(Photo: Charles Teenie Harris/Carnegie Museum of Art/Getty Images) More Udin always acknowledged his guilt, but with a proviso: At that point, although I was previously committed to nonviolence, I concluded that if I was trapped on some lonely, dark road in the South and confronted by Klansmen who threatened to kill me, I would be prepared to defend my life, he wrote in his petition for a pardon to the Justice Department. I concluded that I would rather be caught by the police with defensive weapons than to be caught by the Klan without them. Whatever the explanation, there was little dispute that Udin had gone on to live an exemplary life: He founded an African-American Culture Center in Pittsburgh. He served three terms on the Pittsburgh City Council (from 1995 to 2006), spearheading the creation of the citys police civilian review board. And yet, Udin who had campaigned for Obama and gave him a $500 contribution in 2007 had heard nothing on his plea for presidential mercy for years, causing him endless frustration. Maybe, a reporter suggested, his small donation was the problem: The White House, averse to any whiff of potential scandal, might have feared that a pardon for Udin would look like a favor for a campaign contributor. I dont want to say or do anything that would cause a problem for President Obama, Udin said then. I love him. If thats the reason, Ill accept it. I just dont want it to be for any other reason. When first contacted about Udins case, a spokeswoman said last year that the White House doesnt discuss the merits of individual cases.
During the 19th century, Christmas trees would be decorated with lit candles instead of electric lights. Because of a risk of fire, electric lights were invented in 1882 by Edward H. Johnson, though they would not become widely accepted until 1895 when President Grover Cleveland used them in the White House. Many families, such as the Stephens family whose 1912 farmhouse is located in the Manatee Village Historical Park, would not have used electrical Christmas lights though, due to expense. In 1903, it would have cost $2,000 of todays dollars to light up a Christmas tree, and would only be seen at high society holiday parties. Not until 1917 were electric Christmas lights affordable to the masses. Christmas in the southern United States was an important part of the winter social season, and a joyous occasion to celebrate. It was traditional for southerners to extend celebrations until New Years Day, though some even celebrated until Epiphany on Jan. 6.
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