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Friday, June 23, 2017
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    David Rotenstein

    David Rotenstein
    David Rotenstein is a Maryland historian. He writes about architectural and industrial history and has worked in historic preservation and public history since 1984. He is completing a book on gentrification and housing history in Decatur, Georgia. In a past life he also wrote about music and popular culture for newspapers and magazines.
    Number of posts: 5
    Email address: email
    MSN ID: drotenstein

    By David Rotenstein:


      decatur, ga

      Black History Month in the City of Homes, Schools, and Churches

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Feb 2, 2015
      Black History Month in the City of Homes, Schools, and Churches

      Color-blind racism is a tough nut to crack. Americans in recent months have confronted some uneasy truths about how race influences the way we see the world around us. It is easier to see and perhaps explain when it’s police racial profiling or some other symptom of structural racism that has immediate and almost always deadly consequences. Racism is less visible and harder to understand when it involves a city’s approach to preserving and communicating its history. And yet, a community’s public history conveys key messages about its values and identity.

      separate and unequal

      Clinging to Jim Crow through historic preservation

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Jul 3, 2013
      Clinging to Jim Crow through historic preservation

      Decatur’s Beacon Elementary and Trinity High schools were among the hundreds of equalization schools built in Georgia after World War II. They were constructed in 1955 and 1956 on the site where the city had maintained its African American school, the Herring Street School, since the early twentieth century.  In early 2013, three years after receiving a $10,000 historic preservation grant that should have led to the property’s protection, the City of Decatur began demolishing parts of the two schools to build a new police headquarters and civic plaza.

      In The Pine Woods

      Down at the still

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Jun 2, 2013
      Down at the still

      Turpentine camps once were common throughout the Southeastern Coastal Plain landscape. They were industrial communities in some of the nation’s most remote and non-industrial areas: the pine flatwoods stretching from Mississippi to North Carolina. Unlike the company towns in America’s rust belt or the northeast, turpentine camps were temporary settlements defined by debt peonage and populated by African Americans who couldn’t escape the lowest rung of the Southern socioeconomic ladder …

      Southern People

      The poet’s house

      by | 0, Add your Comment | May 13, 2013
      The poet's house

      U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey isn’t the first nationally acclaimed wordsmith to make her home in Decatur, Ga. Between 1892 and 1916, Charles W. Hubner (1835-1929), the “Poet Laureate of the South,” lived  at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Gordon Street in the city’s southwest quadrant. After a couple of decades in Atlanta, Hubner had a home built in the fashionable East End subdivision, one of the Atlanta Suburban Land Company’s residential ventures in unincorporated DeKalb County along the streetcar line linking Decatur and Atlanta.

      Cyberstalkers

      Tearing down buildings and people in a small Southern city

      by | 1, Add your Comment | May 4, 2013
      Tearing down buildings and people in a small Southern city

      At 8:15 AM March 20, 2013, I snapped an iPhone photo of the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C., and posted it to my Google Plus profile along with a brief caption. Less than an hour later and 540 miles away, a woman I’ll call Mary Barth composed a tweet in her Decatur, Ga., home and sent it using an account called “IHeartOakhurst2”: “you’re really going to tell the u.s. senate that you were cyberstalking decatur residents? that’s very brave.”

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