I am aware that many of you have defriended me on Facebook for my progressive views about reforming the country after so many bad decades of no or low wage growth in your towns and villages in rural Missouri.
Meanwhile over so many decades, I have observed how many of you benefit for socialized medicine, like Medicare and Medicaid or even the VA hospitals and clinics while millions of other Americans go year after year without insurance or having to pay extremely expensive insurance, i.e with no access to socialized medicine for most of their lives.
I have also observed how many of you wear the patriotism, the flag and parochialism on your sleeves while failing to hold your government and military's feet to the fire (1) for soaking the rest of us with Trillions and Trillions of dollars in Military, education and so-called national security debt and (2) for killing off thousands or even millions of Americans and other peoples around the globe in endless wars that your have demanded for the patriotic overkill you support at the expense of the poorwho are so much like you (in terms of social class.
On the other hand, I don't condemn you, and Iunderstand how your anti-education, anti-multicultural, and anti-immigrant (or anti-newcomer bent) came to be in the first place.
Your communities are simply cocooned in and developing in ignorance of the facts that you have grown up in America's Sundown Towns. "Sundown towns were all white cities that enforced segregation by excluding people of color from the towns after dark. This horrendous practice affected many black people, through a combination of racial laws, intimidation, police enforcement and violence." You have also grown up in towns and communities where it has almost always been normal that the 1-2% of the residents control the labor market, banking and investments in your towns and regions.
For exampel, the prevalence of Sundown Towns in Missouri is why a town, like Sarcoxie, Missouri (where my mom was born and raised) has had only 2 black people living in the city over 150 years of the town's census history. A few miles away the proponents of a Confederate States of America in Missouri had there stronghold during the Civil War. The Battle of Carthage (Missouri is remembered to this day and commemorated annually in Jasper County.)
Racism and southern-style parochialism is also why the famous American hero George Washington Carver abandoned the neighboring community near Neosho. In short, you all have been raised to be unwelcoming to outsiders and "the others" for 10 gnerations or more.
ATUHNTIC EDUCATION NEEDED
Real education is needed in your communites is needed more than ever before if we are all to save America. This is because educators can guide the reform of your communities slowly but surely now and in coming decades.
James W. Loewen explains: "For teachers, the emergence of "recovering" sundown towns poses the possibility of distorted understanding of racial demographics among students. In the old days, when a town or school explicitly excluded, it was easy to pinpoint the excluded group often enough by reading the sign at the city limits.Today, complicity is more subtle." In short, racism and anti-outsider bias is so subtely engrained in your lives that you hardly notice what kind of reality you have been embedded in for all of your lives.
How can you recover from such a horrid educational and racist history? Obviously the answer is to follow tips for demystifying your Sundown Town?
In Professor Loewen's "Does My Town Have a Racist Past?", he outlines a 6 step process for creating a better education for youth in your communities. I believe that your Millenials who are already media savvy are ready for this undertaking.
James W. Loewen's 6 steps are easy to follow:
(1) Use town history contests to embed the research & so students can focus on their own school's history. Why is my school so white? Loewen shares that "Not only towns but also many schools [have] kept out African Americans, formally or informally. As with communities, some still do. Before Brown v. Board of Education, this was true across the South, of course. De jure school segregation also held in Maryland, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, most of Kansas, New Mexico, most of Arizona, and some other parts of the United States." ]
(2) Look first at Census research sources online and then locally. Start searching here or in your local libraries.
(3) Check out the local histories and local newspapers f the past century or more. Check here for a good link to start doing this online.
(4) Do oral histories. For assistance, click on this link for a step-by-step guide to doing oral history.
(5) "After students have some information, they [will" may be able to triangulate with confirmation from different sets of data." In short, after putting together and implementing the steps above, decide what other direction can best triangulate with what research students have done by this point. This additional information from other sources, especially living ones, builds support for more specific findings and betters students summaries or findings. (For example, speak to lawyers who know the town or speak with the county clerks who can provide more other data or information on the city or its development in the past or trends in future developments.)
(6) Teachers ought to also photocopy and bind the class results as a book, with interview transcripts (names removed) and other notes as appendices. Deposit a copy with appropriate fanfare in the community library [as well as the school or with other community organizations, so that research can continue to back up the findings.].
I thank you, my cousins, aunts and uncles for reading this far and finally asking yourselves and coming generations to come clean with our history and our past & so our future generations can be better-prepared than the current one, i.e. to lead and represent our communities and country.
This will bring liberation for you and our youths minds. (I am not asking for Utopia but only for more authenticity in yours and my world & education.)
With love and hope,