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markwalston

Writer, historian, creative director, poet, playwright, author of nine books and nearly 200 essays and articles exploring a broad range of American social, cultural and historical topics.
markwalston has written 46 posts for Mark Walston

When Words and Images Collide

“Thought is impossible without an image.” Aristotle A lone man stands stock-still before an armored tank, daring it to move forward, small yet large in his defiance. That picture, a frozen moment from the student uprising in Tiananmen Square, resides indelibly in the minds of all who gazed upon the portrait of singular courage. But now … Continue reading

SHEENA, QUEEN OF THE JUNGLE, THE FIRST FEMALE COMIC BOOK HERO (DON’T CALL HER A HEROINE)

She was a woman of strength and courage, and the first heroic woman to have a comic book in her own name. Sheena, “Queen of the Jungle,” debuted in the British magazine Wags #1 in 1937, the creation of comic book pioneers Will Eisner and S. M. “Jerry” Iger. As the story goes, Sheena originally arrived in … Continue reading

Trump (Registered Trademark)

Want to know Donald Trump’s slogan for his 2020 re-election bid? “Keep America Great.” He’s already trademarked it. In fact, on January 18, 2017, two days before his inauguration, Trump filed for the trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Once you’ve made America great again, there’s nothing left to do but keep it … Continue reading

A Poem About Lee’s Surrender at Appomattox by Mark Walston, Appearing in the Baltimore Review

  Appomattox Surrender 1865   Wandering carnage at twilight General Lee espied General Washington surveying, engorged on war now engaged in discourse melancholy for their commonwealth.   By bodies boating fell talk of pride and valor the price of tobacco the cost of life banquettes and lunettes demi-lunes and barbettes – vive la France – … Continue reading

A Poem About Thomas Jefferson’s Slave Lover by Mark Walston, appearing in the Hidden City Quarterly

  Sally Hemings Sails to Paris 1787   Moldboard plows and polygraphs, scuppernong trellises redolent with a heavy dark sweetness, meticulous celestial observations and a ledger of misbegotten bound in bright leather.   Ardent in the spring arbor liberty desires ripen with iridescent irony – love frees nothing but hatred and enlightened lust leads not … Continue reading

Two Poems About America’s Founding by Mark Walston Appearing in the Boston Review

  Cotton Mather Preaches on Satan Mark Walston   exceedingly disturbed, Territory wrested from a devil exceedingly disturbed, the perceived accomplishment of providential possession of the utmost parts irritating, infuriating, immediately precipitating vile machinations to overturn the godly establishment. The mouth of perdition issues a flood for the carrying away of the ignorant and unrepentant, … Continue reading

Lincoln in Rockville

(Originally appeared in Bethesda Magazine) In August 1861, with the first battle of the Civil War at Manassas, Virginia, resulting in Union forces fleeing in retreat, President Abraham Lincoln embarked from the White House on a carriage ride. With him was Secretary of State William Seward, his son, Frederick, assistant Secretary of State, and General … Continue reading

The Underground Railroad in Maryland

(Originally appeared in Bethesda Magazine) On April 16, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed into law an act to end slavery in Washington, D.C.—more than eight months before the Emancipation Proclamation. News of the coming abolition in D.C. had spread through nearby Maryland slave communities. Word eventually reached Lewis Swams in his quarters near Sandy Spring. … Continue reading

Japanese Prisoners in America

On Dec. 7, 1941, more than 350 Japanese fighter planes attacked the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, killing about 2,400 people—and igniting a near-hysterical hatred in America of all things Japanese. Two months later, in February 1942, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt issued an executive order permitting the U.S. Army to remove any individuals … Continue reading

Domestic Manners of the Americans

In 1830, Frances Trollope—a petite Englishwoman whose acidic wit would later earn her the sobriquet “Old Madam Vinegar”—arrived in Montgomery County, Maryland, with three children in tow. She had come to summer at Stonington, a friend’s Potomac estate near Great Falls. Immediately, Trollope was taken by the beauty of the Montgomery County countryside. It “perfectly … Continue reading