Facebook updates – Return to Woodberry Forest

Headed down to Orange, VA today for the 50th anniversary of the integration of Woodberry Forest School. It’s a small corner of history, but we made it! The question is, what was a poor boy from Greensboro thinking when he made that trip 50 years ago, his belongings and favorite books in a steel gray trunk?

We ran up and down this road many times during my middle distance days. But was I really the first African-American to get a varsity letter in cross-country? Damn, I guess i was.

Final thoughts on my return to Woodberry. Big thrill to see old classmates after so many years. All prospering. Amazed at how folks have become 60-something year old versions of their 14 year old selves. If you do it right, the future is always better than the present.

I remember my fellow pioneers at EHS.The schools were rivals, but the handful of black students knew we had to be allies with each other. Same with VES in Lynchburg. Small world!

I hope to bring my grand nephew to WFS as a new boy in 2023. First male born to our nuclear family since 1955. Still gotta convince his mother.

In retrospect, the Woodberry experience put my life on a unique trajectory. But most importantly, during a period of extreme adversity (which we all must experience unless we are content to be mere spectators in life), Woodberry’s “hidden lessons” gave me both the strength to endure and the courage to fight the bastards back. I feel nothing but gratitude to the institution and all the people I met and came to know there.


Still coming down from last week’s high of returning to #Woodberry Forest School for the 50th anniversary of integration. 4th Form (10th grade) was the year in my life when I became serious about poetry. Deadly serious, I might add. And yes, I still have some of the stuff I wrote that year. And yes, it was all crap. But cute crap. It’s all a process, right?

postscript. This is a yearbook class photo from 1972. It was an all-boy school but daughters of instructors were allowed to attend.

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time for a change, again

This blog is about change, about transitions, about transformation(s). This is how I started it and why I started it.

I gave notice on my job today. Two weeks. Isn’t that always the biggest change you can make in normal life? Well, death is perhaps a bigger change, but death isn’t normally a change you can control.

So I am going to a different job, maybe even a different occupation. What and where will it be? That depends on several factors. But trust me, dear blog reader, you will be the first to know. I am wearing my WCU purple polo shirt today. Long sleeves. Good luck, you know. And I got some good ideas about drama and acting yesterday at the final DC performance of American Moor for my August Wilson class that begins in March. It was at Anacostia Playhouse, by the way, a first for us, but a venue we hope to visit again.

No, I don’t know what’s next, exactly. I do know that the present sometimes stands in the way and blocks the path of/to the future. But as Rose says she told Troy (in Fences), “I told him if he wasn’t the marrying kind, then move out the way so the marrying kind could find me.”

Some photos from the Bissau Ethnography Museum

The Significance of Special Collections

A short talk to be given today at the Moorland Spingarn Research Center at Howard University.

The title of this presentation, “The Significance of Special Collections,” is a statement of fact. But is it also a question? As a declaration it reaches a dead end: either special collections are significant or they are not. But as a question, it opens several lines of inquiry. For example, significant to whom or to what? And significant in the past, in the present or in the future? Or for all time?

Garrett Park Archives, where I work, is a type of special collection. We have a small library, a stock of town records dating back to the incorporation of the town in 1898, some artifacts, and some donated private collections which include residential files, records of various civic groups, and oral histories. Our nearby  neighbors in Kensington, Rockville and Chevy Chase call their collections historical societies, and that, in essence, is what we are, a historical society, a memory institution.

A special collection is significant as a memory institution to the community it covers and represents. In the case of Moorland Spingarn, that community is Howard University students, faculty and researchers, in particular, and the community of people of African descent in general.

I read in the Libguide that Moorland Spingarn Research Center is comprised of four content units: the university archives, a library division, a print and photo unit, and a manuscript division. And a fifth unit consists of digital collections, both born digital assets and items digitized on site. This brings us to an additional significance of a special collection.

For promoting access, for preservation considerations, for space and cost constraints, digitization is by all accounts the path forward. Digitization of records across content types, like books, photographs, manuscripts, archive and museum artifacts presents a great opportunity to apply common cataloguing standards and common taxonomies that will serve as a multiplying effect for additional access opportunities for students, faculty, researchers, and community users, both on site, and in an online environment.

Additionally, it could provide avenues for cooperation and collaboration across institutions in the future that may or may not exist in the present. I am thinking here about the Library of Congress and the massive universe of Smithsonian museums. But this also could include smaller institutions and learning centers as well.

Of course, digitization is not a panacea. We are already seeing digital decay in degradations in the quality of storage media (try playing that CD you bought twenty years ago). File glut, bit corruption, hardware failure, and obsolescence of formats over time are all examples. Document formatting changes over time. In general, entropy rules – things gradually decline from order to disorder.

Even the internet is not a cure all, though from where we sit it looks like it may last forever. One internet guru says, “If it doesn’t exist on the Internet, it doesn’t exist.” He points out the obvious, that access to a special collection on the internet can promote greater access to that collection. But he makes a more significant point – when the collection is also connected to a learning institution, there are added benefits: the institution gives added credibility to the online resource, and the online resource brings a much larger audience of students, scholars and researchers to the learning institution. Without going into too much detail, a center like Moorland-Spingarn connected to Howard University has built-in advantages that a larger center like Schomburg lacks.

Finally, much of my MSLIS course work revolved around a growing trend of convergence across cultural heritage institutions, galleries, libraries, archives and museums, called for short, the GLAM movement. I am including a list of readings from various courses at the end of this presentation. Convergence ultimately results in the creation of a networked information society with online access to all facets of information in the social and informational space. The opportunity to approach and take part in this convergence movement may be the greatest significance offered by special collection, a significance shared equally by staff, students, faculty, scholars and the community at large.

Thank you for the opportunity to have this conversation.

References and additional reading

Bray, David (2007) ‘Knowledge Ecosystems: A Theoretical Lens for Organizations Confronting Hypertubulent Environments,’ in IFIP International Federation for Information Processing, Volume 235, Organizational Dynamics of Technology-Based Innovation: Diversifying the Research Agenda, eds. McMaster, T., Wastell, D., Ferneley, E., and DeGross, J. (Boston: Springer), pp. 457-462. Accessed January 14, 2019 at http://dl.ifip.org/db/conf/ifip8-6/ifip8-6-2007/Bray07.pdf

Erway, Ricky, and Jennifer Schaffner (2017) ‘Shifting Gears: Gearing Up to Get into the Flow’. 2nd Ed. Dublin, OH: OCLC Research. doi:10.25333/C3159X. Accessed January 14, 2019 at https://www.oclc.org/content/dam/research/publications/2017/oclcresearch-shifting-gears-second-edition-2017.pdf

Fox. Robert (2011) “Forensics of digital librarianship”, OCLC Systems & Services: International digital library perspectives, Vol. 27 Issue: 4, pp.264-271, https://doi.org/10.1108/10650751111182560

Goldsmith, Kenneth (2007) ‘If it doesn’t exist on the internet, it doesn’t exist.’ Poetry Foundation, March, 2007, Accessed on January 14, 2019 at https://www.poetryfoundation.org/harriet/2007/03/if-it-doesnt-exist-on-the-internet-it-doesnt-exist.

Gorzalski, Matt (2016) ‘Archivists and Thespians: A Case Study and Reflections on Context and Authenticity in a Digitization Project,’ The American Archivist Vol. 79, No. 1 Spring/Summer 2016 161–185, Accessed January 14, 2019 at http://americanarchivist.org/doi/10.17723/0360-9081.79.1.161

Marty, Paul F. (2009) ‘An introduction to digital convergence: libraries, archives, and museums in the information age.’ Museum Management and Curatorship Vol. 24, No. 4, December 2009, 295-298. Accessed January 14, 2019 at https://marty.cci.fsu.edu/preprints/marty_mmc2009.pdf .

Trant, Jennifer (2009) ‘Emerging convergence? Thoughts on museums, archives, libraries, and professional training’, Museum Management and Curatorship, 24: 4, 369 — 387. Accessed January 14, 2019 at https://courses.ischool.berkeley.edu/i290-ppos/reading/EmergingConvergence.pdf

Some photos posted to FB this week


Nothing like a crashed hard drive to make you all nostalgic about an old photo you always want to keep. Bissau. Eid al Fitr. 1994.
This one is worth a good laugh. The sandbags outside our hootches to stop incoming mortar rounds. Sometimes they worked. Mostly, I learned to pray. Embassy Estates. Republican Palace. Baghdad. 2008.
Here is a fun photo. Chilling with Portuguese Fado diva Mariza at the Cairo Opera House. Fear not, I had permission.
Cairo. 2009.
One last one for the road. WTF was I writing at the beach? Oh! Poetry!
Chilling at Mussulo. Luanda, Angola. 1999.
Postscript. Amazing, isn’t it, that 1999 is getting ready to be 20 years ago!


Encore. The fourth graders at my alma mater, F.D. Bluford Elementary, didn’t care about diplomacy. They wanted to know about the submarines. Fun time!
Hometown diplomat. Greensboro, NC. 2003.


The junior officers having lunch with former hostage and humanitarian Terry Waite.
Embassy London. 1996.
Debriefed President Jimmy after his meeting with Bashir Al Assad. Swapped some submarine stories. Still my favorite president in this lifetime.
Damascus, Syria. 2009.
We had to get special permission to go here with the local employees because it was outside the 17km limit. But were the bad guys inside or outside that circumference? I still want to know.
Somewhere outside Luanda, Angola. 2000.
Hosting lunch on our front porch for working level contacts at the foreign ministry. Those folks made our lives easier in countless ways!
Luanda, Angola. 1999

The #AugustWilson set sail today – join the journey

https://raymonddmaxwell.com/2018/09/25/post-class-notes-jitney-9-24-2018/

Perspectives on the Q phenomenon (work-in-progress)

(new edits August 10, 2018)

(new edits August 14, 2018)

(new edits August 16, 2018)

(new edits August 21, 2018)

(new edits August 25, 2018)

(new edits September 6, 2018)

Since the MSM is going so crazy about this Q thing, I’ve decided to add my $.02 worth.

We started following the Q drops back in December 2017. We, being me and a few members of my poetry group. Two things immediately caught my attention: the historic Q community and the historical precedents of this Great Awakening.

Q, it is believed, is someone (or a group) high up in military intelligence, a Trump supporter(s) with access to the highest security clearance available. Q provides “drops” of information to the public on one of the interweb chans message boards, then transfers those drops to the regular internet. These drops consist of photos, links, and cryptic messages in almost verse format. Then Q anons, anonymous members of the Q community, translate and explain the contents of these drops, and “autists” and “bakers” do additional research to connect the dots between and across previous drops and other information sources. Today, August 4, 2018, we are up to 1815 drops. You can find them all listed at https://qanon.pub/ and explanations and commentary at the reddit message boards  The Great Awakening  and https://www.reddit.com/r/greatawakening/

But back to the two things that caught my attention. Many years ago I read a book by a non-violent protestor/activist/theologian, The Nonviolent Coming of God, by James Douglass. When I first heard about this new Q I went and pulled the book down from my bookshelf because I remembered something he had written about the Q community of Galilean Jews who were followers of Jesus towards the end of his ministry in the first century. These followers maintained an oral tradition of the teachings of Jesus before his death and these teachings, really just sayings, ultimately made their way into the Gospel of Mark. See the 1996 article, The Search for a No Frills Jesus.

But more importantly, and significantly, Douglass explains that this early band of followers had very specific ideas about the judgement that was about to befall their generation of fellow Jews, especially those who rejected Jesus. In fact, the Q Gospel focuses on the coming judgement of the tribes of Israel, the invitation to the way of peace, and the repentance demanded of the Jewish nation. The judgement came. The Jewish-Roman War of 70 CE resulted in Jewish defeat and the destruction of Jerusalem.

Wikipedia has a good article on Q Source. And this paper, Galilee and the Historic Jesus looks pretty good but I haven’t read it yet.

So, the Great Awakening. Current Q followers, researchers, adherents claim to be a part of a Great Awakening of political consciousness as a result of their digesting of Q “crumbs.” It is certainly the case that people are having conversations on-line and in message boards that raise their awareness, and many are producing content on blogs, social media posts, and youtube videos. But it is not the first Great Awakening. Just try typing “Great Awakening” in your favorite search engine and see what you get. Duck Duck Go. BlogSearchEngine.com.

The First Great Awakening was a series of religious revivals in churches in Britain and the American colonies in the 1730’s and the 1740’s. Churches of all denominations had become boring and sterile places and worshippers sought a closer, more personal, and more energetic relationship with the Divine. A handful of British preachers, including George Whitefield, John and Charles Wesley, and Jonathan Edwards began developing and preaching a new theology inside existing churches based on individual salvation and personal morality, but that required a “new birth” that each person experienced directly and personally. A similar upheaval occurred in British churches and was called the Evangelical Revival.  See the Wikipedia article on the First Great Awakening. Meanwhile, back in the U.S., the Great Awakening strengthened Baptist and Methodist denominations and left in its wake such institutions of higher learning as Brown, Rutgers, Dartmouth, Columbia, and Penn. Read more of the Colleges of the Great Awakening.

The Second Great Awakening, from 1790 to the 1850’s, converted new believers versus the “preaching to the choir” of converting existing believers of the First Great Awakening. The missionary outreach went out to all demographic groups, free men and women and slaves.  Camp meetings led by “circuit riding” preachers caused huge increases in membership of protestant denomination churches, especially Methodists and Baptists. Although barely a footnote in most historical accounts, the Second Great Awakening, especially in Virginia and the Carolinas, most certainly gave rise to the slave preachers and slave congregations that produced leaders of the great pre-Civil War slave revolts, Gabriel Prosser, Denmark Vessey, and Nat Turner.  The top beneficiaries of the Second Great Awakening were Baptist and Methodist churches, and temperance, abolition and women’s rights movements. I don’t know why the Second Great Awakening ended though the time period suggests something related to the advent of the Civil War. Here is a good article on Religious Transformation and the Second Great Awakening.

What some scholars refer to as the richest period in American Literature and is considered by tradition as the literary American Renaissance can be connected in many ways to the Second Great Awakening.

The Third Great Awakening (#3) (1850-1890) and the Fourth Great Awakening (#4) (1960’s and 1970’s) are both somewhat fuzzy in definition. #3 witnessed the end of slavery and the prohibition movement, the growth of churches and church-related learning institutions, new religious movements including Christian Science, Jehovah Witnesses, Salvation Army, and the Ahmaddiyah missions to the U.S. to propagate Islam among the emancipated blacks (area for greater research). A similar revival occurred during an overlapping period in Korea 1884-1910, including the use of many techniques of the 2nd Great Awakening, camp meetings, circuit riders. #4 was either during the post WW2 period of the late 40’s and early fifties or during the late 60’s, depending on who you read, and its stars were Martin L. King, Billy Graham, and Pope Paul VI.

[Sections to add: #3 and the transcendentalists; #3 and the introduction of Ahmadiyyah Islam; #3 and its effects on American proto-modern poetry, i.e. Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Paul L. Dunbar, E.A. Poe.]

The present Great Awakening, while primarily political in nature, has some elements of previous religious great awakenings. Politics have become boring and stale for everyday people. People have lost a personal touch with their political leaders. The mainstream media has become a propaganda instrument for their subjects, the people and movements they write about (and are paid by). And people, readers no longer pay them any mind, opening the path for an alternative information source.

I have seen mentions on QAnon-related message boards about these aspects of the historic Q community and previous great awakenings. But these mentions get pretty much dismissed by the message board bosses and moderators as irrelevant postings. I predict that, over time, the QAnons will begin to accept this history as their own and see their place in the broad sweep of movements of people and their interaction with information. Just as the 2nd Great Awakening was marked by circuit riding preachers and camp meetings, the present great awakening (and I do believe we are in the midst of some sort of awakening) is marked by message board posts and youtube video producers.

Finally, Martin Geddes’ article is pretty good if your mind is open.

And another good Martin Geddes article.

Great article in American Thinker: Trump Haters Meet the Sorcerer’s Apprentice

A Brief History of Spiritual Revival and Awakening in America

There will be more to say here and I will probably be making edits. So stay tuned!

Postscript.

I still don’t get the trip codes thing and how it relates to Googlebooks. All things in time.  

Robert Patrick Lewis: What If #Q, #QAnon, and #TheGreatAwakening are Real?

What might be some long-term effects of the Q phenomenon? (09/06/2018) The future of Q

Q told us to archive everything offline. So I made a program that does exactly that. It stores Q posts, notables from every 4chan/8chan bread, sealed indictments, resignations, human trafficking, and executive orders. Also comes with a handy abbreviations list. All information, including original pictures from Q posts and the anon posts that Q references, is stored locally on your machine.

You do not need an internet connection to view any stored files, but you will need one to update the information to current.

Below is the link where you can find the Setup.msi installer OR the zip file. The zip file requires NO installation, just run the exe. Even if you dont want to run the app, the zip file includes all orginal Q images and all information up to date in JSON format. I have also included the source code for transparency. This is 100% freeware. No ads. No clickbait.

https://mega.nz/#F!ub42BKxI!7_EIgj6tQ2EquO0Fasfhfg

Feedback is always appreciated. If you feel like doing so, please comment on this thread what errors you might come across, or features you really like to see implemented.

WWG1WGA! ArchiveAnon

This update took care of some crashing issues when updating notables and POTUS tweets. Seems to be very stable otherwise.

First post on new blog at new job

https://garrettparkarchives.wordpress.com/2018/05/27/a-new-blog-a-new-job-town-archivist-garrett-park-md/

Week 10 – August Wilson American Century Cycle – Radio Golf

Week 10 – Radio Golf – some initial thoughts

Very first impression: my wife and I saw this on stage on Baltimore in 2006. It was still “fresh off the press,” being performed across the country, not yet ready for prime time on Broadway. Reading it now, at the end of the Century Cycle, I realize that I missed a lot of the plot action when I saw it performed in 2006. It seemed at the time to have no context, no unifying structure. But this time, it all makes sense.

Characters

Harmon Wilks, grandson to Caesar Wilks 100 years before in Gem of the Ocean.

Old Joe Barlow, son of Citizen Barlow and Black Mary from Gem of the Ocean. (Recall Black Mary and Caesar Wilks were half siblings)

Sterling, older and wiser but still Sterling, from Two Trains Running.

Mame Wilks, wife of Harmon.

Roosevelt Hicks, college buddies with Harmon at Cornell.

1839 Wylie Street, home of Aunt Ester, willed to Black Mary, left to Old Joe Barlow, her son with Citizen barlow, purchased by Harmon Wilks for delinquent taxes, sold to Bedford Hills Redevelopment run by Roosevelt Hicks and Harmon Wilks.

There is a lot to be said about the reappearance of the Barlow/Wilks family from #9 and the first decade of the cycle, Gem of the Ocean. I saw Caesar Wilks as a type of “godfather” figure and that was borne out in his and his son’s paying of the taxes on Aunt Ester’s house for all those years. We saw the chemistry between Citizen Barlow and Black Mary. Happy to see that worked out. When Mame says “I tied myself so close to you that there is no me. I don’t know if i can carry this any further” I immediately thought about Rose in Fences, who mentions a similar submergence of the wife’s personality into that of the husband’s. I personally think Mame and Harmon will make it, but the path immediately ahead will be rocky.

It appears that Roosevelt gets his way in tearing down Aunt Ester’s house. But the story may not end there. I suspect the Roosevelt/Harmon relationship, business-wise and socially, will not survive this dramatic breech of trust.

The play treads all so gingerly on the subject of gentrification, which is bound to accompany redevelopment of the Hill district due to its close proximity to the center of Pittsburgh.

Radio Golf. What’s in a name? Roosevelt Hicks has a minority interest in a new urban radio station, WBTZ, in partnership with Bernie Smith, a white businessman Harmon does not trust. Hicks is the “blackface’ that enables purchase of a radio station at a deep discount with an FCC Minority Tax Certificate. Hicks is the front man, in charge of day-to-day operations, even though he has no radio experience. And because he loves golf, he produces a radio program where he offers golf tips. It’s also a symbolic representation of an attempt, in sharp departure to the other nine plays in the cycle, to portray the black middle class: Harmon the real estate developer/attorney running for mayor, Roosevelt (his humble origins are betrayed by his first name) the banker/real estate developer, and Mame, the loving wife/government bureaucrat. It’s the Cosby/Huxtable family all over again except we never see the children. But they are there.

From the Urban Dictionary:

Huxtable: A reference to an “upscale” or “Upper Middle Class” black person or family. NOT derogatory when used by white people, but can be derogatory if used by blacks, about blacks. Derived from the Huxtables on the Cosby Show. Also used to define “poser” black families, trying to act “white”

On the subject of golf, Roosevelt’s monologue in Act 1 Scene 1 where he reflects on his first experience hitting a golf ball was both stirring and moving. Poetic, in fact. But the same monologue also betrays Roosevelt’s deep-seated sense of insecurity, if not inferiority with regard to race.

And who is this play’s Wilson Warrior? Which character shows the greatest transformation? Which one “finds his song?” Harmon Wilks has my vote. While Sterling and Old Joe have the best lines in the play, the most poetic monologues, Wilks goes the greatest distance in his discovery of his roots and his changing outlook to reflect that discovery. Radio Golf extends the Wilsonian vision to the black middle class and gives them as a class their own separate hero. I think that is a good thing.

Finally, this play is a huge advertisement for genealogy. AncestryDNA should not only be thrilled, they should be tripping over themselves to underwrite local productions of the #AmericanCenturyCycle.

Week 9 – August Wilson American Century Cycle – Gem of the Ocean

Week 9 – Gem of the Ocean

Gem of the Ocean, set in 1904, represents the first decade in the Century Cycle. Itis also the play in the cycle that gives us the full portrayal of Aunt Ester, who is more of a myth in earlier plays (2 Trains, King Hedley), a spirit presence that never actually reaches the stage but lurks in the background.

Gem of the Ocean, we learn in Act 2, is an imaginary boat, a document folded in the shape of a boat, Aunt Ester’s Bill of Sale (Sail) from Guilford County, NC. But the document that becomes a model of a boat serves as a prop during the staged journey to the City of Bones.

But what was that voyage? Was it a seance? Was it an exorcism? Or was it just a dramatic ritual? It seemed that Citizen Barlow believed something out of the ordinary was happening. But it also seemed like Eli, Solly, Black Mary, and Aunt Ester had all done this thing before, had practiced every aspect and had it down cold. I think it was a type of ritualistic exorcism. But it works for Mr. Citizen, a recent arrivee from Alabama with a heavy burden on his soul.

Garrett Brown’s obituary is the saddest thing I have heard in an August Wilson play. But I’m so happy Wilson included its text in the play:

BLACK MARY (Reads): “Garret Brown of Louisville, Kentucky departed this life on September 30, 1904, at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, at midday, in the midst of a life of usefulness and in the fullness of his powers. He was born of slave parents June the 29th 1862, in Charleston, South Carolina. At an early period in his life, interested parties hurried the mother and three children northward, without the protection of a husband and father, to begin a long siege of poverty. Mr. Brown leaves to mourn his unfinished life, a wife and three children, and a host of family and friends.”

Solly Two Kings is another interesting character. He changed his name from Uncle Alfred to Solly Two Kings (David and Solomon from the Bible) after he escaped from slavery in Alabama and fled to Canada, but he missed his family, so he returned as worked as a “dragman” in the Underground Railroad. He now collects dog feces, called “pure,” and sells it to tanners for money.

Feces – Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feces . Dog feces were used in the tanning process of leather during the Victorian era. Collected dog feces, known as “pure”, “puer”, or “pewer”, were mixed with water to form a substance known as “bate.” Enzymes in the dog feces helped to relax the fibrous structure of the hide before the final stages of tanning.

Caesar Wilks, the community constable, has been through his own transformation, having been a bit of a thug in his younger days. Through illegal means, he raises enough money to purchase a small commercial property, but not before he gets selected by the crime bosses (politicians) uptown to run their operation and maintain order on the Hill. He let’s it all go to his head under the guise of “respectability politics.”

Then there is the dynamic relationship between Aunt Ester and Black Mary, Wilks’ sister seemingly by a different mother. Wilks’ father was a rascal too. And we will see his grandson, along with Citizen’s son, in the next and final play, Radio Golf.

p.s. 1839 Wylie Street is the residence of Aunt Ester. 1839 was the year of the Amistad mutiny. And William Cullen Bryant’s poem, Thanatopsis, was cited in Act 2 Scene 2 and at the very end of the play, although his later poem, The Death of Slavery also foretold the era of this play and of the entire century cycle. Bryant was a noted 19th century newspaper editor, poet, and abolitionist.