Civil War and The National Park Service


In this week’s reading of,” Confederates in the Attic” and “Imperiled Promise the State of History in The National Park Service” we observe how today the very prominent racism and segmentation that was once well-known during the Civil War era is still just as pronounced in today’s society. Racism and segregation today, take the form of only white covenants that have been embedded in the deeds old to houses for years. In addition, we take a look at the National Park Service and the service of preservation that they provide to help and further the learning of people in historical history like the Civil war.
In today’s society, we see racism and segregation that activists have been fighting for so long, lying quietly within the old deeds to houses. The Spokesmen Review printed an article titled, “Whites-only covenants still exist in many mid-century Spokane neighborhoods,” notes how a “27-year-old, graduate history student, named Logan Camporeale who goes to Eastern Washington University, ” found and amassed a list of “racist covenants” by prowling through many “ Historical archives and decades-old property atlases to locate lots and boundaries.” According to Logan Camporeale’s research, these covenants are “legally attached to the deeds of homes on the South Hill, the North Side and Spokane Valley in the 1940s, ’50s, and ’60s. . . though not enforceable by law.” No matter the circumstance, once identified, these covenants are not easy to appeal. In an interview the Spokane County auditor, Vicky Dalton, “said she understands why people would object to the covenants, but that her office has a duty to record the history of the community.”
Vicky Daltons idea that it is historians and many others “duty to record the history of the community,” is not just the Spokesmen Reviews job but others as well. You can see this in Tony Horwitz book ” Confederates in the Attic”, Horwitz, book specifically decides how Horwitz, himself got into historical reenacting, and how we the people recoiled our fantasies, about the Civil War. Horwitz, became obsessed with the civil war when he was just “6 years old,” Horwitz’s grandfather, “Poppa Isaac” bought him a book of Civil War sketches, as a result, Horwitz, began to paint pictures of Civil war reenactments on the walls and ceiling of the Attic. (Horwitz,3) Nevertheless, years later, Horwitz, met with many people that he referred to them as “hardcore” reenactors, however, Horwitz recalls they these reenactors much rather liked being called, “living historians” then reenactors. Still, Horwitz also recalls the many habits the reenactors used, like in the case of “losing weight” and urinating on coat buttons,” to portray and preserve history correctly. Throughout many of Horwitz travels he stops and conducts a conversation with Shelby Foote and Horwitz “lobs” a couple of questions at Mr. Foote. Horwitz asks, “Why did the South, in particular, cling to the remembrance of the war?” Foote remarked that the reason for this is because the Civil War happened in the confederates “backyard and you’re not apt to forgetting something that happened on your own property.” (Horwitz, 146)
According to the National Park Service’s article, “Imperiled Promise: The State of History In The National Park Service”, notes that the “nation’s Civil War battlefields are among American’s most iconic landscapes. They are the grounds where Americans died by the thousands, they are today not merely historic sites, but sacred places, these lands were recognized and preserved as significant cultural resources.” (33) Just like the reenactor of the Civil war, the National Park Service also preserves and protects history. “In 1935 passage of the Historic Sites Act, which not only authorized a vast new coordinated program of research, survey, documentation, acquisition, and preservation of historic properties.”(Horwitz, 21) In addition, the NPS, also, “raised the professionalized field of historic preservation studies in the wake of the landmark National Historic Preservation Act or is also known as the NHPA of 1966 has brought indisputable benefits for preserving the nation’s built environment.” (24)
When looking into a deeper perspective it is easy to see that the preservation is everywhere, in reenactment individuals as well as federal agencies like the National Park Service.




Albert Einstein Once said, ” To punish me for my contempt for authority, Fate made me an authority myself.” the idea of authority is the concept that we plunge right into, in this week’s readings.  In the realm of Public history, it is necessary to discuss the role and that individuals play in the owning history. In particular, public history, historian have to keep in mind what the styles and methods that come with sharing authority within the history community.

In chapter 11 of Thomas Cauvin’s book “Public History “,  Cauvin Notes that “the concept of shared authority helps turning people from mere consumers into active participants,”(Cauvin, 216). However, Cauvin also mentions that it is not always easy for historians to share authority. Yet, Cauvin also notes that through “inviting visitors attending exhibitions to share their stories” and “collaboration with narrators in creating oral history sources”, help redistribute authority more equally between historians and the public. (Cauvin, 216).  Cauvin remarks that by giving the community more “voices helps empowers the people, especially the underrepresented minorities.” (Cauvin,  217). In addition, to multiplying the voices of the community, Cauvin also notes that if historians want to share the authority they must adapt to not longer “ignoring the relevance of feelings and emotions writing history,” (Cauvin, 217)

Within, reinterpreting history, historian are plunged into the realm of feelings that come to both the audience as well as interpreters. Cauvin notes that in an instance at  Colonial Williamsburg. A Young reactor named Imani Turner experienced strong “overwhelming” emotions when reenacting a “slave about to rin for freedom,” (Cauvin, 217). Thomas Cauvin also remarks that when the ” interpreter goes through personal emotions, it linked to the re-enactment. Those emotions are also a way to connect with audiences.” (Cauvin, 217)  Cauvin also notes that collaborations and celebration despite their difference also help balance and share authority.


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“Run to Freedom” scene at the Peyton Randolph property. Eve, portrayed by Hope Smith (left), hugs Kate, portrayed by Imani Turner (right) before she runs to freedom with the British as Cornwallis leaves Williamsburg for Yorktown. 2008. Credit: David M. Doody. Courtesy of The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. Also, this Photo can be found on page 217 in Thomas Cauvin’s Book Public History.

To explain why people have such close connection to the past despite if they are not an educational historian is to the fact that in our everyday lives we preserve the past in our lives. In chapter 2 Rosenzweig’s and Thelen’s, book “The Presence of the Past”, They note that  Many people dig deep into the family heritage to find out what anything from establishing their identity to their genetic or to the understand the culture they grandparents came from.

In addition in chapter 12 of Cauvin book “Public History,”  Cauvin also notes that Historian also acts as activists. So it is not far-fetched when I  say that historians look at the past to help frame the future. Cauvin notes that “History has a wonderful potential to examine contemporary issues and social concerns in the light of the past so that history can help people understand the complexity of the present,” (Cauvin,. 230).





Writing History to the Public


In this week reading of “The Presence of the Past” By Rosenzweig and Thelen, and “Public History Writing” by Thomas Cauvin, the readings note how people preserve history, and how we use it in our everyday lives. In addition, Thomas Cauvin, explains how writing to public history can be challenging.

In April of 1994, the Indiana University center conducted a survey of 808 people on their experiences with the past. Many people today do not realize how much history they are participating in. We participate in history when we, look at “photos with our family, take photos or videos to preserve memories or even when we write in a journal or diary,” (Rosenzweig, Thelen, 4). For most people, they do not tend to realize that “family reunions” and spending Christmas with the folks are all a part of human documenting and preserving this family history,”(Rosenzweig/ Thelen, 4).When a 32- year old “Physical Therapist” was asked by the surveys of Indiana University, about “how he feel connected to the past at holidays,” they noted that “ your grandmother and great-grandmother. Bring a part of their traditions and so forth into the celebration.”  (Rosenzweig, Thelen, 6). However, in another instance when Respondents to the survey were asked, “Respondents felt the most unconnected to the past when they encounter it in books, movies or classrooms.” (Rosenzweig, Thelen, 7). In addition, when African American respondents were asked about what they trust as far as historical information goes, they retorted by noting that “they distrust historical information from schoolteacher then white European American do.”  (Rosenzweig, Thelen, 13). So how do historians create, a history that people can trust and connect to?


In Thomas Cauvin’s book “Public History” he notes that, when writing history for the public, many “popular historians often aspire to write in a novelized form, so that the reader can experience and feel the subject’s life and times” (Cauvin, 115). Thomas Cauvin remarks, that “it is always very important for public historians to provide a style that does not deter public attention.” (Cauvin, 117).  Thomas Cauvin explains that when writing for the public you must immediately hook the reader. Cauvin clarifies that “you have no more than 10 seconds to hook a busy reader. (Cauvin, 118).  In addition, Cauvin advocate that you keep at least “70 percent of the words in your piece should be one syllable long. Two-and three-syllable words should make up the bulk of the rest.” (Cauvin, 118). Keeping your words sample and hooking your audience fast will help you to keep and maintain your audiences. However, Cauvin doesn’t just advocate sentence structure and wording, Cauvin also promotes intense research, Cauvin advocates research because it “offers readers an intellectual challenge as well as an entertainment” (Cauvin, 120). In addition, another way to hook your reader or audience is to write in “first person” point of view, to provide a feeling of connection with the character.” (Cauvin, 120).

There are many aspects that go into creating well-rounded historical texts. However, writers and authors must keep in mind the style in which they use to create their projects. Writers also need to be able to hook and keep the attention of their audience and so they feel more connected to history.

History of Cheney Washington


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Bird’s eye view of Cheney, Wash. Ter., county seat of Spokane County, 1884

Today The city of Cheney is located roughly 20 minutes by car from Spokane, in a nice quaint area just off road I-90. Today, Cheney is home to many local residents as well as an estimate 13,543 student population that flocks here for a higher education. However, modern day Cheney has not always been this way. The history of Cheney as a wonderful story that is intriguing as well as mind opening.

According to, Cheney was first settled in 1878 However, back then Cheney was known as “Willow Springs and would soon later be changed to Section 13. Today residents, as well as students that live on and around 1st street, know, that trains are an enormous part of the city of Cheney. The idea has not changed much since the 1880’s was a railroad town. Cheney at the time was going by the section 13. This was due to the “lines on a survey map”.  Section 13 was a “key stop on a survey map of the Northern Pacific Railroad. Soon after, land speculators started buying up land for the creation of the railroad, the townships started to bloom with a new influx of people. This gave way to Cheney “managing to wrest the title of the Spokane County seat away from the more established town of Spokane Falls.” Cheney was no always the little brother to Spokane. During this time the county seat was “chosen by popular vote”. This was not a great thing for Spokane.  During the time of the railroad boom, Cheney particularly bigger than Spokane falls, particularly bigger than Spokane’s 1000 residents. As a result, this leads to a to the vote in November of 1880 which resulted in several “recounts” of the popular vote. In the end, “Cheney men and a judge and deputy sheriff,” then went into town in the early morning hour of March 21, 1881, and declared the Cheney to be the winner of the vote and then was whipped away until the “they were confident that the county seat was truly theirs.”

Regardless of Cheney boarders, Cheney has also been known to be the birthplace of Eastern Washington University. According to another article, called “Eastern Washington University,” Eastern University, use to be the “Benjamin P. Cheney Academy.” The Academy, in the article called “125 Events That Shaped Eastern Washington University,”  says that Benjamin P Cheney, donated 10,000 dollars to the opening of the Academy, and in April of 1882, the Academy opened. Later, The Academy was eventually turned into a “State Normal School, a teacher’s college in Cheney.” The State school opened up in “October 13, 1890, with only 16 pupils”.

As Cheney history, has unrolled we find out that Cheney isn’t exactly what it seems. Between the vote dispute as well as the Normal School main building burned to the ground and destroying all school records and library plus teaching materials in the building. There is a lot more than what meets the eye. Cheney history has made it what it is today. Cheney is a still thriving school with the most wonderful professors. I think it would be some Benjamin P Cheney would still be proud of today

To Be Or Not To Be


Archives, they are not just building that house old pieces of paper. There are many things that go into creating a working archive. In this week’s reading, we explore questions like, what goes into making a wonderful archive? How many different types of archives are there? What skills go into creating and managing archives?  Finally, what education and ethics are needed to create a great archivist.

Dealing with employment, most archives require an undergraduate or a graduate degree, to be employed. In addition, according to the SAA or the Society of American Archives, in their article So you want to be an Archivist says that even though most individuals “receive a graduate degree in history or library science. . . Public administration and political science are also useful specializations.”  None the less, there are many different kinds of archives that you can work for after receiving an education.  According to the Society of American Archives, in their web article, Types of Archives, many individuals can work for college or university archive. College or university archives are angled towards “preserve materials relating to a specific academic institution and their alumni . . . and then to serve the public. In addition, an individual can also work at a Religious archive like the United Methodist Church Archives, which are angled towards “the traditions or institutions of a major faith, denominations within a faith.”

Within the realm of archives, there is an essential code of conduct to adhere by, this is called a “Code of Ethics” this code of conduct ranges anywhere from being trustworthy, to having good judgment. Most archivists must have spectacular judgment because archivists often are “appraising, acquiring, and processing materials to ensure the preservation, authenticity, diversity, and lasting cultural and historical value of their collections,” (Core Values, 4). In addition, archivists must be trustworthy, this is since, archivists on a daily basis handle and organize hundreds or rare and irreplaceable artifacts, it is the archivists utmost job to “not take unfair advantage of their privileged access to and control of historical records and documentary materials,” (Core Values, 5).

Nevertheless, there is more than just an ethical code that pertains to being an archivist. A big part of archiving is preserving artifacts such as manuscripts, diaries, and rare historical documents. In regards to preservation archivist “must be able to examine the physical composition of every format of document, and identify the possible threat of deterioration.” (Cauvin, 35). In addition, an archivist has to take into account, the environment and “in particular, issues such as light, humidity, and air pollution are major factors in the deterioration and preservation of items.” (Cauvin, 35).

There are many aspects to being a magnificent archivist, however, being trustworthy and learning the codes of ethics will help you. It takes a lot to be an archivist, however, with the proper education and workplace. You will be able to shape yourself into becoming a magnificent

Digital Daggers


In my family, there has always been the agreement whether a paperback book is better than an E-book. The argument in my house has always stayed the same, paperback books are far superior to any E-book. However, today many things are digitized. For history, digitization of documents, archives as well as the creation of documentaries and historical films, have helped the historical community excel dramatically. Yet, there are many things that go into making historical films or documentaries, as well as digitizing archives. Within the book, Public History, in the chapters called Radio and Audio-Visual Production, Digital Public History, it explains what skills and tactics are needed to create a historically accurate documentary and radio history.

Since the invention of the first radio by Guglielmo Marconi in 1895, radios today do more than just send and signals across the English Channel. Today, we hear everything from the top pop song of the season to weather reports on the radio. Nonetheless, Historians also decidedly contribute to oral history on the radio. We first see this in, conduction of interviews, which leave the floor to mostly to the narrator. Secondly, by creating a radio program, which selects parts of interviews that focus on a specific theme for the program. Cauvin explains that if “Public historians are willing to produce radio programs should study the ins and outs of oral history and sound archives,” (Cauvin, p. 164).

In addition, Cauvin goes on to note that archives normally do not need quality media. However, when it comes to radio programming, quality media is vital. Quality media ensures that the contributing theme or idea is clearly and coherently conveyed to the audience. In addition, there are some ideas the Cauvin says that historians should be aware of when establishing some historical films. Cauvin says that filmmakers and historians’ agendas very from each other. “The task for historians is to arrive at some kind of truth … the goal for the filmmaker is to create a film reality that allows the audience to believe a story as if it were true” (Cauvin, 165).

Nevertheless, when used properly, radio history can be used to connect people everywhere that “gives access to voices people rarely hear”, (Cauvin, 164).  Even though the sources like the radio and film documentaries are used to connect people, you cannot connect people properly if you do not use the right tools. The world-wide-web is a historians favor and most helpful tool. The world-wide-web has helped people and historians that share research methods and information to colleges and the public, through social media platforms as well as websites. In Dan Cohen article Is Google Good for History?”, Cohen notes that Google, however, even though its controversial in the uses of research of information, has given the historical community websites like “Google Scholar, Google Books, newspaper archives”. Nevertheless, technology has skyrocketed since the 1980s and continues to still to this day. In many ways, the sources like the world-wide-web and film documentaries as well as radios have helped connect people to a more historical event.


If We Could Turn Back Time


Within history, there are many things that historians do to turn back time. In many cases, historian strive to preserve and restore artifacts that are important in history. Many preservationists look towards historical houses and landmarks to preserve history. In this week’s reading, Wallace and Cauvin talk about preservation and activist that supported their effort. In addition, the reading also notes on the different kinds of activists and their origins.

What is preservation? Preservation, is the stabilization or preservation, restoration, reconstruction, and rehabilitation all belong to historic site, structure of landscape. Cauvin, Thomas. Public History: A Textbook of Practice (p. 57). Many historical artifacts can range from preserving the houses of the founding father or, simply saving a famous historical building from deconstruction from elite real estate agencies. According to Public History, “Historic preservation aims at preserving the past for future generations”, Cauvin, Thomas. Public History: A Textbook of Practice (p. 55). The preservation of historical artifacts and buildings started about 70 years after the American Revolution when the United States realized that they had not historical heritage in North America. As a result, this kick-started preservationist all across the United States, Wallace, Mike Mickey Mouse History, (p. 179).



Signing of the Declaration of Independence


The between 1880’s and 1940’s there were four groups of activist that protested the deconstruction of the past. First was a group of “merchant and textile magnates of Antebellum New England. Sequentially the next group, were the decadence of the “Antebellum planter class that lived in the backwater river and seaport towns”. Next to follow were multimillionaire industrialists, which were mentioned in my very first post “Museums Hanging in The Balance”. These millionaire industrialists include people like. Henry Ford and John D.  Rockefeller. Who created colonial Williamsburg. Nevertheless, last group of preservationists “came from the professional and managerial strata, Wallace (p 181-183).

Many of these activists made major stride in the pursuit of preservation law. Places like the national Park Service and Historical American Building Survey (HABS), struggled for the doctrine idea of “adaptive reuse” and to establish the National Register of Historical Places, Wallace (P 189-190). The National Register “criteria are the basis of historic preservation policy nationwide. Listing in the Register qualifies a property for federal grants, loans, and tax incentives,” Cauvin, (p. 60).

In any regard, Preservation is very controversial when it comes to the specific individual ownership of a historical site or structure. On one hand, it is the right of each and every individual to do whatever they desire with their personal property. However, this ideas changes through the course of time. Due to cultural, political, and economic changes through the ages. Cities and towns people need room in capitalize so to speak. Or in other words, investor in real estate need room to expand their ever-growing empire. It topic becomes controversial when large corporate companies and agencies get their hand on historical site that are under their name. As a result, activists fight for legislation to preserve and honor these magnificent site and structure.

In the case of historical preservation, historians must take into consideration the historical value of the structure/site and its location. With every historical site, there is a back story that can be left open to interpretation. In addition, it is the responsibility for historians and the public alike to preserve as much history as possible.