Historically Black: Imagining Community in a Black Historic by Mieka Brand Polanco

By Mieka Brand Polanco

In traditionally Black, Mieka model Polanco examines the idea that of group within the usa: how groups are skilled and understood, the advanced dating among humans and their social and actual landscapes—and how the time period “community” is typically conjured to feign a cohesiveness that will not truly exist. Drawing on ethnographic and old fabrics from Union, Virginia, Historically Black offers a nuanced and delicate portrait of a federally well-known old District below the class “Ethnic Heritage—Black.”

Since Union has been domestic to a racially combined inhabitants seeing that at the least the overdue nineteenth century, calling it “historically black” poses a few curious existential inquiries to the black citizens who at the moment dwell there. Union’s identification as a “historically black neighborhood” encourages a belief of town as a monochromatic and monohistoric panorama, successfully erasing either old-timer white citizens and newcomer black citizens whereas permitting more recent white citizens to tackle a proud function as preservers of history

Gestures to “community” gloss an oversimplified viewpoint of race, historical past and area that conceals a lot of the richness (and rivalry) of lived fact in Union, in addition to within the higher usa. they enable american citizens to prevent very important conversations in regards to the advanced and unfolding nature wherein teams of individuals and social/physical landscapes are conceptualized as a unmarried unified complete. This multi-layered, multi-textured ethnography explores a key proposal, inviting public dialog in regards to the dynamic ways that race, house, and historical past tell our studies and knowing of community.

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Extra resources for Historically Black: Imagining Community in a Black Historic District

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And honor claimed becomes honor paid” (1968:503). Oddly, in the relationship between Union’s history brokers and descendant residents, the third facet of honor (honor paid) preceded the first two facets (honor felt and honor claimed). In other words, Union’s descendant residents were paid honor for their “historic-ness” without themselves having felt or claimed honor in terms of historicness. We saw earlier that honor is borne in a dialectic between social persons and society at large. In Union this dialectic produced a reverse relationship among Pitt-Rivers’s three facets of honor: in Union history brokers paid honor to descendant residents, which eventually became honor claimed by descendant residents.

Focusing on an unveiling ceremony for the Union Historic District highway marker, the chapter examines the relationship that Union’s history brokers have developed with Union as a Historic District—a relationship they presume is shared by other residents as well. It shows the unveiling ceremony for Union’s historic highway as a ritualized process in which history brokers establish history as sacred. From this perspective, the “Union community” is conceived primarily as a physical landscape that encompasses history as well as race.

Rather than assuming that the term speaks for itself, and instead of imposing a single, fixed definition on it, this book explores the fluidity of community as it is composed and experienced by the ethnographic actors themselves. In focusing on Union, Virginia, this work highlights one particular range of possibilities as it unfolds in this particular site, while shining a light onto the sometimes obscure social, political, and economic structures that produce undeniably real experiences of class- and race-based disparities in the United States today.

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