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One Rouge Community Check -In - Week 143




Every year since 1986, we have celebrated Black History Month. We repeat and relive stories of school segregation and integration, protests, and the unconscionable violence. But rarely do we deeply examine the culture, the experiences, the people themselves. In fact, those very types of examinations have become exponentially more difficult as frameworks such as critical race theory come under fire.


We will be getting a cultural education through an historic lens on this Friday’s OneRouge call. We will hear untold stories and investigate how those stories tie to poverty and our continued need for equity and justice.


Our speakers will be:

· Jonathan Square - Assistant professor, Parsons School of Design, former Lecturer at Harvard in History and Literature

· Makenzee Brown – Capitol Park Museum Educator, a former historian from UNO, and assistant archivist for Dillard University

· Monique Mulder – Magnolia Mound Educator, Former Director of Visitor Services, and wrote the original tour for Whitney Plantation.

Enlight, Unite, & Ignite!

 

Notes

Makenzee Brown: I am the new education program coordinator at Capital Park Museum out here in Bang Rouge. I'm super excited to be here. As with me being new I want to bring a different community into the museum. I wanna reach people who would not come to the museum. So with that I want to do different programming and different educational aspects of that and how I plan to do that. I plan to go out into the community, be the face of the museum. I know Capitol Park has not had someone in a few years. So this whole position is also new. So with me being in this position, I'm trying to get a feel of the community in Baton Rouge. I'm not from Baton Rouge, I'm from Missouri, St. Louis, Missouri. I have been in Louisiana for about five, six years. I was in New Orleans before I moved here. And with that, I just want to bring my love of history to the Baton Rouge community. I see myself as someone where people can come to congregate within this museum space. At the end of the day, this museum is for everybody. People pay taxes on it. You own it, the community owns it. And I want it to be a safe space where people can come and just let it out, enjoy history. Just think of themselves in that space. Sport time rather to where they think they're thinking like, wow I never looked at history this way. So I'm trying to build programming around that to make it enjoyable. I know a lot of people don't enjoy history like that. It's not always a common thing, especially with Black women like me. So I want more of us to be in like this field, especially like curators educators and museums.

Monique Mulder: I'm the education program specialist at Magnolia Mound. We are a plantation, so of course, first off from the back, a lot of African Americans that I know, and I understandably don't feel comfortable coming to a plantation. And my goal here is we're working on updating the script so everybody's story is told. And what actually happened on these plantations. My thing is, can we not focus on just the family who lived inside of the big house? They were able to live the luxury and grandeur because of the 90% of the people who are out there working enslaved on the plantation. So I want people to come out here, feel like their voices are being heard, their stories are being told, and they're don't feel like they were ignored. So we're working on the script, also working on updating our education programming. Our education programming definitely needs some updating. I understand where they're going, but it is different when you have it somebody of color in the position and you can see it's not inclusive. I don't feel comfortable teaching this program. So of course, if you have students that are African-American or minorities, they're not gonna feel comfortable doing these programs. So I definitely want to update our programming, making exclusive, inclusive. Also, I'm in charge of our summer camp activities spring camp activities. So I wanna make sure they're not just hearing this European point of view about what happened in Louisiana's history. I want to make sure that, hey, the contributions of everybody is being told. I wanna talk about free people of color, talk about enslaved people, what they did, what they invented. I wanna talk about the Black stories. So that's my goal here. It's going to be, it's gonna be a while. But I just got here a couple of months ago. Luckily I have a great team that is supportive behind me, and so as my main goal is to make this more inclusive so that everybody feels comfortable coming to here and their stories are being told and they feel like they're not being ignored.

Pepper Roussel: Real quick question so that we don't lose that thread. Who writes the script for the tours over, over at Magnolia Mound?

Monique Mulder: It is a very old script. I don't know who originally wrote it. They've been doing research and adding it's thick and needs to be sliced. And I think we need, right now, it's me and our the person who's in charge, the friends of Magnolia Mound, they are working, me and her working together to update it and make it more inclusive, so it's, we're updating the old script and I'm trying to add all. Add it to make it more inclusive. Hey, we're going to the big house. We're not just talking about fancy furniture. I wanna talk about the enslaved girl who was forced to sleep on the floor and had to wake up and take out the chamber pot at night. So that's my goal. ,

Jonathan Square: I'm not based in Baton Rouge, but I was born and raised there. My mom, dad, my entire extended family are in Baton Rouge. Monique is a childhood friend. I've known her for over 30 years. But I live in Brooklyn. My official title is Assistant Professor of Black Visual Culture at Parson School of Design. I've lived in New York for over 10 years. I got a PhD in history from NYU and I also was a fellow in the costume institute at the Met last academic year. A lot of my work is very academic. I publish scholarly articles particularly on broadly Black visual culture, but more, more specifically on enslaved people's stress. I'm currently working on a book manuscript on that topic. Hopefully I'll be signing a contract in the next few months. And I teach about right variety of courses. Teach a class course on fashion and slavery. I teach another class on fashion and justice, which is more 20th century, 21st century focus. I teach another class called Black Visuality in a Digital Age, which is about how blackness is refracted through the internet. And also I've curated exhibitions before I took this position at Parsons. I taught at Harvard and I curated two exhibitions at Harvard, one on Harvard's relationship to slavery, and another solo show of the work of an artist in his historian named Neil Irving Painter. And I recently had a show that was up in Indianapolis at the Herron School of Art and Design, very similar to my Harvard show. I used contemporary art to think about the legacy of slavery in Indiana, but also nationally. I also have another exhibition at Winter Teter, which is a historic house museum in Delaware. Happy to be here.

Pepper Roussel: How do we combat the D E I D backlash that we see happening in so many places? I see that one stumped you. We're gonna give you some time to think about it. Let's do this. One of the questions that I had that has been burning for a while is we have been looking at this history of black people in poverty. This poverty that seems to be a consistent thread. And not that I don't know why it's happened, but that I am con, I'm concerned as to how it is that it continues to happen. Can y'all help me understand in modern times, how do we start to address poverty as part of this traumatic existence that perpetuates looking at black history as more than just last year? It's living. Monique, I see you've been shaking your head like, you know what I'm talking about. Come with us sister. What you got?

Monique Mulder: A previous institution that I worked at we had an old general store on the plantation and I'd love to bring up sharecropping. Love to bring out this system of, Hey, down this plantation you can work and we'll pay you money at the end of the year. But then okay no, you brought food from us. No, you broke this, you did this, you did that. So you actually owe us money. It's not your traction. You can't go anywhere. And I would love to bring up that thread up. They literally cannot leave. It had laws that prevented them from leaving. One thing I would bring up my great-grandfather who lived right down the street from the plantation. I didn't notice until I was older. He didn't know how to read or to write. He was living on a plantation that was owned by a white man until he died. And I knew him. I met him. And so that just shows you how close it was. And this is the system that is it there, it hasn't just ended. It's the 20th century or 21st century. So I would love to use that connection to show house. No, it didn't just in 1865 discontinue. And that was my, one of my favorite things to bring up that general store and talk about shared cropping and all these things that they used and how it, here we go.

Jonathan Square: How do you explain systemic racism and intractable inequality? Like it's where do you start with having those conversations? And I guess cuz this is museum folk, you start with historical sites and historical objects and use that to, to teach that history. And I think we have a unique opportunity because we can make history tangible. I'm an academic and I'm often working with documents and texts and sometimes it feels intangible with the dates and but when we're historic, we're public historians and we can engage with people and meet them where they are by using objects and actual sites. Any quality than a freshman.

Makenzee Brown: Yeah. For me, I look at it as what do we already have? Like why why is there poverty within us? What can we do? What have we already done? What's not working? What is working? I guess when people see that it makes them think what do we do wrong?

Pepper Roussel: Yeah that's a real thing, right? What I find striking is that every year there are these movies that come out, or movies and TV shows that celebrate Black History Month. And they are all deeply traumatizing. There is unconscionable violence. They're against the person, against the community, against the Blacks in general, right? That there is always this idea that there simply is not a way out, right? Outside of the possibility of the ever after. And that is the sort of thing that seam to have started many generations go, but is reinforced over time. And as historians, I know that y'all can see that there are patterns. And so asking for what are those patterns that you have seen and how do once we can identify them, we can get to a place that we can be more conscious about addressing them. So what do you know?

Esperanza: I don't know if I'm gonna hit the mark at all. I'm just gonna put what I think you asked the question why we pulled down, why we staying poor? And I guess I think in some respects, it's cause of our warped sense of what it means to not be poor, right? It is like we've embraced an in individualistic kind of mentality in terms of money, right? A few of us get rich, the rest of us stay poor. And like I tell folks we are better capitalist than the capitalist, right? But we don't really gravitate toward this collective sense of community and upliftment, right? We don't necessarily shelter the responsibility of helping the folk around us, right? That whole love that neighbor as that self kind of mentality, right? I also think that's why a space like this is so vital and important because, we're having the conversations, you are trying to do something to change that. It's not all about self, right? I try to think about it from the perspective of I'm blessed to be a blessing, not just I'm blessed. And that's it.

Dr. Donald Andrews: I wanna make a comment on what the question was about why we poor. The world for a long time has been in poverty. You can go back biblical days in terms of feast and famine, the agricultural revolution, how mankind understood more or less to move out of being hunter gatherers. You had to understand how to develop agriculture. And then more or less the industrial revolution and now the knowledge revolution. And now we are in the creative economy. So the premium is where more or less the knowledge and creativity are and so basically as a historically Black university, our business has been that of uplifting people out of poverty. So we talk about the Black middle class being generated from the HBCUs that basically got their start after emancipation. So the story is all about education and skills development and what Casey Phillips has been doing with the Futures Fund in terms of creating skills. And so basically you have to have a education or you have to have access to the skills. It's all about your productivity. If you look at those societies that are wealthy, you look at more or less the labor force. And the skill sets that the labor force has because people want problems solved and they want somebody and they're willing to pay people to solve their problems. So basically we are in a arms race with respect to education. We are concerned about China. China now understands more or less in terms of what si iPing wants to do. He wants all of his people to be highly educated and send 'em here to the US and now they have become so productive that they don't have to send people to the US any longer. They have somewhat become self-sustained. So basically you have to understand the level of education and investment. Now it's a crime from my perspective, that we now have, I think roughly 40% of the African-American kids are in DNF schools. We need to be more or less picketing about the kids not having access to education. Cause if you come outta DF school where you think you're going to end up in life. So that's the critical issue in terms of investment in what we refer to as human capital. That's it. If you can get yourself educated in terms of the jobs of the future then you can build your own wealth base. You can become entrepreneurs. So there are no limits except the denial of the lack of access to education. That was why the slave owners never wanted the slave to learn how to read and write. They didn't want 'em to have an education. So basically they kept them away from knowledge because that basically was the key instrument as to why people could send ships to the west coast of Africa and bring them to the Americas because there was land here. And basically they had the knowledge more, less to come and set up the plantations and then send the product back to Europe. And basically the triangle of trade routes that were set up. So basically it's all about economics. It's all about education. So the road out of poverty runs by the schoolhouse door. It's critical. That we have quality education for our kids here in Louisiana. And until we change that, then those people that do not have skills will not be able to earn very high income. Now, we talk a lot about minimum wage. Why don't we raise the minimum wage? But one of the problems with raising the minimum wage, if you have a person that can't read or write, then what can they do? What can they create? So basically you, no one will employ those individuals. And so we've been developing programs here in terms of how to help our students become much more entrepreneurial. So you have to have an entrepreneurial mindset. If you read Booker T Washington's autobiography in terms of uplifting from slavery, how can somebody such as a Booker T Washington, born in slavery, and then he basically was emancipated out of the plantation, still couldn't be the right, was exploited, and wanted to understand why he couldn't get out of poverty. So he found that he had to get an education. Finally got to Hampton and got an education, became one of the most successful students. Then they detailed him to Alabama to start Tuskegee. When he got to Tuskegee, I think the state of Alabama gave him a grand toll of $10,000 or less and said, okay, don't ask for anything else. Go start your school. He gets to Tuskegee, he couldn't get anything going. The folks who had just been freed didn't have any money to go to school. So basically being an entrepreneurial thinker, he said we are gonna do what? We're gonna have work to education. So he started work study. So you come to the university, you work and you can get an education, and basically he found a way to build Tuskegee. The kids worked and they started building bricks. The first bricks were not of any value because they didn't know what they were doing, but he kept working at it until those bricks became very successful in that industry. All around the south, he had enough sense to hire George Washington Carver, the peanut expert and basically redeveloped agriculture in the south. So it's all about entrepreneurial thinking. It's all about what you can contribute to society, it's what skill sets you develop. Look at Elon Musk as an example in terms of being bold and going out and trying to make things happen using government grants and all the things. So we have here in the Baton Rouge area, no excuse. We have major universities. We have LSU. We have Southern. We have Baton Rouge Community College. But we gotta do something about getting these kids out of these DNF schools.

Pepper Roussel: Dean Andrews, I'm calling a flag on the play. Elon Musk came from money and a lot of it.

Dr. Donald Andrews: I'm just saying he had an education, too.

Pepper Roussel: What has he done with it now? A lot of people to make more money than he already had.

Dr. Donald Andrews: Yeah. There are a lot of people, you can give an athlete millions of dollars and then find out two years later they're sleeping in a car cause they don't have the education order. Understand how to allocate and invest.

Pepper Roussel: Yes and no. So my favorite example has long been Mc Hammer. MC Hammer, who came from humble beginnings and wanted to bring everybody with him. He had millions of dollars and brought everybody he thought he could. And what he ended up with was being surrounded by folks who didn't know how to manage the money in a way that would maintain and grow it. So they were not exposed it in the same way. The relationship with money was really more of a spend than it was of a grow. And so he, it's not that he wasn't educated, it's not that he wasn't right. So his failing, if you can call it that, was trust in people who simply didn't know enough to actually to get him through. But I was gonna say something that Esperanza actually put in the chat is that all this education I got just makes me enough to keep me in debt. If we talk about particularly entrepreneurs over the course of history, my question to either Dean and Andrews or even to Jonathan who might know the answer to this one were these entrepreneurial civil rights leaders, were they fiscally and financially successful? Did their families enjoy generational wealth because of their status and because of the work that they did?

Dr. Donald Andrews: I don't know. You have to look at that on an individual by individual basis. If you look at somebody like Andrew Young, I think he's been quite successful. He became mayor. He became secretary us representative at the United Nations. I know he has some programs and projects that he works in Atlanta. So I think he's been quite successful. All these people were very highly educated so they did relatively well.

Jonathan Square: I would add on I'm profoundly anti-capitalist, so I don't necessarily think we're gonna find liberation through capitalism. And I would agree with Dean Andrews that you have to look on a case by case basis in some cases. Yes, some early civil rights leaders and entrepreneurs have been able to pass down generational wealth to their descendants. But in some cases, no, because there are other barriers to success beyond capital racism affects wealthy Black people, too. And so in some cases they, they aren't able to benefit from the trappings of full American citizenship. So it depends, I think about someone like Madame CJ Walker and in her case, yes, her family has maintained to a certain degree the wealth that she established, but in other cases, that's not true.

Pepper Roussel: What about the ones that we so just in the, from the sixties, right? Dr. King. And the reason I ask the question is because much of the time we talk about how amazing these folks were, but I don't know whether it be from personal experience or any other experience, I don't know whether they actually prospered from all the work that they did. Whether it be entrepreneurial with education or without. So just trying to get clarity.

Esperanza: Keep in mind the time in which Dr. King was coming up and speaking and present. They were rocking the boat so much that they were unpopular and controversial. For many people. Cause it was creating a lot of strife in the community, even though what they were saying was to create progress. It scared a lot of people. Of course it their popularity increased clearly to where we are now. As the legends that they were

Pepper Roussel: I heard a story that I need somebody to verify. That they were not always accepted by their communities. To Tracy's point, that they were rocking boats and they were saying things that were wildly controversial. They were also bringing attention in ways that may have been unwelcome, especially if you just wanna go to work every day and come home and feed your families.

Rodneyna Hart: I had a conversation with one of the descendants of a person at the sitin the Kress sitin and what she said was that there, after the being expelled, because of this act of defiance from their university it created a lot of boundaries and created more boundaries than it did opportunities. So we celebrate these people as heroes as those who've stood out and went in the forefront and suffered the consequences. But a lot of conversations that I've had with people, they equate being a civil rights leader to a life of often poverty, of difficulty, of being arrested, of not any real thing that sets you up for success. But in other opportunities, other situations, there have been people who have become patrons. You learn that even someone as famous as Rosa Parks, she was supported her entire life by the guy who owns a pizza company. He paid her bills, he supported her entire existence. Not everyone gets that kind of patronage. Not everyone gets that kind of support or financial backing in becoming someone at the forefront who takes the licks. And we hope that they also get the rewards. But oftentimes, unless there is an individual or a system in place to support their future is very shaky.

Esperanza: I had the privilege of living in Detroit for and around Detroit for many years, and I actually went and found where Mother Parks was living and it wasn't like you would expect. She would be in a big mansion and all of those types of things with the sacrifice and the work that she did to support the civil rights struggle. But it was a very fairly modest home. And I think one of the things that tripped me out the most was that somebody actually broken her arm and home and beat her up. That speaks volumes about and the awareness that is just not there. In some cases we have a glamorized view of many of the people who participated in that struggle without really understanding what it costs them. And as I said before, we look at this as if you get educated, if you make money, if you start a business, but we often miss the mark of something that made the Civil Rights Movement very successful or successful. What's that idea of collective action? And that's why I appreciate these conversations because it does show that there's an awareness in Baton Rouge and other places that says we have to be willing to work together and put it on the line for each other so I really, the conversation.

Pepper Roussel: You've seen where I've been driving this conversation the whole time. So if we are clear that as an individual that we cannot move the needle on systemic racism, what can we use from what can we define, what can we derive from history that helps us see and understand how we can collectively move together, whether it be as a social movement, whether we are creating our own Black capitalism, however you feel about it. What does it look like?

Monique Mulder: Man, this country's gotta take some ownership, and some responsibility, and I just don't mean this country's gotta take responsibility for what it has done. I went to the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool, and one thing that struck me when you walk in and it was like, this country took Africa's greatest, it's brightest, it's smartest, and we use it for our own country's success. I'm like, thank you for saying that. America has yet to take ownership. My thing is, if I'm given a tour and I am talking about slavery do not come up to me at the end of the tour. My grandfather, he enslaved people. Guess what mines did, too. So let's move on. How can we fix this? Take responsibility for you and your actions. And we can fight, but we need people on the other side to take ownership. And I think that's only through education. We have to educate everybody. We know what's up. We have to educate. We have education of what happened. And sites like this sites, we cannot glamorize it. This is not going with the wind. We have got to be real. What happened you came to Africa, you kidnapped people. Millions of people died or beaten. It's horrible. Let's take ownership of what happened. Okay? So education is my thing. Just address the issue. Understand your history.

Esperanza: So it is important that you mentioned that education piece. My issue is that, in this current climate, it seems like they're turning that whole education piece on its head, right? This revisionist history of whitewashing, if you want to use that term, the truth about things, right? And the truth of the matter is that's an old play that's from an old playbook. If you know anything about how they try to reframe the story of our enslaved ancestors and Jim Crow and all those other horrific acts of atrocity against our people and it's hard to educate somebody when they have just made up their mind that, I don't care what you say, I didn't do anything. That was them people back there. I didn't have nothing to do with that, so don't blame me mindset. A lot of us are just walking around with this internalized guilt that we just don't know how to process. You know that guilt is eating you alive to the point where you, if you acknowledge it that's the only thing that's really gonna bring you peace. And I tell folk we gotta deal with this. We got people walking around that really need some therapy to come to grips with how they're thinking and how they're feeling. And I tell folk that's a hard job because what we're really talking about is trying to change somebody's heart, trying to get them to love somebody other than themselves. And that is an incredible challenge. I don't know if you could pass laws or I don't even know if there's enough money to fix.

Pepper Roussel: Doubtful that there would be. And I've long said that it's not just about white guilt. That it is also about Black shame. That we as Black people do not acknowledge our part and our role and how slavery enslaved meant continued and spread be out of shame that we say that we are descendant of kings and queens, but yet we were forced into servitude. So all of that aside there was an early question for Magnolia Mound. Are you thinking about having a public forum to learn what people would like to see, meaning the unheard voices?

Monique Mulder: I would love to, but unfortunately we have two groups of people that have to approve everything here. It's baby steps. It's gonna be a process. Slowly but surely. Genius will come maybe five years or so. We will get to that point, we in South Baton Rouge, a predominantly black neighborhood. Hello. I need this community.

Pepper Roussel: The question is around the narrative, right? So how it is that we are hearing and sharing what happened, what recourse do we have for challenging large publishers who use capitalism and market share as excuses to water down or infantalize history, books or coursework?

Jonathan Square: I think many people have been empowered by the internet and we have to be careful with that cuz there's a lot of trash on the internet, too. And just like there are many people who are sharing the truth and putting out like scholarship. There are also people who are spreading vitriol and hate on the internet. But I do think until very recently, we had to rely on traditional channels of power to disseminate information. And now we can use our social media platforms to do those things.

Makenzee Brown: The internet is a big tool, so what we take in and what we dish out that's another way I put blockers on things that I don't wanna see. I know Instagram is a big tool. TikTok is a big tool, and you have people who are not necessarily historians who are coming up off of making these history quick history facts. So just trying to weed out what could be true and what cannot be true.

Pepper Roussel: There's also chatter in the chat about the climate collapse. And so the larger question that then becomes if we are looking to expand wealth, if we are looking to prepare for generations, if we are looking to secure our own wellbeing or into old age, what sorts of skills are going to matter? We talked around that time we were talking about education. We were talking about getting or being entrepreneurial. What do we need to be prioritizing?

Dr. Donald Andrews: As I said, we need to get these kids who are in these DF schools, we gotta improve the school system for these kids to have an opportunity or a chance for success. The workforce of the future is all about skills and artificial intelligence. Are you smarter than a robot? All these things are real. And if you don't want to be a dependency class, then you're gonna have to be able, more or less to increase the productivity of the workforce in general. So that, that's my spiel. In other words, for me, who grew up in poverty and the way out of poverty basically, as I said, was through the schoolhouse door. And I just think more or less the more education that you can obtain it give, it doesn't guarantee you're gonna be as successful. It gives you an opportunity to be successful. There are a lot of risks in the world. We see more or less the climate change. We see earthquakes, we see all sorts of tragedies, but it's all a part of human history. And I guess I gotta little concerned about the issue of guilt. Mankind has made a lot of mistakes. And that's really only we talk about Black, white, Asian, but there're really only one race and that's the human race. And we've all made mistakes. We go back in history. If we look at Africa there were groups that took advantage of groups in Africa. There were groups in Europe that I know of. No particular people that have a perfect history. I think every group has been exploited at one point in time, and hopefully we can find ways to move forward together and make success. And it is not that we are not gonna have problems, but how do we come together and solve those problems? If we have a kid that, that doesn't have an education and we need to find ways to invest in these kids and they see it when they don't have a clear shot or an opportunity if you have individuals that drop out of high school I think we have something like maybe what 40% of the African American males that actually graduated from high school. I mean that we gotta find a way to solve that problem. And that's the thing I'm really concerned about is nobody really seems to be talking about it to a large extent. I don't know if I answered the question or not.

Jonathan Square: I would also add on that education is important, but I would also say health is important. I think health is wealth and health is not only physical health but mental health and just going back to something that both Monique and I think Esperanza said accountability the US has a mental health problem and part of that mental health problem is not facing the truth. I often think about slavery as being a scar and Americans, many Americans, not all Americans, not us on this call, but many Americans ignore not a scar, actually a wound. I think it's being a wound, unhealed wound and many Americans ignored a wound. And I think the first step in treating a wound is like looking at the damage. And then once you examined the damage that's been done, then you can clean it and put a bandage over it. But Americans just put a bandage over it and now it's gangs. So I would add on, I agree with what Dean Andrews is saying about education. I think it's, that's important, but I also would say health in it who are actually related and also the two are underfunded.

Esperanza: Yeah. I've often said, I'm born and raised and read in Louisiana, and sometimes it always strikes me when they start having budget conversations that the first two things on the chopping block are education and healthcare. The things you need the most to move yourself forward.

Pepper Roussel: That would suggest that an uneducated and unhealthy population are more easy to control. But that's a different conversation for another day. So I am seeing where was it? Where'd it go? There we go. How question in the chat. How is art history, cultural education helped lift people outta poverty,

Makenzee Brown: So I would say how it has, it helped people out of poverty. It has given people a boy like a voice. I know I read recently a young artist I think she was from St. Louis, I can't remember. But she was in foster care. She came from a family that, of course was in poverty. She had to be placed in foster care. She joined a program, it was like a, I wanna say, some program with St. Louis University where it basically put her in the spotlight to become an artist. So now she's like this up and coming artist out of St. Louis. She's doing it. And I think reading her story for her, it helped her be more open and be more outspoken about her art and how her love for art has brought her into new beginnings. So I guess making it accessible to people. accessible to more people art history. But of course, like someone mentioned art history, music is always getting cut, so having available funding for those programs. Of course right now we're in the media, like certain states are trying to cut certain subjects. I think making it accessible to people and just having it there for people is a big step.

Pepper Roussel: We've also got some discussion, the chat about crest and skills and knowing things being more than just about working because there's more to life than just working. Oh shoot. I can't get back to where, there we go. What life skills are we ensuring that these kids have to thrive and survive? We exist for more than just work. who's that one for? Morgan?

Morgan Udoh: Anyone who is thinking outside of the capitalist structured.

Rodneyna Hart: So one of the things that I love about arts history culture is that it creates something that is not just capitalism focused, but it gives value to life. It gives meaning to the future. It shapes what we do and how we express and how we understand our world in a very broad way. It transcends culture. It transcends history. It transcends so much, and it adds to the quality of life to, it makes a city worth living in. It makes a future more bright. It gives a physicality to a world that a lot of people cannot imagine. And it's something that when given the opportunity, a lot of people gravitate towards the arts. When everything shut down, we went to television, we went to movies, we went to art. There were all these museums creating online opportunities at a friend who went to a really amazing art workshop. And she got a scholarship and she was very excited about it. But when she got there, she was surrounded by a lot of very affluent white women who were taking the class. And she was telling me about it because she was really disheartened that there were not other people who looked like her, had that same experience. But what I took from that was that when given the money to be comfortable, people gravitate towards her. It's a thing that is so intrinsic and so valuable that when you're given the time, when you're given the money, when you're given the opportunity, that is the thing that you choose. Some people, it's a burning desire. Does not matter if you are, if you have your basic needs taken care of or not, you're gonna be an artist, you're gonna create something. But for a lot of other people, it's something that they can touch and see, feel, and do that gives their life more meaning. That really opens their world in Broadway. And so I think that institutions having art history, culture, we are able to touch lives in every cross-section. There are very few boundaries to entry. And so when you come to the Capitol Park Museum or many of the museums like this institution, you are getting curated information, vetted information. Checked by many historians to ensure that what we are providing is the very best in what can be offered. And so that is why these institutions still exist. And also why I think it's so vital that there is a place for these things and it may not be as important as eating, but if you're gonna have quality of life, it is as vital as feeding your soul.

Pepper Roussel: That was beautiful. I almost don't wanna say anything now cuz you know, we just gotta let it leave there. Lay there. Reverend Anderson has been talking about music as a lane that African-Americans have used in order to express entrepreneurial success. But there is also this dichotomy that. There has been a long history of capitalism being wielded as a sword that also disenfranchises and manipulates those same African Americans with that talent. The one thing that's bringing to my, just because it is Mardi Gras professor and you and his famous song and how much he got for it and what, and how we still play it, and yeah he's got notoriety, but he ain't got no money for it. As we as one rouge look at moving the needle on systemic racism and adjusting how it is that we move in community with these nine drivers of poverty, I just wanna bring it back to something that or circle back to something that, Esperanza mentioned, is that, do we gotta do this together? And the objectives that we have through one Rouge and collective impact are super important. And while we are starting to wind down, I wanna go back to our speakers and first say thank you very much for spending part of your Friday morning with us. I really appreciate it. And the second thing is, if y'all can let us know either what it is that you've got that's coming up that we can participate in shortly. Or if you can tell us your favorite Black invention, whether that is art or music, or you know what that means.

Makenzee Brown: So there's a lot happening at the museum. Yesterday we had our first series, Untold Stories of Blackness. Tomorrow, we have the Spanish Town Parade. Capitol Park will be like one of the hosts, so get your tickets online on Event Bright. The Parade Star at Spanish Town. Then on the 25th is 2 25 Fest. We will be having Discovery Day here at Capitol Park Museum along with 2 25 Fest, which will be huge. On the 28th, we have Baton Rouge Student Alliance education as a civil rights. They are having a conference that is also on Eventbright. So if you're interested, please register. On, in March we have our upcoming lunchtime line, which will be March 8th. We have Faye Phillips. She will be speaking on her book Cemeteries of Baton Rouge and. then and later in march the 12th I think, or 16th, I'm sorry. We have our untold series with women's history. Those are upcoming things that we have going on. Also, you can check our Facebook and then our website or events cuz I'm sure I missed something. And then you said favorite black invention? I guess hair Madame CJ Walker cuz I have locks and I love hair and I love doing hair. So I guess that was easy.

Jonathan Square: Let's see, my favorite Black invention. Because I'm in New York right now and I'm craving Louisiana cuisine. I'm gonna say my favorite Black invention is gumbo, cause I want some. But what do I have going on? I'm doing a lot of virtual talks and I can't remember any of them right now. So what I'm gonna do is tell you to follow me on social media. It's fashioning itself, and I always post my virtual talks on fashioning itself. So follow, be there.

Monique Mulder: I'm laughing because I'm in charge of summer camp programming and this year's theme is inventors, and I actually have it at going Back of Future with inventors, and I really wanna focus on Black inventors. So if anybody wants to send me your favorite Black inventor, let me know so I can incorporate into my activities. Favorite thing about Louisiana, our Black culture is Go Music. I collect vinyl, I love vinyl. I collected music, a hundred percent music, seventies, sixties, let's go love music. Anything that's coming up. We had a presentation for our First Sunday. I did presentation on Black Catholics and I went to New Orleans and did the sister of the Holy Family and all that stuff. But I wanted to go more to Saints, Francis, Xavier and St. Paul and Baton Rouge. But we did that one already, but I've actually had a school group reach out and want that incorporated on their tour. Right now it's just trying to spruce things up around here.

Casey Phillips: I don't even know where to start in this moment. It's like it needs another 90 minutes. I did wanna lift up that I was just out at Howard Park for a big community painting party that's starting today and then going tomorrow. And hopefully it won't be as cold as it was this morning. So shout out to the Baton Roots and mural arts team for being out there in 40 degrees setting up that paint. I'm very tempted to curate a Friday with Dr. Square in Morgan and several other folks in the One Rouge Coalition to really talk about the dis dismantling of extractive capitalism in America and what the path forward to a new society actually looks. Of course, pointing out the flaws in the model, right? That's important. But thinking about what does a restorative and regenerative nation and neighborhoods actually look like on a city by city and national policy level. That's one of the things that's turning around in my head. And, but just in general, I just wanna say thank you to all of our speakers, as always, for dropping knowledge bringing the passion to the work and moving the city and sat forward. Dr. Square is up in New York, and believe it or not, New York still needs a lot of moving forward too. It's not just in the south, but as said, at least at least people are making moves there. It was a pleasure to share space today. Pepper, thank you for curating today.

Pepper Roussel: I cannot take all the credit for that. Rodneyna was actually behind the scenes making phone calls and shaking trees.

Casey Phillips: I'm gonna make a little quick announcement to the Monique being that she likes to dig in crates like I do for vinal. So there's a spot that just opened called Second Charles, right next to Petco and Trader Joe's that I'd never even seen before. And I like went over there and the vinyl collection is legit and it's it's really good. And I had no idea what that place was. I saw them building it and the name is weird. But anyway, it's a good spot and you may want to go get some


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