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Our America

Lewis and Trump

- By Ward Schumaker

The differences between the two men’s backgrounds could hardly be greater: one was born in 1940, black, the son of sharecroppers, in a small town in Alabama. By the age of six, he had seen only two white people. The other was born in 1946, white, in New York City, the son of a wealthy businessman; by the age of three, he was earning $200,000 a year from his father's real estate empire and at eight had become a millionaire, due to gifts from his parents.

At fifteen, John Robert Lewis heard Martin Luther King, Jr., speak, and at seventeen, he met Rosa Parks; at twenty-one, following in their footsteps, Lewis became one of the original thirteen Freedom Riders. In subsequent years he was beaten––with baseball bats, chains, lead pipes, and stones––for...


Our America

Panteha Abareshi
“Chronically Ill and Severe” Artist

- By Pamela Glaven

The Massachusetts Review first featured the work of interdisciplnary artist Panteha Abareshi in Summer 2018 (volume 59. issue 2), when she was 18. I have been keeping an eye on her amazing progress. Such strong work across disciplines. Here is how Panteha introduces herself on her website:

"My name is Panteha Abareshi, and I am an artist currently based in Los Angeles, CA.

My work is rooted in my existence as a body...


Our America

The Presence of the Past of Things

- By Patricio Pron

Some time ago I visited an elderly couple who lived on the outskirts of a small German city. I had never met them, but I already knew some things about them: I knew that they were my girlfriend’s paternal grandparents, that they were readers of Theodor Fontane, that he had been a teacher, that it had been a while since my girlfriend had last visited them. They lived in a small apartment with views of a highway with little traffic and they made exquisite conversation, the result of a life of readings that had left their mark and which they recounted without the slightest affectation as they sliced up the customary cake, served coffee and showed an interest in us, as if there were anything interesting about our lives.

The day after visiting...


Our America

John Lewis's America

- By Tad Bartlett

Photo: Selma High School students (l-r) Grady Broadnax, Fatima Salaam, Tad Bartlett, Jacinta Lake Thomas, and Malika Sanders Fortier, on the steps of the Selma Board of Education building, January 8, 1990. Patricia Cavanaugh McCarter, photographer.  

I was six when my family moved to Selma, Alabama, during the recession that closed out the 1970s. My dad had gotten a job at a paper mill down in the piney woods of Clark County, and Selma, almost an hour north, was the big town, at the time almost 24,000 people, with grocery stores and a decent public schools system, so we settled in.

Selma’s public schools had finally integrated in 1970, just eight years before we moved there. The Selma we moved to was...


Our America

His Way with Words

- By Ward Schumaker

Donald Trump finds some stiff competition in the words of former presidents:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident...” Thomas Jefferson
“A house divided against itself cannot stand...” Abraham Lincoln.
“Speak softly and carry a big stick...” Theodore Roosevelt
“The only thing we have to fear...” Franklin Delano Roosevelt
“The buck stops here...” Harry S. Truman
“Ask not what your country can do for you...” John F. Kennedy

And so many others.

Yet Donald has a way with words, a way like no other. No matter how often we might assume we’ve already heard his best, he still manages to awaken us each day with some even more amazing statement on Twitter.

We may be...


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