On our recent trip to Vicksburg http://www.nps.gov/vick/ and Natchez http://www.nps.gov/natc/ (pictures will be forth coming as home computer gets fixed : ) , I was really getting interested and asking questions about the siege and campaign to take Vicksburg and was intrigued by how the people in the city, when they knew General Grant was coming dug caves and put their housewares there and lived there through much of the “conflict”. Anyway, He turned to me, stepped back as if to scrutinize me more fully and this light popped on in his eyes. “I just realized you are a Social Historian!” He said it with emphasis that way too, like with capital letters. “The historical event doesn’t interest you or not for long, but how the people it affected dealt with it and reconstructed that fascinates you. Look at how want the “local color” experience.”
This puts a whole new spin on our historical trips. I know, geek alert, I was even more involved when we went to Natchez and road 80 + miles of the Natchez Trace http://www.nps.gov/natr/ (pronounced like matches, but with a “n” instead). How they went about their daily lives and the role of slavery, especially freed slaves then owning slaves themselves!
That sent me into a whole psychological/sociological evaluation of the situation and I couldn’t get enough info. I poured over at length each of the displays, at the National Historic parks -Melrose and the Barber Home the rather palatial town home of William Johnson http://www.nps.gov/state/ms/ Normally you should know, I just skim by and pick up at catches my eye. But this time I devoured every poster, sliding board and kiosk that came my way.
I am seeing “the late unpleasantness”, “the war of northern aggression” and “the war between the states” as it’s referred to here in the South very differently, I think because I feel I touched on, at least to some degree, how it made the people feel and act. I can’t wait till the next time!