The hidden story of two African American women looking out from the pages of a 19th-century book
by Kate Clarke Lemay, Smithsonian Institution and Martha S. Jones, Johns Hopkins University
We are two historians whose work focuses on American art and on how African Americans have shaped the story of American democracy. Our two subject areas converged recently when one of us had a question, and the other helped her research the answer.
Kate was in the midst of organizing the National Portrait Gallery’s exhibition, “Votes for Women: A Portrait of Persistence,” commemorating the more than 80-year movement for women to obtain the right to vote. This exhibition is part of the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative, Because of Her Story. While doing her research, Kate encountered a character in history whose story she didn’t know, but who she anticipated would be important to the history the museum wanted to tell.
Who was Mary E. Harper? That’s the question Kate set out to answer. CLICK TO CONTINUE
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“Villages preserve culture: dress, food and dance are a few examples. As villages grow in population and turn into towns, local cafes make way for large American chains. Handmade leather sandals are discarded for a pair of Western sneakers.
Due to its small size, a village fosters a tight-knit sense of community. Justpeace.org explains the meaning of the African proverb, “It takes a village,” by stating that a sense of community is critical to maintaining a healthy society.
Village members hold a wealth of information regarding their heritage: they know about the ancient traditions, methods of production and the resources of the land. When villages become dispersed or exterminated in times of war, this anthropological knowledge disappears.
Large cities are not as conducive to growing and producing foods such as fruits and vegetables. Villages, on the other hand, usually have ample amounts of land and other resources necessary for growing conditions.” The Importance of Villages by Catherine Capozzi
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