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 Post subject: Re: Don't Hijack Preservation with Politics
PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2020 12:44 pm 

Joined: Fri Oct 01, 2004 1:33 pm
Posts: 433
Location: Oroville, CA
I think what we all need to be aware of is the fluid nature of the current social changes going on. BLM was a small splinter, somewhat radical "group" that has shortly evolved into a "socially acceptable" movement. Personally, I think "ALL Lives Matter" but that is irrelevant to the situation now.
What we do need to avoid and prevent is what I understand has happened in South Africa where steam trains (and maybe all trains) are considered to be "White Man's Toys" and are to be eliminated. Preservation of history is at stake here, and keeping history itself relevant to the new generations is critical to Preservation's survival.
The idea of eliminating "bad times" in history threatens the whole reason to study history--so we don't repeat mistakes and civilization can move forward, not backward. How that can best be done is a matter of great debate, but the debate needs to happen.

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David Dewey
Hoping for the return to the American Rivers of the last overnight steamboat, Delta Queen!


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 Post subject: Re: Don't Hijack Preservation with Politics
PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2020 5:16 pm 

Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2015 5:55 pm
Posts: 1142
David Dewey wrote:
Personally, I think "ALL Lives Matter" but that is irrelevant to the situation now.

Have you ever been invited to a child's birthday party, and if so did you sing "Happy Birthday to EVERYONE."? When they sing "God Bless America" do you sing "God Bless All COUNTRIES."? At a sporting event do you say "Hooray for ALL teams."? If you saw someone drowning, screaming "Help me" would you stand there with your arms crossed and say "Help EVERYONE."? In all of those instances, including the example you mentioned, it is inappropriate to broaden the discussion beyond the issue at hand and is regarded, appropriately I think, as an attempt to minimize it. You can translate each of them into "I don't care about you and am angry that anyone is paying attention to you."


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 Post subject: Re: Don't Hijack Preservation with Politics
PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2020 5:47 pm 

Joined: Fri Oct 01, 2004 1:33 pm
Posts: 433
Location: Oroville, CA
Well, as I stated, my thought(s) are irrelevant to the present situation. As to your examples, yes, that is the popular trend--participation trophies for everyone. I'm not saying I agree with it, but I do acknowledge it. Our Society is going through some major upheavals and we are going to have to ride the roller coaster to survive.
This discussion was started with a photo of someone overstepping their authority and putting a campaign sign on an historic artifact move. The signs were removed, but not before photos of them went viral. That's what happens in today's world of instant communications.

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David Dewey
Hoping for the return to the American Rivers of the last overnight steamboat, Delta Queen!


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 Post subject: Re: Don't Hijack Preservation with Politics
PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2020 8:22 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 9675
Location: Somewhere east of Prescott, AZ along the old Santa Fe "Prescott & Eastern"
PMC wrote:
If you saw someone drowning, screaming "Help me" would you stand there with your arms crossed and say "Help EVERYONE."?

We-e-e-e-e-e-l-l-l-l-llllllllllllllll..............


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 Post subject: Re: Don't Hijack Preservation with Politics
PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2020 9:07 pm 
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Location: MA
To answer the questions of what to do about Jim Crow cars. Just state that there are sad but necessary remind her of our troubled past that need to be remembered and encourage visitors to defy the signs and maybe take selfies and tag them #defiance. Pullman was actually a story of Triumph in the African American community because it has petacular the racism backfired. You had a group of people they were integral to the trains operation and all shared common interests Covington to unionize and demand better treatment.


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 Post subject: Re: Don't Hijack Preservation with Politics
PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2020 9:23 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2016 1:15 pm
Posts: 695
RCD wrote:
To answer the questions of what to do about Jim Crow cars. Just state that there are sad but necessary remind her of our troubled past that need to be remembered and encourage visitors to defy the signs and maybe take selfies and tag them #defiance. Pullman was actually a story of Triumph in the African American community because it has petacular the racism backfired. You had a group of people they were integral to the trains operation and all shared common interests Covington to unionize and demand better treatment.


Agreed. I was a conductor on a tourist railroad with a Jim Crow car. People appreciated the history when it was well presented. Ironically the only people who complained about it to me were white. Several African American families who rode with us, many with multi-generational family members who remembered Jim Crow, complimented the history being preserved. This was in the 2000’s.


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 Post subject: Re: Don't Hijack Preservation with Politics
PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2020 8:04 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:19 am
Posts: 5816
Location: southeastern USA
Petacular?

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Santayana: "He who does not remember the past is condemned to repeat it."
Corollary: "He who does is doomed to watch those who don't repeat it anyway."


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 Post subject: Re: Don't Hijack Preservation with Politics
PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2020 11:09 am 

Joined: Tue Jul 14, 2020 12:17 pm
Posts: 1
RCD wrote:
To answer the questions of what to do about Jim Crow cars. Just state that there are sad but necessary remind her of our troubled past that need to be remembered and encourage visitors to defy the signs and maybe take selfies and tag them #defiance. Pullman was actually a story of Triumph in the African American community because it has petacular the racism backfired. You had a group of people they were integral to the trains operation and all shared common interests Covington to unionize and demand better treatment.


The B&O museum has a Jim Crow car, and doesn't shirk as what it was. At the same time, they also say "this is what it was back then, but we'll evolved".


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 Post subject: Re: Don't Hijack Preservation with Politics
PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2020 11:48 am 

Joined: Sat Mar 02, 2013 3:33 pm
Posts: 21
Txhighballer wrote:
My comment concerning whether your organization stands in support of BLM is more about are you willing to admit that there is systemic racism, that there is major work which needs to be done to bring true equality to everyone, and your organization will commit itself to bring that inclusion? If so, put that message on your website, in your newsletters, or even in a press release. Then DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!


Jacob Lyman: Please elaborate more on ideas in your call for action. Saying "DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT" is vague and not necessarily as effective as outlining what that "something" is. Thanks.


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 Post subject: Re: Don't Hijack Preservation with Politics
PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2020 12:26 pm 

Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2008 12:21 am
Posts: 54
Crescent-Zephyr wrote:
Chuck Richards wrote:
Fair enough! The United States is getting browner, and getting younger.

That could work out very nicely for everyone because those guys
could go to work on a section gang maintaining track the old fashioned way!


Chuck Richards of East Troy Railroad Museum?



Yes, as a matter of fact, that is one of the museums where I participate.
Thank you for asking!


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 Post subject: Re: Don't Hijack Preservation with Politics
PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2020 12:58 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 9675
Location: Somewhere east of Prescott, AZ along the old Santa Fe "Prescott & Eastern"
msrlha_archivist wrote:
Jacob Lyman: Please elaborate more on ideas in your call for action. Saying "DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT" is vague and not necessarily as effective as outlining what that "something" is. Thanks.


This is, historically, where most every such radical activist movement loses its support. When the "changes" demanded reach the general public, reluctance and opposition mount.

Actually, more typically of late, the litany of demands that accumulates as "all sides are heard" becomes such a hodgepodge of random demands which strays SO far from the original supposed focus of the protests or calls for action--from demands of the outright abolition of police forces to demands for vegan school food options to free college tuition for all to drug decriminalization to free healthcare--that 1) the original "call for action" is lost in the shuffle and 2) the "movement" gets labelled as "Marxist" or the like.

Getting back to our focus:
What is the Strasburg RR, Cass Scenic RR, the California State RR Museum, the Monticello RR Museum, the little local station museum in New Hampshire or Iowa or Arizona, the Rocky Mountaineer, the Seashore Trolley Museum, the EBT, the ATSF 3751 and 2926 groups, the Oregon Rail Heritage Museum, the Verde Canyon RR, or the Heart of Dixie RR Museum (to name randomly selected samples) supposed to "DO SOMETHING" about what's (supposedly) causing those multiple instances of "civil unrest" many, many miles away in most cases?


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 Post subject: Re: Don't Hijack Preservation with Politics
PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2020 1:13 pm 

Joined: Sat Jan 11, 2020 11:55 pm
Posts: 7
Location: Kansas City, MO
What I plan to do about it.

I am making plans for February of next year (our off season) in concert with African-American History Month to do a series of website and Facebook posts on the the racial issues of the Pullman Company, the Porter's first union, how prisoners were used to build railroads, and the passing of the old school gandy dancers from mechanization and the base of the gandy dancer work song from the old work songs.

To address the history, we have to acknowledge the bad. To ignore the bad, is to ignore the history.

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Matthew Friel

The Smoky Hill Railway and Historical Society, Inc.
The Belton, Grandview and Kansas City Railroad Co.


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 Post subject: Re: Don't Hijack Preservation with Politics
PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2020 1:59 pm 

Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2009 3:07 pm
Posts: 623
Location: B'more Maryland
Alexander D. Mitchell IV wrote:
This is, historically, where most every such radical activist movement loses its support.


You keep calling BLM things like "radical". Why?

Keep in mind, polling indicates something like 60% of Americans support the movement:
https://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2020/06 ... -movement/


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 Post subject: Re: Don't Hijack Preservation with Politics
PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2020 2:15 pm 

Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 5:47 pm
Posts: 22
Alexander D. Mitchell IV wrote:
In transportation history, this probably reached its epitome with the 1995 controversy over the display of the fuselage of the Enola Gay at the National Air & Space Museum--whether its use ended a huge war and saved soldiers' lives, or whether the bomb was a needless, racist, genocidal attack on civilians.

...

As a result of this controversy, when the restored aircraft was finally put on full display in 2003, it was done without ANY interpretive signage whatsoever, pro or con, just raw data. And even that was deemed unacceptable to those with agendas to promote still, most notably anti-war/anti-nuclear advocates.


I can see the political reasoning behind exhibiting the airplane with zero interpretive information, but believe it to be flawed.

Museums, like reporters, have a responsibility to give objective facts, share voices on both sides of the debate (within reason, of course), and give visitors the spark to draw their own conclusions.

Shying away from saying anything only frees the audience to create their own meaning from bias and half-remembered misconceptions. Neutral? Yes, to a fault. But this approach is neither responsible as an educational institution nor is it fair to any of the people involved in the history, on either side.

Alexander D. Mitchell IV wrote:
In most cases, there is plenty of room for negotiation and compromise between such divergent avenues of rhetoric. Unfortunately, there are a few prominent exceptions that feel that, for example, the only answer for the existence of a "Jim Crow" car or a statue of anyone with a "skeleton in the closet" is to destroy it--and if you won't, they will.


A Jim Crow car is an artifact with tells a painful history. A statue is a monument which glorifies a person's character and ignores the rest. I have not heard of any protestors comparing apples and oranges in this manner, except in cases like the Enola Gay where significant parts of history were glossed over.

kcrailroader wrote:
What I plan to do about it.

I am making plans for February of next year (our off season) in concert with African-American History Month to do a series of website and Facebook posts on the the racial issues of the Pullman Company, the Porter's first union, how prisoners were used to build railroads, and the passing of the old school gandy dancers from mechanization and the base of the gandy dancer work song from the old work songs.

To address the history, we have to acknowledge the bad. To ignore the bad, is to ignore the history.


Education is always a great response.

To commemorate this year's anniversary of Women's Suffrage, I worked on a Facebook post series, one per week for all 52 weeks, about women in transportation history. The number of unsolicited sexist and racist comments revealed how much work remains in combating ignorance and fear with objective, high-quality education.

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Currently unaffiliated with any railroad or museum. All opinions are my own.


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 Post subject: Re: Don't Hijack Preservation with Politics
PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2020 2:36 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 4:02 pm
Posts: 1305
Location: Back in NE Ohio
I think it's important to remember that the fairly new Smithsonian Museum of African-American History and Culture has a Jim Crow car built into it, like SR 1401 is built into the American History museum down the street. They wanted it preserved and interpreted, so I don't really think having one on your tourist railroad or museum properly handled is going to be a big deal within that community. How we represent something like the role of railroads in the displacement and genocide of Native Americans could very well be something more contentious.


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