Saturday, August 28, 2010
I don't think certain people, one of whom will be standing two flights down from where King stood when he delivered this speech, have read or even understand this speech. King implicates a cowardly federal government and the "get the feds off our back" state's rights contingent in the south. That is not what certain people want today.
"I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.
Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.
But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we've come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.
In a sense we've come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the "unalienable Rights" of "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds."
But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we've come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.
We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.
It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. And those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. And there will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.
But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.
The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.
We cannot walk alone.
And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.
We cannot turn back.
There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their self-hood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating: "For Whites Only." We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until "justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream."¹
I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. And some of you have come from areas where your quest -- quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.
Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.
And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today!
I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of "interposition" and "nullification" -- one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today!
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; "and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together."2
This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.
With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
And this will be the day -- this will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning:
My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.
Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim's pride,
From every mountainside, let freedom ring!
And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.
And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.
Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.
Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.
Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.
Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.
But not only that:
Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.
Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.
Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.
From every mountainside, let freedom ring.
And when this happens, when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:
Free at last! Free at last!
Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"
If you want something a little more militant, there is also John Lewis's speech prepared for the March on Washington, which Danny Glover reads for Howard Zinn's Voices from a People's History. Lewis indicts the caution of federal government and the weaknesses of the Civil Rights Act. Justice should know no compromise. That's something that certain people living in a big white house not far from the Lincoln Memorial or working directly across the Mall from the memorial could do well to remember, too.
I don't watch the news much. I can't. My bloodpressure won't take it. I'm firmly convinced that so many white, straight Americans WANT to be stupid. Stupid and mean. It's a deadly combination.
Monday, August 16, 2010
Still, in order to feel that I have accomplished something -- anything -- in regard to writing, I shall post, despite having no energy to put any thought into something of substance. This is all random stuff that I've come across in the past month or so.
*When I saw a Barbie and Ken, frozen in epoxy, marking the Ladies' and Men's rooms of a restaurant in Rochester, NY, I immediately thought, "this is something that Historiann, with her love of all things Barbie, would appreciate.":
*Dora the Explorer the CD Player died after many years service (for a CD player), so I was forced to purchase a new one. (Yes, I know about MP3 players, but the library only has audio books on cassette and CD.) Small electronics being a crap-shoot, the new one crapped out. So, I bought a third one. This is it:
Look closely at the brand: a Sony Walkman. The classics never die! I am also of an age whereby I call all portable cassette and CD players "Walkmans," much as I call all carbonated beverages "Cokes."
*This is on the Gentleman Caller's bookshelf:
Is it any wonder that I love the man? He wraps all of his book jackets in mylar! Also, he keeps his Abraham Lincoln vampire slayer book next to the rest of the Lincoln books. After all, wasn't the year before last the year in which every other scholar published a book called, "My Main Research Subject and Lincoln"? A vampire slayer book fits right in.
*Random Women's History Marker: Matilda Joslyn Gage lived here:
Grover Cleveland lived across the street when he was a kid. Cleveland's house is for sale. Gage's house is under renovation by the Gage Foundation (I think). I have to learn a little more about her -- anything more about her, really -- since she corresponded with Douglass.
*[Spoiler alert!] I don't blog about Mad Men because there really isn't any point to it, and also because that would kill the fun by making it more work than escape from work. Nonetheless, I must say that this season lacks the slow burn and crackle of past seasons. Then, last night, they had a spark or two and I realized what has gone wrong.
Don Draper has been the central character of the series since the beginning, and the central theme has been the juxtaposition and intersection of image and reality. This season, that tension between image and reality disappeared since Don no longer has that glossy image either at work or at home. He's just a drunk; and, as my aunt says, "there's nothing more boring than a drunk."
I'm hoping the writers are setting this up for a really big payoff down the line, but I can't begin to imagine what that payoff could be. As Tom and Lorenzo put it in their first post on Mad Men, this show is also about change and the people who will be hit hardest by the change. Don will be left behind in the change. Right now, his story is over.
Last night, the story didn't get interesting until the lesbian, Joyce, showed up and brought Peggy into the counterculture. Hell, the show just about passed the Bechdel test in their scenes! Peggy's story has always been far more interesting than Don's -- but I suppose a show about her would be too much to ask being as she's a girl and her story could easily be a feminist one, right? She's the one who is actually negotiating the changes of the 1960s and has the greatest potential to benefit from them.
Furthermore, her conversation at the party in the Village opened up a new thematic direction that the show has brushed against in the past: the ways in which the ad world co-opts counterculture. Couple that with Pete's awareness of the black purchasing public, and you could have some interesting stories about the advertising business and the cultural changes that would take the focus off of Don, or at least force the writers to make Don an interesting character again as he tries to catch up, rather than remaining this sucking vortex of boredom that he has become as he fossilizes.
In fact, last night's episode kept me as a viewer in the final scenes between Peggy and Pete. Both are up-and-coming, but they represent different directions and choices. Pete is the future of the old Dons of the world, adapting without fundamentally changing, protected and promoted because he is not a challenge to the status quo. Peggy is the future, adapting but also changing. Her very existence as a woman in the male dominated field is a challenge. The two aren't necessarily in opposition at all times, although there is always a sense of potential disaster in their scenes, and that is where the interesting story will lie. Those are episodes that I want to see.
Sadly, the previews suggest more Don angst. That payoff better come soon.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Moving on to the third day in Savannah. This was the day that I had been waiting for: the day Annette Gordon-Reed spoke:
That's not me in the picture, getting my book signed. I have the hardback from when it first came out. My copy also has about a thousand sticky tabs poking out of the side. When I got to the front of the line, I was like, "OMGOMGOMG! Annette Gordon-Reed! OMG! I LURVED this book! OMG!" It was embarrassing.
She, of course, spoke about women and slavery, specifically The Hemings of Monticello, which won a gazillion awards. Her talk actually turned into a lively conversation that I could not even begin to summarize, but I'll write down some of the points from my notes:
She spoke of the difficulties in getting at the women in slavery and the power of law in creating a reality for those women. She also spoke of the political difficulty of writing about a family in which the majority of liaisons between men and women were the result of rape, and yet people also made connections one way or another. In regard to the difficulty of sources, she said that she balks at the idea that "we can't say that because we don't have the complete story" because subscribing to that idea means "we can't say anything at all."
Her next book will be the Hemings story after Monticello and their struggle to attain "respectability." Indeed, one branch of the family had trouble acknowledging Sally Hemings partly because of the stigma of illegitimacy that would have been attached to Hemings children. I asked about the types of sources she uses to find the lives of the women during freedom, and she agreed that black women in freedom are sometimes more difficult to find than black women under slavery because, under slavery, they are more likely to appear in the plantation records. In freedom, especially before the 1850 census, they appear only here and there, if at all. I'm having that trouble with Anna Murray, Douglass's wife, before they married.
She also said something about the Hemings that made me think of the way Douglass treated Anna and his daughter, Rosetta. She said that Jefferson took the Hemings women out of the fields and turned them into model European women in the domestic sphere. I wondered about Douglass and his demands of Anna and his aspirations for Rosetta. With Rosetta, of course he would want his daughter to have a better life than his; but with Anna, he wanted to turn her into a model bourgeois wife. She may not have wanted to identify herself in just that way. Right now, this is a half-baked idea, and of course the slave master/slave relationship makes Jefferson's relationship to Hemings quite different from Frederick and Anna's relationship. Her phrasing, however, made me wonder about the ways that patriarchy worked in the Douglass marriage, and what Anna may have lost or fought against because Douglass defined the identity of their family. But that's all for another time. It need much more time in the oven!
Gordon-Reed had to leave right after our visit. Since her talk had been held in a museum, we got a tour of the museum and saw a presentation about folk art around Savannah. I thought it was all kinda cool, these people turning their yards into these fabulous displays made of all sorts of trash and cast-off items. Mine was not the consensus opinion.
We adjourned for lunch, with plans to meet at another location later in the day. A bunch of people ran off to Mrs. Wilkes Boarding House. I'm not really a restaurant type of person, and the heat made me not so hungry, so I went on a mission to get a picture and a tchotchke of the Pirate's House for the Gentleman Caller.
You see, the Pirate's House has a connection to Treasure Island. I had never read the book because, you know, it was about dudes and therefore did not interest me. Gentleman Caller, however, loves the book and told me that the Pirate's House was supposed to be where this one guy died and left the treasure map to the treasure island to this other dude who ended up dieing in an inn in England, and this kid and his mother find the map and go searching for the treasure. Something like that.
Anyway, I walked and walked and walked, in the steaming heat, toward the river. Speaking of which, did you know that this guy lived in Savannah?:
That's Johnny Mercer. Mercer, of course, is an old southern name, so that makes sense. As I remembered from The Book, Mercer wrote that song from Breakfast at Tiffany's about the Savannah River:
"Moooon River, wider than a mile..."
"I'm crossing you in style, some daaaaaay!"
Yeah, that song got stuck in my head every damn time I saw any river anywhere all week. You will notice, however, that a huge tanker is sailing along, which tells you how big the river actually is. Of course, I was told the next day, when we passed over another river closer to Pin Point, that that river was the moon river, not this one. Whatever.
Once I got to the river, moon or not, I turned right and went to the end of the street. There I found the Pirate's House:
Another name for it could be the Tourist Trap. The building actually is old, but it now houses a burger joint. I thought the gift shop might be an awesome array of kitsch, but it was simply plain ole pirate crap of plastic eye patches and doubloons, and only a display case, not even a shop. So, I took my picture for Gentleman Caller and headed for our afternoon meeting place.
Then, passing another tchotchke shop, I saw the perfect item in the window: a wooden cutout of the Pirate's House. That became the perfect present for the Gentleman Caller, and he now has it sitting on his shelf next to his Jane Austen Action Figure.
At our afternoon meeting, people asked where I had gone during lunch. When I said the Pirate's House, and no, I was not there to eat, I was there to take a picture for a friend, they said, "that must be one good friend to walk that far just for a picture!" Yes, he is a good friend.
Here is our meeting place for that afternoon:
The Crystal Beer Parlor. Stan, who was our fearless leader and eye-candy for the week, threw a lot of business toward this establishment, what with the four-week workshop prior to ours, our week-long workshop, and the week-long workshop following ours. That's six weeks of drunk scholars they got, and we had some of our best discussions here. I always thought that grad school seminars would have been much more productive if alcohol had been involved, and this seemed to prove true here.
Sadly, we all had to turn in early that night because we had to be up and ready to go at the crack of dawn the next day in order to catch the bus to Ossabaw Island. Ossabaw was a whole other adventure.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Then more misbehavior cropped up in my inbox. This proved to be a more genteel, electronic version of a "stay away from my man, you bitch, or I'll kick your ass" Jerry Springer episode. I was on the receiving end; and she hit me right where I am weakest, personally and professionally. Yes, my professional standing, what little there is, was dragged into it, all in vaguely threatening tones meant to put me in my place as a nobody.
The accusation so completely disconnected with my understanding of reality that I wasn't sure where to put the whole episode. I'm still a little shook up about it. Eventually, it will all become a funny story -- like the last time someone accused me of trying to take her man. Except that time, the dude in question really was sort of her man, he really had been misbehaving badly, and the woman really did threaten to kick my ass. She had a good 20 or 30 pounds and 6 inches on me. She could have done it.
Really, what the hell is wrong with people?
Suffice to say that the last three weeks or so have been filled with idiotic drama. To keep from obsessing over someone else's issue, I will now return to a less dramatic portion of my summer and continue with the tale of my Savannah trip.*
First, a big bug:
I just had to take the picture because -- dang! -- that thing was huge. Dead, too, and staying right where is was. I'd say it was about as long as my thumb and twice as wide. Also, all glossy black and hard, like patent leather, it was rather pretty. I saw a few other corpses about, but none live.
The bug lay on the steps of the Visitor's Center to Sapelo Island.:
The Center is on the mainland. You can only get to the Island by boat, and you can only take the boat if you have been invited or part of a in large groups. That's all part of the story here.
This is the boat:
It's named after the last midwife who lived on Sapelo. She was the last in a line that went back to before the Civil War and perhaps all the way to Africa.
You see, Sapelo Island is a Sea Island, one of the marshy islands stretching from the very southern part of North Carolina and the very northern part of Florida, but clustered mostly along the coast of South Carolina and Georgia. This is what they look like from the boat:
Way back, after the Native people had been pushed out or died, planters from the Caribbean expanded their operations to South Carolina, and from South Carolina to Georgia. They grew long staple cotton, sugar and indigo on the saltwater side of the islands, the side facing the ocean, and rice on the fresh water side facing the sound, now part of the intracoastal waterway. To grow the rice, they used slaves and, to make the story short, transplanted the institution as they had practiced it in the Caribbean.
The marshy islands, the stagnant water of rice cultivation and indigo processing, the mosquitoes and the sheer, brutal desire on the part of the masters to wring as much labor out of their slaves as possible meant that lots of slaves died here. High mortality also meant that lots of Africans arrived, right up until the U.S. banned American importation of slaves (although, it seems, not in the business that supported the slave trade -- but that's another story).
The influx of Africans from a variety of different locations and ethnic groups bringing with them their various languages, ways of understanding the world, and ways of living in the world combined with the parts of Anglo life imposed upon the Africans and the parts of Anglo life adopted by the creoles, produced the Gullah and Geetchie cultures in South Carolina and Georgia respectively. The descendants of those Africans still live on Sapelo Island and, since the 1960s, have been working to preserve the history of their people.
Here are some of their ancestors:
Behavior was a village on the island. The Geetchie people on the island say that back in the late 18th century, a ship arrived with a group of Africans. The Africans escaped into the woods to this place. Since the island is small, maroonage was not a viable option; and the planters did not want to go into the woods and kill off their investment. The two groups finally came to an agreement whereby the planters would let the Africans have a village here, as long as they stayed on their best "behavior" and showed up to work everyday. Hence, the name "Behavior."
Not all of the graves have headstones. For a long time, people would place a favorite object of the departed on the grave. Later, tourists and visitors to the island would take the objects for souvenirs.
All of the graves to face east, as is the common practice on the island. They think that this is the influence of Islam on the island because one of the slaves on the island was a known Muslim. Ben Ali, or Bilali, followed practices that other slaves identified as Muslim, and he carried a small book with him, written in Arabic, that contained Islamic saying. That book is now in the Special Collections at the University of Georgia.
Archaeologists have excavated part of the cemetery in this area, where they found the remains of slaves and African influences:
You can also see from that picture the lush, over grown terrain of the island. This is, of course, new growth, since most of the island had been deforested for sugar planting during the nineteenth century.
This is the remains of one of the old sugar houses, where mules trod in circles grinding the juice out of the cane:
The sugar house, like many of the buildings from the 19th century and earlier, was made of a mixture of oyster shells, lime, and sand (I think that's the recipe) called tabby. This is what it looks like close up:
No slave cabins survive on this island, and most of the people living there today live in regular wooden houses or trailers. They passed restrictions on the size of houses after some people from the mainland moved in and built summer homes that were the size of McMansions. They absolutely do not want to turn into Hilton Head, where all traces of the black past have been erased in favor of creating a vacation spot for the wealthy.
Sapelo could have easily developed in that direction, too. For much of the 20th century, R.J. Reynolds -- yes, THAT R.J. Reynolds -- and his family owned a majority of the island land and employed most of the people living on it. He used that leverage to control more of the island.
He also built this:
That's a turkey fountain. A fountain with turkey statues on it. I had to take a picture of it because you don't see a turkey fountain everyday. I thought that this image might make nice Thanksgiving cards:
Reynolds had the fountain built as a wedding present for his third -- or was it fourth? -- wife. She divorced him.
This was the Big House. Not the original Big House, but one built in the 20th century (if memory serves):
I swear to you, you could use this as a setting for a closet mystery, like in Key Largo or a southern Gothic Agatha Christie. Imagine a hurricane. All communication from the mainland cut. Then, a dead body appears in the ghastly circus ballroom amid the trapeze artist chandeliers and murals with Stephen King clowns and -- I shit you not -- "Africans" with spears and bones through their nose. Later, another body is found in the pirate-themed bowling alley with the boat-shaped bar.
Today, they use the mansion for big parties and weddings. I pointed out that you may have your wedding there, but you wouldn't want to spend your honeymoon there. All of the beds are twin.
"You must not be doing it right, darlin'," replied Elmo. "You don't need but one space."
I had a good retort to that, but decided that would perhaps reveal way too much about myself there.
Lest we forget the heritage of the Big House, this was on the piano in the sunroom:"Dixie" sheet music.
Our real reason for the visit to Sapelo, beyond just learning about the history of the island, was this woman:
Her name is Cornelia Walker Bailey, author of God, Dr. Buzzard, and the Bolito Man. The book is a memoir in which she describes growing up on Sapelo Island in the 1950s and 1960s, immersed in the Geetchie culture. As the older generation passes away and the 20th century made life on the island more and more precarious, she became aware of the loss of that Geetchie culture and wanted to preserve as much of it as she could as both a personal mission and as part of preserving black history. So, she has worked with other Geetchie on the island and the State of Georgia to make Sapelo a nature preserve and a site of education. They limit tourism to the island to groups such as ours, or to people who are sponsored by someone on the island.
The woman on the left side of the picture, the one laughing, is an anthropologist. Bailey rode on the ferry back to the mainland at the same time as we did that afternoon. The anthropologist sat with her and had a long discussion about the Geetchie culture. Later, she told us that, through that conversation and through everything else she had learned that week, she felt she had done her own ancestors a disservice by seeing only the oppression of slavery, and not also seeing the humanity and perseverance of the people enslaved. Talking to Bailey had allowed her to make that connection.
I saw Bailey as living history. Not living history in the sense of open air museums such as Williamsburg or Plimouth Plantation, but an actual connection to the past. Someone who lives the continuity in a very conscious and personal way. History with a pulse.
After lunch with Bailey, we went down to the beach. Here are my feet in the Atlantic Ocean: Yes, I really am that white.
Since there were no tourists, the beach was empty:
Some of our group commented on how isolated they felt there, and wondered how that had affected the Africans and black creoles on the island. I looked out east -- or what I thought was east -- and thought of an African walking on the beach two and a half centuries before me. Did she look out over the water and think, "that way is home?" Did she know she would never see it again? I thought of the graves on the bottom of the ocean. That's a hard history to have, full of grief.
It isn't mine, either; and I still wonder why I study it. What is my connection? Perhaps it is the one thing in my life that isn't self-centered. Yet, I still sometimes feel like the colonizer, appropriating something that doesn't belong to me. I know, intellectually, that this is a ridiculous feeling since we would be very limited if we only studied that to which we were directly and personally connected. Still, I sometimes wonder why I don't study "my own" history. Then, I realize, I don't feel connected to any history to call "my own." I suppose others might call me blind to my own privilege, but that's not really how it feels. It feels mostly like a disconnection.
When I was younger, I wanted to be part of something bigger than myself. Something important. History, this history, is important; and I decided back then that I wanted to spend my life trying to understand it, even if I am, to some extent, and outsider.
*Incidentally, the is the second time I've written this post. Damn Blogger did some weird thing or another so that, despite my saving every minute or two, all of it was eaten. Bite me, Blogger. Bite me. It would hurt less.