History is collective memory, and it’s always subject to correction.
It’s written by winners, whether daughters of despots or democrats. They build bronze statues that inform us of what happened, who’s calling the shots, who owns the space you occupy.
As the city convulses, an ex-mayor’s monument is fractured, beat to the ground. Our historical texts must be rewritten, newspaper editors must be removed, the revolution must be televised and live streamed to your social media feeds, and you must forget what you’ve learned because
there are new facts.
(Photo by The New York Public Library on Unsplash)
I love Philly. I grew up in the area, and I have a lot of pride in the city. Philly has an incredible Mural Arts program that funds and creates beautiful murals throughout the city. There’s also tons of random art, like this wall of graffiti near a parking lot in the Old City neighborhood.
“People are trapped in history and history is trapped in them.” – commonly attributed to James Baldwin. As the protests have continued lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the importance of history. Some people are acting like Black Lives Matter has come out of nowhere, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
The funny thing about being an American is that, when I was growing up, we used to ask each other as kids, “Where are you from?” We didn’t mean what neighborhood; we meant what country. I would say, “I’m Italian,” because my family has Italian ancestry.
My cousin had an idea a couple of years ago: an historical novel about a fictional town based on our hometown, set in America’s Gilded Age. We started working on the project and, since then, it’s morphed into developing a script for an audio drama podcast. Since the idea is historical in nature, it meant we had to do a good bit of research. The research has been fun, but it has also come with its share of difficulties.
It’s funny how things work out sometimes. I’m a big fan of podcasts, though I don’t binge-listen to them much because I’m usually devouring books.
My favorite podcasts are offbeat and fictional dramas, such as Welcome to Night Vale, Alice Isn’t Dead, and Rabbits. About a year ago, I also listened to a few episodes of a history podcast called Southern Gothic.