While I was raised on the "left coast," our family is now living in the South. We recently went on a homeschool field trip to the local History museum*. I was warned by a friend that they glazed over the history of slavery, segregation, and discrimination, so I was prepared to find a museum totally lacking coverage of these topics.
Surprisingly, they DID have exhibits covering slavery and segregation. The Docent who gave the tour mostly skipped over these exhibits.... except 2 of them. The first was a model of a home where slaves might have lived. The Docent said, that sure looked like it was darn nice home. Then he went on to show us a portrait of a local woman. She was a wealthy slave owner and when she died, she willed that all her slaves be sent back to Africa. The Docent said how much her slaves loved her and how they were all so happy.
That was it. No more. We (and our children) are meant to be given the impression that the slaves lived in quite nice little homes and they loved their masters. OK.
There were more exhibits, more pieces to the puzzle, more to see and read, but it really was passed over.
Granted, the Docent was quite elderly (and white).... actually I think everyone we saw working at the museum was white.... Hmmmm.....
But, it can get better. Our city can move forward and improve. There was a woman shadowing our tour group. A young African American woman with her beautiful daughters - She will be a new Docent at the museum. I hope she'll stick around and add a new perspective, a new narrative (as opposed to the old white male narrative). I'm excited to go back someday and see what she will bring to the museum and listen to her present the material.
Overall, I was impressed with all the exhibits. It truly is a wonderful museum. I have high hopes for it's future and the future of our city.
*I won't disclose the name of the museum - I don't think public shaming is the solution. And, sorry, no photos - all the photos I have from the trip include ALL the children and I don't have releases from the other parents to share them in this context.
A work in progress