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AfriGeneas Writers Forum

Re: Report on the Southern Sources Symposium

David (and Vnyormoi),

I honor and commend you! My little brain would have exploded after two days of scholarly wanderings. LOL

I get what Edward E. Baptist is saying and I agree; the voices in the archives can and do say surprising things. We just need to be honest in our listening.

Steven Stowe echoed and articulated a worry that I have. ".. How does my sense of who will read what I write shape what I write?" Recently I've felt paralyzed by this notion. It is not enough to craft literate or clever sentences. And it goes back to what Mr. Baptist intimated; did I interpreted that obituary, census record, or oral history correctly and honestly?

I don't quite share the sentiments of Bertram Wyatt-Brown. Unless you write for the Enquirer or absolutely don't care how a story impacts the living, it shouldn't be a historian's dilemma at all. If you can't tell the whole story truthfully, wait until you can!

I can't ethically go along with Wyatt-Brown's concerns for what seems to be an exercise in being coy, manipulative, and possibly deceitful- to get the story before we 'publish'. Is it a sin to respect the wishes of our families, in this context?

I go back to Mr. Stowe; "… When we think we are in tune with the meaning… when the fact[s] seem to be speaking for themselves, we have found the best story we can tell."

Oh my, this weighs heavily on my thinking and my writing.
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18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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