Category Archives: Uncategorized

A Conversation with Carl Sagan, Part II

(Note: Forty years ago this month, I finished reading Carl Sagan’s book, “The Dragons of Eden.” I wrote him a long letter. He wrote back and asked me two questions. The first: “What would be necessary to make the reader … Continue reading

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A Conversation with Carl Sagan, Part I

(Note: This essay was originally published by the Newport Daily News on July 25, 2020.) Forty years ago this month, I had just finished reading Carl Sagan’s book, “The Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence,” a … Continue reading

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Slavery Today

(Note: This essay was originally published on June 27, 2020, by the Newport Daily News. It is the 10th and final essay in the series: Slavery in Rhode Island. For the complete series, go to http://www.zilianblog.com) To many Americans the … Continue reading

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A Reflection on Marriage and the Family

(Note: An abridged version of this essay was published by the Newport Daily News on June 13, 2020.) Fifty years ago this weekend, my wife, Geri, and I were married on a sun-drenched day at the Catholic church at West … Continue reading

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Little Richard Helped to Birth Rock ’n’ Roll

(Note: This essay was originally published by the Newport Daily News on May 25, 2020.) The passing of Little Richard earlier this month was a good occasion for me to take an easy stroll down the memory lane of music … Continue reading

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Coronavirus May Generate New Civic Spirit

April 13, 2020 (Note: This essay was originally published at thehill.com on April 23, 2020, as “Could the coronavirus create a new civic spirit in America?”) While the coronavirus does unutterable harm to Americans, it also presents us with a … Continue reading

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50th of Earth Day, Occasion for Hope and Action

(Note: This essay originally appeared on the History News Network (https://historynewsnetwork.org/article/175118, on April 22, 2020. An abridged version of this appeared in the Newport Daily News on the same day.) In his No. 1 hit, “Eve of Destruction,” Barry McGuire … Continue reading

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Forgetting Slavery in Rhode Island

(Note: This is the 9th essay in a series on “Slavery in Rhode Island.” For the complete series, please go to http://www.zilianblog.com. This essay was originally published in the Newport Daily News and the Providence Journal on April 13, 2020.) … Continue reading

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Earlier Pandemics More Deadly Yet Instructive

(Note: This essay was originally published by the Newport Daily News on March 30, 2020.) The two most lethal pandemics in western history can help us think about the challenges and stakes we currently face with the coronavirus: the Black … Continue reading

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The Emancipation of the Enslaved in Rhode Island, Part II

(Note: This is the eighth essay—second part—in a series on Slavery in Rhode Island. It was originally published by the Newport Daily News on February 26, 2020.) The process of emancipation of the enslaved began on a colony-wide basis with … Continue reading

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