Many Hands, Same Goal
Written by: Alyssa Eveland
This summer I’ve spent the past eleven weeks researching the lives of six men, all of whom had very different approaches to the same societal issues. While I sat at my desk digging through digital university archives, letters, PhD dissertations, books, and articles I saw these six different lives merge together for the same goal of abolishing slavery in the United States. Some of the men took a moral approach, arguing that there was nothing ethical or moral or Christian about supporting any aspect of slavery. They spent their lives living in line with these beliefs, advocating for the public boycott of slave produced goods, and participation in systems supported by slavery. Including the US government. Others focused on what is called political abolition. This was aimed at influencing not the economic and social view of slavery, but the government and the laws. A totally different aim and approach than the moral arguments, but still pushing towards that one goal. Through all these different approaches to abolition the work was pushing the issue forward.
There are many different issues or goals that benefit from having many different approaches pushing towards the end goal. One of these goals, I would say, is preservation of US history and culture. With the wide variety of cultures, natural landscapes, and historical movements there are a lot of tasks that need to be done to preserve our nation’s history. We need people working with the physical resources, maintaining them, protecting them from the elements or disasters, organizing and rediscovering pieces thought to be lost to history. When it comes to physical resources alone there are so many different jobs to be done, but that isn’t where the tasks end. It isn’t enough to preserve the resources if no one understands them or knows where and how to find them. People need to study and engage with the resources so then other people can visit and be taught/learn about the resources. Drastically different tasks that all require drastically different skill sets. It has been a really cool experience to spend the past few months helping to improve the parks understanding of its history. This means the public will in turn also benefit from this. I am really grateful for both ACE and the NPS for allowing me to contribute my skills to the preservation of US history.