Elijah James Blum Memorial Update

Jen and Elijah cheering on the mighty Aztecs
[Cross posted from Teaching United States History (Tush.0)]

The final slide of the first half of my US history survey is also the first slide for the second half of the survey. It juxtaposes the photograph of a dying Union soldier from the Civil War with a digital image of Elijah James Blum, our little champ. It is a preview for how much changed from 1865 to now. The soldiers' clothes were probably made locally; Elijah's were made in China; the Civil War picture took hours and days to develop; Elijah's was taken in seconds, uploaded and sent to family in minutes, and put into the slide show right after. Most Americans in 1865 rarely traveled 50 miles from their homes. Elijah had been 50 miles from his home within 2 weeks of being born. In 1860, 3.5 million African Americans were owned by someone else and women could not vote. In 2012, an African American was president, a woman was Secretary of State, and a Mormon was about to become the Republican Party's nominee. Wow how the nation has changed.

Readers of this blog will know that for all that was different about Elijah's life and that of this Union soldier, they know that they shared something as well. They both died too young. Thankfully, San Diego State University has established an award in his name. Thank you to the hundreds who have  already contributed!

It has been amazing to see how much love has poured in to honor our little guy. San Diego State has received about $15,000 as of May 1, 2012. When the fund achieves $21,000, it will create a permanent annual award in Elijah’s honor for a student dedicated to some form of history or social studies education. The award winner will also receive a copy of The Color of Christ: The Son of God and the Saga of Race, which Ed and Elijah’s Uncle Paul revised during his lifetime. The book is dedicated to Elijah and the final paragraph of the acknowledgments reads:

The saga of this book’s completion coincided with another saga, the life and journey of Elijah James Blum. You and your struggle gave so much. You were a good friend who swayed happily in your swing at Dad’s office (sometimes at 4 a.m.) so this book could be revised. As cataracts dimmed your vision, we longed for new ways to see this world and ones beyond. As your oral muscles degenerated and as you fought to eat and to breathe, we contemplated with greater depth the“bread of life” and the spirit moving in the wind. And as you giggled with your mom while playing peek-a-boo, you offered a vision of what it meant to laugh amid terrible loss. Elijah endured everything we asked, and we’re so proud of you. When the lights went out, we were grateful to have you in our arms. This book is for you.

We are hoping that the book will serve as a living testimony of words that will join the memorial award to remember our wonderful son. We have decided that any individual or family that has (or does) contribute $100 or more to the Elijah fund will receive a free copy of The Color of Christ. To donate, see the contact information below.

With love and gratitude,
Ed and Jen Blum

<Tax-deductible contributions to the fund may be made by writing a check to “The Campanile Foundation,” referencing the Elijah James Blum Memorial Fund on the memo line and sending it to Bonnie Akashian, SDSU Dept. of History, 5500 Campanile Dr.,San Diego, CA 92182-6050. Please contact Beth Pollard (Associate Prof. of History, epollard@mail.sdsu.edu) or Nancy Lemkie (Senior Director of Development in CAL at SDSU, nlemkie@mail.sdsu.edu or 619-594-8569), if you have any questions.>


Curtis J Evans said…
What a lovely picture, Ed. Quite an interesting and memorable way of teaching history. Continued best wishes, thoughts and prayers for you and Jen.
Edward J. Blum said…
it is easy to tell when everyone is busy grading ... Elijah and Jen have been on the 'front page' for about 3 days now :)