Historiography: the writing of history
Historiography has roots as far back as ancient Greece with the early writings being from renowned writer, Herodotus. Herodotus and his fellow ancient riders have teetered between mythology and reality their contributions have highly appreciated. These ancient writers have set the standard for history for centuries to come and one standard they have set is the power aspect of those that write it. History has a history of being written by the powerful and wealthy. The field does take an immense amount of education and time, which mostly the wealthy can afford. The history taught in schools gives a top down perspective of the subject leaving out the small narratives that still made history what it is today.
It took me till college to realize how one-way street history is taught in high school. I grew up in a predominately white community in the south. I did not have a terrible experience but I had an inner struggle with my racial identity. I was surrounded with white friends during school but I went to a mostly black church every Sunday. It was like I had this dual racial identity where I had a black and white identity but I still did not fit in. My white friends would tell me they were blacker than me because I was not interested in supposedly black cultural traditions such as rap. Yet was still not white enough for them but I was not black enough for the black kids. I barely had any black friends at school and had some at church. Still I could never fully fit in with my black church friends. I did not know how to be truly proud of my blackness but my dad helped. He was always a proud black man. We always joked that he would have been a Black Panther if old enough and not living in Georgia. We went to black history museum, watched documentaries together, and constantly trying to learn more. He inspired my love of history but high school helped fostered and solidify that love. I took World History my sophomore year and AP US history my junior, both taught by very enthusiastic teachers with passion for their respective subjects. I knew after those classes that I wanted to have history involved in my life somehow.
Emory helped take my passion for history to the next level. I got to engage with historical material like never before. I got to really learn about black history and not just slavery and Civil Right but Garveyism, Black Power, and Pan-Africanism. I finally learned how to be a proud black woman in my own way. I gained a whole new appreciation for those grassroots movements not too many people knew about or really cared about. I had another life-changing moment when I went on the Italian Studies Summer Program in the summer of 2016. I get to go outside of my world to learn about another one. The program helped me remember I had something important, privilege. I was able to get an amazing education at a prestigious school and the opportunity to go to my dream country. I knew I had to do something with my privilege to spread it to those without. I wanted to create a space where people could learn and write about the history they never heard about in primary schooling or even higher education. I wanted to take back the historical power held by the upper class and give it back to the people. Yourmyourhistory.com was such space.
What is yourmyourhistory.com?
The website uses the two different affordances of the medium proposed by Dr. Murray, the encyclopedic and the participatory. The Internet offers an infinite amount of information that can help add to this website. The website will also add to the encyclopedic medium as it builds with these new narratives. I want to add stories of people that cannot be easily Googled and takes valid research to tell these stories. The participatory medium will be used through the ability for people to add content to the website. I do not want to put my history alone on this website because it is larger than me. Our history is not made of just the heavy hitters of history. It is the amazing grandmother that raised five strong-willed children who transferred their wisdom to her six grandchildren. Those willing to tell a story will have the ability. I personally will be uploading stuff about my own family history, my history, and other historical content I have learned.
I am creating this website through wordpress and it is linked my personal website created for the Digital Media class. It took me a long time to create the space I wanted and I am still making improvements. I have changed the theme of it about 4 times and even the actually domain name several times as well before settling on yourmyourhistory.com. The site has a home page that displays the recent posts, an about page talking about why I started the page, a submission page for people to submit their stories, and the actual blog place with the hiSTORIES. I have also created a gmail account for the site for people who want to submit longer stories.
This version of the site is only phase one of where I want to take the site. Phase two will be creating video content in a documentary form. I have already registered a YouTube channel for the site but have yet to create content for it. I will have to change the name of it because it has an older name for the channel. The third phase will be to sell merchandise inspired by the content from the website.
What I Have Now
The 1968 Olympic Black Power Salute has gone down in history as one of the most iconic images taken. The African American athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos had dominated the 200 meters Olympic event and taken placed in the top 3 along with Australian gym teacher Peter Norman. The two African Americans turned their victory into a platform for the Black Liberation Movement occurring in America by doing the Black Power Salute instead of placing their hands over their heart during the American National Anthem. These two athletes were formally condemned by the Olympics committee and faced even more criticism across the nation but eventually would honored for their stance in recent years. History remembers Tommie Smith and John Carlos well but what about Peter Norman? Though Norman did not do the salute, he did support their actions. Norman took part in the Olympic Project for Human Rights which strove for equality across the nation. Peter Norman wanted to do what he could to help Tommie Smith and John Carlos with their demonstrations shocking the two athletes but reassuring their actions. Peter Norman did what he did knowing full well the backlash he would face back in Australia. Australia during the mid-20th century was anti-immigrant, and white-washed in politics and public opinion and pressured Norman to condemn the athletes in order to save his career. Yet, Norman stood strong with the athletes not giving into the pressure. The Australian runner became a social leper and erased from history. However, he made lifelong friends in Smith and Carlos and when he died in 2006 the two iconic athletes were his pallbearers at his funeral. Not until 2012, 44 years later, would Australia issue a formal apology to Peter Norman. His action though seemingly small had a lasting impact on our history.
Peter Norman’s story is an example of how I want the content to go and it was even submitted by Dr. Allison. I got much of the information from the article see suggested, griot.com. Another post I am working on was inspired from a tumblr post I saw about the Yezidis massacre that occurred in Armenia during the early 20th century. Where is use a source from the Yezidis Post on the subject. The killing of the Yezidi was little known because of the Armenian genocide, which is more known in history. Both killing happened at the hands of the Ottoman Empire and the Kurds.
Please donate to the cause by submitting your story to yourmyourhistory.com!
4 Affordances of Digital Medium by Dr. Murray
Yezidipost.com (could not access it for some reason will fix when I can)
Griot, and Riccardo Gazzaniga. “The white man in that photo.” GRIOT. N.p., 3 Oct. 2015. Web. 17 Apr. 2017.