Posts Tagged ‘historical interpretation’

George Washington, Mount Vernon Slaveowner

September 28, 2020

George Washington, Mount Vernon Slaveowner

“Brenda Parker’s job is to help shape the narrative of the enslaved people at Mount Vernon. Parker, the head of African American interpretation, says the plantation is now focused as much on the lives of the enslaved people as it is on the life of George Washington.”

“Parker feels a deep, emotional connection to Caroline Branham, the interpretive character she portrays as part of her job.”

“’You know like if your grandmother gave to you a dog, and that dog did have a litter of puppies. It would be your choice to keep one, sell one, and give one away as a gift. That’s how we’re thought about,’ says Parker, as Branham, recalling how she explains to children the way in which enslaved families were torn apart.”

–” George Washington’s Mount Vernon Highlights More Stories Of Enslaved People,” Esther Ciammachilli, WAMU 88.5


“10 Facts About Washington & Slavery,”

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Image (“George Washington Observes Black History Month”) by Mike Licht. Download a free copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

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Centennial: Southern Civil War Revisionism vs. the Civil Rights Movement

July 10, 2015

Centennial: Southern Civil War Revisionism vs. the Civil Rights Movement

On Thursday the South Carolina State Legislature voted to end display of the Battle Flag of the Army Northern Virginia (“Confederate Battle Flag“) on the State Capitol Grounds, and the flag came down on Friday. Defenders of the flag appeal to “Tradition” and “History,” but this statehouse flag “tradition” only dates from April 11, 1961, and its “history” is really in the Civil War Centennial (1961-1965), when symbols of the Confederacy were adopted and manipulated by white Southerners opposed to the era’s desegregation, the Civil Rights movement, and Federal efforts to guarantee racial equality in elections, education, employment opportunity, and residential choice. Chief among those symbols: the Battle Flag.

Laura McCarty of the Georgia Humanities Council explains this aspect of the Centennial:

“The anniversary coincided with the height of the civil rights movement in Georgia and the South. Some white Georgians used the commemoration to glorify the Confederacy, adopting its leaders, rhetoric, and symbols as a means for expressing resistance to civil rights ideals. While not all centennial efforts were driven by that agenda, the official commemorations upheld an idealized vision of antebellum plantation culture, celebrated Confederate military heroes, and omitted references to slavery as a cause for the war ….”

Southerners now in their fifties and sixties absorbed this symbolic system as children, and passed it on to their children and the children they educated and influenced. That’s the “heritage” the flag represents for them, not 150-year-old military gallantry but the ugly race politics of the 1960s.