New Philadelphia: An Archaeology of Race in the Heartland

By Paul A. Shackel | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 11
Some Thoughts, but Not
the Final Word

New Philadelphia is about entrepreneurial success and freedom. However, when dealing with many different stakeholders, it is sometimes difficult to establish a coherent message for the place. Trying to change the way people remember the history of any place does not come quickly, nor does it come easily. Whether internally coherent or contradictory to the dominant view, memories validate the individual’s version of the past, sometimes by being selective about what is being presented to the public. The same historical and material representation may have divergent meanings to different audiences, and there can be competing interests that struggle to create a specific memory of a place (Glassberg 1996:9–10; Lowenthal 1985). Understanding how and why some groups have different perspectives on an event or a place is important for critically evaluating and understanding the development and meaning of a place like New Philadelphia.


MEMORY AND REPRESENTATION

The collective memory of New Philadelphia does not rely solely on professional historical scholarship; it also takes into account the local and descendant communities and institutions. The act of politicians supporting road signage on the federal highway helps raise the visibility of the place, which helps this version of history become part of the national collective memory. However, different group agendas and

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