Historical Markers

In this photo from Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021, a Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission plaque is seen along a roadside in New Castle, Pa. A recent review of all 2,500 markers the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission had been installing for more than a century, faced a fresh round of questions about just whose stories were being told on the state's roadsides, and the language used to tell them. The increased scrutiny that has focused on factual errors, inadequate historical context and racist or otherwise inappropriate references, prompting the state to remove two markers, revise two and order new text for two others so far. The changes have become grist for the political mill. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Pennsylvania had been installing historical markers for more than a century when the racist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017, brought a fresh round of questions from the public about just whose stories were being told on the state’s roadsides — and the language used to tell them.

The increased scrutiny helped prompt a review of all 2,500 markers by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, a process that has focused on factual errors, inadequate historical context, and racist or otherwise inappropriate references.

So far, the state has removed two markers, revised two and ordered new text for two others.

Across the country, historical markers have in some places become another front in the national reckoning  over slavery, segregation and racial violence that has  also brought down Civil War statues and changed or reconsidered the names of institutions, roads  and geographical features.

The idea that “who is honored, what is remembered, what is memorialized tells a story about a society that can’t be reflected in other ways” is behind an effort by the Montgomery, Alabama-based Equal Justice Initiative that has installed dozens of markers, mostly in the South, to remember racial terror lynchings.

Historical markers educate the public and therefore can help fight systemic racism, said Diane Turner, curator of the Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection at Temple University in Philadelphia, one of the country’s largest repositories of Black history literature and related material.

“By being able to tell everybody’s story, it’s good for the society as a whole. It’s not to take away from anybody else,” Turner said. “Let’s have these stories, because the more truth we have, the better it is.”

At the request of Bryn Mawr College’s president, Kimberly Wright Cassidy, the Pennsylvania history agency removed a marker from the edge of campus that noted President Woodrow Wilson had briefly taught there. Cassidy’s letter to the commission cited Wilson’s dismissive comments about the intellectual capabilities of women and his racist policy of federal workforce segregation.

(1) comment

Jimzan 2.0

Once the whining Woke Trash has the markers removed, the Scum will go after something else. If it offends you move...you POS...preferably out of the country.

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