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Island's gonna sink Robert Sheridan bobsheridan bobsheridan@earthlink.net So slavery was abandoned on StatNisland in 1825!

There's something they never taught you at Curtis when I was there, 1954-1958.

I didn't know we had slavery on StatNisland until long into my so-called adulthood, when I read something someplace that said there were slaves on the Island in the 1600s and 1700s, long before the Island was anything like we knew it today, or meaning when I was in high school, which isn't exactly today, but wasn't then either.

But 1825? "We" had slaves on SI then?

That seems fairly recent. Is that when slavery was abolished in New York as a whole? In New England? Is that when the abolition movement got up its head of steam? I guess it was starting then. When did Harriet Beecher Stowe write her "Uncle Tom's Cabin?" Lincoln once greeted her as the person responsible for starting the Civil War.

How come they didn't introduce us to that on StatNisland when I went to school there, PS 29, Curtis, and Wagnah. It seems like history was something that happened elsewhere. Maybe that's why I had this idea that S.I. was a backwater, best to put behind me, which I did, forthwith. Nothing ever happened there. Nothing ever would, just like in Podunk. S.I. was Podunk, no disrespect.

That's crazy. Everything that happens elsewhere, happens in StatNisland, whether we realize it or not, in some way, shape, or form. And in Podunk, too.

World Wars I, and II, happened on StatNisland.

Vietnam happened on StatNisland, too.

The Civil Rights movement happened on StatNisland, too.

The Soviet Union collapsed on StatNisland, too.

It's just that the huge media outlets that give the rest of the world the mistaken impression that if it isn't reported by them it hasn't happened don't report on StatNisland. They report on NYC as a whole, or the US as a whole. They don't single out S.I., or Podunk, except to belittle them.

However, folks from S.I., and Podunk, bled in those conflicts. They just didn't get a lot of recognition.

It seems to me that if youngsters are not taught the history of the place in which they are raised, they will not appreciate it. I think that's what happened with me. San Francisco seemed more intriguing than StatNisland. The grass was greener. I didn't appreciate a good thing when I saw it. My bad, as the kids today say.

Returning via the Web has made me appreciate, as I never did before, that the place I was borned in had a lot to offer. Too bad I didn't appreciate it as much as I might have.

How do you teach appreciation if you don't tell the story?

Part of what we're doing here, I believe, is telling the story.

-rs



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