Slavery And Public History: The Tough Stuff of American Memory

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Slavery and Global Public History Conference: Concluding Roundtable

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The Tough Stuff of American Memory is a collection of essays about the dilemmas of race, slavery, and the public memory of slavery. The first three essays are high-altitude assessments. Ira Berlin begins with a history of slavery and explains the importance of this history, and memories of this history, to contemporary debates about race.

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David Blight examines the relationship between history and memory and warns that historians cannot afford to discount the power that collective memory hold in group and cultural identification. John Horton concludes with an examination of the limitations and challenges to discussion of slavery in educational and public history settings. The subsequent essays move in for a closer look at contemporary resistance to a more accurate history of slavery and individual case studies of attempts to incorporate the story of slavery into existing sites.

His primary sources include St. DuBois, and Frederick Douglas, seeking their perspective on memory. The History of a Relationship, by John R. Gillis continues the discussion in terms of national identity. Cynthia Ozick, in Metaphor and Memory, warns that history can be weak in the face of myth and its oracles; historians cannot ignore the risks of avoiding engagement and thus abandoning the field to the inspirations of Delphi. The case studies were useful as starting points for discussion; it would be interesting to follow up to see how things stand a decade after publication of this book.

Has progress been made; if so, how and why have these sites succeeded? A must read for anyone interested in race and slavery in America! Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. I got this book for research but instead of just researching bits out of the book I read it, and I couldn't put it down!


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Slavery is a dark spot on our nations history, but we have to learn to come together as a society to discuss it openly and fairly. Slavery defined race in America, and it created the racial divide we have today. We will never heal the discord in our country until we learn to come to grips with its root cause. This, this book, is a great starting point to beginning that discussion.

This is history that is difficult to interpret but I believe we have a responsibility to do just that. History cannot be just the great heroes and the nice stuff. Horton is a scholar and a teacher who helps bring to light the truth and history should always be about the truth. Whether people like it or not we must do our best to tell the real story. Excellent read for local historians and civic groups venturing into making local history more inclusive and meaningful. James Oliver Horton and Lois E. Horton have assembled a collection of essays that are timely in attempting to present public history.

The essays reveal the difficulty and controversy surrounding topics involving the Civil War, slavery and race.

One person found this helpful. Just started this book, looks like a great resource so far. A collection of informed perspectives on contemporary issues relevant to public history and heritage studies. This simi-autobiographical story of Walter Lenoir brings the period before, during, and after the Civil War to life. Told through journal entries laced together by the author using careful research and other primary sources this great little book helps us understand the hard decisions that were made during the Civil War.

Why volunteer to fight for the Confederates cause if you profess to be against slavery? Why would one brother choose to fight for the North while another would choose the South? An interesting look into these and many other issues that illustrate the Civil War era. See all 9 reviews. Most recent customer reviews. Published on June 19, Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway. The Tough Stuff of American Memory. Set up a giveaway.

Customers who bought this item also bought. Most sites and museums have embraced the concept of telling it like it really was, but it hasn't been easy This book is a collection of essays by public historians on how museums, historic sites, memorials and other landmarks are dealing with the issue of slavery. Most sites and museums have embraced the concept of telling it like it really was, but it hasn't been easy, and there are still some holdouts.

But for the general public to get a full picture of American history, slavery can't be minimized. Some of these essays show how much of a struggle it was to be allowed to tell the story, some show a struggle still ongoing. Still, there are many success stories in this book. Apr 23, Aurora Dimitre rated it liked it Shelves: Mar 28, Erin rated it liked it. This book had a very polarizing effect on me. I either wholly agreed or disagreed with the opinions it expressed; there was no middle ground.

The book is meant to be a platform for how to discuss slavery in public history institutions, but the essays within incite strong feelings, and not always in the best way. I will admit I read this for a class, and unless it had been assigned I probably would not have picked it up. Some of the essays had excellent points to contribute to the discussion of s This book had a very polarizing effect on me.

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Other essays were nothing more than an outlet to express frustration over something that should have never been an issue in the first place like, "For Whom Will the Liberty Bell Toll? From Controversy to Cooperation. If you are interested in this topic, then by all means pick it up. A word of caution though: If you are wanting something fun and imaginative, I would try something else.

Jan 04, Tracy rated it really liked it.

Slavery and Public History: The Tough Stuff of American Memory

Really enjoyed reading the book Sometimes I think about how far we as Americans have come Slavery is a hard topic. Many people believe that slavery no longer exists. I hope someday the world will no longer tolerate the horrid treatment of others. For us in the United States Extremely in-depth look at the ongoing debate about slavery and the Civil War.

This books consists of eleven essays by academic and public historians. Pitcaithley "A Cosmic Threat". It follows the effect on our public memory in the south, but also in a place like Rhode Island, treating the myriad of "memories" that we have, from White Southern, Neo-Confederate, Extremely in-depth look at the ongoing debate about slavery and the Civil War. It follows the effect on our public memory in the south, but also in a place like Rhode Island, treating the myriad of "memories" that we have, from White Southern, Neo-Confederate, White Northern, and African-American.

Oct 28, Gina rated it liked it Shelves: This one had excellent essays about how slavery has been treated in public history. I agreed with many of their points especially the overarching theme that having a better education system will provide for a more open dialogue of these issues, including racism. I recommend it to those interested. Bonus is that you don't have to read it all in one sitting, it can be done over time since it is a collection of essays! Aug 08, Victoria rated it it was amazing Shelves: I really enjoyed this book.

It is actually a collection of essays from different perspectives in or pertaining to the field of Public History. While I did not necessarily agree with all of the opinions expressed in each essay, I still felt as though I learned through these people's experiences. I also appreciate the book's theme as a whole, which expressed concern for the state of public education and how it teaches students about slavery. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Dec 16, Kb rated it it was amazing. If there was any question to begin with regarding why we study slavery, this book provides the answers.

Not only must we consider how we remember such dark chapters of American history but why we remember them as such. This work also raises the question of who the true revisionists are. Mar 14, Denali rated it liked it Shelves: Some essays in this collection were excellent some less so hence 3 stars.

This was an excellent idea for a book. Oct 09, Erik rated it it was amazing Shelves: Historians, public or no, go read this. May 30, Jenny. There are a few strong articles--specifically the David Blight piece--but as as whole, it isn't as great as I had hoped it would be. Mostly I felt guilty for making my students buy it.

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Oct 11, Melissa rated it it was amazing Shelves: Read for my intro to museum studies course--so glad I was able to read this classic! Eye-opening about representation of slavery in American historical sites and museums. For my purposes, this book was too surface; series of essays, rather than historical facts. Johanna rated it liked it Jul 26, Erica rated it really liked it Oct 19, Anna rated it really liked it Oct 28, Melanie rated it really liked it Jul 21, E Frances rated it it was amazing Oct 25, Jenn Crowley rated it really liked it Sep 18, Marcus Lehmann rated it liked it Mar 23,


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