Saturday, June 15, 2013

Let's talk about what the official Bicentennial celebration is ignoring.

The newspaper's Amanda Beam covered perhaps the most prominent example of New Albany's historical whitewashing back in May.

Race riots of July 1862

Powder kegs have a way of erupting with just the right spark. During the summer of 1862, embers of racial tensions flared in New Albany, igniting the city in a 30-hour uprising of violence and murder. For too long, the city had forgotten this race riot. The media back then may not have always been the most unbiased in their telling of the tale, leaving few accounts of the factual story. The aftermath of the destruction, and what precipitated it, may never really be known.

Like a phoenix, scattered bits of truth have a habit of rising out of the charred ashes of history. Local historian Pam Peters likes to sift through the ashes. Researching her book, “The Underground Railroad in Floyd County,” the New Albany resident unearthed glimpses of what happened during that day and a half of chaos. And, what she found casts a different kind of dark shadow on the history of this Ohio River town.

“I thought, why doesn’t our community know about this? Nobody ever talked about this or brought it up,” Peters said. “I just think it was too painful. People were embarrassed by it was my guess.”

So, in which civic closets would the late Howard Zinn go snooping to find all the other powder kegs that the likes of somnolent CeeSaw would prefer go unmentioned during this buffed and polished time in our celebratory lives?

How did those stodgy bearded white guys make all their money, anyway?

Ever wondered about working conditions in the steamboat yards or plate glass factories?

Recalling Judge Cody's remarks last week, who profited from dynamiting historic buildings like the Post Office and Court House?

It isn't too late for the People's History of New Albany to be at least partially documented and written.

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