All Posts By

James C. Schaap

Essay

What I learned on Spring Break, 1968

The night Dr. Martin Luther King was shot, four of us—small-town, small-college, white boys—were following the Gulf's eastern shore on an all-night trek from south Florida to New Orleans. It was spring break, 1968, only a few months from the…
Essay

The river in winter

The first matter of business when white folks came to the region was roughing out claims so they knew where each of the others was going to put down roots. Once that task was done, some of ye olde pioneers…
Essay

A Lenten Triptych from York, NE

Mildred Armstrong Kadish, in Little Heathens, her darling memoir of growing up on an Iowa farm during the Depression, claims that her family had only two oil lamps before rural electrification. It's unimaginable to think of how dark their world must…
Essay

Local Sodbuster Makes Good

When James Fenimore Cooper complained about the novel he was reading, his wife told him to put up or shut up, to just go ahead and write a better one himself. That tiff launched Cooper’s career, a novelist sometimes considered…