Charles Dickens quote: “To conceal…


“To conceal anything from those to whom I am attached, is not in my nature. I can never close my lips where I have opened my heart.”

– Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens, 1868
Charles Dickens, 1868

“Charles Dickens quote: ‘To conceal…” sources:

Quote – “Master Humphrey’s Clock” by Charles Dickens, published in 1840 by Charles & Hall / Wikiquote

Portrait – Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature, The New York Public Library. “Albumen photograph, on card, of Charles Dickens” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1868.

Anne Frank quote: “How wonderful it is…


“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”

– Anne Frank

Anne Frank, 1942
Anne Frank, 1942

“Anne Frank quote: ‘How wonderful it is…” note and sources:

This is the last known photograph of Anne Frank. It was taken in 1942. Photo Collection Anne Frank House & Wikimedia Commons

Please click here to read our snapshot biography of Anne Frank.

Tommy, The Dodgers, and Civil Rights

People say the midlife years are hardest. When grey hair strands and deeper wrinkles shepherd in new feelings, and grief becomes all too consuming.

Tommy couldn’t tell you when his midlife lull began. “Maybe it was around thirty. That was my first feeling of passing time. Made me think much about earlier years,” he’d say.

In those earlier years of youth, he wanted to be a shortstop for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Many said, “don’t forget about us when you’re playing at Ebbets Field.” But when his girlfriend gave birth to their son at sixteen, he took a job. The baseball dreams stayed then. But when his girlfriend became pregnant again a year later, he put his cleats, gloves, and bats deep into the closet.

Tommy was a father to four and still working the same job when those grey hairs started showing. Time had passed without fury. But it had passed. The neighborhood kids he grew up with were adults now, with families of their own and troubles atop of mind.

“Emotions. They can be difficult at times,” Tommy told his wife one night. He wasn’t a sensitive type; didn’t talk about feelings often. Except “I love you,” which he said to his wife many times a day. The two had known each other all of life. Born a day apart, their families lived in neighboring apartments. And so they became friends as kids, kissed for the first time at fifteen, and then their children came. They married at eighteen. She didn’t question his love for her. Nor desires to be together.

The Brooklyn Dodgers moved to Los Angeles in 1957. Tommy cursed Dodger ownership the day they left. But he stayed loyal, following their games, and watching when they played on TV. They were still his team.

They were still his team in 1963. That team didn’t have a great start to their season. And on May 4th, they lost again, bringing their record to 11-13 for the year. Yet for the first time in a long time, too long to even remember, Tommy felt no emotions about the game or the team record. He forgot they were even playing. That day, he and his wife watched images coming in from a protest in Birmingham, Alabama the day prior. Instead of the Dodgers, he watched a teenage boy attacked by a police dog, protestors beaten and hosed, dragged away. He watched with tears streaming down his still chiseled cheeks.

Racism had never made sense to Tommy. “You judge a man by his character,” Tommy’s father always taught his son. That lesson stuck. Tommy was proud that the Dodgers, his Dodgers, signed Jackie Robinson to a contract, breaking the color barrier in baseball. He rooted for Jackie.

His wife watched the tears stream down, the sadness in her husband’s eyes. And she knew that he wanted to take part in the civil rights movement.

She put her hand on Tommy’s leg and looked at him tenderly. “Honey, I’ll get a job,” she said. “We’ll make it work.”


“Tommy, The Dodgers, and Civil Rights” is a historical fiction short story. While based on real events, the story, characters, and incidents are fictitious.

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Louisa May Alcott Quote on Housekeeping

Louisa May Alcott Quote:

“Housekeeping ain’t no joke.”

Louisa May Alcott portrait, circa 1870
Louisa May Alcott, circa 1870


Quote: Alcott, Louisa May. Little Women. Robert Brothers, 1868 – Open Library / Wikiquote

Portrait: Warren, G. K. , -1884. Louisa May Alcott, writer, abolitionist, and Civil War nurse / Warren’s Portraits, 465 Washington St., Boston. [Boston: Warren’s Portraits, 465 Washington St] Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.

Anna & Her Sister

Anna Stein took her first breath on a makeshift bed in a crowded Warsaw Ghetto apartment in 1940. At the time, not even a year had passed since the Nazis took over Poland and mandated all Warsaw Jewish people to live within a small neighborhood confined by ten-foot walls. The Warsaw Ghetto, as it would come to be known. A space slightly more than a square mile that nearly half a million Jewish people called home.

Anna’s mother came into the ghetto pregnant. It had been an accident, though a welcome one in her eyes. Another child is always a blessing. People, however, encouraged her to have an abortion. “Absolutely not,” she curtly would reply, glaring at anyone with the gall to offer such advice. But she worried when alone; ghetto pregnancy realities were atop her mind as she watched people dying from disease and hunger.

Anna became the fourteenth person in the small two-bedroom apartment. The others took her in with some trepidation and hesitant joy. But Anna’s mother had a plan. Unbeknownst to most, Anna’s mother worked in the resistance. Now she coordinated with collaborators to smuggle her young daughter out of the ghetto. At two weeks old, a gentle-looking nurse with snow-white hair and many wrinkles carried Anna out of the ghetto in a lunch box. That would be the last time mother and daughter saw each other.

It was 1959 when Anna learned about her roots. Her parents shared the little they knew. Words came as blurry, bubbled thoughts. “We’re not your birth parents…you were born to a Jewish family in the Warsaw Ghetto…your birth name was Anna, family name is Stein…most of your family died in the Holocaust…but you have an older sister who people say survived…we think her name is Inna, but we don’t know where she is…likely in Israel.”

“We know how difficult hearing this must be for you,” her mother continued. “We’ve secured necessary visas, and arranged travel for us all to Israel. We want to try finding your sister together.”

That weekend, the family took a bus, then a train, and two plane rides later arrived in Tel Aviv, Israel. As they deplaned into fresh Israeli sunshine and warm air, Anna felt an unexpected sensation: this is home.

A gregarious, jovial Polish man served as their taxi driver from the airport. He came to Israel after the Holocaust. “The Nazis killed my whole family. Nothing was left for me in Europe,” he told them. “Now this is home. So many Jewish people came here after the war, starved and broken. Now we have a home with a purpose,” he continued. “I fought in the Independence War, fought again in ’56. Life is difficult here, but I also get to start my day with a coffee and a swim in the Mediterranean.”

The family listened to his stories some but couldn’t help their distraction, thinking of how to find Anna’s sister. Or if they would even be able to. Anna felt certain, “she must be here,” Anna kept saying.

For weeks they tried finding Anna’s sister without any success. There was no record of an Inna Stein, and all the people the family spoke with didn’t know. As they approached the end of their time in Israel, they went to dinner at a new friend’s home, someone they were introduced to by a friend from Poland. With them, they brought a bottle of wine.

“I’m sorry, I don’t drink wine. I don’t have a wine bottle opener. But go knock on a neighbor’s door. Someone should have one.”

“That won’t be odd?” replied Anna.

“Not at all, dear. We borrow from each other all the time. Come with me, we’ll do it together.”

No one answered at the first door. At the second door, a woman in her late twenties opened. “Shalom.” Anna immediately knew this was her sister. They had the same curly black hair, soft face, and even the same mannerisms; Anna saw it in how the woman smiled. It was like looking in a mirror.

“Are you Inna Stein?” Anna blurted out.

“I’m not anymore. But I used to be.”


“Anna & Her Sister” is a historical fiction short story. While based on real events, the story, characters, and incidents are fictitious.

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“If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong.”

Abraham Lincoln quote from letter to Albert Hodges

“I am naturally anti-slavery. If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong. I can not remember when I did not so think, and feel. And yet I have never understood that the Presidency conferred upon me an unrestricted right to act officially upon this judgment and feeling. It was in the oath I took that I would, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States. I could not take the office without taking the oath. Nor was it my view that I might take an oath to get power, and break the oath in using the power. I understood, too, that in ordinary civil administration this oath even forbade me to practically indulge my primary abstract judgment on the moral question of slavery. I had publicly declared this many times, and in many ways. And I aver that, to this day, I have done no official act in mere deference to my abstract judgment and feeling on slavery. I did understand however, that my oath to preserve the constitution to the best of my ability, imposed upon me the duty of preserving, by every indispensable means, that government—that nation—of which that constitution was the organic law. Was it possible to lose the nation, and yet preserve the constitution? By general law life and limb must be protected; yet often a limb must be amputated to save a life; but a life is never wisely given to save a limb. I felt that measures, otherwise unconstitutional, might become lawful, by becoming indispensable to the preservation of the constitution, through the preservation of the nation. Right or wrong, I assumed this ground, and now avow it. I could not feel that, to the best of my ability, I had even tried to preserve the constitution, if, to save slavery, or any minor matter, I should permit the wreck of government, country, and Constitution all together. When, early in the war, Gen. Fremont attempted military emancipation, I forbade it, because I did not then think it an indispensable necessity. When a little later, Gen. Cameron, then Secretary of War, suggested the arming of the blacks, I objected, because I did not yet think it an indispensable necessity. When, still later, Gen. Hunter attempted military emancipation, I again forbade it, because I did not yet think the indispensable necessity had come. When, in March, and May, and July 1862 I made earnest, and successive appeals to the border states to favor compensated emancipation, I believed the indispensable necessity for military emancipation, and arming the blacks would come, unless averted by that measure. They declined the proposition; and I was, in my best judgment, driven to the alternative of either surrendering the Union, and with it, the Constitution, or of laying strong hand upon the colored element. I chose the latter. In choosing it, I hoped for greater gain than loss; but of this, I was not entirely confident. More than a year of trial now shows no loss by it in our foreign relations, none in our home popular sentiment, none in our white military force,—no loss by it any how or any ]where. On the contrary, it shows a gain of quite a hundred and thirty thousand soldiers, seamen, and laborers. These are palpable facts, about which, as facts, there can be no cavilling. We have the men; and we could not have had them without the measure.” 

President Abraham Lincoln, 1863
President Abraham Lincoln, 1863

“If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong.” sources:

Quote – “Abraham Lincoln to Albert G. Hodges, April 4, 1864,” House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College,

Portrait – President Abraham Lincoln portrait taken by Alexander Gardner in 1863 – Wikimedia Commons 


Please click here to read another President Abraham Lincoln letter.

Amelia Earhart Quotes

Featured quote:

The more one does and sees and feels, the more one is able to do, and the more genuine may be one’s appreciation of fundamental things like home, and love, and understanding companionship.”

Poem written to Samuel Chapman:

Courage is the price that 
Life exacts for granting peace. 
The soul that knows it not, knows no release 
From little things: 
Knows not the livid loneliness of fear, 
Nor mountain heights where bitter joy can hear 
The sound of wings.

Amelia Earhart quotes from letter to President Franklin Roosevelt:

“Some time ago I told you and Mrs. Roosevelt a little about my confidential plans for a world flight. As perhaps you know, through the cooperation of Purdue University I now have a magnificent twin-motor, all-metal plane, especially equipped for long distance flying.

For some months Mr. Putman and I have been preparing for a flight which I hope to attempt probably in March. The route, compared with previous flights, will be unique. It is east to west, and approximates the equator…

Like previous flights, I am undertaking this one solely because I want to, and because I feel that women now and then have to do things to show what women can do.”

Amelia Earhart, circa 1932
Amelia Earhart, circa 1932

“Amelia Earhart Quotes” sources:

Quotes – National Archives Catalog, NAID: 6705943 / Amelia Earhart, Reluctant Bride – New England Historical Society / Poetry written around the time of the breaking of her “tenuous engagement” to Samuel Chapman (c. 1928), published in Amelia, My Courageous Sister : Biography of Amelia Earhart (1987) by Muriel Earhart Morrissey and Carol L. Osborne, p. 74; also in Amelia : A Life of the Aviation Legend(1999) by Donald M. Goldstein and Katherine V. Dillon, p. 38 – Wikiquote 

Portrait – National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Edith A. Scott, NPG.75.82


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Clara Barton Quotes

Clara Barton Quotes

“It was May—the cherry trees were in bloom. For the first time in three years I had been able to sit for an evening among a company of persons (invalids like myself seeking strength), trying to entertain them with some remembrances of bygone days. I see it still, the broad parlor of that grand old ‘Hillside Home,’ the mother and inspiration of all the hundreds of sanitariums and health restoring institutions of the country to-day. I had made my home near it, at the foot of the blossoming orchard.

Down among the trees and twittering robins next morning came one of my listeners; a broad-shouldered, manly looking man, the face so full of benign intelligence that once seen was never to be forgotten. He came in at the open door, merrily shaking off the cherry blossoms like large flakes of early snow, an entire stranger to me until the previous evening. He seated himself and entered into conversation with a familiar ease that bespoke the cultured gentleman. After a few minutes he turned earnestly to me with: ‘Miss Barton, I have an errand in coming to you. I have a request to make.’

I said I hoped I should be able to comply. He hesitated, as if thinking how to commence, but at length said: “I want you to recall and write the first thing you remember—the first event that made sufficient impression upon you to be remembered.”

I waited in silence and he went on:

‘And then I want you to write the next, and then the next, and so on, until you have written all—everything connected with yourself and your life that you can recall. I want it; we want it; the world wants it, and again I ask you to do it. Can you promise me?’

His earnest manner demanded an earnest reply. I could not promise to do it, but would promise to consider it.

This was in the spring of 1876. I have never forgotten the request through all these thirty-one busy years, and have carefully kept the promise to consider it; and to-night take my pencil to describe the first moment of my life that I remember.”

Clara Barton quotes on her upbringing:

“In these later years I have observed that writers of sketches, in a friendly desire to compliment me, have been wont to dwell upon my courage, representing me as personally devoid of fear, not even knowing the feeling. However correct that may have become, it is evident I was not constructed that way, as in the earlier years of my life I remember nothing but fear.”

“My timid sensitiveness must have given great annoyance to my friends. If I ever could have gotten entirely over it, it would have given far less annoyance and trouble to myself all through life.

To this day, I would rather stand behind the lines of artillery at Antietam, or cross the pontoon bridge under fire at Fredericksburg, than to be expected to preside at a public meeting.”

Clara Barton quotes on work for the Army during the U.S. Civil War:

“I shall remain here while anyone remains, and do whatever comes to my hand. I may be compelled to face danger, but never fear it, and while our soldiers can stand and fight, I can stand and feed and nurse them.”

“I feel while passing through [the camps], that they could be better supplied without danger of enervation from luxuries. Still it is said that ‘our army is supplied.’ It is said also, upon the same authority, that we “need no nurses,” either male or female, and none are admitted.”

Clara Barton, 1864
Clara Barton, 1864

“Clara Barton Quotes” sources:

Quotes: Clara Barton: First Aid Practitioner, Educator, and Advocate – Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office Museum / “The Story of my Childhood” by Clara Barton. Published by The Baker & Taylor Co., New York, 1907. Copyright, 1907, by The Journal Publishing Co., Meriden, Conn. – Project Gutenberg

Portrait: Clara Barton, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing front. Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <> & Wikimedia Commons


Please click here to read our biography of Clara Barton.

Sissieretta Jones: a snapshot biography.

Sissieretta Jones Biography

“I have a voice and I am striving to win the favor of the public by honest merit and hard work.” – Sissieretta Jones

Sissieretta Jones portrait, 1895
Sissieretta Jones, 1895

She was an enormous talent who could sing with the best. One could argue that she was the best. Sissieretta Jones sang in a beautiful and pleasing voice. Audiences loved her. In a time when black performers tended to entertain black audiences, she sang to everyone, including U.S. President Benjamin Harrison and his friends and family. That performance took place when Sissieretta was in her mid-20s. She would perform for President Harrison again and sing for the next three U.S. presidents along with the British Royal family as well. 

Upbringing & Early Years

Sissieretta was born as Mathilda Sissieretta Joyner in Portsmouth, Virginia, in 1868. Her parents were part of a growing community of middle-class Black Americans there. But in her early youth, Sissieretta’s family moved to Providence, Rhode Island, after her younger siblings passed away. It was here in Providence that Sissieretta began singing. While how her learning started isn’t clear, likely she took after her mother, a pianist. Then at fifteen, Sissieretta enrolled at the Academy of Music in Providence. 

At eighteen, Sissieretta married. And soon after, she had a child, Mabel. However, only two years later, Mabel passed away. It is believed that at this point, Sissieretta began putting much more time and effort into her music life. 

Professional Life & Later Years

Before her twentieth birthday, Sissieretta performed in Boston’s Music Hall to a crowd of five thousand. And from there, praise for her singing came quickly. 

One review said, “She kept the audience spell-bound…and was received with rapture…She is unmistakeably entitled to the lavish praise she so justly deserve.”

Another reviewer wrote, “It is difficult to do her justice without incurring a suspicion of being betrayed into exaggeration…Madame JONES’ voice is of great compass, and combined strength and sweetness, and she articulated every word distinctly; she is one of those rare singers whom one can listen to without the idea of ever getting satiated.”

Sissieretta performed worldwide, becoming the highest-paid Black singer of her time. She retired in 1915 to care of her sick mother. And she continued singing, performing in church. 

Sissieretta passed away in 1933.  


Sissieretta Jones photograph taken by Napoleon Sarony, circa 1895 – National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, NPG.2009.37 / Graziano, John. “The Early Life and Career of the ‘Black Patti’: The Odyssey of an African American Singer in the Late Nineteenth Century.” Journal of the American Musicological Society, vol. 53, no. 3, 2000, pp. 543–96. JSTOR, Accessed 15 Dec. 2022. / “Sissieretta Jones (1868-1933).” The Black Perspective in Music, vol. 4, no. 2, 1976, pp. 191–201. JSTOR, Accessed 22 Dec. 2022.


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W.E.B. DuBois quote on studying history


What do we care about peoples that lived a thousand, two thousand, ten thousand years ago? It does interest you, because no man lives to himself; every human life, willy-nilly, reaches out and influences your companions, your families, your neighbors, your community, and your children and children’s children. If the influence of one human life is so great, how much greater is the influence of that vast group of individuals which we call a nation, and how infinite the sway of that still larger aggregation of ideas, thoughts and feeling which we call a civilization. It we should sift out from our life today all that we Americans have inherited from that mighty past which we call the Ancient World, we would have little worth the keeping left. All our ideas of God, right, and duty, of government and science, of literature and art had their germ in the past and though we may rightly boast that we have watered, embellished and tricked off the tree of Civilization, yet we must never forget that we did not plant it and that its roots lie buried in the far distant past. If then we are indebted to the past for so much of the present, is it not clear that we can only understand the present by continually recurring to and studying that past; when any one of the intricate phenomena of our daily life puzzles us; when there arise religious problems, political problems, race problems, we must always remember that while their solution lies in the present, their cause and their explanation lie in the past. Study the past then, if you would comprehend the present; read history if you would know how to vote intelligently, read history if you do not know what sound money is, read history if you cannot grasp the Negro problem.

This then is the reason that I ask you who are interested in burning questions affecting your present and future status, pause a while and look back with me through the mists of the past, asking how fared it with other people who have come up as we have come out of the House of Bondage.”

– W.E.B. DuBois

W.E.B. DuBois portrait, taken in 1907
W.E.B. DuBois, 1907

“W.E.B. DuBois quote on studying history” sources:

“The Beginnings of Slavery,” Voice of the Negro, vol. 2 (1905), p. 104 – HathiTrust Digital Library & Wikiquote / W.E.B. DuBois portrait taken in 1907 – National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution


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