". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Monday, November 19, 2012

Today's Anniversaries

Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, 1863.

50 years ago today the White House hosted Jazz for the first time: Paul Winter and his group, in the JFK White house of 1962. Doesn't that seem amazing in retrospect? That it took all that time for jazz to be American enough to enter those historic halls?
To me, these two anniversaries are not unconnected. Lincoln's Emancipation earlier in 1863 allowed all that enslaved creativity to explode a generation or two later, making a popular culture that united the world musically, a cultural expression that began to develop in the great churn of the interstate slave trade.

But of course, you notice, when Jazz did first come into the White House, it came in white ....

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