Number of posts: 5
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MSN ID: drotenstein
By David Rotenstein:
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
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
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 …
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.
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.”