Monday, June 5, 2017


You may recall a recent post in which I expressed dismay at two local events whose invitations lacked even a hint of diversity.

Meanwhile, the promotion campaign for one of these events continued along in the same vein. Some samples:

It just bugged me. So I sent the organization a copy of my blog post along with this note:

Perhaps next year you might consider a different sort of fundraising event. 

It wasn't long before I received this response:

Thank you for your input. You might have wanted to do some research on  Howard County Historical Society before you made that blog post.  If you had you would have discovered our wide variety of diverse programs and events that aim to tell the history of all the citizens of our county -- and that guests of all ethnicity enjoy coming to......

  • Oct. 6: “Black Churches in Howard County” Panel Discussion led by Pat Greenwald

African-American churches have long been an important part of the cultural fabric of Howard County. Even before the abolition of slavery, faith groups had organized among our area’s people of color. Representatives of these groups will present a panel discussion on their history and relevance in the county, as well as noting the challenges facing the congregations today. Click here for tickets

  • June 2: “Columbia” Barbara Kellner

Barbara Kellner, Chief Archivist at the Columbia Archives, will discuss the history of the planned community Columbia, which is celebrating its 50th Anniversary in 2017. Barbara will discuss Jim 
Rouse’s plan and vision for Columbia and its significance to the suburban growth of Howard County.  (If you're not familiar with the history of Howard county it was founded in the 1960's with the expressed purpose of creating a racially and ethnically diverse communities from the ground up.) 

  • Exhibit tells the story of Jewish settlement 'Yazoor' (article Baltimore Sun)
  • History no longer underground (article The Beacon Newspapers) 

The writer included a photograph, with this caption:

In addition to our many inclusive programs our events are attended and enjoyed by Howard Countians of all backgrounds.   We invite you to learn more about the Howard County Historical Society by visiting us online at or in person at our archives at the Miller Branch Library or the Museum of Howard County History in Ellicott City.  Thanks in advance for checking in with us on any future stories!

My response?

These are all wonderful things. You missed my point entirely.

I was actually aware of all of these events because I follow the goings-on of the Howard County Historical Society rather closely. I love history. I love local stories. My concern stemmed not from ignorance on my part, as was suggested, but rather the appearance of exclusion which I was fairly certain was not the intent. 

What do you think? Is it possible to both respect the work of an institution and still wince when a message misses the mark? 

I saw plenty of photographs online today of the event. It looks to have been a success. I'm glad, because I think the Historical Society does great stuff. But maybe they need to hear from more than just one blogger about what a lack of representation says to the greater community. When people hear the word "history" they want to know "whose story" will be valued and shared. 

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