…This is expressly why all voices matter; history belongs to all of us. History cannot be a zero-sum game for historians alone. As Silverstein, said in a recent tweet, “no one owns history.” The vigorous and needful debates among historians must also be debates discussed and generated from the general populace including the press. The public must be actively involved in the understanding of their past. Does that mean that professional historians will have no role to play? Of course not. Those who have dedicated their lives to the study of history are necessary. I would say there could be no 1619 without the original primary research work of historians and other scholars – including some of those who have critiqued it. I know that my analysis of the American Civil War in The Weeping Time benefited greatly from James McPherson’s body of work on the subject.
That said, history must come out of the archive, out of the halls of academia and must also make its home among the people. History does not belong to professional historians; it belongs to all of us and now more than ever in these troubled times, we all need to be students of history. It must be something people care about deeply -deeply enough to engage, deeply enough to debate…
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