The United States has been engaged in a heated national debate this summer about historic symbols. While I am sympathetic to many of the arguments being made, I am also a historian. I believe history must be studied, in part so that we do not make the same mistakes. Historic events must be understood, but within the context of the time they occurred. Few today would want to return to the world of a hundred years or more ago! But learning how we have evolved individually, as organizations and the like is essential.
The Texas State Capitol grounds are a positive example of what can be done to represent historical events and the individuals and organizations that have shaped the state’s development, whether some applaud those activities today or not. Follow this link to an online overview of monuments found on the grounds, from those commemorating the Alamo and Pearl Harbor to Tejanos, pioneers and disabled veterans. We will probably see more monuments installed on the grounds in the years ahead.*
Penelope J. Corfield is a historian from the United Kingdom I enjoy following on social media. In Making History, Penelope notes:
“In all cases, understanding History is integral to a good understanding of the condition of being human. That allows people to build, and, as may well be necessary, also to change, upon a secure foundation. Neither of these options can be undertaken well without understanding the context and starting points. All living people live in the here-and-now but it took a long unfolding history to get everything to NOW.”
As my readers know, one of my favorite organizations is NTEN: Nonprofit Technology Network. I wanted to share information about an exciting national program NTEN and Google Fiber have developed in Google Fiber cities across the nation.
From the Google Fiber Blog:
“When people have access to the web, opportunities are just a click away—from learning how to sign up for health care, to finding affordable housing, to keeping in touch with family and friends. But today, more than 60 million Americans still aren’t using the Internet at home. While there are organizations across the U.S. that want to help bring these people online, many of them don’t have the in-house expertise or resources to launch new programs.
That’s why, in partnership with the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN), we’re launching the Digital Inclusion Fellowship.”
Follow this link to learn more about this pioneering program, and stay tuned for more news as the project develops. In Austin, I have helped organize an event for our local NTEN 501 Tech Club at Google Fiber Space to announce the program. Follow the link the learn more.
* A few monuments on the Texas State Capitol grounds I would like to see erected include one focusing on the Indians of Texas (some of the most fascinating and ferocious warriors in the history of Texas – you might enjoy reading a polite (pdf) brochure produced by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, “Learn About Texas Indians”); a monument commemorating the “freedmen’s” communities of Texas (a good example of such a community is discussed on the website of the Shankleville Historical Society); German settlers in Texas; and women leaders of Texas (follow this link to learn about an early female Texas Governor, Miriam A. “Ma” Ferguson).
Looking for more information about my background? Follow this link to my biographical website.