This week we revisit an updated Lesson Plan 10 of 67 in our GED/HiSET series, and then, we see how the very first race riot in the USA took place, right in the District of Columbia, and how that relates to gatekeepers, but before that, a quick word about Isaias:
We have finally met the hero of Who By Fire: I Will, Isaias, an escaped slave, now a fugitive from the law, in 1838. But, how did he escape? Well, we can’t let the cat out of the bag entirely, can we? A hint: it has to do with these riots we mentioned a second ago.
In reflecting on my time as a tour creator in DC, and wondering how slavery still influences us, today. I loved giving the first tour of my Underground Railroad and Black History series Singing Community Cooperation tours back in DC, and then writing about them.
Interesting points that I tried to make during my tours, from a fascinating book about DC´s 1st race riot, by Moreley, in his book, Snow-storm in August : Washington City, Francis Scott Key, and the forgotten race riot of 1835, not only puts together a sound context for the Snow Riots, but also draws together strands which began then, and still define, he claims, our politics today. I found most striking his juxtaposing of property rights and individual vs. community as well as freedom of speech, and whether free speech is applied best for owners (elites) vs. the people (the 99%).
Snow, the almost unrelated star of the event, was in the habit of placing very attention-getting, and mouth-watering ads to attract customers, and was a manumitted former slave who’d established a very successful Epicurean Eatery in DC, featured in this post’s image above, and described in Morley’s excellent book, which I got from the DC Public Library.
With my DC Black-Jewish Walking Tours, I started by melding the Black and Jewish DC histories, which was way too big, and looked at how other groups give their walking tours to try to cut down my tours while keeping the essential, and then shared that information (yes, I was severely criticized by one person, acting as gatekeeper for me, I suppose, without my approval, for not keeping my sources secret, but that goes against my principles), hoping to attract allies and build a cooperative.
Tying the past to the present: Do gatekeepers enslave human potential?
In Journal of a Residence on a Georgian Plantation 1838-1839, Frances Ann Kemble points to the reactions of slave owners and overseers in the capacity of gatekeepers, preventing the voices of slaves from being heard.
More generally and in the same vein, Voices of Dissent’s C. Heifetz and Sarah Ariste (magazine article from abt. 2006 now unfindable…), ask in “Voices Without Authority” whether our gatekeepers are preventing us from living up to our values as a society.
I further that question:
Are our gatekeepers, and particularly, those who choose the gatekeepers, preventing humanity from reaching its full potential? For, if we fail to live up to the values we profess as a society, such as freedom for all, or equality before the law, then are we not also limiting the potential contributions of some, and thus failing to achieve all that we could, as a whole?
I realize the need, in certain situations, for gatekeepers. However, when the gatekeepers act on the basis of privilege or perception, rather than on the actual needs of the given situation, they can be counter-productive. They can artificially prevent access, resulting in uneven or misleading outcomes, or in simple outright injustice. This reduces our effectiveness as a society in providing each person the opportunity to contribute fully to the creativity and productivity of the human race, and that, is a shame for all of us.
Gregorian Date: Thursday, September, 2020AD
Holocene Calendar: Thursday, September, 12020 HE
1.) Think of how you, personally, have been affected by gatekeepers? How did you feel about that process?
2.) Do you know of others who went through similar experiences, and how did that seem, to you? Did you get to see the process from the other person’s point of view?
3.) What do you know of other gatekeepers?
4.) What do you think is the use of gatekeepers, and why?
originally posted in:
September, 12020 HE
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