Black and Blue presents true legacy
The African Proverb “Until the Lion tells his own story, the story of the hunt will always glorify the hunter” is most relevant regarding the recent call for bringing the Miss-Lou’s preservation, interpretation and presentation history into the 21st Century.
Friends of the Forks of the Roads Society has focused its public narrative on the saga of human chattel slave trafficking and the enslaved person’s humanity, history, legacies, culture and community development contributions to the building and development of the Miss-Lou region and beyond.
Within the last six years, we began to show and tell what historical chattel enslaved people did to self-emancipate their persons and actively took part in destroying the prevailing slavery system of the “Old Natchez District” region.
In the interests and efforts to achieve equal history commemorations in our region, the Black and Blue Civil War Living History Events’ role play and first-person story presentations are undoing the turn of the 20th Century’s “Lost Cause” movement that succeeded for decades in intentional deleting, omitting and suppressing the historical role enslaved and non-enslaved people played in the Civil War.
In fact, people of African descent served as U.S. Colored Troops and were the “third army” (segregated) actively engaged in the Civil War.
While the other two brotherly blue and gray armies in the civil war fought over southern and northern concerns and interests, the African Descent (A.D.) army 150 years ago fought for freedom and 19th century civil rights that had to be improved upon just 50 years ago by Martin Luther King Jr. and a cast of thousands of others of all racial types.
In our Natchez area, the annual “Confederate Pageant” and tourism seasons serve as a history lesson vehicle that assures just about all local European decent (“white”) children are inculcated, at a very young age, with the plantation chattel slavery and Civil War confederacy history of their foreparents and ancestors.
But “what shall I tell my children who are black” wrote the great Margaret Walker.
This brings us to two recent university research findings relevant to the plantation tourism industry and better academic achievements of American African children.
In the first research study was from David L. Butler, a University of Southern Mississippi professor.
I quote: “Butler completed a textual analysis of brochures and associated marketing materials from tourist plantations throughout the United States. His analysis found that plantation museums promoted several key, dominant narratives to visitors. Plantations frequently mentioned the architecture of the Big House, furniture and the role of the original owners of the site in local politics. Unmentioned in the majority of plantation marketing narratives were the historical contributions and struggles of the enslaved.
“The owners and operators offered a view of the plantation that they believe would attract tourists. It is a view that carries a whitewashing of the history of slavery and the enslaved at the sites.”
Does Natchez’s plantation and tourism industry not apply in these scientific findings?
The second study findings also are applicable and important in the field of education in our Miss-Lou region and beyond!
Again I quote: “When African American parents instill a proud, informed and sober perspective of race in their sons and daughters, these children are more likely to experience increased academic success. It is imperative you share black history with your children because it really pays off in the long term.”
The lead author of the study and assistant professor of psychology in education at the University of Pittsburgh is Ming-Te Wäng. The coauthor is Harvard University’s James P. Huguley.
The annual Black and Blue Civil War Living History Events offer a complimentary, equal history narrative helping to bring our Miss-Lou region into the 21st Century.
Y’all come by ya. All welcome!
Ser Seshsh Ab Heter-CM Boxley is Friends of the Forks of the Road coordinator.