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An Abolitionist National Song

This alternate version of the Star Spangled Banner was offered up to readers of The Liberator on the 32nd anniversary of the battle that inspired Francis Scott Key.  Garrison and other abolitionists took every opportunity to point out the hypocrisy of calling America the land of the free while slavery remained legal anywhere in the country.

A New Version of the National Song

Oh, say do you hear, at the dawn’s early light,
The shrieks of those bondmen, whose blood is now streaming
From the merciless lash, while our banner in sight
With its stars, mocking freedom, is fitfully gleaming?
Do you see the backs bare? do you mark every score
Of the whip of the driver trace channels of gore?
And say, doth our star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen thro’ the mists of the deep,
Where Afric’s race in false safety reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it heedlessly sweeps, half conceals, half discloses?
‘Tis a slave ship that’s seen, by the morning’s first beam,
And its tarnished reflection pollutes now the stream:
‘Tis our star-spangled banner ! Oh! when shall it wave
O’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave!

And where is the band, who so valiantly bore
The havoc of war, and the battle’s confusion,
For Liberty’s sweets? We shall know them no more:
Their fame is eclipsed by foul Slavery’s pollution.
No refuge is found on our unhallowed ground,
For the wretched in Slavery’s manacles bound;
While our star-spangled banner in vain boasts to wave
O’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave!

Shall we ne’er hail the day when as freemen shall stand
The millions who groan under matchless oppression?
Shall Liberty’s shouts, in our heaven-rescued land,
Ne’er be shared by the slave in our blood-guilty nation?
Oh, let us be just, ere in God we dare trust;
Else the day will o’ertake us when perish we must;
And our star-spangled banner at half mast shall wave
O’er the death-bed of Freedom— the home of the slave.


Publication: The Liberator
Date: September 13, 1844
Title: From the Signal of Liberty. New version of the National Song
Location: Boston, Massachusetts

The Liberator was a weekly newspaper published by William Lloyd Garrison in Boston, Massachusetts. William Lloyd Garrison was born in Newburyport, Massachusetts in December, 1805. At thirteen years of age he began his newspaper career with the Newburyport Herald, where he acquired great skills in both accuracy and speed in the art of setting type. He also wrote anonymous articles, and at the age of twenty-one began publishing his own newspaper.

On January 1, 1831 the first issue of The Liberator appeared with the motto: “Our country is the world—our countrymen are mankind.”

September 11th is for People

September 11th is for People

…and not for businesses.

Last night I tweeted:

because I remember last year, and prior years when many companies, with no malicious intent, tried to insert themselves into a day of national remembrance.  It has become obvious that statements of sympathy and solidarity from an individual person can be wonderful while the identical statement, made from behind a company name or social media presence, is seen as insensitive or insincere.

On Facebook I followed up on that tweet with an addition saying “just don’t do it.”   Nobody I know would have gone beyond a simple statement of solidarity and respect and when I wrote it, I was not thinking about people actually using 9/11 to build a marketing plan.  I underestimated the stupidity of some people.

Today an Arlington, Virginia  yoga company decided that using the tragic loss of life that reverberated across the nation thirteen years ago was a good way to market their services in the form of a one day 20% off sale.  In case their customers needed more incentive to buy, they made it clear that  9+11 = 20 and that simple addition defined the sale.  (Just think of the savings they could have offered if the towers had fallen on New Years Eve.)

The sale page is currently up here but I expect it to come down soon, so here is a screenshot:

Bikram Yoga Arlingtons Patriot Day Sale

They promoted it with this tweet – now deleted:

Bikram Yoga Arlington's Tweet

The fact that people did not respond well to the sale is an understatement.  This small business serving a specific geographic area is now nationally known in a way that no business would ever want.

They are apologizing  on Facebook:

but if you click through to those comments you can see it is not going well.  People have become excellent spotters of faux apologies on social media.  Whoever is doing their posting and Tweeting should check out’s How to Nail the Social Media Apology.  The apologies on Twitter came fast and furious at Bikram Arlington – @bikramarlington until the responses to the apologies appeared to overwhelm them.

@bikramarlington Apologies

Note that the oldest apology is where they went off track.  As CASE points out, if you are going to apologize, make sure you are apologizing for what YOU did and not how other people reacted to what you did.

This is not a new problem and the answer is not new either.  Bryan Joiner nailed it last year with:

The Washington Post wrote just wrote about this marketing mistake at Arlington yoga studio offers 9/11 discount, then a Ray Rice comparison

Note:  I’d like to thank Chelsea Corken for bringing this to my attention today.

Muddled Messages: Labor Day Tweets

Muddled Messages: Labor Day Tweets

The first Labor Day celebration in the United States was held in 1882. Its origins are with the the Central Labor Union’s efforts to create a holiday for workers. It became a federal holiday in 1894 – after over half the states had adopted the holiday.

It was originally intended that the day would begin with a street parade to allow the public to appreciate the work of the trade and labor organizations. Following the parade, festivals were to be held to amuse local workers and their families. In later years, prominent men and women held speeches on economic and labor issues.  The first Monday in September was selected for the holiday to add a holiday to the long gap between Independence Day on July 4th and Thanksgiving in late November.

Labor Day parade, marchers, New York 1909

Labor Day parade, marchers, New York 1909

Like on many American holidays, there are businesses and individuals who want to join in the celebration and recognition of the holiday, but they make the message so generic and inoffensive that there is nothing about the greeting or message that says anything about the holiday being referenced.  There is a common trend for social media and marketing people to just find an image that includes the American flag and add some text and post it to all their social media profiles.


Useful WordPress Video Tutorials

Useful WordPress Video Tutorials

YouTube is your friend.  Setting friends and colleagues up on WordPress us fun, but it can be exhausting to answer the questions that come up over time.

One of the main reasons I recommend WordPress so often is that the sheer volume of help available online is astounding.  There are both written and video tutorials galore but many are not very useful because the trainer assumes the learner knows too much or the tutorial is specifically about features in older versions of WordPress that have changed or disappeared entirely.

Today I watched a bunch of WordPress tutorial videos and put together this list of  tutorials that I plan to keep up to date and add to as things change and I am asked more questions.  Please feel free to use the Add to List feature to add your own favorites.  Please make sure your addition is a video.


Women Working With WordPress

Women Working With WordPress

I am playing around with Listly to see if I am interested in upgrading to a Pro account.  I came across this interesting list.  I have a few women to add here.

Mar 08, 2014 - - 296
andrea_r (@andrea_r)

Canadian, unschooler & quilter. StudioPress support rep. Grandma of 3, wife of @sillygrampy.

Mar 08, 2014 - - 391
Siobhan McKeown (@siobhanpmckeown)

WordPress, documentation, writing, @audreycapital, @smashingmag

Mar 08, 2014 - - 343
Lisa Sabin-Wilson (@lisasabinwilson)

Partner: @WebDevStudios / Co-founder: @AppPresser / Author: WordPress For Dummies /
Produced in TX, Aged in WI - GO PACKERS!

Mar 11, 2014 by Stefanie A. Newton - - 370
Dee Teal (@thewebprincess)

Master of Digital Communication and Culture (USYD), Web Developer, Freelancer, WordPress Trainer & Genesis Junkie, Copyright Issue observer - wears a tiara

Aug 30, 2014 by Sarah Schoper - - 317

the musing of a faculty member (by @SitWithIt)

Mar 08, 2014 - - 405
Jeni Elliott (@theblogmaven)

blog designer + growth strategist. I convert readers to believers. #blogging #webdesign

Mar 08, 2014 - - 290
Rachael Butts (@rachaelbutts)

I'm a self-made WordPress gal who loves running my own shop and God not in that order.

Mar 08, 2014 - - 293
carrie dils (@cdils)

WordPress maker. Genesis developer. Husband lover. Book reader. Dog petter. Jesus follower.
I take myself seriously. Very seriously.

Mar 08, 2014 - - 301
Susan Nelson (@ohhellodesigns)

I love making websites for small businesses and bloggers & I do it with #WordPress + #GenesisWP.

Mar 08, 2014 - - 359
ipstenu (Mika E.) (@ipstenu)

WordPress Half-Elf Support Rogue. SCAdian, comic book & gamer geek. There are dice in my purse.

Photo by Alex Harris – WCMIA 2013 Wordcamp Miami —