What is it to be “woke” and why would someone be tired of it? According to the dictionary, it is the past tense of “wake”—to cease to sleep; to be brought into a state of awareness. My American Heritage Dictionary was published in 1982, so it was long before the current informal definition of “to be alert to injustice in society.” I, for one, am in no way tired of being woke. Why would you not want to be in a state of awareness? There is a moral imperative to call out injustice. All people have a right to dignity, and by claiming their dignity and their story, they do not lessen mine. They expand it.
Love, Loss, and Annoying Coworkers
People from the past really weren’t that different at heart. Yes, they lived in another environment and therefore made choices that we find strange today. But when it comes to the things that really matter in life – love, loss, and how to deal with really obnoxious people – we can look across the gulf of time and think, “Yes, I completely understand.”
Le Grand Derangement: 250 Years of Acadian History in Louisiana
In September of 1755, England, a political world power began one of history’s largest mass movements of people united by their Catholic faith. Acadians of Nova Scotia were dispersed throughout English lands without benefit of property, family ties or compassion. Their holdings were torched, as they were loaded on to barely seaworthy ships, on which… Continue reading Le Grand Derangement: 250 Years of Acadian History in Louisiana
On the Program Relevance of Slavery
African culture was a particularly major component in the development of southern U.S. culture as well as American culture as a whole. In interpreting American and largely southern history, it is so easy to slip into saying how certain great and wealthy men built this and grew that, when in reality much of what is spoken of was not only done by the labor of enslaved African Americans, but were also accomplished through the skill and knowledge of these people. These skills were passed from generation to generation and have often carried forward to today.
Whose History Are We Bringing to Life?
ALHFAM defines itself as "An Organization of People Who Bring History to Life." But whose history are we bringing to life? Our organization is overwhelming white. Can we truly bring history to life, all of it not just the pretty parts, when our membership and the living history field is a mass of shinny white faces?
Resources for Interpreting Slavery
The enslavement of Africans in the Western Hemisphere was the most brutal form of slavery known to mankind. It dehumanized victims; it classified them as less than human beings. The victims had no claim to their families, their culture tradition or humanity. They were considered chattel property. Basically, they had "no rights that whites were… Continue reading Resources for Interpreting Slavery
Who Knew? Finding Multicultural Stories in Your Own Attic
Excerpt of an article written in 2006 by Martha B. Katz-Hyman, Independent Scholar ALHFAM members can access the full text of this article and thousands more though the A.S.K. database. Not a member? Join today! For many historic sites and living history museums, making collections more relevant to cultures and peoples not usually associated with… Continue reading Who Knew? Finding Multicultural Stories in Your Own Attic
The Challenges of Portraying a Famous Person
I was told if you want to attract a crowd, make some noise.
The pfut-pfut-pfut of the tractor engine, the slapping belt, the clacks and rattles of the thresher did draw some people to the fence of the show ring at the fairgrounds. The public, ready for the sensory appeal of carnival rides, food trucks and other vendors, found instead an active agricultural display. Threshing day at the… Continue reading I was told if you want to attract a crowd, make some noise.
How to Host an Early Twentieth-Century Halloween Party
The end of the nineteenth century and first few decades of the twentieth century are considered by many to be the "Golden Age" of Halloween celebrations in the United States. Before the advent of trick-or-treating as we know it, the Victorians and their successors enjoyed hosting and attending Halloween parties, complete with seasonal decorations, festive foods, homemade costumes and a variety of games and stunts. Learn how to turn this bit of history into a fun event at a museum or historic sites.