". . . 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

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Wilkinson County - Natchez

Got into Natchez in the late afternoon.  Rain began as soon as we crossed out of Louisiana into Wilkinson county -- named for Our Favorite, General Wilkinson, the American Flashman.

The rain got heavier all through dinner and the night.

Clear and sunny at 7 AM, but clouded over and became dreary during breakfast. Off again to see Under-the-Hill in the daytime and without pouring rain.  Old Man River hurtled on below the Bluffs is not the Big Brown Muddy but an iron grey. Not even going to church this morning (the AME 1858 one, across from the nightclub where 200 people burned to death back in the 1920's) changed that. But Sister Clementine changed our hearts so we don't believe in evolution no more!

Out again, soon, to do what it is we do.  Bad weather is supposedly arriving.

Don't think I've spent any serious time in Mississippi before -- only along the Gulf strip.  My geographical sense of where I am in relationship to other parts of the world -- or, in this case, the Atlantic coastal locations, NYC, and the rest of the south has become deeper and more unconscious.  I am aware in a way I've never been before of the sense of unity that is Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee.  I knew it abstractly, intellectually, and from the map.  But this last year has made it physical and emotional too.  I love that!


Foxessa said...

Someone elsewhere expressed surprise that we went to church. This was an African Methodist Church service -- yes, we attend them on occasion.

This one is the historically famous Zion Chapel African Methodist Church, est. 1858:

The role of the Black Churches in U.S. history and popular music and culture is significant, and continues to this day.

Also, el v needs to do two sermons in Las Vidas Perfectas, so he was, besides appreciating the music, refreshing himself in the style and rhythm of the get 'em on their legs and open their mouths black preachers.

On another subject, books! -- we bought a passel of 'em today. O, lordessa. What this going to do to our baggage weight.

Under the circumstances of certain circumstances which include the weather and O SO FRACKIN' MUCH WORK!, we're thinking of cutting this trip short by a day ....

Love, c.

Foxessa said...

Among the books is Blues Traveling: The Holy Sites of Delta Blues, a travel guide that lists every venue, past and present. El V grabbed that immediately.

What I grabbed immediately was Lanterns on the Levee: Recollections of a Planter's Son (1941) by William Alexander Percy, who adopted Walker Percy and his siblings when their parents were killed. Their father was cousin to William Alexander.

Some years back, o maybe in the late 90's, I was looking for this book. It didn't exist, it seemed. The library didn't have it, etc. I finally read it from the Tulane Library when we lived in New Orleans. I didn't realize it had been put back in print.

It's quite a text to read, in conjunction with Barry's Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927.

I grabbed it. There was only one copy, and the cover was curled, so the store gave me/us a discount. But then, there was a large stack of books we were buying.

I also got a girl trinket, an antebellum Victorian china container made for a lady's dressing table, into which she might store a special ring, or earrings or pin -- no room for anything else.

Love, c.

Foxessa said...

Hmmm. On our way to Clarkesdale we'd need to make only a very slight detour -- about 10 miles -- to go to Greenville -- where Percy's from, as well as many other writers.

Love, C.

Foxessa said...

At the Great Village of the Natchez Indians I got three big magnets with beautiful horses on them. These are for L, the three-year-old daughter of our NO hostess, R.

L is horse crazy. R is trying to figure out how she can pay for riding lessons when L is big enough. Riding lessons -- and all that go with them -- are as expensive there and anywhere else. R's a single mom ....

Love, c.

Foxessa said...

I witnessed something sad at the Village. We were in a back room admiring a soft, smooth tanned deer skin with the hair still on -- so beautiful. A young man comes in, with a little girl in his arms, just about one, or maybe just a little older. He's with a visibly impatient wife and a bewildered buddy. The father is walking around the museum in a state of excitement and happiness. He's talking loudly enough I can hear him. He'd been brought to the Village often as a boy, on school trips, and even camping trips. He was excited to be there again. The memories were such happy ones, obviously.

I said to him, "And now you've brought your daughter, to start sharing these happy memories with her."

"I sure have," he agrees with delight.

But -- his wife picks up a beautiful basket, and drops it again. "So how many of these things do you think they can sell? Do they make a lot of money?" and walks away from him. She definitely rained on his parade. His buddy too, is just like, wtf?

They left immediately after that.

I wouldn't bet on this marriage surviving for many more years.

Love, c.