". . . 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

Friday, May 24, 2013

Departing the Liminal

This last week it was the Mother of Slavery.

The last two days were transitional, the change of state:

From the world of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, who had moral qualms about slavery (TJ found that living from selling slaves and slave labor trumped morality every time, while Washington, at least, freed his slaves in his will) to the world of no moral qualms at all in South Carolina -- no siree bhob! slavery is a positive GOOD FOR THE SLAVES!;

Change of water into land, land into water;

The Norfolk-Portsmouth-New Port News-Hampton Roads region -- from which tens of thousands of people of color changed their state of mere enslavement for life to that of the dark regions of early death's no return further south and west. This, along with Richmond and Charleston and other Atlantic ports, mirror on this side of the Atlantic the slave entrepots and out ports on the African Atlantic coast;

North Carolina's Albemarle County -- which was thefted from Virginia and given to Carolina, mostly in order that Carolina in that day might have one county that had white population;

The Great Dismal Swamp, location of so much of Virginia's William Byrd's -- he of Westover -- dreams and fantasies;

And Albemarle Sound.

Down to the vital port of the CSA, Wilmington, North Carolina.

Today we enter the Heart of Darkness.  We go to Beaufort, South Carolina.  Old John C. will be spinning in his crypt, perhaps.

Geography is the second pillar of history (the first, of course, chronology).  There is the reason the Father of History, Herodotus, traveled the lands and the peoples who lived in them. The historian must know the typography, the distance, the climate and what exists therein.  How vast, how very vast, the Chesapeake regions, how varied.  We have traveled the entire length, from Maryland down to Albemarle now.

We had lunch-breakfast yesterday in a nice little place in Windsor.

It's hot.

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