Internet, History and Willie Lynch speech

An element mentioned in Daniel Cohen and Roy Rosenzweig’s Digital History Chapter 6 is this idea of collecting History with the use of the internet. An element discussed in the chapter is the idea that the teens will be too busy playing games and downloading music to bother the internet archivist when it comes to adding their input or adding their voice to the great pool that is the internet to provide issues to digital scholarship. This did remind me of an instance where digital history does take a dark turn. In my High school African American History class my teacher Mr. Smith provided us with a Text by a famous 19th century Plantation owner named Willie Lynch. People in our class read Lynch’s speech and were horrified. We were then asking us to provide a response to Lynch’s words people’s hands shot up. Of course my fellow class mates talked of how they knew these words and that of course this is the name of man from where the term “Lynching” derives. We were all shocked to find that the speech turns out to be from the internet in the 1990’s, but captures the spirit of what times represented so well that it has been taken into American popular 21st myth. So much so that people have started to disseminate the text as fact.

Going back to Digital History the internet as a useful tool to collect parts of the past and let the underrepresented have a voice. This can be done with safe methods as discussed in the chapter. Methods such as finding the information of all contributors as well as going down to where you must understand the kinds of questions you ask to make sure you are getting the most out of the contributors.

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