I wonder how many read this story we ran a couple of days ago. I stewed about it all weekend, and just keep getting angrier. I guess now we're supposed to educate only about the "comfortable" aspects of our history. IMO, any self-respecting reenactor would refuse to attend any events at this place in the future.....
"Civil War re-enactor Tim VanRaemdonck said he was just staying in character when he wrote "slave" as the occupation of black children on fictitious enlistment papers during Civil War Days at Crossroads Village.
VanRaemdonck, portraying an officer in the Confederate Army, was kicked out of Crossroads on Friday because of how he filled out the keepsake papers he gave elementary school students from the Waterford School District. " FULL STORY
I remember when they held a re-enactment of a slave auction down in Williamsburg, VA (totally done within the context of a period re-enactment) and people went nuts about it. You are right - if we start erasing or trying to hide all of our history that may be unpleasant or controversial - there won't be any history left. There are places where that has already happened, one is called China and the other is called Germany. Not good examples to follow.
Elemntary students labeled as slaves for an authentic reenactment? Sure I agree that history needs to be taught warts and all but this was just plain stupid. No child at that age is in need of a "reenactor" attempting to educate them on an issue that should be left for the classrooms. I guess I should just hand out my Howard Zinn books to my son's daycare then. These kids will have plenty of time to learn of America's ugliness when they get older and are more albe to put it into historical perspective. Just let them have fun at the encampment.
You have chosen to ignore indy19th. click Here to view this post
Do I think it was extreme to oust the reenactor, yes. But I was a first grade teacher for almost 30 years. I taught gifted first graders. The thing about this age group is the literalness of their thinking. They take everything as real. They are true believers. I remember when the school though it was agreat idea to have a living Lincoln talk to the kindergarten and first grade. Talk about confused kids. How could you be here talking to us when you said you died in 1865.
Iwould bet these first graders didn't have a good back ground in the Civil War either. I question the teacher taking a class to an event like this. Rather wait and take the fifth graders who have studied the War in class.
I dont have a problem with parents taking their kids to reenactments or to visit battlefields that is a totally different thing. I had a child who was a walking encyclopedia of the Civil War at first grade. He just finished high school and does reenactmets now.
I recently did a school days at a Middle school here in Southern California and we did have a field hospital doing demonstratons, we had other booths too and the sons of union vets was having students enlist but all they did was have them sign with a quill and pen a paper.
I was with the Drum Barracks explaining a display of Civil War firsts . We had all the 8th graders coming though during the day. Even they had problems understanding some displays . It was a good day though .
I also learned what kids say later to adults is always though the eyes and ears of the adult hearing them. When they see they have pushed an adult button they add to the story.
I just think it is too simple to just blame the reenactor.
Great point Indy. " Teamster", "Cook", and even "Body Servant" would be more accurate than slave. But then the reenactors that I have come in contact with really only care about historical accuracy when it comes to dressing up. This jacka** was only thinking of the possible controversy that would come at the expense of few children's feelings. Well he got it, I hope he is proud.
Interpreting history in this day of so-called political correctness can be dangerous. People apparently want their history sugar-coated. They tend to bristle when the the historical truth is presented. It's unfortunate that the teacher in this situation chose to complain rather than educate. One can hope, though, that some of those kids will yearn for more information. Isn't that what interpretation is all about?
I think what happened is sad.. But there was good and bad on both sides of the story..
Good for the school wanting the kids to learn about the WBTS., what they failed to do was be prepaired for what the got.
Was the reenactor wrong yes and no.. they wanted a talk about the war thats what they got.. he failed to ajust to the ages of kids in his program..
I am a reenactor and the scv camp I belong to and the reenacting unit I am in put on a demonstration for school kids in the area every April.. usualy grades 3-5 .. Kids are a little older and understasnd things a little better.
The story gives something for us all to learn from though.. Hopefully we all will..
Interpretation - Do not try to satisfy your vanity by teaching a great many things. Awaken people's curiosity. It is enough to open minds; do not overload them. Put there just a spark. If there is some good inflammable stuff, it will catch fire. Anatole French.