2015 was a busy year. I published, including more work for popular audiences, developed a new course, and drafted most of my manuscript.
2015 was the year of conferences. I started the year by presenting at the AHA which was in New York. A few months later, I attended the amazing Soul Wounds Conference at Stanford in June. My conference season will end with a Civil War Conference in June in Chattanooga (with trips to Atlanta, Toronto, and Little Rock under my belt ones and ones to Providence and State College on the horizon, I can’t even think about it). Sorry. Not sorry.
Abegunde and me on the final day of Soul Wounds. We were all beat after 4 days on trauma and suffering.
From June 4-6, 2015, I participated in the Soul Wounds: Trauma and Healing across Generations conference at Stanford. The Research Group on Collective Trauma and Healing brought together an interdisciplinary group of scholars, practitioners, and activists to study traumatic injury and its multi-generational legacies. The conference was an intense but thrilling event.
This spring The New York Times’s editor for the Room for Debate contacted me about writing a comment in response to the question: How Should Americans Remember the Post-Civil War Period? I wrote that we should account for the racial atrocities of the white terror groups.
Reblogged from From the Square
It happens every term. An enthusiastic African American student comes up to me after lecture, bursting with frustration over the disparity between what they learned about black history from K-12 or popular culture and what they learn from my history course. Several years have yielded a collection that includes: “Why don’t they teach this in grade school?” “This class makes me think Black History Month is a total joke.”
Reading through the WPA Ex-Slave Narratives for my next project has given me ALL the feelings. Yes all of them. Although there are countless moments, like those of pain and loss, that leave me feeling incredibly sad, there are also ones that leave me laughing and crying with a reminder of my deep love for my people. Most of the latter come via what I call “life lessons,” those bits of wisdom that only the elders can deliver. Here’s one of those gems:
“So many folks been here long as me, but don’t want to admit it. They black their hair and whiten their faces, and powder and paint. ‘Course it’s good to look good all right. But when you start that stuff, you got to keep it up. Tain’t no use to start and stop. After a while you got that same color hair and them same splotches again. Folks say, ‘What’s the matter, you gittin’ so dark?’ Then you say, ‘Uh, my liver is bad.’ You got to keep that thing up, baby.”
Ms. Alice Johnson, age 77, Little Rock, Arkansas, in Arkansas Narratives Part 4 (Kindle, loc 649-53).
That’s a life lesson mixed in with some wisdom shade. In the archive.