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Reading, Writing and Learning Southern Histories

September 15, 2010

You can say that it all began when I decided to take a class in visual studies.  It is a class about data visualization and dealing with artifacts. But since studying ancient ruins and architecture is not possible, we have taken to studying a local Cemetery, and that being the Maplewood Cemetery. You can see some samples pictures if you click on the link I’ve provided. I will later upload some of the pictures I’ve taken at the cemetery, and probably more when I can go back to the site and take pictures of some of the historic places that would give more idea as to the life and times of the Durham residents.  In the process of doing so, we became a part of an ongoing project called the Pauli Murray Project. It even has its own Facebook. Studying dead people and their monuments enable us to untangle the spaces by which their histories, scandals, abjection, genealogies and socio-economic background. One can see so much even just by looking at the family plot, the tombstones, ornaments and inscriptions found on the tomb.  More interestingly, the older section of the cemetery were founded in an era when segregation took place in birth as in life. I would suggest anyone who hasn’t already done so to read Pauli Murray’s Proud Shoes: the Story of the American Family. It is a story both riveting and heartbreaking It is a story of miscegenation, legislative inhumanity, slavery, freedom and perseverance against all odds.

Next week, I will be part of an exciting class to trace the emotional and personal lives of the political superstars of a young country, showing how the conditions of a nation is not shaped by the fate of one skin-tone or race. I will write more about this later. For now, goodnight

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