Archiver > TRANSITIONAL-GENEALOGISTS-FORUM > 2011-12 > 1325349272

From: Karen Rhodes <>
Subject: Re: [TGF] A sensitive topic
Date: Sat, 31 Dec 2011 11:34:32 -0500
References: <2904DC75DBD34583833CC7A8D1D536C5@ScrudderPC>
In-Reply-To: <2904DC75DBD34583833CC7A8D1D536C5@ScrudderPC>

I also grew up in the south in the 1950s, and I think it imperative that
today's generation and future generations know exactly what it was like
-- hurtful language and all. People need to be aware of these things --
racism, lynchings, the Holocaust, slavery -- so that they will not
happen again. Cleaning up the language might save a few individuals'
sensibilities, but sometimes sensibilities need to be offended in order
that these wrongs will not be repeated. If we do not have a full
picture of what happened in the past, how are we to take steps to
prevent these wrongs in the future?

Karen Rhodes
Middleburg, Clay County, Florida
Author of /Non-Federal Censuses of Florida, 1784-1945: A Guide to Sources/

On 12/31/2011 6:45 AM, Mary Scrudder wrote:
> I've read this thread with interest but I am conflicted with my own thoughts
> on this matter. It is clear that from a 'historical view' staying as close
> as possible to the original is important. However, having grown up in the
> south, in the 50s, and personally hearing (and remembering) some comments
> made by others - - Well - - rude comments were not always used. But rude
> comments were heard often, and the comments were meant to demean, and
> condescend.
> I agree with others that a well worded introduction would help prepare your
> readers, but I think that if you have especially hurtful language, a
> bracketed blank would be appropriate. A question to ask might be - after so
> many years have passed, could anyone still be hurt by the written words? I
> think the integrity of the history, and especially the voice, could still be
> maintained by a few omissions.
> Cheryl, You are so lucky to receive such a great gift of history.
> Mary
> Austin, Texas
> -----Original Message-----
> From:
> [mailto:] On Behalf Of
> Sent: Friday, December 30, 2011 1:14 PM
> To:
> Subject: [TGF] A sensitive topic
> I seek advice from those who have written and published geneaogical and
> historical works. I am working on compiling a neighborhood history, which
> neighborhood no longer exists, as it is no longer residential. There are a
> number of persons still living who used to live there or have ancestors who
> lived there.
> I was delighted when a relative loaned to me a life history typed up by this
> individual (the author) who has been deceased since 1971. This relative has
> given me permission to include the deceased man's life history in my
> neighborhood history. Many of his stories are not only relevant to the
> neighborhood history but sheds light on events, folkways, day-to-day living,
> etc., etc.
> The deceased man used soom "colorful" language and some words to refer to
> certain races during the first or second decade of the 1900s, and was quite
> common to use those words for this particular area at that particular time.
> Some of these words are not "politically correct" to put it mildly.
> I am not sure how to handle this situtation. I want to stay as close to the
> "original" wording as possible in order to keep the flavor of his stories,
> including his bad grammar, but I don't want to offend certain races of
> people by his occassional use of the words no longer acceptable in today's
> society. I wonder about the integrity of my work if I insert with brackets
> a substitute word - or just how I should handle this.
> I have decided to insert proper punctuation , for the sake of ease of
> reading.
> Help! What should I do? I eagerly look forward to hearing from those who
> can help - especially from those who have been in this situation.
> Cheryl Proctor

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