Dickinson College / Gilder Lehrman Institute

Author: vannabbott

Mother of Invention by Drew Gilpin Faust

I will admit to tunnel vision with much of my teaching over the last eight years.  I believe that I am in such a hurry to make up for the lack of information that I was given on Black Studies in high school and with my undergraduate degree and, I am trying to ensure that my students do not share the same fate. So I am definitely a bottom up interpreter of history teacher for my students.

So, I am intrigued that I am so drawn to the book by Faust and she hooked me with the introduction. As she explain that the “history of elites has not been a particularly fashionable topic in recent years,” and why she chose to still pursue the research. What captured me was that through this work, I was also able to learn nuances of the enslaved people as well.

I use the book NightJohn by Gary Pulsen to teach the Antebellum Period and we watch the movie in its entirety. Last year I added the narratives of Thomas Day and Dave the Potter to give students a wider perspective of people of color during this period.  On page 161 of Faust book, where she discusses reading and writing, and how the Civil War and literacy changed the course for many women, I thought that I could add this in another layer to my NightJohn lesson, particularly comparing and contrasting the meaning of reading from an enslaved perspective and that of the elite class. So excited to see where this will lead.


Catherine Clinton on Harriet Tubman

Enjoyed the lecture by Catherine Clinton, the ability to come to an depth of understanding beyond the iconic images that is usually displayed during Black History Month. I admired the way that Clinton was able to construct the life of Tubman from sources that she was already familiar with and come away with another construct of a story. And, the ability to find the history when your subject did not leave written documentation is a testament of telling the narrative of all people. Reminds me of last summer when I learned about a slave that made pottery and the stories he was able to leave with his work.

Carolina Clay: The Life and Legend of the Slave Potter Dave by Leonard Todd

Dave the Potter; Artist, Poet, Slave by Laban Carrick Hill and Bryan Collier

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