GDG- NPS & slavery

Margaret D. Blough mdblough1 at comcast.net
Tue Jan 3 15:02:45 CST 2012


Hi-You raise some very important points. I would note that pendulums swing on interpretation and, sometimes, after a subject has been ignored or even suppressed for a long time, there may even be over-correction in an effort to redress the past treatment. I think it will even out over time. 


Regards, 


Margaret 

----- Original Message -----
From: CWMHTours at aol.com 
To: gettysburg at arthes.com 
Sent: Tuesday, January 3, 2012 3:02:12 PM 
Subject: Re: GDG- NPS & slavery 

Esteemed GDG Member Contributes: 
Hi Margaret- 

I am in complete agreement with you. 

I worked for Tourmobile/NPS for one year. After that I became free lance 
I would go in to GWP Custis, etc., in some depth. In fact, when I had 
interested adults I would talk with them at length. 

Slavery and African-Americans are critical to the history of Arl Cem. 

I do African-American tours around the area and usually try to get them up 
to Harpers Ferry and other sites. I actually know stuff about it and 
believe it is very important. 

But when you deliberately neglect more important people who aren't 
Afro-American to push one of the lesser important blacks I think that is a shocking 
distortion of history. 

Did you read about my experiences with Tourmobile? 

You would think that the only important people in the cemetery are slaves 
and Afro-Americans according to NPS. There were other people in there who 
were just as important. 

Was my original post about NPS/Tourmobile hooked? 

It shed a lot of lite on the Gtysbg V.C. 

Examples keep coming back to me. Here's one: I can lecture for 20 
minutes on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the 3rd Inf Reg. 

In circa 1992 the Tomb Guard accepted the first Black female sentry. It 
was a big deal. But there was lots of other "big deals". I do remember 
that if we DID NOT mention the new African-American Tomb Guard any NPS spies 
would complain to the company and I'd hear about it. What about the 
Latino's and Asians? And there were actually Caucasions around. Better not talk 
about them. 

I don't recall the NPS wanting us to emphasize Latino's and Asians. I 
think there are Navaho code talkers in the cemetery. Better not talk about 
other races- just slaves. 

3 of the Iwo Jima marines are in the cemetery. Ira Hayes was a Pima 
Indian from Arizona. He's the one on the outside of the statue with the poncho 
in his belt. 

If you were a tourist on the tram wouldn't you want to hear a word or two 
about Ira as you went by his grave? NPS didn't care. 

Don't get me wrong- I thought it was a great break through. But I'd go 
off on the original ceremony in 1921 and the USS Olympia and the history of 
the 3rd Inf (Fot at Gtysbg). But always had to stop and talk about the 
first female Afro Guard. 

This was a pattern all over the cemetery and way out of whack with the 
proportion of other stuff. 

And as soon as the new V.C. went up at Gytsbg I started hearing the same 
problem with the NPS and slavery. 

Your Most Obedient Servant, 
Peter 


In a message dated 1/3/2012 2:19:57 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, 
mdblough1 at comcast.net writes: 

Esteemed GDG Member Contributes: 
Peter 


I understand your position but, IMO, the NPS also has a responsibility to 
make sure that events at any historic site are placed into context. As for 
any discussion of slavery, Arlington House is part of Arlington Cemetery, 
and slaves were also a major part of the history of that house, including 
GWP Custis's emancipation of slaves in his will. What stories do you feel are 
being missed? 


I've never been a fan of the 'there are other museums.. ." argument. That 
always seems to be some other, often unspecified place far from the site in 
question. It sounds way too much like segregating the topic. 


Regards, 


Margaret 

----- Original Message ----- 
From: CWMHTours at aol.com 
To: gettysburg at arthes.com 
Sent: Tuesday, January 3, 2012 12:29:29 AM 
Subject: Re: GDG- NPS & slavery 

Esteemed GDG Member Contributes: 
Yes. IMHO, just like the Gtysbg V.C. can be criticized for having too much 
emphasis on slavery the NPS has done the same at Arlington. My point is 
that it appears to be endemic for the NPS. 

In 20 years I have never heard of anyone going to the Cemetery to learn 
about slavery. And there are stories there just as important if not more 
so 
that don't get mentioned in place of slavery. 

There are plenty of museums in the area that people do go to to learn 
about slavery. Arl. Cem. isn't one of them. 

Your Most Obedient Servant, 
Peter 


In a message dated 1/3/2012 12:22:42 A.M. Eastern Standard Time, 
mdblough1 at comcast.net writes: 

Esteemed GDG Member Contributes: 
Well, I consider the reason WHY the CW dead in Arlington are there & why 
Arlington isn't just another stop on the plantation house tours to be of 
considerable significance. 

Regards, 

Margaret 
Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone with SprintSpeed 

-----Original Message----- 
From: CWMHTours at aol.com 
Sender: gettysburg-bounces at arthes.com 
Date: Mon, 2 Jan 2012 22:13:51 
To: <gettysburg at arthes.com> 
Reply-To: GDG <gettysburg at arthes.com> 
Subject: Re: GDG- NPS & slavery 

Esteemed GDG Member Contributes: 
So over 1/4 million people buried in Arlington and the big story is about 
slavery? 

Give me a break. 

Your Most Obedient Servant, 
Peter 


In a message dated 1/2/2012 8:49:48 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, 
stueypark at hotmail.com writes: 

Esteemed GDG Member Contributes: 

If Gettysburg shouldn't have information about slavery we might want to 
get all that pesky context out of other National Parks too. Who goes to 
Independence Hall to learn about taxation? who goes to Fort McHenry to 
learn 
about impressment? Who goes to Fort Sumter to learn about secession? 

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