"Wing of the Democratic Party made up of workingmen and reformers, opposed to monopolies and financial policies that seemed to them antidemocratic and conducive to special privilege. The Locofocos received their name when party regulars turned off the gas lights to oust the radicals from a Tammany Hall nominating meeting. The radicals responded by lighting candles with new matches known as locofocos and nominated their own slate." (From: http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9048706 )

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Location: Springfield, Missouri, United States

I am husband and father in a family of four, wife Verna, son Thomas, and daughter Jennifer. We've lived in Springfield's 137th District for over ten years at 800 W Calhoun St, and love the Grant Beach area. I was born to a military family, my mother and father met at Ft Leonard Wood. I was born in Ft Hood Texas, and travelled throughout my childhood, with most of my time spent in any one place in the Rolla Mo area. When I completed my own four year hitch with the US Navy, I settled here in Missouri, living in Mt Vernon. I moved into Springfield in 1994 to attend (then) SMSU and stayed, finding our permanent home in the Grant Beach Park area.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Calhoun to King

Every time I receive or send mail from my home, I am reminded of a great inequity and injustice perpetrated on my fellow citizens of this Nation. It is a small thing, but grates daily upon my conscience. As a pearl is formed from a minor irritation, so has grown this proposal in answer.

I would like to see the name of my street changed from Calhoun St to King St.

Many of the streets neighboring us are named after Senators, Webster, Douglas, Hamilton, and Calhoun, for example. Other streets in this locale name famous generals, Fremont, Grant, and Lyon, for example. Calhoun doesn’t fit, and is not fitting to be so honored.

John C. Calhoun was the primary proponent of Nullification during the debate leading up to the Civil War—the idea that States may ignore Federal laws. His most famous, or in my view, infamous, speech was “Slavery a Positive Good.” His political philosophy is repugnant in my nostrils. Calhoun believed that no civilization exists without the subjugation of a working class. That taken as a whole, the Southern slave was better off than a Northern factory hand, in that the slave was cared for even in old age, while the factory hand was tossed aside to the poor house when working days were done. As a student of history it daily festers and affronts me. It is a constant reminder of an evil that blighted our land.

I would see it replaced by the hopes and vision of Martin Luther King, Jr. In contrast to Calhoun, King envisions a Nation united in freedom and equality, not “civilization” the domain of a privileged few at the top of the economic ladder.

As our Nation puts the blemish of slavery behind us, we should honor those that bring us hope and inspiration to be a greater Nation of freedom and equality for all, and shun those that would not.


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