Checkout Line Stories - Morgan County Herald: News

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Posted: Wednesday, January 15, 2020 6:00 am

The caning of Charles Sumner, an abolitionist Republican from Massachusetts, by Preston Brooks, a pro-slavery Democrat from South Carolina, on May 2, 1856, in retaliation for a speech Sumner gave in which he fiercely criticized slaveholders, is considered symbolic of the “breakdown of reasoned discourse” and the use of violence that eventually led to the Civil War. Sumner was seen in the north as a martyr and Brooks a hero in the south. This piece of American history has relevance for my family and for my naming.

Papa Smith, my grandfather, was named for Preston Brooks. My mother wanted to name me after my grandfather. However, she told me that she decided at the time I was born that Preston was too unusual a name and instead named me Donald Brooks. The story of my name.

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