Thursday, May 7, 2009

First Leg of the Trip

I'm finally getting around to getting my images uploaded online. Thanks for your patience. I have very limited high speed internet access around here!

We left Indianapolis on 24th of April, heading to Baltimore for the wedding of two friends. We being Preston and I, who traveled together, and friends being Vivian and Noah. We stayed in the very cute and very cool Baltimore Hostel, which was right across the street from one of the oldest Cathedral/Basilica in the United States and the Enoch Pratt Free Library, which hosts the Edgar Allen Poe Collection. We had time to walk over to the library, and step inside, but we weren't able to see the Poe collection, sadly. There was a giant chess board, and some lovely architecture. Here is a photo:
The wedding was a great success, most of our pictures were that savvy, but, I'm sure better ones will arise for friends who were there. Noah and Vivian are great people, and I am so honored to know them both, and even more honored to have been Best Man in their wedding. We were so worn out from the trip out East and running around like maniacs from the wedding we called the night early (how lame!) and, P was getting a bit sick, so we headed to Williamsburg early to get some rest. 
Remember that song "The Freaks Come Out at Night?" well they come out for weddings too! And yes, that is me, fourth (including photographer) from the right! Shorty!

We cruised to Williamsburg, and we were lucky to get some nice glimpses of the Chesapeake, which brought back fond memories of the Northeast for Preston, and find memories and new memories to be made of the Southeast, for me. 

Preston overlooking the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland

We then arrived in Williamsburg, in the cottage I'm staying at for the week. We took a load off, and work for me started the next day. 

I am working with Buck Woodard of the American Indian Initiative Program at Colonial Williamsburg. I'll have more information about mission statements, etc, later, but our main goal is to incorporate the Native story into the public history at CW. That means, all the stuff that happens on the street (re-enactor/actors etc) and more. 

Buck invited Preston along with us, so after P and I got my parking pass and volunteer badge, we explored CW for a while before meeting with Buck. 

It had been sometime since I had visited Colonial Williamsburg, the last time I had visited was in 1992 or 1993, with my mother, and I was fascinated by it then, and I feel just as fascinated by it now. We entered through the Visitors Center, and explored the new plantation area they had created. This featured African American and White 3rd person interpreters discussing middle class plantation life in the 18th century. 

We were greeted by a African American man playing a slave, who shared with us the details of middle-class plantation life, the different buildings, the amount of slaves owned at the time and the classes of the period in regards to farm life in the mid-to-late 1700s. He was dressed in period clothes, and had two bags around his neck, small bags that looked almost African inspired, for the sake of period dress. I asked him about the bags, he said they are a part of his Native American heritage (remember, this is a 3rd person interpreter, not a person posing as if they are a slave, which would be 1st), so we discussed this and I asked him if they ever have any 1st person interpretation involving master and servant type aspects, he said no, and shook his head with strong fervor as if to say "no, and never."

We moved along and explored different areas of the plantation space. The two African American interpreters were just chilling out by the entrance, while all the white interpreters were working on the farm. Quite a strange situation. 

There was a garden behind the slave room, which could house up to 12 people (and in reality it could house about 2-3 people). Here is an image of the "African Inspired Garden" that was planted next to a traditional Anglo style garden in the back.

It is known that white middle and lower class farmers did work alongside their slaves. Here is a white interpreter manning the fields with his very cute oxen. He later told us to go to the Golden Corral to sample Southern food. Yes, Golden Corral. 

We then moved along to the main area of the old town, exploring some familiar buildings and so forth, eventually we met up with Buck, where we discussed the basics of what I'll be doing, the struggles to incorporate true stories of the Indian experience at CW, and such. 

Here are a few images from our day of wandering at CW...

The gardens at the famous Governors Mansion. We described the smell of boxwood's as a "Delightful dog urine smell," and Virginia has a lot of boxwood's

More gardens at the mansion

Very cool burial at the Bruton Parish Church

And more in the next post...above!

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