The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


July 1, 2014

Readers' Forum 7-1 | Proud of ancestor's role in history

JOHNSTOWN — Congratulations to the Johnstown Chapter of the NAACP and its president, Alan Cashaw, for the establishment of the national historic site marker at the former Geistown farm of William Slick. Thanks also to Barbara Zaborowski, librarian for the Pennsylvania Highlands Community College, and the Johnstown Genealogical Society.

Mary Jo Slick Godfrey, my cousin, did genealogical research in establishing the Slick family in general (spelled Sleek at the time). Dr. John Slick (grandfather of William Slick) left Moravia in the long past, made his way to Holland and jumped off from there to America. He established a farm in western Maryland, and grandson, William Slick, eventually made his way to the Geistown area and the farm, which is where the present Harmony House is located.

The Underground Railroad was part of the abolitionist movement in antebellum America to help runaway slaves on their way north. Patrick and Abraham, two particular runaway slaves, were housed and nursed to health by William Slick, then sent on their way.

In 1984, Tribune-Democrat reporter James Siehl, and his late wife Lois, composed a detailed narrative for the former Windber Era’s Sesquicentennial Scrapbook describing the harrowing journey.

If one were to ask me what the impact of the Juneteenth celebration in America generally, and in Johnstown in particular, has been, I would say it is too early to tell.

Personally, it is enough to know that an ancestor in a time long ago stood on the right side of American history and did a noble thing.

Richard Slick, Ph.D.

Palmyra, Lebanon County

More tolerance, less hatefulness

Recently, the U.S. Patent and Trademark office cancelled the trademark registration of the Washington, D.C., football team. The reason: Federal law does not permit registration of trademarks that “disparage” individuals or groups.

It is against the law to bring Native Americans or anyone else “into contempt or disrepute.”

For the past 20 years or more, the National Museum of the American Indian, the Native American Rights Fund and other civil rights organizations have questioned and battled against derogatory, racist stereotypes. Racial slurs, such as redskin, squaw, half-breed and savage, are not sources of pride for anyone. They do not honor Native Americans.

The football team’s name is a disparaging racial slur against Native Americans.

Dayle Eckenrode used the trademark cancellation to disparage the president of the United States and belittle Congress for enacting laws to guarantee freedom and liberty and express anti-government opinions (“Redskins’ clamor belies bigger agenda,” Readers Forum, June 24). That is fine.

This is not “some trumped up baloney that a few Native Americans are offended.”

They are not “proud to have their identity linked” with this racial slur.

Perhaps he should read his letter during a Blackfoot tribal council meeting in Montana. I’m sure he would feel a deep sense of shame and repentance.

Neither President Obama nor the patent office are trying to “steal” the team’s logo. In fact, the president recently visited an Indian reservation and supported new educational initiatives.

That is what this country needs – more education and tolerance; less hatefulness and racism.

Rodger C. Henderson


Refine, keep oil for U.S. consumption

I read an article recently that said the United States is going to export its oil.

Why is that, when the price of gasoline is rising because Iraq is in chaos?

Does anyone in Washington, D.C., know what he or she is doing?

We should refine our own oil for use here.

Ralph Gutshall Sr.


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