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Posts tagged ‘race’

On Juneteenth: History of Race Relations in Indiana

Wednesday night a terrorist attacked a Black church in Charleston, South Carolina.  I was in the middle of working on this post when I heard about it and wondered if in light of current events the subject of this post mattered.  I have come to think that it does.  It seems to me that part of the reason that people think these incidents can be and should be treated as isolated incidents is that we forget our history.  I’m not a historian.  I am sure there are others who know this history better than I do, but I couldn’t find a short condensed history of race relations in Indiana when I went looking for it (except this archive).  I think it is important that we remember our history and how it continues to affect our present.  As Faulkner said, “The past isn’t dead; it isn’t even past.” Another reason I’m writing this is that today is the 150th anniversary of Juneteenth.  Juneteenth is the earliest celebration of commemorating the end of slavery because it was on June 19, 1865 that Union soldiers showed up in Galveston, TX and informed the slaves that they were free, two years after Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.  I used to live in Texas, where I learned about Juneteenth, but now I live in Indiana.  I’m from Philadelphia, and I have a pretty good sense of the history (and the present) of race relations in Philadelphia, but when I moved to Texas and Indiana, I wanted to better understand the history of those places.  So I was thrilled when a friend from graduate school who is now a Hoosier, Nazareth Pantaloni, gave me IU history professor James H. Madison’s book: Hoosiers: A New History of Indiana.  Madison spends considerable space addressing the history of race in Indiana (though I was disappointed to see no entry for race or racism in the index). In the spirit of Juneteenth–of learning about emancipation long after it has been declared but does not seem yet to be in force–I want to blog about the history of race relations in Indiana that I learned from Madison’s book.  I just want to give some of the highlights.  I am limiting this list to highlights, especially to highlights that continue to echo in today’s climate. Read more

Greece for the Greeks?

Yesterday I went to the Piraeus with my husband.  He’s the best.  I’d recount our entire conversation to you, but it would take all night.  At first, I didn’t want to stay to eat down there because I wasn’t entirely impressed by the restaurants which range from KFC to frozen seafood places.  But I let myself be persuaded.

Earlier in the day, we went to the Benake Museum, which is in an old mansion near the Parliament building.  It houses archaeological finds dating back to the Neolithic Era around 7000 BCE and art through the 19th and 20th centuries.  I’ve been thinking since I arrived in Greece about how the Greeks occupy an ambiguous racial position (stay with me here, I promise this will bring me back to the Benake) Read more