of additional guidance and assistance this month, but that’s probably nothing new. Don’t be alarmed if you see them wandering the paths around campus, they’re probably just contemplating a bird’s bodily functions. Recommended fun fact: peeing and farting are not in a bird’s biology. They don’t ever do either.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): It’s a proven fact that glasses make you appear smarter. It’s true – I’ve been faking it since the third grade. And if I can do it, so can you. I promise. Recommended insult: nerd.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): A recent concern of your Sagittarius friends may be: how do I keep playing Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild without failing all my classes? Also, they are probably thinking about this while in class. Recommended video game: Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Green tea will be your best friend this week. No particular reason, but I bet you’re wearing green at some point so naturally you’ll be craving green tea. Recommend snack: Buffalo-flavored pretzels. And maybe some tea.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20): Pisces folks are super fun to be around, and this week they will prove it to you. Be on the lookout for some amusing shenanigans and be sure to document it with pictures so you have proof, just in case. Recommended fruit: bananas.