This is a brochure from Fort Point.
Referred to as the key to the whole Pacific Coast
…and to think most people don’t know it even exists. To say “most people” may be an exaggeration but I don’t think it would be too far a cry from the truth as this place is so hidden—literally right under the Golden Gate Bridge.
I lived in San Francisco back in the 80’s and have visited it many times thereafter but never heard of this wonderful historic site until my most recent visit during the 4th of July holiday, visiting my son, now a Bay Area resident. I had Googled best sites to watch the fireworks and Fort Point came up. I began reading about it and was very intrigued. While we didn’t go there for the fireworks (chose Crissy Field instead, which was an excellent spot), I made it a point to put Fort Point on our to-do list when my daughter joined us a couple days later. And boy, was I glad we went!
View from atop Fort Point. That arch structure above is the bottom of the Golden Gate Bridge.
A Golden Treasure
In 1933, as foundation construction began on the Golden Gate Bridge, this now 157-year-old fort was right smack in the way and therefore scheduled to meet its demise. Because of its excellent military architecture, the American Institute of Architects had proposed preservation of Fort Point in 1926 but funds were not available to carry out that gesture. At the threat of its removal, Joseph Strauss, Chief Engineer of the bridge project, redesigned the Golden Gate Bridge to be built over Fort Point; thereby, saving the structure. How cool is that?
On October 16, 1970, President Nixon signed the bill making Fort Point a National Historic Site. After sustaining only moderate damage in the devastating 7.9 level San Francisco earthquake in 1906, this building’s use over the next 40 years was for barracks, military training and storage. Then, during World War II, soldiers from the US Coast Artillery were stationed there to guard minefields and anti-submarine net. It currently serves to guard the Golden Gate Bridge and to welcome hundreds of guests daily, most days of the year.
Here’s a brief history of how this masterpiece came to be, without ever really serving its initial purpose…
A funny thing happened on the way to war
Between 1817 and 1867, to protect United States harbors, the coastal defense system built some 30 forts along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts and only one—Fort Point—on the West Coast. California had just become the 31st state in 1850, after the US won the Mexican-American war in 1848. During that time, the US Army and Navy officials had set up strategic points to secure the San Francisco Bay. Those points consisted of Lime Point, Angel Island, Alcatraz, Point San Jose, Presidio and Fort Point.
However, construction on Fort Point didn’t began until 1853, at the outbreak of the Civil War, by the US Army Corps of Engineers. A 90-foot cliff at the entrance to the San Francisco Bay was blasted 30 feet below sea level to make way for the fort’s foundation. In 1861, 200 previously unemployed miners, who labored for eight years on this project, finally mounted the fort’s first cannon. It was the US Army’s most sophisticated coastal fortification, yet this massive, impenetrable brick-walled structure, with new artillery including 102 smooth-bore cannons mounted atop, never saw action.
In August 1865, the captain and crew of the Confederate raider, C.S.S. Shenandoah prowled the waters of the Pacific looking for Yankee whaling ships. They planned an attack on San Francisco. On their way to the harbor, the captain was informed by a British vessel that the South had lost and the Civil War was now over. Whew! Talk about being saved by the bell.
So, there you have it
To this day, Fort Point, an impressive survivor of weather and war, remains the admiration and pride of the Pacific Coast. Standing inside its massive and unscathed courtyard was quite humbling–especially when thinking about the labor required to build this and the eight million bricks that perfectly hold it together a century and a half later.
Wow! Fort Point. Certainly a point of interest worthy of your visit.
Terri Liggins, aka t-RAW
Reach And Win your transition to a healthier, wealthier you!
Fort Point National Historic Site
Bldg. 201, Fort Mason
San Francisco, CA 94123
For current hours of operation call 1-415-556-1693.
This is my beef with some pastors and most churches. It seems (in my humble opinion) that pastors are leading a flock of people and for the most part with limited global knowledge. Some would say knowledge of global economics and politics have no place in the church. I say, the church is made up of people, right? These same people exist outside of the church as well, right? Then, what you think you can separate in policy, you actually cannot separate in principle.
It is what it is. You are receiving teachings in a church designed to make you a better person in this world. Therefore, why wouldn’t those teachings need to be reflective of what is truly going on in this world? You wouldn’t go to a doctor who specializes in dermatology but who has no knowledge of what the latest advancements in skin diseases are, would you? You wouldn’t pay money to a financial broker to trade commodities for you and yet he/she isn’t versed in risk management or new global technologies, would you? Well, I guess many people would, and do, in both those cases.
So, yes, people rely on doctors, traders, teachers, CEOs and pastors to lead or guide them in the right direction. And yes, there are leaders in many other categories as well (like, heaven forbid, our government) that are relied upon. However, the ones who I believe can have the biggest impact—good or bad—on the largest groups of people are pastors. Why? Simply put, here in America, a primarily Christian nation, more people at varying ages between 1 and 90+, are in church on a regular basis than they are in front of a doctor, teacher, broker, boss, or one-on-one with a politician.
Why then, aren’t pastors more educated? Why isn’t their congregation holding them accountable to keep up on world economics? History? The health industry? Yes, even politics? Not to bring those subjects into the pulpit per se, but to just have a better understanding of those things when they’re preaching what they’re preaching. I get it that some may only have a high school or even just an elementary education due to conditions within their household back in the day. That still doesn’t excuse them from picking up a book, other than the Bible, and learning about current events happening in this great big world around them.
And I’m not even talking about some little one-room church in the deep Southern swamplands or in the Appalachian mountains. No, I’m referring mainly to urban churches full of supposedly educated pastors and parishioners. I’m calling out those mega churches that for the past near-20 years have been popping up all over the metropolises of America. In these mega churches (like the ones I have belonged to and attended), or slightly smaller congregations (like what I’ve also belonged to), I’ve heard things preached and implied from the pulpit that just aren’t true. Messages and beliefs that have always “bothered” me; making it difficult for me to be “all in” with their overall vision, mission and outreach.
I know I’m not the only one in those places who feels this way. So how can so many people sit there week after week, believing the propaganda without questioning things said and done? Oh, that’s right, we’re taught not to question the man of God or the Bible because we would be questioning God. No, I beg to differ. Sure, I don’t question God because He is The Almighty Creator. The Bible, however, while God-inspired, is man-written. And man is full of flaws, blunders and hidden agendas.
So I continue to do my own research because I’ve already seen where that agenda of Christian slave masters led us. Using “God’s” written word in their manipulation of an entire race of people for hundreds of years. And it’s CONTINUING TODAY, and still with nations in Africa! Still exploiting groups of people there by the millions. Still pulling the wool over the American people’s eyes about the people and conditions of African nations.
Yes, the educational system is guilty of this same thing; however, the church’s error, in my opinion, is of greater regard because of the moral aspect that is associated there. People don’t look to schools—or they shouldn’t—as their moral compass. When they do, they’re either going to be shocked by, or sucked into, all the corruption that occurs there.
But the church? The church has an educational and moral obligation to its people and it’s failing miserably. I heard the perfect example of this just last Sunday (not in church, but on TV). It hit my ears hard and I gasped at the offense. There were three religious leaders on the political news platform, Meet the Press, which aired April 16, 2017: Rev. TD Jakes, of the world renowned Potter’s House; JoAnn Hummel, pastor of a mega church outside Dallas called Bent Tree Fellowship (I lived near there in the early 2000’s, so I know it’s in a very progressive area); and Rabbi David Saperstein, a Jewish community leader and former United States Ambassador .
When the host, Chuck Todd, asked how they felt about the growing trend towards secularism and how it affects them, this Bent Tree pastor’s answer was appalling! Actually, an insult to my ears because it relayed just how uneducated she is on a subject that her church is highly involved in. I’ve referenced the video clip of the program so you can hear for yourself what was said. [i] However, in a nutshell, her answer included this:
“In the West (meaning this Western World) we have everything, but in Africa, they have nothing so their hunger for God is so much greater than ours.” What the what?? In Africa they have nothing? My jaw dropped and I almost fell out of my seat in total amazement at such a false (and stupid) statement!
First of all, which of the 54 countries in Africa is she speaking of? Yes, there are some very undeveloped regions and poor nations there, as with ANY PLACE on this planet. What she said, however, is equivalent to someone saying America is so economically poor—grouping all 50 states in one statement—while we know that is a flat out lie.
So, Ms. Hummel, like millions of other people need to learn once and for all that Africa is a continent and you can’t just go throwing the name around like it’s a country. You don’t hear someone from Germany say I’m from Europe when asked about their heritage. Neither does an Austrian say they’re only from Europe. No, because there are 51 states that make up Europe, just as there are 54 fully recognized sovereign states that make up Africa. “Recognized” being the operative word, apparently.
Secondly, to say they have nothing is ridiculous! And it’s even more ridiculous that no one else on that panel corrected her. If she, or the other two religious leaders, knew African economics, or if their congregations held them accountable to know, they could not continue to engage in such bs propaganda. They send missionaries there; they send money there; care packages. That’s all fine and good. It seems, though, they do it with the crazy understanding: “Oh my, we must send things to those poor natives sitting there with barely any clothes on, an empty bowl in their hands and flies swarming around their mouths. Oh, and they’re so helpless and weak, they can’t even swat the flies away.”
Thirdly, here’s a little Africa economics 101 for us all…
A World Finance article, written April 7, 2017, entitled The World’s Five Fastest Growing Economies, clearly states for the world, and Ms. Hummel, to see that three of those five are African countries. This ranking is based on the economic growth of these countries’ emerging economies, which are forecasted to outpace the likes of China and India. They are Ethiopia, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, ranking #2, #3 and #4 respectively. For the record, the other two countries are #1 Bhutan (located between China and India) and #5 India.[ii]
Ethiopia’s forecasted 8.7% growth will be attributed to their service industry and public infrastructure investments taking place there. It is pacing to become a middle income country by 2025! Ghana’s strong 8.1% expected expansion is due to its gold, oil and cocoa reserves. Cote d’Ivoire, also forecasted at 8.1% growth, rely primarily on cocoa, coffee and palm oil to bring them to that status by 2020.[iii]
In Keidi Awadu’s The New Conscious Rasta Report entitled, The Sun Rises in the East, he as well examines the rapid changes in domestic development around the world. In his 2014 studies of the top 35 fastest developing nations in the world, based on year-to-year GDP growth rates, Keidi sites 17 of them as African nations. These growths are attributed to energy, ecology and agribusiness just to name a few of the many natural resources found there. They are, in order of growth: Libya, Sierra Leone, Niger, Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Chad, Ethiopia, Liberia, Rwanda, Ghana, Mozambique, Zambia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Mauritania, Tanzania and Nigeria.[iv]
So, in essence, this woman and her church—and many other churches—are part of the problem of these developing countries more than the solution. Their lack of education, hence misguided efforts, result in propaganda full of fear, pity, disdain and total disregard for anything GREAT and GOOD about Africa. They’re sending aid to countries whose governments are not properly developed. So in many cases, the aid (food, clothing, etc) is not even getting to those in need. Or it’s done in such a way that some contributing American organizations are receiving bigger kickbacks than the poor are receiving aid.
Have these churches constructed different paths to ensure the money and goods they’re offering is by-passing the corrupt officials and going directly into the hands of the people? Who knows? Hopefully, that’s what the missionaries are ensuring by being there in person.
Oh, but let’s not even get me started regarding some of those church missionaries. Their main agenda in these poor nations is to “push” their white Jesus on the indigenous people, showing them how anything they were doing beforehand must have been some voodoo, or something stifling their personal and financial growth. Those poor people gather from miles and miles away (on foot, no doubt) to hear about this white Savior, whose true origins, ironically, are not far from the African soil upon which they are all standing. Will those missionaries ever teach them that? Hmm.
And let’s not get it twisted. It is not these people’s lack of Jesus-knowledge that is keeping them poor, uneducated and desolate. Most are coming out from decades of civil war. Most of them have never been able to master their own human potential, thanks to colonial domination and former imperialist regimes. And now, here comes further exploitation but this time, in the name of Jesus. And let the people say amen.
In conclusion, I’ll be the first to say I don’t have all the answers for how to get Americans to set aside their arrogance for just a moment in order to accept that this great big world has a whole lot of other people in it doing quite well. Better than us in some cases. You don’t think so? Just look at America’s low ranking when it comes to education and health care, for starters.
I do know that a great place for American’s to start is to become more global-minded. Only then can we get our heads out of the sand, and get un-brainwashed. That’s done through learning history. That helps us to become more competent about others who don’t look like us.
If we as Americans, particularly African Americans, would study 500-600 years of African history—information that is all very accessible—we could begin to know what time it is. It is time for the strength of 1 billion Africans across the globe to have a clearer understanding of our royal past. It is time for us to realize that for much of those 600 years, the civilizations of African Kingdoms were among the wealthiest and most productive nations on the Earth. It is time for us to negate the lies, half truths and gross lack of knowledge that continues to plague us, making us part of the problem instead of catalysts for solutions. Then we will have power that no one can take away from us.
In the words of a very scholarly woman who has repatriated to the Motherland, and has spent years assisting hundreds of others in doing so, “Africa doesn’t need anyone. We need Africa.” Let the church say Amen to that.
Love & RAWspect,
[i] Hummel, JoAnn, Jakes, T.D., Saperstein, David. Religious Leaders Stay Relevant As Americans Lose Faith. April 16, 2017. Retrieved: http://www.nbcnews.com/meet-the-press/video/religious-leaders-try-to-stay-relevant-as-americans-lose-faith-in-institutions-922251331604
[ii] Stannard, James. The World’s Five Fastest Growing Economies. April 7, 2017. Retrieved https://www.worldfinance.com/markets/the-worlds-five-fastest-growing-economies
[iv] Awadu, Keidi. The Sun Rises in the East. The New Conscious Rasta Report. Vol 8. No. 2. March 2014.