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▣ Why Re-enacting or Living History?

posted by Joseph Certaine on September 29th, 2009 at 1:09 PM

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I don't know about you but  I have become encouraged lately, by the renewed interest in the history of black Americans.  There is an excitement about researching black family histories and participating in cultural events.  Oftentimes during family reunions,  there is more and more attention being given to first-person interpretations of some interesting or historic event in family history.  Encouraging our children and grandchildren to attend family reunions is one of the ways that family research is made easier.  Recently, my grandchildren had an opportunity  to participate in the reunion of their mom's family in North Carolina. From the reports that I've gotten,  it was not only a great social occasion, it was also a spiritual and emotional milestone in their young lives.

Earlier in the year those same grandchildren, through their parents, invited me to their school during the month of February. They invited me to be the featured guest at the Robert Goddard School during Black History Month. The school is a French immersion school with a multi-racial student body and an international  faculty in Prince George's County, Maryland.  It was easily the most prestigious invitation I had ever received and undoubtedly, the most important presentation I have ever made.

As I prepared for my living history presentation, it occured to me how important it is to be able to convey an historical identity to your family and especially your children.  My son Todd and his wife Monique, had inspired me to share my hobby with not only their children; Alexa, Brendan and Christian (the ABCs) but with hundreds of other children and their parents. More than that, they have unknowingly motivated me to launch this website and blog.

Up until now, my most ardent fan has been my wife LaTanya.  For many years she has helped me as a partner as I participated in various events. She has helped load and unload my horse and served as my navigator on long drives, pulling a horsetrailer, in unfamiliar country.  She' s accompanied me on horseback in parades and in remote treks into rugged, mountainous terrain.  She' s ridden in open carriages in winter weather and in canvas covered wagons during the heat of summer.  In the process, she has demonstrated her patience with me upon my insistence that she absolutely can change into a 19th century soldier's lady on a bus, in a parking lot ... in just twenty minutes time.  She is also a large part of the motivation to launch this site.  It has most definitely been years in the making.    

What I really want to do is encourage people of color to join the community of reenactors and living historians who are interpreting American history from the perspective of people who have had an enormous role in its development.  We have an important story to tell that cannot be interpreted by anyone else.  It is a story that is important to the country and to what really is , our place in the world.  It's a story that encompasses all of the hardship, sacrifice and glory that is America. 

I hope this site and the information on it will inspire others to look into their history, identify someone or some event and then bring it all to life.  Do it for the fun of it, or do it because of a commitment to history. Better yet, do it to give your family an opportunity to enjoy the history they never knew.     

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