An ironic name

In mid-July there was a vigil in a South Albany, N.Y., housing complex — named the Ezra P. Prentice Homes — for the victims of the 2013 Lac-Mégantic oil train disaster. This poor, African-American neighborhood is just a few yards away from a rail complex holding hundreds of dangerous oil train cars containing volatile crude oil.

In the July 6, 2013, catastrophic oil train-based explosion suffered by the Quebec, Canada, town of Lac-Mégantic, 42 people were confirmed to have died, five more were never found and presumed dead, and half of the town’s center was reduced to ruins.

So this author decided to look up who Ezra P. Prentice was. Was he a local civil rights attorney or a prominent African-American professional, such as a teacher, doctor or civic leader?

This is what I found out:

Ezra P. Prentice was a prominent attorney, Republican legislator and head of the New York Republican Party from 1910 to 1911.

More noteworthy, however, is whom he married. Alta Rockefeller was the third child of John D. Rockefeller — founder and owner of the Standard Oil Trust, the first billionaire and determined by many to be the richest man in the world, even up to and including today.

J.D. Rockefeller amassed his wealth by monopolizing the oil shipping and refining industries.

The Prentices named their son John Rockefeller Prentice — no one can say that old Ezra didn’t know where his bread was buttered.

It is ironic that the residents of the Ezra Prentice housing complex must now suffer a constant, looming threat of annihilation at the hands of the oil and chemical tycoon Koch brothers, the shipping magnate Warren Buffet and, of course, the Rockefeller family.

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