Two Celebrations

This weekend, Americans will finally get to see what many of us have been waiting to explore: the opening of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. I’ll be at a conference at Illinois State University discussing the Supreme Court decision ex parte Milligan (1866), so I’ll have to wait my turn to step into this museum (I visited the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History for the first time in 1966, some fifty years ago, just two years after it opened).

To me, the new museum is for all of us, much as other Smithsonian museums are for all of us (the National Museum of the American Indian comes to mind) as well as other museums on the National Mall (as in the Holocaust Museum). I can’t wait to see what stories the new museum will tell and how they will be told.

That museum looks forward in part by looking backward, suggesting the journey ahead in part by reviewing where one’s been. Elsewhere, however, maybe a hundred miles to the south, people who look backward all the time will also be gathering that weekend. That’s right … the Virginia Flaggers will celebrate their fifth anniversary of existence and three years since the Comedy at Chester was first unveiled. I remember that day very well, and it always brings a smile to my face.

It’s a remarkable contrast to see the rest of America looking forward and learning some history while some folks remain stuck in a past they don’t actually understand very well. But we can always wonder who the Flaggers will invite to the picnic this year. Any guesses?



5 thoughts on “Two Celebrations

  1. Corey Meyer September 20, 2016 / 5:49 pm

    Cool…you’ll be just down the road from me.

  2. rcocean September 21, 2016 / 8:51 pm

    I’m glad the National Museum of African American History and Culture is opening. I think 13-15% of the population that played such an important part in American history deserves its own museum. It’ll be interesting to see how the Museum portrays the AA experience. Will it be another White man’s take on African-Americans, or will it be staffed and run by African Americans and reflect their point of view? I hope its the latter.

  3. David Rasch September 22, 2016 / 7:33 am

    I’m new to the site and exploring African-American history. Will the conference be available on You Tube? In print?

  4. jessie sanford September 27, 2016 / 7:39 pm

    You know Brooks the first two thirds of you post was very inspiring but then you could not help yourself you had to attack people you do not agree with. As a man of letters one would expect more from you. Are you so threaten by Ms Hathaway and her flaggers that they consume so much of your time? And for the readers of this blog I am no fan of Brooks or his followers.

    • Brooks D. Simpson September 28, 2016 / 12:14 pm

      Jessie, the first several words of your comment were very gratifying but then you could not help yourself, and you attacked someone with whom you do not agree. That said, given your behavior here and elsewhere, no one should have expected anything different.

      I have never felt “threatened” by the Virginia Flaggers. I find them a source of amusement. If anything, they have fallen short in that regard lately, because they don’t bring much new to the table any more … but they have their moments. One might ask why you think someone should feel “threatened” by this group, and why you feel the need to speculate about such matters. That appears to consume a lot of your time and energy.

      I hope you feel better now, Jessie. You can now return to complaining about me on other blogs. Perhaps you feel “threatened” by me, given how much time you spend in that endeavor. Thanks for the chuckle.

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