Books By John Michael Vlach And Commentary - Thurman W. Adams
By Thurman W. Adams
There is a writer/photographer who has dealt with slavery subjects that you would enjoy reading and seeing his photographs. His name is John Michael Vlach and he is associated with the University of North Carolina. He has published several books on slavery and they are extremely good. You can find his books on Barnes and Noble Bookstore. The books of his I currently have are:
Books by John Michael Vlach
Back of the Big House: The Architecture of Plantation Slavery
By the Work of Their Hands: Studies in Afro-American Folklife
The Afro-American Tradition in Decorative Arts
The Planter's Prospect: Privilege and Slavery in Plantation Paintings
Back of the Big House: The Architecture of Plantation Slavery is my favorite book. I believe Mr. Vlach lives just outside of Washington, D. C. I would like to get him to come to Seaford and be a guest lecturer at our new library when it is finished being built. In building the town's new library, it will have a room dedicated entirely to the slavery issue. The library is being built beside of the Mansion at the Governor Ross Plantation. We had wanted to build it on a piece of property in town near the minority section of town. This boiled down into a knockdown, drag-out fight. It turned into a terrible racial issue. A bunch of the older hate mongers petitioned the Town Council, the State Senate, the State House of Representatives and the Sussex County Council to get the building project stopped. For example, a couple of the comments that shows you the level of hate and prejudice that still exists are, "We don't want the new library built near 'those people' ", and another person said of us building the library near the Afro-American section of town, as "an ill fated attempt to educate those people, as they are uneducable." Unfortunately there are some people who are still living in the early 1860s.
We are not just building a library but an athenaeum; a combination library, a center for genealogy, the sciences, the arts and African-American history. After the library is finished, we are building a performing arts center for music, plays, literature reading by current authors, and an exhibit center for housing art collections and traveling museum exhibits. We are just entering the fund raising phase. It is tough but we will get it done. Those racist people will not win, even if it takes me to my dying breath, they will not defeat the truth and that which represents freedom and equality.
I hope the things I am relating to you will be interesting to your readers. There are so many little bits and pieces of history regarding the slavery period in this country which have never been told. Some things are painful and disgusting but they still need to be told. History is mankind's greatest teacher. The past prepares us for the future. If we do not learn from out past, we are doomed to repeat our mistakes.