Regional Controversy

Rhodes

After the time we spent last semester discussing the controversy of the Confederate flag and other symbols of discrimination, I appreciated Lance opening up the conversation last night with our guests from The High Point Museum. Mike said something about the regional aspect of southern history and culture – comparing the South to Pennsylvania.

On my drive home, there was an interesting segment on Marketplace (American Public Media) about controversy in London over the statue of Cecil John Rhodes at Oxford University. In his will, Rhodes created a trust that has allowed nearly 8,000 Rhodes scholars to study at Oxford for over a century, many consider Rhodes a gracious philanthropist. Rhodes is also being called a “racist mass murderer of Africans” and a campaign called The Rhodes Must Fall led by black and minority ethnic student are calling for the statue to come down and the dialogue to be opened. The campaign has a lot to say about the unhealed wounds of Africa’s colonial heritage.

Learn more by reading this article.

This led me to think about the regional aspect of controversy. The South has Confederate flags and monuments, Oxford has Rhodes (and another Rhodes statue stands in South Africa). Though each region has their own ugly history, this idea of lifting marginalized voices and recalibrating histories seems to have a very universal appeal.

 

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One thought on “Regional Controversy

  1. Using history to address the legacy of past injustices is certainly a new use of the old discipline. I don’t want to say that we can get carried away with it–lord knows there are plenty of injustices to be addressed–but it is important to remember that we are operating in a profession that spends much more time doing straight history education and things like spoon making workshops. I wonder how you take the moral urgency from the former and infuse it into the later.

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