Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Cumberland Lincoln 07-30-2020

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 20 of 39

CUMBERLAND LINCOLN EDITION | VALLEY BREEZE | JULY 30-AUGUST 5, 2020 LETTERS TO THE EDITOR 21 Clipper ships did not play major role in slave trade I wholeheartedly support the idea that monuments that honor traitors who fought to preserve slavery or racial stereotypes that serve as mas- cots are inappropriate and offensive in our society. However, I disagree with Mr. Jackson's contention that Cumberland High School should replace the clipper ship mascot (Cumberland Should Lose the Clipper Name 7/23/20). Clipper ships played a mini- mal role in the slave trade. They were developed in the mid-1800s, decades after the importation of slaves was prohibited in the United States in 1808. They were built for speed, with sleek, narrow hulls and limited cargo space. The large crews they required to man the extensive sails cut down on the number of passengers they could carry. Slave ships on the other hand were typically slow, bulky freighters which, shamefully, were designed to maximize the amount of human cargo. From an economic standpoint clipper ships made poor slave ships. They were built to carry light- weight, time sensitive, high value cargo such as tea from China. Although some clipper ships, particularly Baltimore clippers (which were technically different ships than the "true" clippers that succeeded them) smuggled slaves into the United States after the 1808 embargo, that was not their intended purpose or primary func- tion. Although I agree with Mr. Jackson's sentiment, I think he is misinformed from a historical per- spective. To say that clippers were symbolic of slavery is a stretch. Perhaps what is more problematic about the use of the clipper ship as a school mascot is that they were frequently used to smuggle opium. But that is a topic for another time. While on the subject, it is worth noting that Woonsocket High School's mascot, the Villa Novans, were a culture from ancient Italy that practiced slavery extensively. Maybe that is a change Mr. Jackson should look into. Conor Geary Class of '97 Cumberland The common goodwill gesture: Will it return? "It's gone." He said it so fast, and with such conviction and a little regret, it took me aback. My dear friend Bob, an elite athlete in high school and college, has had his fair share of reasons to celebrate. Teammates, coaches, friends, fans, family … all gave him congratula- tions over the years with a firm, yet now threatened, gesture. It's the gesture that the Greeks used in the 5th century B.C. to complete a transaction or show respect. The gesture used by a proud father to congratulate his son on his success, the one used by combatants to end wars, the one athletes offer after a tough game, the one business men and women use to seal a deal, or to end a spirited game of pickleball and a great round of golf. It's a gesture we have taken for granted and didn't even think about its special meaning, until COVID-19, and now renewed racial unrest, have largely taken it away. Not many human interactions have survived like this one through the centuries, through civil wars, world wars, past pandemics, territorial squabbles, political debates, religious persecution, cultural revolutions, civil rights unrest and a host of other human challenges. It's been the worldwide symbolic gesture of peace, respect, friendship, understanding, and yes, even love. It's survived it all and been a piece of our very being. Yes, the handshake is on the chop- ping block. The gesture we've all come to know. The handshake, some say, is endangered, caught up in the confluence of disease and human chaos. It's been part of that first introduc- tion to a romantic interest, the ulti- mate OK when a dad gives away his cherished daughter to her soon-to-be wedded husband, the congratulations on the birth of a child, when kids end a silly argument, or friends wish each other well. It's been a natural part of our lives. Now, its existence has been ques- tioned, its obituary written. Some docs call it "unsanitary" while others suggest it's downright dangerous! So, alternatives are considered. Fist bumps are more common, elbow knocks are tried, ankle kicks are used (sometimes painfully!) and bows are taken, all to replace the gesture that has brought so much gratification. But they don't feel the same. I, for one, surely hope it survives, as we need genuine human contact now more than ever. So patients can earnestly thank docs and nurses for helping them survive. So, heartfelt condolences can be communicated with a human touch at a wake or a funeral. When police and the com- munity come together in under- standing and respect. When family squabbles are settled. When our kids graduate, or when they find their first job. Or when any other human moment needs to be memorialized and celebrated. The handshake, hearty, firm, warm and heartfelt. I really miss it, and I'm guessing many of you do, too. So here's for the return of the handshake, perhaps once a vaccine makes us comfortable. It's OK to be cautious, even scared. Some have highlighted the germs that may linger on our hands, which I'm guessing have been with us for centuries. So keep the hand wipes nearby if you must, wash your hands if you can, but let's not lose this gesture of good- will, for it might be an antidote for our troubles. I'm thinking of calling my good friend Bob, to tell him I hope it'll be back. I believe it will. Maybe we'll even bet a small wager. And hope- fully soon, we'll shake on it. FRED MASON Rumford Mason is a retired public relations executive and lobbyist, who has shaken a lot of hands. AUG. 7 Ann Kissik, Happy Birthday to the best Grandma ever!!! Love, Hailey, Grace, Jared, Evan, Brewski and Molly Ann Kissik, Happy Birthday to a wonderful wife! Lots of love from her lucky husband Ann Kissik, Happy Birthday to the best mom! Love, Karen, Laurie, BJ, Rick and Arthur AUG. 8 Emily Grieve, to a delightful grandniece, and boy what a gym- nast! Lots of love Aunt Nell and Uncle Tony AUG. 9 Joseph T. Grant V, Happy 10th Birthday! Love you to the moon and back! Grampa Happy Birthday, Gerry Duhamel! Love, Kathy Jarry XO AUG. 16 Luke Thorpe, to my favorite youngest brother, a computer whiz and smarter than he thinks! Love Mare and Tony AUG. 20 Izabella R. Masse, Happy 11th Birthday to the love of my life! Goya/Fluffy AUG. 27 Landon Forrest, Happy 16th Birthday! Love, Mema and Poppi CJ Godek, Happy 7th Birthday! Love, Gramma and Aunt Denise BIRTHDAY CLUB do you know? You're holding 1 newspaper, but we fill 5 every week! They're all at Letters to the Editor Letters to the Editor are welcome from readers. Please: • Limit to 500 words. Longer letters may appear online only. • Letters on local or state topics and issues will take precedence over those on national issues. • No more than one letter per person every 8 weeks, please. • All letters must be signed and include a hometown. Send by e-mail to:, or mail to The Valley Breeze, 6 Blackstone Valley Place, Suite 204, Lincoln, RI 02865. Walid Saber, MD FACC, FSCAL, RPVI Chief of Cardiology - Landmark Clinical Assistant Professor Warren Alpert Medical School Ibrahim Elgabry, MD FACC Director of Cardiac Rehab - Landmark Clinical Assistant Professor Warren Alpert Medical School World Class Care . . . So Close To Home Our Services: Cardiac Testing & Therapy Vascular Testing & Therapy Fully accredited state-of-the-art facility utilizing advanced technologies and expert techniques. 191 Social Street, Suite 100, Woonsocket, RI 02895 Phone: 401-597-6500 Ground Breaking Solutions for Varicose Veins!

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Valley Breeze - The Valley Breeze Cumberland Lincoln 07-30-2020