Friday, June 26, 2020

Rare Sighting

What a joy it was to see social media light up with rainbow photographs yesterday evening. As much as we lament how bad news travels fast these days, nothing moves faster than than color in the sky. My thanks to you all.

Another unexpected treat yesterday was a moment when the Columbia Archives account (via the Columbia Association) popped up on Facebook and Twitter to remind us of an important day in the New American City. On Facebook

The planned community of Columbia was founded on principles that enabled the growth of people. However, the realities of societal challenges have impacted this visionary community since its inception. Fifty-two years ago this week, those who believed in the founding principles of Columbia were faced with a physical manifestation of what this New Town’s existence denounced. This prompted a call to action! 

On Thursday, June 27, 1968, George Wallace, governor of Alabama and segregationist presidential candidate, held a rally at Merriweather Post Pavilion. The images below share the sentiments of Columbians and Mr. James Rouse's advocacy for the community's activism. Visit to learn more about the legacy of Columbia MD.

And, the thread on Twitter begins here

I think it reads better as a series of Tweets in a thread, because it gives the reader a sense of dynamic events as they unfolded. This could be today, right now, in our New Amercian City that is new no more. Tired, but still fighting for a better way.

The fact that the Columbia Association and the Columbia Archives chose this moment to collaborate on a social media piece is significant to me. It has been quite some time since the feisty, perennially idealistic voice of the Archives has been given free rein. I truly miss the days when the Archives had its own social media account. Of course it is far easier for the Columbia Association to ensure a unified “message” if there is only one source of content. Probably less expensive, too.

Many see the Columbia Association as the pools, parks, and pathways people. We’ve learned a lot more recently about how school-aged childcare has long been the linchpin holding much of it together. But the Columbia Association as an active voice for anti-racism in the here and now has been less clear. Assumed, perhaps, but muted. Comfortable in pale, 1960’s era platitudes.

So, let’s talk about it. 

What role can the Columbia Association play in addressing current challenges to the anti-racist tenets that our community was founded upon? Can it? Are those years behind us? Does it play its best hand purely by pointing us to our history? Or can it take an active part in fostering conversations that encourage us to look at whether we are who we say we are? 

Interested? Your best bet is to interact with both or either of these posts on social media. “Like”, “share”, add a comment. CA will undoubtedly be assessing the traffic on these. If nobody cares, well... will be a missed opportunity. 

A shout-out to the folks at CA and the Archives on this. I know I’m not the only one who noticed.  

And, one more thing. If the George Wallace’s of the world came calling today? We’d owe them no big-hearted, high-minded hospitality here. If we’ve learned anything since then perhaps it is that we don’t need to extend any modicum of legitimacy to outright evil.

Don’t agree? Add a comment.

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