In the News #DarkHistory #BigIsms #MarchTrilogy #HIDDENKansas
Britain’s Idyllic Country Houses Reveal a Darker History
Sam Knight, August 16, 2021, The New Yorker
Dyrham Park, an English country estate nestled among steep hills seven miles north of Bath, fulfills your fantasy of what such a place should be. A house and a dovecote were recorded on the site in 1311. The deer park was enclosed during the reign of Henry VIII. The mansion that you see today is a mostly Baroque creation: long, symmetrical façades, looking east and west; terraces for taking the air; eighteenth-century yew trees, an orangery, a church, fascinating staircases, a collection of Dutch Masters. According to The Buildings of England: Gloucestershire, published in 1970, Dyrham Park constitutes “the perfect setting; English country house and church.” The house was a location for the movie of “The Remains of the Day.”
On the second floor is the Balcony Room, which affords fine views of the gardens. The room, once an intimate place to sit and drink tea or coffee with visitors, is wood-panelled. It has exquisite brass door locks. The fireplace holds a collection of seventeenth-century delftware, above which hangs a museum-quality Dutch painting of ornamental birds, by a court artist to William III. Facing into the room, with their backs to the wall, are two statues of kneeling Black men with rings around their necks.
The next chapter of John Lewis’s legacy
Rebecca Burns, August 10, 2021, Atlanta Magazine
Back in 2013, the debut of a memoir in comic-book form by civil rights figure and longtime Atlanta congressman John Lewis seemed an unlikely format for a legendary activist with gravitas to spare. But Lewis’s March trilogy—co-authored with aide Andrew Aydin and illustrated by Nate Powell—proved to be a juggernaut, landing on bestseller lists, securing a place on high-school and college curricula, and ultimately earning a National Book Award.
The March trilogy chronicles Lewis’s early life and involvement in the civil rights movement, ending with the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Lewis had planned to continue the work, and before the congressman’s death in July 2020, he and Aydin had drafted the script for the Run series. The first volume of Run, published in August by Abrams ComicArts, covers the tumultuous events of 1965-1966, including schisms between established civil rights leaders and Black Power activists, the history-making election of Julian Bond to the Georgia Legislature. Just in March, the book does not shy away from unvarnished accounts of history. It opens with a fearsome scene of Klan intimidation and closes with Lewis’s departure from the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.
The hidden history of Kansas is the story of enslaved people. Let’s say their names.
Max McCoy, August 15, 2021, Kansas Reflector
Shawnee Indian Mission is a bit of the 1850s frontier in the midst of one of the richest suburban neighborhoods in the country. Just a block away is the buzz of traffic on Shawnee Mission Parkway, and the homes in the area cost more than most of us can afford. But for $5, Wednesday through Saturday, you can visit the historic site with its three original brick buildings and its 12 pastoral acres and imagine what life might have been like for the missionaries, the Shawnee and Delaware children who boarded at the school, and travelers on the Santa Fe Trail, which ran just a few hundred yards north.
What you can’t do, unless you already know about them, is imagine what life must have been like for the enslaved persons who helped build the mission and were bound to Thomas Johnson, the Methodist preacher and pro-slavery advocate who founded the school.
These enslaved persons aren’t mentioned in the 2015 video shown to visitors. Only one of the interpretive displays mentions them. By one account, it says, Johnson “owned at least six slaves at the mission,” with perhaps another 10 who were children of the enslaved. The display includes a reproduction of an 1856 bill of sale, from David Burge to Johnson, at Westport, Missouri, of an enslaved girl named Martha, of about 15 years, “sound in body and mind and a slave for life.”
Highways destroyed Black neighborhoods like mine. Can we undo the damage now?
Amy Stelly, August 13, 2021, The Washington Post
A favorite errand of mine when I was a child was to go to Joe Dave’s meat market. Joe Dave had one hand full of fingers. The other was full of nubs. He’d lost his fingers to either a cleaver or a bone saw, I’ve forgotten which one. I just remember thinking that whatever he did must have hurt. I would sit at his long butcher-block counter and watch intently as he steadied the meat with his nubby hand and sliced very carefully with the other. The only thing I didn’t like about Joe Dave’s was the stench of raw meat. I can still smell that smell every time I think of his market. It was a small price to pay to watch a master at work, warmed by the sunlight pouring through his North Claiborne Avenue storefront.
There were many masters on North Claiborne, and Black New Orleanians were the beneficiaries of their talents. There were doctors, lawyers, retailers, insurance agents, teachers, musicians, restaurateurs and other small-business owners. The avenue stretched across the Tremé and 7th Ward neighborhoods, and in the Jim Crow era, it served as the social and financial center of the Black community.