Preserve history; don’t attempt to change it

Kim Brooks
Babbling Brooks Column
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     This week’s column is all about history. History needs to be preserved. History rarely changes. We should never try to change history; it is what it is.

     First, bravo to the all-volunteer board of the Monticello Heritage and Cultural Center!

     If you didn’t read all about their “soft” grand re-opening that took place on the Fourth of July in last week’s Express, it detailed the hard work that went into making this event possible.

     This crew of Bob Hendricks, Dave and Penny Schoon, Kaye Junion and Deb Bowman spent many hours revamping, reorganizing, and preparing the Heritage Center for the public.

     For those who don’t know, the Monticello Heritage Center is home to much of Monticello’s history. And the board is using that as its basis to keep the history alive for generations to come. They want to bring in changing exhibits to entice people to come back again and again.

     As a history buff and lover of museums, this news early on excited me. It’s been in the works for at least a year and a half.

     Having lived in Monticello for nine years, there is definitely so much of this town’s history that remains a secret. And I’m willing to bet there is history of Monticello that many of our long-time residents don’t know. Have you heard of Dr. Benadom? If not, after you leave the Heritage Center, you’ll have a wealth of knowledge about this town “doctor.” (Yes, my use of quotes is a clue.)

     History is important to preserve and share, and that is exactly what the Heritage board is doing!

     In line with the theme of “history,” I have to share my thoughts on a recent news story that actually infuriated so many people throughout the country last week, including myself.

     I’ll preface by saying that a year ago it was announced that the confederate flag was not only being removed from the image and recreation of the General Lee, but the famous TV show that popularized the General Lee, “The Dukes of Hazzard,” was being taken off the air because of the controversy of the flag. That absolutely made no sense.

     We cannot change history.

     But, it seems the American Library Association is setting to do just that, change history. (You would think the ALA would be all for preserving history, good or bad, not pretending it didn’t exist.)

     The ALA removed author Laura Ingalls Wilder’s name from of one of its prestigious children’s literature award. Why? Due to the terminology used throughout Wilder’s popular series of children’s books, “Little House on the Prairie,” that the ALA classified as “insensitive” toward other ethnicities (Indigenous people and people of color).

     The award is all about inclusiveness and respect, and there are words that appear in Wilder’s books that today’s society feels are inappropriate and harsh.

     Let’s keep in mind that Wilder’s books, which reflect her life in America in the 1800s. They were written in the 1930s and ‘40s. Times were much different then…

     The award used to be known as the “Laura Ingalls Wilder Award.” Now it will forever be known as the “Children’s Literature Legacy Award.”

     So, again, I ask: Why try to change history? Why tarnish Wilder’s famous name and book series that generations have enjoyed for over 80 years?

     The award honors children’s authors and illustrators who have created lasting impressions in children’s literature. Wilder is the perfect definition of doing just that. In fact, Wilder herself was the first recipient of the award in 1954.

     PC (politically correct) actions like this, like removing the confederate flag from the General Lee or tearing down confederate statues in the South, only insight anger. Those statues have caused such a stir that people went on to protest against the action of eliminating them from our nation’s history. Are we just supposed to pretend segregation and division of races never existed in our nation’s past? Heck, it’s still going on!

     I’m ashamed by the ALA for making such a bogus decision like removing Wilder’s name from one of its awards. And if they are going to denounce her works of literature, I would hope they would denounce every other piece of children’s literature that paints a negative picture of Indigenous people and African Americans. Fair is fair. (Although in my opinion, it’s taking things a little too far.)



Subscriber Login