Robert Vinson and Jennifer Allen Quoted in NPR Article: What Do You Call The 'Anniversary' Of A Disaster?Historians in the News
tags: historians, history, disasters, NPR, podcasts
And this month — August — marks 400 years since the first enslaved Africans were brought to what would become the United States. It's a moment that many are trying to reckon with right now. But what do we call it?
Robert Vinson, a professor of history and Africana studies, says he also hears the word "anniversary" thrown around a lot — "like it's a wedding anniversary. Like it's something celebratory. And I push back on that."
Vinson teaches at the College of William & Mary — a university that's a few miles down the road from Jamestown, Va., where almost 30 Angolans were first enslaved in a British colony. He has spent a lot of time thinking and talking about the legacy of that landing.
During that time in 2017, Jennifer Allen, a history professor at Yale University, talked to Code Switch about the power of memory:
"Memory is not just the things that we recall on a moment-to-moment basis. Memory is something that also means something in the world. What we decide is important to remember is something that is collectively determined, and the politics, the negotiation, the conversation by which we determine what matters and what doesn't."
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