Our third day of our Summer Network Service project began with a trip to the French Quarter. We set out after morning prayer for breakfast at the world famous, Cafe du Monde and stopped along Esplanade Avenue and the newly completed Moon River Walk to see the newly erected markers explaining the role that New Orleans played in the transatlantic slave trade.
After breakfast we walked to the Presbytere Museum to learn about the devastation brought about by Hurricane Katrina and the failure of the city’s levee system.
After lunch back at Duchesne House, we spent some time with our neighbors at the Community Book Center, encouraging the students to explore the Center’s collection of Afro-Centric books, encouraging them to consider the question of their own schools’ collections.After some time at the Community Book Center, we gathered for a conversation and made a first pass at identifying some ideas that may lead to the formulation of a question we will then pose as part of our project addressing Poverty, Race and Culture.After dinner (Taco Tuesday!) we watched the PBS documentary, “Another Form of Slavery” where once again, we realized there is much to American history that our text books have left out. To use Brandon’s go-to phrase, “Did you know. . . ” we learned from the documentary about “convict leasing” and “peonage” as well as the racial profiling and criminalization of African Americans. From just after Emancipation until well into the 1940s, African Americans were trapped and jailed under false pretenses, creating “another form of slavery”– one that so far most of American History textbooks seem not to have found as significant. The documentary (available for you to watch HERE), like the Whitney Plantation point to some serious gaps in our American educational system pertaining to race. Our work continues.