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Author Topic: Advice? Controversial impressions at mainstream events  (Read 9714 times)
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hanktrent
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« on: September 22, 2013, 01:37:58 AM »

I know, the forum is "history heavy events." But hopefully this topic will fit, because I'm curious about a history heavy impression at mainstream events, and I know lots of folks here attend mainstream events because they're all that's close.

Long story short, I'm considering attending some local events next year, to have the fun of interpreting to the public. I visited a few this fall and talked to a couple different reenactors, and they said that if I wanted to do an independent civilian impression, I didn't need to join a unit. I could just register as an individual, as a stranger to everyone, set up a table/tent, and talk to the passing public, doing whatever living history portrayal I wanted. And indeed, that seems to be what I found--people in front of tents talking about period music, telegraphs, medicine, the USCT, women's life, etc. etc., each unconnected to the others and only loosely related to the battle reenactment.

Okay, good. Except...

The topic I'm interested in is slavery as it related to southern society. I think it's an important topic that doesn't get covered enough, or, worse yet, gets covered by neo-Confederate types who distort history for their own modern agenda. It's something I also have quite a bit of research on.

So how does a controversial impression work? Especially if you're new and a stranger to everyone?

Let's say, um, not hypothetically, I bring my hound and portray a slave catcher at an event where it would loosely fit--not actually doing anything, just talking to the public about my job and its larger context, like someone else might have a display and talk about working for the railroad or the telegraph office or being a newspaper reporter or a blacksmith or tinsmith, similar to the other portrayals I've seen.

I think I could avoid offending the public, because you can "read" them and ease off when they seem bothered. But what would other reenactors think? Reenactors also tend to be more easily confused by first person impressions than the public, in my experience.

FWIW, I was talking to a couple USCT reenactors about interpreting slavery, and one spontaneously suggested I could portray a slave owner, while another interrupted him and said I shouldn't do that. I respect both their opinions, but it shows such an impression would foster a variety of reactions.

If other reenactors decide they hate me/my persona and don't want my impression there, and I don't personally know anyone at an event to stick up for me, what might happen? Any experiences, good or bad? Advice on how to handle things?

Hank Trent
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NoahBriggs
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« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2013, 05:15:34 AM »

Bless you, sir for coming up with topics that really give folk pause and force them to think.  Grin

In answer to your question, I know you worked at Conner Prairie (known for its first person immersion interpretation).  I've never been there, so I don't know if they did what I might suggest, but it could be an approach towards the reenactors.  (And the public, but as you indicated, they are easier to read.) 

    • Perhaps, either indicate in advance to the organizers what you would like to do, so they can publish it on their event schedule or otherwise inform the other participants.

      Arrive early enough to inform other participants themselves your intentions before official event start time, and clarify that you're just there to interpret something they might see as unconventional, and invite them to drop by.

      Shanghai someone to be a discreet docent, to "speak" on your behalf, to head off misunderstandings from other participants.
Having seen your style of first person, you tend to invite more curiosity than controversy, especially with the public. Since the principal goal is to interact with the public, I suppose it's possible to "ignore" the participants who make a stink and focus on those who do get it.  I would love to hear any comments on what actually happens, as I would like to refine my attempts at first person at events and discuss things from the point of view of a slaveowner, or a doctor treating African Americans for drapetomania (a pseudo mental disorder where slaves had this bizarre desire to want to be free), and so on.

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E L Watkins-Morris
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« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2013, 05:38:29 AM »

Note: posting same time as Noah. Now I really want to see what you come up with and really like the idea of having a 'docent' to help with navigation.

Hank,

Your are correct that this topic is ignored.

Personally, as a spectator I would welcome such an impression if you are willing to step out of first person to help me understand what is going on. Many visitors, my self included, get confused about first person unless it is an expected event such as at a lantern tour or a "scheduled reenactment of..." similar to those at Colonial Williamsburg.

Perhaps you could be placed on the event schedule as a first person speaker? Then you have a specific audience that is receptive to the topic. You may still have to field the narrow-minded (there is always one or two to make you crazy in the Q&A) but the effort may be more successful. One or two interested folks is better than a wall of people walking by confused by what's going on or distracting you from your purpose with politics.

Are you acquainted with Emmanuel Dabney? A park ranger at Petersburg that does a slave impression, he is very well researched and articulate and we have done several scenarios together at Appomattox Manor with Noah Briggs.  I've not had as much time as I'd like to pick his brain.

Tried not to ramble,
Liz W.

Why I am interested in your success:
1. I have found it is often whites who are embarrassed or indignant about slavery and don't want to hear it.
2. In the course of multiple "set up and discuss" events at local historic sites, I am meeting more and more African-Americans who are interested in learning about the realities of slavery and I am very embarrassed to not be able to answer their questions or direct them to good sources. In resolving that, I found several books which totally blasted my STILL very romanticized notions of slavery and I look forward to doing more research.  

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Elizabeth
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« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2013, 06:30:28 AM »

Great topic, Mr Trent!

I, personally, see it as "just another occupational" set-up; I think if you're willing to adjust (as I know you are) to the audience, it can be done without distress, even with first person (because you can briefly break if someone really isn't getting it.)

Honestly, my biggest worry is for the hound: some spectators won't have good dog-meeting manners, and the poor thing might be overwhelmed by those who don't respect canine personal space, or by the noise/concussion of any battle reenactments. Given a dog comfortable in such intense social settings, it can work... even the warning, "Don't pet, ma'am... he's a working dog, not a pet. He tracks for me. We don't need him getting your scent stuck in his nose. He'll need to be fresh for working." can serve as an intro to talking about the work the dog does.
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hanktrent
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« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2013, 08:35:30 AM »

Thanks to everyone! Great answers and lots to think about. Keep 'em coming. Smiley

Yes, I'd love to do it as just another occupational portrayal, and what Noah said is what I'd like to do: "you tend to invite more curiosity than controversy, especially with the public." I think it's actually educational to seem like a nice guy when doing an otherwise negative impression, because it shows that good and evil don't come with handy identifying labels in society.

As far as being on the program or otherwise officially part of the event--my feeling is that since I know no one locally, no event would be willing to endorse me that way until they saw my impression and decided I was okay. So it's a Catch-22: I need to do it to show I can do it well (maybe, hopefully, if I can!), in order to be allowed to do it. That's why I figure I'll be alone, a stranger, with no support at the start, walking into the lion's den.

For what it's worth, I've not encountered much confusion from the public when portraying a role--at least not that I can't set right in a few sentences. I find that the least likely to comprehend are those who are reenactors, reenactor family, reenactors being spectators, etc., because they already think they know what reenactors are supposed to do. The general public seems to expect a person in a costume portraying a role, because that's all they ever see people in costumes do on TV, movies, etc.

Was portraying a Louisiana cotton plantation owner a couple weeks ago at a first-person event (7 hour drive, which is why I'm wanting events closer!). Picture of me at the "store." The event had brochures, third-person docents, the whole nine yards, explaining all about first person and 19th century political incorrectness to spectators, and I had some wonderful long conversations and debates with them.

The only spectator who absolutely could not get it and that I had to dismiss at last with a snarky remark was one who finally said in a patronizing tone, after a long hopeless exchange of cluelessness, "It's okay, I reenact the 1800s too, so I understand." I said, "I'm afraid you don't," and she gave up.

So all the preparation in the world doesn't work with reenactor/spectators sometimes. For those people, I just figure no form of interpretation works for everyone. If a spectator really isn't into it, they can just walk away without engaging, while reenactors are nearby all day, but hopefully it's live-and-let-live. Noah's suggestion of trying to talk to a few ahead of time while setting up is a good one.

I've reenacted with Emmanuel Dabney, also with Marvin Greer, Mia McKee and Anita Henderson, though I don't think at any pure public interpretation events, so unfortunately haven't seen their interpretation to the public.

As far as poor Venus the Plotthound, yes, her mental health is one of my concerns. She seems to be naturally people-oriented and good with kids, and I've been working with her in crowded social situations, and also camped out with her in the back yard staked in front of a period dog tent (no pun intended!). I'm taking her as a spectator to a local reenactment in about a month, but so far she's handled non-reenacting crowds well, including fireworks and other weird stuff like mechanics' noisy air-powered lug wrenches in a garage when we had a flat tire. And of course I'd only take her to events where dogs are welcome.

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« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2013, 10:11:34 AM »

I had to go google plotthounds... oh my goodness, what pretty dogs! How old is Venus?

I think you have a good workable plan, honestly. I love seeing accurate presentations where I can ask loads of questions, and letting people get curious and find out more about all aspects (pleasant and unpleasant) is a great way to break beyond "presentism" and assumptions about the past.
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NoahBriggs
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« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2013, 10:41:37 AM »

Slightly off topic but related:

It's a double-whammy sometimes, especially for specialty impressions, like blacksmithing, shoemaking, tailoring, medicine, surveying, and so on, because not only are you in first person, you also need to be able to clarify technical terminology, especially if they used words back then that they use today, but with a different definition ("Bulimic" as a quick example.)  I don't know if slave catching has specific terminology which would need clarification, that was just a general thought.

The key seems to be good communication in advance to head off misunderstandings before they occur.  Unfortunately you can lead all your horses to water, but only they will decide when or how much to drink.  Some reenactors don't get it no matter how hard one tries, and you just have to find a way to cut the losses and move on.

Hank raised a great point, and it was something I tried to do when I portrayed Dr. Richard Eppes with Liz Watkins-Morris as my "wife" - to portray the controversial person as a regular person, whose controversial job or attitude is just part of who he is.  Eppes was a slaveowner and also a family man who gave cash bonuses to his slaves at Christmas.  I tried to portray him as a general businessman and all around okay fellow, and slaveowner second, because slave owning was just par for the course in his life as far as he was concerned, and he lived in an area where it was not necessary to defend his socio-economic choices.  Turns out the public got it, and questions were very thoughtful and insightful when it became clear I was not going to stand on a pro-slavery soapbox in the parlor and rant cheap, Hollywood style lectures that would paint Eppes like Justin LaMotte from North and South.

I've been looking for opportunities to portray people who subvert their stereotype, like slaveowners, or a Know-Nothing, or anti-Irish, just to rattle reenactors out of their comfort zones.  (And this, coming from a fellow who is a textbook poltroon).
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« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2013, 11:24:59 AM »

Mr. Trent,

So far, I am only a spectator at events!  Cheesy I have never actually participated. Slave owners and Slave catchers, I've always thought, was a kind of interesting subject. I don't know how most people feel, but our pastor mentioned slavery in church to make a point once, and no one seemed to mind. I think your impression is a very interesting one! I'd be glad to listen, I know that!  Cheesy I agree with Mr. Briggs, make a friend that will help you out! Friends are always good!  Cheesy I think if you touch the topic delicately, like not ranting for one side or another (forgive me if that sounded insulting, I've never seen you!), I think people wouldn't mind very much. It's a fact of history that there were slaves, and the Civil War era can't be interpreted correctly without mentioning it. People seem to get offended one way or the other when someone obviously has convictions toward one side of an argument. I've always wondered about slavery impressions etc. as well!

O my goodness your dog's breed is beautiful! I googled it, too!  Smiley I love dogs.

Just a side question, is Mia McKee the girl that did Charity at Westville?  Grin
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« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2013, 12:07:46 PM »

I had to go google plotthounds... oh my goodness, what pretty dogs! How old is Venus?

We adopted her when she was abandoned, so it's just a guess, but we're figuring about a year, which means she should only get more mature and less puppyish.

I don't know if slave catching has specific terminology which would need clarification, that was just a general thought.

Yep! At that recent event I mentioned, one visitor stayed and asked all kinds of good questions, and he finally got around to slave-catching dogs. I explained there were two kinds, regular hunting hounds and Cuban bloodhounds, and they worked best together, because the regular hounds could follow a scent but wouldn't attack as well, and the bloodhounds couldn't follow a scent as well but were better at catching once you were close to the slave.

He kept acting confused, repeating it back to me backwards. Then it hit me. "Bloodhounds" to him meant, well, bloodhounds, but to me it meant this: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/26500/26500-h/images/bloodhounds.jpg So that's a challenge.

Quote
Eppes was a slaveowner and also a family man who gave cash bonuses to his slaves at Christmas.  I tried to portray him as a general businessman and all around okay fellow, and slaveowner second, because slave owning was just par for the course in his life as far as he was concerned, and he lived in an area where it was not necessary to defend his socio-economic choices.  Turns out the public got it, and questions were very thoughtful and insightful when it became clear I was not going to stand on a pro-slavery soapbox in the parlor and rant cheap,


Exactly.

Quote from: Miss Ruth
is Mia McKee the girl that did Charity at Westville

Yes, that's her. She does an excellent impression! It broke my heart as poor clueless abolitionist Charles Stearns that I kept making her life worse instead of better at Westville, whenever I tried to help her.

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« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2013, 05:49:41 PM »

Just came back from a full day workshop on first person interpretation by Ride into History (Drs. Joyce Thierer and Anne Birney). Both strongly recommend a 1st/3rd combination--either docent and interpreter or, more preferably, one person who makes an obvious change from one to the other (i.e. removing a hat or stepping outside of a tent or house) to help people understand. Also, to make sure the scholar is able to contribute to the conversation, when necessary, to let people know about your strong research and/or gaps in the research.

There's also a book--Telling History

Anne Foster
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« Reply #10 on: September 22, 2013, 07:42:20 PM »

Just came back from a full day workshop on first person interpretation by Ride into History (Drs. Joyce Thierer and Anne Birney). ...

Actually, I'm fairly comfortable interpreting to the public, who show up generally interested and eager to learn. My concern is more about other reenactors, who often don't want to be interpreted to, so no interpretive technique works.

I'm more familiar with events where all those in attendence need to get approval and coordinate their impressions beforehand and reenact together.

Years ago at mainstream events, I used to expect to find like-minded people, but didn't have much luck. In fact, I've had a few distinctly bad experiences. Now I'm at least going into this with lower expectations and am mostly looking forward to the public interaction, which I've always found to be loads of fun and the best part of local events.

For example, I was awakened and threatened by drunken reenactors in the middle of the night at one event years ago, and they only backed off when they realized they knew the guy I was with. Their excuse? "You didn't look like reenactors. We thought you were local homeless guys." At another event, when some little item went missing--a pair of scissors or something--I was immediately suspected because I was just a guest, but fortunately they found it. A creepy reenactor years ago thought I was actually who I was portraying and started rumors accusing me of crimes in real life and weird stuff.

But that was years ago, when you had to be a member or guest of a unit and there was suspicion about unattached people--even though I was nominally a member or guest in each case.

I guess what I'm wondering is, if a reenactor registers as an individual, does okay with the public, and is polite but distant the rest of the time rather than taking part in all the farby socializing, is that okay or at most considered a little stand-offish, or is that a major faux pas at mainstream events that'll put a target on my back?

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NoahBriggs
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« Reply #11 on: September 23, 2013, 02:43:15 AM »

I guess what I'm wondering is, if a reenactor registers as an individual, does okay with the public, and is polite but distant the rest of the time rather than taking part in all the farby socializing, is that okay or at most considered a little stand-offish, or is that a major faux pas at mainstream events that'll put a target on my back?

Given that we have agreed, based on your prior experiences, that reenactors have a harder time handling your personas, I believe the answer to your question above will be "It will vary from person to person and event to event."  I really do believe that if you let either an event organizer know what you are doing on-site, or maybe read a reenactor who seems open to the idea, you have at least one fallback or "safety valve" if others don't understand what you're about and start to get hostile or their clue meter drops below zero.

I think another (ideal) defuser of tense situations would be to have a companion with you.  Venus is fine, since she will always be in perfect hunter character no matter what Cheesy but human-wise, having someone with you to play off of will fill in that whole "you gotta show me what the heck you mean" mentality Americans have.  Some people might understand what your interpretation is better, and take positive cues from your behavior if they see there is a second interpreter who is also in first person.  It also gives the second interpreter chances to clarify what you are saying in a way the reenactor might understand, without either of you breaking character.

It seems to be luck - as you have mentioned, it depends on the reenactor picking up the cues or not.  At most mainstream events, I believe the idea of being somewhat distant from the farby socializing will paint a target on your back, mostly because the other participants don't know how to deal with you and wonder why you are even there if you are not going to sit around the campfire and talk about the finer points of Soviet versus German tanks at Normandy or who hates whom on Facebook.  The smaller living histories may be a better bet - less people, and you get the majority of your satisfaction working the public.
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hanktrent
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« Reply #12 on: September 23, 2013, 05:10:20 AM »

I believe the answer to your question above will be "It will vary from person to person and event to event."  I really do believe that if you let either an event organizer know what you are doing on-site, or maybe read a reenactor who seems open to the idea, you have at least one fallback or "safety valve" if others don't understand what you're about and start to get hostile or their clue meter drops below zero.

Agreed. I guess I'm just wondering if the worst-case possibilities are still as bad as they used to be, and of course, the accurate answer I don't want to hear is, yes, people haven't changed. So it's just going to be the risk of mainstream events.

I don't mind being an outsider who's criticized for his reenacting style or socially shunned--heck, that's what a slave catcher persona would be in the 19th century too, which is another reason I considered picking it rather than portraying, say, the local plantation owner that everyone knew and liked, like I did a few weeks ago--but I do mind threats of real physical violence or deliberate false accusationa or other kinds of escalated attempts at "revenge" beyond hobby disagreements about reenacting style.

But I guess that's just the risk one has to accept.

Quote
I think another (ideal) defuser of tense situations would be to have a companion with you.

I'd love to, but the problem is that I don't know of any and can't count on finding any. Linda (my wife for those who don't know) might come with me sometimes--she's actually been interested in setting up a table for an abolitionist society, which would make an interesting combination--but there simply isn't anyone I can count on 100% for every nearby event. In the past, when I've tried, what usually happens (not always) is that the person says they'll do it, but then sees their friends and goes off to hang out with them and it's no different than attending alone. Heck, even Venus would run off if she saw a rabbit, if she wasn't on-leash, LOL!

Quote
At most mainstream events, I believe the idea of being somewhat distant from the farby socializing will paint a target on your back, mostly because the other participants don't know how to deal with you and wonder why you are even there if you are not going to sit around the campfire and talk about the finer points of Soviet versus German tanks at Normandy or who hates whom on Facebook.  The smaller living histories may be a better bet - less people, and you get the majority of your satisfaction working the public.

I think you're absolutely right. It's ironic that when I was talking to a reenactor at a local event about how to get involved, he said, "And do your research. You want to be accurate. I'm a stickler for that." But what people mean is, be accurate but not too accurate.

Thanks for the reality-check. I think you nailed it.

I'm wondering if the safer option, at least to start, is attend in the daytime only when I'll be busy with the public anyway, and stay off-site or go home--heck, I'd only be a couple hours away sometimes--when the public leaves. Then gradually get a feel for how I'll fit with the other reenactors.

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Elaine Kessinger
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« Reply #13 on: September 23, 2013, 06:42:24 AM »

One way I handle re-enactments with fellow participants who don't play the same way is to have my own "refuge" at every event and portray a person who might seek that refuge when things get beyond endurance. A few minutes to myself to mentally scream, blow off the idiot comments, and regain my cool composure does wonders.

The better immersion re-enactments include a place for those who can't handle the intensity of immersion and need a break. Don't feel bad about using your tent or a patch of woods (or a long walk to another part of the event) at a mainstream re-enactment for a similar purpose.

Having chosen a portrayal that would be socially isolated from fellow participants is an excellent start. Choosing a portrayal that would likely take off at dusk for his occupation is logical... and a logical cover for why you leave overnight and return in the morning. Your targets are active and vulnerable at night... so your work begins. During the day, you and Venus are resting when your targets are under cover too.

I think as you open up a bit to your fellow participants, you will begin to draw the friends who play your way close to you. Friends who know you from immersion events will find you, introduce themselves to your portrayal and introduce your portrayal to their friends. Soon you will have created a group who will play your way. This is not an immediate gratification situation. Some will flub up and try to catch up with buddy Hank. You are experienced enough with first person to bring the conversation back around. If you keep at events, the "right sort" will get a clue and come stay. The rest will get a clue when you wander off.

You are not alone in these concerns. :-)
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NoahBriggs
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« Reply #14 on: September 23, 2013, 09:34:21 AM »

I'm wondering if the safer option, at least to start, is attend in the daytime only when I'll be busy with the public anyway, and stay off-site or go home--heck, I'd only be a couple hours away sometimes--when the public leaves. Then gradually get a feel for how I'll fit with the other reenactors.

When you first posted, I was under the impression this was your initial plan.  This sounds like the best option.  As you get to know other folks at events, you might be able to "work" them and find ways that you can stay over without having to withstand almost total isolation from farby talk.
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« Reply #15 on: September 24, 2013, 03:21:01 AM »


So how does a controversial impression work? Especially if you're new and a stranger to everyone?

I think I could avoid offending the public, because you can "read" them and ease off when they seem bothered. But what would other reenactors think? Reenactors also tend to be more easily confused by first person impressions than the public, in my experience.

If other reenactors decide they hate me/my persona and don't want my impression there, and I don't personally know anyone at an event to stick up for me, what might happen? Any experiences, good or bad? Advice on how to handle things?

Hank Trent
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I've looked at this thread for a few days now and thought that I would sleep on it before responding.
I have an extensive research background on the topic and have studied it in depth.

While I think it is a very important topic to discuss, there are some very strong obstacles to overcome.

First, the public in general has been fed a modern media version of what slavery was and what slavery now stands for.
In other words, most folks that you encounter are likely to look at slavery with a perspective strongly attached to 21st century values.

Second, from my experiences, the Black population is really not interested in digging up the 19th century realities of the fact that slavery was not a one size fits all institution.

Third, I've found that the re-enactment community, overall, has very little accurate information about the topic because most folks have a high school textbook orientation to the topic in the first place that in most cases represents a total distortion of the realities of what was really going on.



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« Reply #16 on: September 24, 2013, 04:53:46 AM »

While I think it is a very important topic to discuss, there are some very strong obstacles to overcome...

Those are all excellent points, and although they're hindrances to the impression, I think they also point out why the impression would fill a useful gap in knowledge.

I'd plan to tailor it to the situation, depending on where the event is supposedly set, because obviously the situation would be different around a local reenactment of Vicksburg, for example, than a local reenactment of Perryville. There would be times I'd be virtually a full-time tracker; other times I'd be a local farmer who has some dogs who does it once in a while; other times I'd be across the Ohio River and mostly have paperwork and a dog along for personal protection from rescuers or to sniff closet and attic doors.

But I'm curious--what is the average person's high school textbook orientation? What are the most stubborn cliches? That would really help me prepare. Unfortunately, I've been among well-researched reenactors or researchers so long that I've lost all perspective on what the topic seems like to someone on the outside. For example, Venus got her name from the dog in this slave narrative.  Wink

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NoahBriggs
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« Reply #17 on: September 24, 2013, 10:32:05 AM »

To get an average textbook orientation just cruise to the history section of Yahoo answers and read some of the questions kids post in hopes someone will either help them with their topic or answer their homework for them.  Cringe.  (For a while I hung out on Answers, hoping to bust myths and all that, then realized what an exercise in futility it was to provide evidence based answers that brought a grey area to what were supposedly black and white questions.)

Google "American slavery", "Underground Railroad", "Harriet Tubman" or similar key words, and read the first results that turn up, to reflect a typical American citizen's lazy search method of reading the top results, rather than going through the list to seek out more relevant information.

Go to a used book store and see if anyone sold off high school or college era American history textbooks, and flip through the sections that discuss slavery and its impact on American politics and the social scene.  Odds are good these books will be at least ten to twenty years out of date and will reflect the teaching that most people will have had when they were in school.  (I still have mine, actually.)

Likewise, go to a local public library and head to the American history section.  Note what they have.  If a kid has been forced to go to a brick and mortar archives like this, the books you are looking at will be the first stop on his/her list, assuming s/he knows how Dewey rocked the library shelves.
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« Reply #18 on: September 25, 2013, 03:22:43 AM »

While I think it is a very important topic to discuss, there are some very strong obstacles to overcome...

Those are all excellent points, and although they're hindrances to the impression, I think they also point out why the impression would fill a useful gap in knowledge.

But I'm curious--what is the average person's high school textbook orientation? What are the most stubborn cliches? That would really help me prepare. Unfortunately, I've been among well-researched reenactors or researchers so long that I've lost all perspective on what the topic seems like to someone on the outside..."

The topic is simply much more complex than what is typically rendered.

And facets of the topic, like religious orientation to the concept of, "head of the household," are usually totally absent in the discourse.
Public textbooks are not going to venture into the religious mindset of 19th century southern society.

Photos and visualization typically depict images of brutality and  degradation.
In reality, we should all know better that the typical field slave was fairly well clothed and lived in housing often comparable to white yeoman farmers living down the road.

But I regress...   Plantation owners did not live on their working plantations. Southern women predominantly saw the servant class of slavery... etc...

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Stephanie Brennan
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« Reply #19 on: September 25, 2013, 06:09:36 AM »

  As far as influence and how we perceive slavery I would say for those 35-50 years  old,  TV movies like Roots and Queen left a definite mark.
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