Home > Introductions > Opening thoughts and whatnot

Opening thoughts and whatnot

This is now the second class I’ve had to utilize a class blog and I have to say, I really enjoy them. I think they provide a wonderful opportunity to hear thoughts and opinions of others in the class who may not have spoken during class.

I’m really excited that this class is focusing on slavery in Texas because I think that the fact that Texas was once a slave holding state is often swept over or briefly mentioned without being dwelled upon in school. I specifically remember when I had to take Texas History way back in seventh grade, the issue of slavery in Texas was mentioned in passing, as though to say, “Yeah we did it but we didn’t really want to, it was just that everyone else was doing it. It wasn’t our idea.” Dr. Stockton and I discussed today how ironic it is that Texans continue to memorialize the battle at the Alamo as a courageous stand for freedom and a tragic story in which the good guys all died, and yet we forget that the Texans were fighting for freedom in part because they wanted to keep slaves and the Mexicans wouldn’t let them. Texans seem to have a major tendency to glaze over the less flattering parts of our history in favor of the more impressive milestones.

I started reading Love Cemetery earlier tonight and just wanted to comment really quickly on something which I found super interesting and which I had honestly never thought of before. On pages 14-15, Galland writes, “I knew enough to avoid calling someone a slave. People were enslaved. Being enslaved by someone was a condition, a degraded position, not a category of being. Calling people “slaves” was a way of denying that they were human beings first.”  This passage really struck me because I had never even considered the different connotations and potential meanings of calling someone “a slave” versus saying they “were enslaved.” Obviously I’ve always understood that these were people who were being bought and sold like common household items, but it never occurred to me that referring to them simply as “slaves” which happens so much in literature and conversations about slavery was further dehumanizing them and adding to the horrors of slavery. I hope in the course of this class we have an opportunity to discuss how we talk and write about slavery and how these tendencies and habits impact the ways in which slavery is remembered today.

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  1. katelongoria
    January 13, 2011 at 4:27 am

    I completely agree with your comments about Love Cemetery. It’s amazing how the simple use of a word can affect us.

  2. lhennigan
    January 13, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    I agree about the denial of Texas being a slave holding state. In my Texas history class we never really went into detail about slavery in Texas and even in U.S. history the focus was always on slavery in other states. It’s nice that we can finally look into the subject instead of just looking over it.

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