Slightly OT: The History conference

I gave a very abbreviated presentation of “Ethnic Divides in an 1880 DC Neighborhood” at the history conference this weekend. It was abbrev. because the presenter ahead of me made her presentation about 2x than what it was supposed to be. That was fine with me. What wasn’t so fine was one of her statements/questions afterwards. She was amazed that information about race (as race was the central theme in my paper) is/was collected by the government and that sort of thing isn’t done in Britain and couldn’t see the usefulness of collecting information about race. Oh. My. G-d. Where do I start?
I’m not a lefty black power radical but I know that race plays a powerful role in the history of America. You really cannot have the history of the US South or the history of the republic itself without covering race. If you do, you’ll have a whitewashed version of history.
In library school they call this a teachable moment. The problem with teachable moments is they come when you are so not in the mood to make it a teachable moment, or you are so stunned by the different point of view that you don’t know where to even begin.
Turning to the other people who came up for questions and remarks made me feel good. ‘Cause really, it’s all about me. Apparently some other folks have been doing the same sort of research and found the same weird patterns I found in Truxton, blacks on one end of the block or street, whites on another. Basically, little bits of micro-segregation everywhere, as opposed to the macro-segregation that I’m familiar with in parts of the South, where whites are on one end of town and blacks on another. You could say we have macro-segregation in DC with whites on one side of Rock Creek and blacks on the other side of the river.
Anyway, glad that portion is over. I still have to map out Truxton for 1900-1930. But I’m going to take a break. In 1880 Truxton had 1,696 people, and tons more in 1900 and I’m just not up for more work.