Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Rendering the Diaspora

declare The New York Times has an interesting visualization of detainees released from the US "prison" at Guantánamo Bay. It maps where the 599 living (6 died in custody) former prisoners are currently—although they may still be prisoners in the new host countries. Unfortunately, these individuals are rendered as cubes that are stacked and configured as so many cargo containers in an international shipping logistics map.

(img above from NY Times)

Closer to home, they have a couple of articles addressing the continued disavowal by Southern states of slavery as a primary instigator in their 19th Century secession from the Union. In preparation for the upcoming 150th anniversary of the US Civil War, many states are apparently planning celebrations of the "glory days of the secession." With the continued rise of right-wing political nostalgia, this kind of revisionist historical tourism should be troubling. 
Author and historian Adam Goodheart gives an anecdotal account of Harriet Tubman's last missions on the Underground Railroad as the war approached. In the current climate, where contemporary white Southern leaders are celebrating their states' rights to secede in order to keep people as property, the existence of the Underground Railroad and the many people who made it work is important to remember.

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