Free Speech & Fallen Statues

As is the case with many issues, Bruce Anderson’s insights on the PC totalitarians out in the streets rendering nutso retroactive historical censorship on this country’s past, are irrefutable. Anderson, editor and publisher of the Anderson Valley Advertiser, is someone I’ve maintained a long-time friendly relationship with and he’s always had my respect and support, […]

Navarro, 1971: Betty, Osana & Cynthia

As one of my previous articles noted, the actual population of the 1971 village was not too different from what the State Highway sign declares today, Pop. 67. And that would include Russian Hill, the Salmela Ranch and two other dwellings, inhabitants there Pop. 4. By the time my consort and I got to know […]

Journal of the Plague Year (#15)

Berkeley, CA June 29, 2020 — Once, I lived, very briefly, with bats. It was in a partially collapsed barn, on the edge of a large 50-acre field in southeast Vermont. Once part of a setting for small subsistence farms, partly gone to seed. The 20 or 30 cows who once grazed there had been […]

The Death of Mickey Bloyd

Many years ago this summer, I was standing in the Shield’s Cemetery at the graveside services for Mickey Bloyd. It wasn’t necessary for me to think back to my high school years in Boonville — they were all around me.  Mickey was the youngest and largest of the Bloyd brothers. Mickey had died of natural […]

Spike Lee, Terence Blanchard, and the Spoils of Vietnam

Streaming services have inundated the world’s quarantined population. The rising digital waters have distracted and anesthetized viewers, but also, at times, buoyed and instructed them. It is Netflix that has issued the defining entertainments of the four months of the pandemic. At the start of the crisis, the Tiger King captivated with big cats and […]

What’s in a Name?

In predictable if disappointing fashion, the Fort Bragg city council voted late Monday night to punt on the issue of changing the name of the only California town from that honors a Confederate general. When presented with the opportunity to make a historic and bold statement, the council, after a marathon public meeting, instead voted […]

The Fort Behind Fort Bragg

In this moment of shifting historical identities — the Fort Bragg City Council has taken up the question of whether to change the town’s name on Monday — it might help to know what the original “Fort Bragg” actually was, leaving Braxton Bragg’s career out of it for a moment. Braxton Bragg never visited the […]

Policing the Police

Ukiah isn’t Detroit. Or Chicago, where two years ago the city spent more than $113 million on lawsuits involving police misconduct. But neither is Mendo an island, as shown by residents who, in spite of the fact that blacks make up a scant .07 percent of the county’s population, recently turned out to peacefully protest […]

Early Black Life in the Anderson Valley

Daniel Jeans was born a slave in 1835 Missouri. After the Civil War he made his way to California and to the Anderson Valley, probably in the wake of families he’d known in Missouri when he was a slave. Mendocino County was a kind of a catchment area for Confederate Missourians before and after the […]

Kayo & Kamala

When Terence Hallinan asked me to be his press secretary in December, 1999, I was 58 and in my 13th year as managing editor of Synapse, UCSF’s internal weekly. The benefits were good and if I stayed seven more years my pension would go from meager to almost-livable-with-social-security. But being the district attorney’s public information officer […]

1 2 3 166