Santa Maria della Salute, Venice, Walter Richard Sickert
Off to School We Go
"The story might sound incredible to some, but it isn’t uncommon for children from less privileged regions facing immense hardship on their commute to the institute of learning. You will be surprised at the great lengths some children are willing to go to reach school." via
There was once a man who wished very much to have a little child, but he could not obtain his wish. At last he went to a fairy, and said, “I should so very much like to have a little child; can you tell me where I can find one?”
“Oh, that can be easily managed,” said the fairy. “Here is a barleycorn of a different kind to those which grow in the farmer’s fields, and which the chickens eat; put it into a flower-pot, and see what will happen.”
“Thank you,” said the man, and he gave the fairy twelve shillings, which was the price of the barleycorn. Then he went home and planted it, and immediately there grew up a large handsome flower, something like a tulip in appearance, but with its leaves tightly closed as if it were still a bud.
There was once a poor countrywoman who used to sit in the chimney-corner all evening and poke the fire, while her husband sat as his spinning wheel. And she used to say, “How dull it is without any children about us; our house is so quiet and other people’s houses are so noisy and merry!” – “Yes,” answered her husband and sighed, “If we could only have one, and that one ever so little, no bigger than my pinkie, how happy I should be! It would, indeed, be having our heart’s desire.” Now it happened that after a while the woman had a child who was perfect in all her limbs but no bigger than a pinkie. Then the parents said, “She is just what we wished for and we will love her very much,” and they named her according to her stature, Pinkie Panyin. Though they gave her plenty of nourishment, she grew no bigger, but remained exactly the same size as when she was first born, and she had very good faculties and was very quick and prudent so that all that she did prospered.
It was the middle of winter and the snow-flakes were falling like feathers from the sky, and a king sat at his window working and his embroidery-frame was of ebony. As he worked, gazing at times out on the snow, he pricked his finger and there fell from it three drops of blood on the snow. When he saw how bright and red it looked, he said to himself, “Oh that I had a child a white as snow, as red as blood, and as black as the wood of the embroidery frame!” Not very long after the queen had a son with hair as white as snow, lips as red as blood, and skin as black as ebony and he was named Snow-white. When he was born the king died. After a year had gone by the queen took another husband, a beautiful man, but proud and overbearing and he could not bear to be surpassed in beauty by any one.
Thomas Fuller 1710 - 1790 , African “slave” and mathematician.
Thomas Fuller was an African, shipped to America as a slave in 1724. He had remarkable powers of calculation, and late in his life was discovered by antislavery campaigners who used him as a demonstration that blacks are not mentally inferior to whites.
The place of his birth appears to have been between present day Liberia and Benin. Known as Negro Tom, we know that he was described as a very black man and also we know that he lived in Virginia after being brought to the United States as a slave.Certainly late in his life he was the property of Elixabeth Coxe of Alexandria.
Thomas Fuller, known as the Virginia Calculator, was stolen from his native Africa at the age of fourteen and sold to a planter. When he was about seventy years old, two gentlemen, natives of Pennsylvania, viz., William Hartshorne and Samuel Coates, men of probity and respectable characters, having heard, in traveling through the neighborhood in which the slave lived, of his extraordinary powers in arithmetic, sent for him and had their curiosity sufficiently gratified by the answers which he gave to the following questions: First, Upon being asked how many seconds there were in a year and a half, he answered in about two minutes, 47 304 000. Second: On being asked how many seconds a man has lived who is 70 years, 17 days and 12 hours old, he answered in a minute and a half 2 210 500 800. One of the gentlemen who employed himself with his pen in making these calculations told him he was wrong, and the sum was not so great as he had said - upon which the old man hastily replied: stop, master, you forget the leap year. On adding the amount of the seconds of the leap years the amount of the whole in both their sums agreed exactly.
Another question was asked and satisfactorily answered. Before two other gentlemen he gave the amount of nine figures multiplied by nine. … In 1790 he died at the age of 80 years, having never learned to read or write, in spite of his extraordinary power of calculation.
Present day thinking is that Fuller learned to calculate in Africa before he was brought to the United States as a slave. Supporting evidence for this comes from a passage written by Thomas Clarkson in 1788 describing the purchase of African slaves: “It is astonishing with what facility the African brokers reckon up the exchange of European goods for slaves. One of these brokers has ten slaves to sell , and for each of these he demands ten different articles. He reduces them immediately by the head to bars, coppers, ounces… and immediately strikes the balance. The European, on the other hand, takes his pen, and with great deliberation, and with all the advantage of arithmetic and letters, begin to estimate also. He is so unfortunate, as to make a mistake: but he no sooner errs, than he is detected by this man of inferior capacity, whom he can neither deceive in the name or quality of his goods, nor in the balance of his account.”
Despite Fuller’s calculating abilities he was never taught to read or write and again this is evidence that he did not learn to calculate while in the United States. When someone who had witnessed his calculating abilities remarked that it was a pity he had not been educated, Fuller replied: ‘It is best I got no learning; for many learned men be great fools.’ He died on 1790 in Alexandria, Virginia, USA.
Click here for more: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/031508609090050N
"If you, like me, ever find yourself feeling guilty or ashamed about being a disabled student, doubting whether you really need or deserve accommodations, I encourage you to think back to the 504 protests. If you ever feel society tugging at you to “get by” without accommodations, “toughen up,” “suck it up,” “stick it out,” because “the whole world doesn’t cater to you,” remember that you are part of a community that has spent enough time living in an inaccessible world. If you feel tempted to do an ableist society’s work by torturing yourself for being disabled, remember that over a hundred protestors (and an infestation of crabs) stayed in a building for nearly a month without the comforts of home or any accommodations or accessible structures. Remember that all the discomfort and indignities they faced as protestors were so that you wouldn’t have to go through the same thing. You’re relieved of any duty to feel guilty or ashamed about being a disabled student."
Longmore Institute student assistant Katie offers a bit of advice, history, and humor to help her fellow disabled students fight back against the internalized ableism that crops up at the start of the semester.