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On February 5, 2023 I will celebrate my 70th birthday. Yay! As I do every year during this birthday month, I run a campaign to raise money to support my work here at Behind The Black. I do not run ads. My only support comes from my readers, which leaves me utterly free to speak my mind openly about space, culture, and politics. Please consider supporting me in this work by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, in any one of the following ways:


1. Zelle: This is the only internet method that charges no fees. All you have to do is use the Zelle link at your internet bank and give my name and email address (zimmerman at nasw dot org). What you donate is what I get.


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Southern Raised – Sixteen Tons

An evening pause: Hat tip Phill Oltmann.

Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!


From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.


“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.


All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.


  • Alton

    I still have the 45 and LP with this song by Ernie Ford, groves extremely well worn.
    It was my mother’s favorite song, played on a ‘secession’ of equipment.

  • Alton: my father would sing/hum this sometimes.

  • Jeff Wright

    A lot of people forgot company stores/towns…where the low pay went right back to management as food-rent…a rigged system that caused crushing poverty and early deaths with Pinkertons murdering unionists. Only then did the baseball bats come out.

    To this day, Lamar County Alabama is a democratic hold-out except for Trump voting.

    Lest any think to red bait them…they wouldn’t know an image of Che’ from a housecat. My parents were from that area which has a lot of elderly folks. Picking cotton with bleeding fingers dunked in kerosene at the end of the day…and how their parents never complained…but they were farmers at least. Their hands were all scars.

    Back then it was democrats who filled the pews-when the handful of Republicans were hitting the links: the horse doctor…the sell-out union rep’s kid they used as a caddy…and a spy; the town lawyer, the mayor and his boss-the company owner who might darken the churchhouse door just long enough to hand the barefoot kids candy canes while the parents bit their lips ’till they bled. NOW you know what that song means.

  • Jeff Wright:

    Not lost on someone who’s family is from the South, and lived there a fair amount, myself. Still, the American Dream is that the progeny will do better than the progenitors. Remember where you came from, but no need to live it.

  • Jeff Wright

    I fear globalism is returning us to those days under the disguise of capitalism.

    Reagan through free trade weakened America in a de facto redistribution of wealth that made our enemies stronger. In the 7O’s China had not one private auto. It’s like the party of transgender snail-darter lives matter is TRYING to give the DNC a bad name so that the CHASE banks can slide a Romney in. He opposes infrastructure out of wanting low taxes-but let’s blame the Greens who want to save a darter that has a red spot above one eye instead of a blue spot behind the other like all the rest. Outside of Musk I hate businessmen from personal experience.

    Older men who remember 5O’s-7O’s good wages looked with disdain upon libertarian college kids pushing those political test cards like Jack Chick tracts.

    When my Dad called them “communist free traders” when I thought that was a contradiction in terms-like a lot of young college kids-I thought my Dad was losing it.

    A very, very long time ago…believe it or not…I was one of those Rand worshippers.

    What changed?

    I grew up.

  • I like remakes/covers that add something different. I stumbled across the Geoff Castellucci version of 16 tons a while back.

    It’s interesting to consider this along side John Henry. They have a lot in common.

    One of the reasons I loathed “grunge” so much: What the heck are you suburban rich kids whining about?!?!

  • Jay

    Good song and band. I have never seen a cello like that. I guess that is a more portable version to lug to that location.

  • Alton


    It’s called a stand-up Cello, also a walking stick cello in a smaller thinner version. The acoustic version is rather common in ApplachIan folk music use.
    The electric type is very interesting in the hands of a lady player. To be very PC. ,—NOT!!

    Tuna Guo – world-class player:

  • Alton

    Number #2

    Amadeus Electric Quartet

    Walking Stick Cello – Electric

  • markedup2 mentioned John Henry.

    Liked that song as a kid. ‘A steel-drivin’ man.’ As an adult, maybe different connotations.

  • Jay

    Thanks! I did not know that they made an electric cello. I did not look it up, but I am willing to bet they made an electric bass cello (the even bigger brother of the cello) too.
    That is why I come to this site, to learn new things.

  • wayne

    Tried to find some video of Ian Anderson [Jethro Tull] playing his electric flute, and I stumbled across this video. (Had no clue whatsoever these instruments existed!)

    “Paige Long is a world-renowned flutist. She’s also one of a small number of people who can play the three largest flutes in the flute family: the double subcontrabass, the subcontrabass and the contrabass.”

  • Alton

    Thanks ! Wayne !!!

    I Enjoyed this one Too ?

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