Tuesday, January 20, 2009

How Shall I See You Through My Tears: Standing At The Inaugural Crossroads

I'm standing in the crossroads. It is a joyous hurt indeed. This past week I bounced from idea to idea until I landed on a book called The American Women’s Almanac: An Inspiring and Irreverent Women’s History by Louise Berntrow.  Hmm,  what historical women could I invite to watch the ceremony along with a group of history bloggers?

Ann Hutchinson, who in 1634, believed that women could comprehend words of faith as well as men could.  She committed the crime of sharing her faith with other women and dare assert that she could talk to God without the assistance of a man.  The Puritans banished her from the town. Ann might like to converse with Heather of Not A DIY Life to learn how some contemporary women who are free to publically express their faith and demonstrate how women now have multiple ways of expressing faith that is incorporated into everyday life.

Certainly I’d have to invite both Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth but I would expect that Harriet wouldn’t like to be confined in a room when she could roam in a new land but I’d take a chance on it just the same. Viola Liuzzo, was a housewife killed as she was bringing marchers back to Selma, Alabama. I’d have them meet with SO Katie who would get them caught up on progress and how there is still a struggle with civil rights for members of the GLBT community.

I could have Jenny from the American President’s Blog speak with Mary Todd Lincoln, free from her addiction and pain to witness the country united as one of her husband’s Emancipation Proclamation speech. I need to make room for Eleanor Roosevelt for her perspective of being an activist First Lady. Mrs. Lincoln did not believe in women’s suffrage (early feminism) and I’m thinking Mrs. Roosevelt with her actions in and out the White House might give her the vapors. I may need Jenny to sit between them as a buffer.

The crossroad in our lives are not paved only to look at the lessons of the past but to look ahead and nurture our future. Standing in the middle point of the road I can look back and a little bit forward. Part of our job is to inform the children born of this time of our history so that they can visualize what will be possible in their lives.

Chicago Grade School Students From Share My Inauguration Interview Robin Roberts

Thanks to the McCormick Foundation Share My Inauguration project 24 students from Chicago’s Frazier Preparatory Academy have the opportunity to witness the swearing in of the 44th President of the U.S.  From the web site:

During their four-day journey to Washington, D.C., the students will visit landmarks such as the Capitol Building and the Smithsonian and attend the inauguration and an inaugural ball. When they return to Chicago, the DC 24 will publish a newspaper describing their experience and deliver a presentation about their trip to parents, faculty and peers.

There was an unexpected added bonus. The students had an opportunity to interview ABC News reporter Robin Roberts at the Smithsonian Museum. This is a digital age so the kids came ready with Flip camcorders,digital cameras and questions.

In this first segment, Robin Roberts answers questions on why she is visiting the Smithsonian Museum: 


In this next clip, Kierra and the DC24 students ask what does she think the President will do? After the interview Kierra explains how she felt about meeting Ms. Roberts.


Well, there is much to do. After I finished getting gooey-eyed I have to figure out the direction I want to take. I struggle with it every day but the correct answer is forward.

More Resources:

  • You can find out more about Ann Hutchinson by reading  a narrative of her activities in the collection “The Story of New England Pilgrims 1620 and of 1624 via Google Books.
  • For more on Sojourner Truth the University of Pennsylvania has and electronic copy of her book “The Narrative of Sojourner Truth”, dictated by the author and edited by Olive Gilbert.
  • For more info on Eleanor Roosevelt you can visit her biography page from the FDR Library and Museum site.
  • You can view actual FBI documentation on Viola’s case and the people responsible for her death. 
This post originally appeared on BlogHer where I am a Contributing Editor.

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