Presidential historian writes new book about George Washington

Alexis Coe, the author of a book about George Washington, “You Never Forget Your First,” appeared online at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. (Dave Dahl/WJBC)


By Dave Dahl

SPRINGFIELD – It’s in fashion now to highlight the flaws of people who used to be heroes.

The author of a new book about George Washington, “You Never Forget Your First,” appeared online at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. SIU Paul Simon Public Policy Institute director John Shaw read a passage back to Alexis Coe:

“Although estates like Mount Vernon are called plantations. it’s a word inflected with genteel romanticism. Washington not only had slaves, but at times he was a pretty tough slaveowner who punished his slaves quite harshly,” Shaw read.

Noting it was interesting that Shaw chose that part of the book, Coe responded, “I rewrote that an awful lot; that sentence and that paragraph.

“You will not find that in another Wash book.”

Coe went on to say that in recent years, you could not drive past a plantation without seeing a wedding – a jarring disconnect from the treatment slaves received on that very land.

Dave Dahl can be reached at [email protected]


Labor Day – Expanding voting rights for all

By Mike Matejka Because of COVID, there is no Labor Day Parade this year.  It’s always a great event for our everyday workers to march proudly down the street and enjoys the festive crowd. If there had been a parade, this year’s Labor Day theme was to be “150 years of struggle: your right to vote.” …

Is federal mobilization the answer?

By Mike Matejka As President Donald Trump threatens to send federal marshals into Chicago, over the objections of Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, recall another Illinois Governor who protested the incursion of armed federal personnel into the city.   Those federal troops, rather than calming, escalated the situation, leading to deaths and violence. Illinois poet Vachel Lindsay…

In these troubled times, to my fellow white Americans

By Mike Matejka Our nation is at a unique watershed in human relations. African-Americans have been killed too many times in the past before George Floyd, but the response to this man’s death is international and all-encompassing. I was a grade-schooler during the Civil Rights 1960s. I watched Birmingham demonstrators hosed and the Selma – Montgomery…

Workers’ Memorial Day – Remember those whose job took their life

Looking around our community, when we say employer, most will respond to State Farm, Country, or Illinois State University.   We too often forget those who are building our roads, serving our food, or our public employees. COVID-19 has made us more aware of the risk.  Going to work every day for some people means…