Chronicle of Higher Ed Quotes Alderman Work on Public Memory and Slavery

The Chronicle of Higher Education featured a story in which a researcher doggedly maps forgotten corners of slave history, including Detroit’s role in the Underground Railroad and its past in which many Detroiters held many people in bondage between the mid-1700s and early 1800s. The story highlights the scholarship of Derek Alderman, UT professor of geography, about public memory relating to how those slave tales are told.

Many former plantations-turned-museums have exhibits detailing their histories but those exhibits remain problematic when it comes to recounting the stories of slaves who once lived there.

Many sites segregate those exhibits in facilities beyond the main houses, Alderman told the Chronicle. Another form of inequality is emotional. Many plantations tell stories that evoke a connection to the master class, Alderman said. They often fail to do so for the slaves, whose history gets relegated to dry facts. Read the story online.