I have long felt history has more to do with the present, and future, than the past.
What do we choose to remember and memorialize? What gets forgotten through neglect? Or gets actively erased?
History puts a second point relative to the present. You get a trajectory that can imply the future, suggesting what might be needed to stay the course, or if desired, change the trajectory.
I have put a particular focus on research and writing related to lesser told histories, such as the stories and voices of women, African Americans and veterans. Once a new story is ready to be told, then I look for every possible, relevant channel of communications: wikipedia, social media, YouTube, physical memorials, talks, school curriculum, big screens, small screens, etc. No story is fixed, history needs to be constantly rewritten, as the historian Lucy Maynard Salmon described so eloquently a century ago. My goal is to identify, preserve, and creatively share the stories of the past as a guide to the present and future.
This an open workspace, please comment. ~ Bill Jeffway
History Speaks. Listen. Learn.
Recent Exhibitions, Books, Videos Produced
Pre-Civil War Rural African American Experience in Mid-Hudson Valley
Northampton, MA Topics
Milan, Dutchess County, NY
I have always found local history rich in experience and reward, giving context and perspective across time, geography, and community. I hope to help others understand similarly, as a powerful, accessible means of learning.
In addition to understanding common, shared experiences across generations and centuries, I find it fascinating to come to understand the degree to which we all perceive historical “facts” and embed them in narratives shaped by our own biases (consciously or unconsciously) which in turn gives us an insight into ourselves.
One of my favorite quotes: [We] map what we see, marking some features, ignoring others. History is not the past, but a map of the past, drawn from a particular point of view to be useful to the modern traveler.~Henry Glassie, Professor of Folklore.