South Africa Reconciliation:
Monday, January 17, 2011
Reconciliation and Revitalization Dr. Tonya Thames-Taylor
Tonya Thames-Taylor at the City of Coatesville City Council Meeting, January 10, 2011
An Informational presentation by Dr. Tonya Thames-Taylor, Associate Professor of History, West Chester University
“City Council and also the Coatesville staff, it’s my pleasure, chief and staff, to be talking to you today. This item is informational:
I am from the grand state of Mississippi and I went a school called University of Mississippi and also known as Old Miss. On the second floor of the Student Union at Old Miss it says “You may graduate from the University of Mississippi but you do not graduate from Old Miss”.
And I say that because in many ways being “GRITS”; “GRITS”, that’s a Girl Raised In The South, one of the things we have is this fostering of where we are, this pride with who we are. And what happens is here in the State of Pennsylvania there is a lot of rich history.
And one of the rich histories that the Pennsylvania Management Council looks at is the Underground Railroad. Well we actually have that treasure here in Coatesville. What do I mean by that…About a year or so ago I was appointed to the (Coatesville) Historical Commission and what Carmen Boyd and I did was we went and we did a tour of Black Coatesville. Black Coatesville involved the area that’s known as the Fifth Ward and then we actually had some people and we concluded the tour at the Zachariah Walker Marker. Now in that we also included Ercildoun which had rich Underground Railroad and abolitionist activity. We also included a cemetery now that’s been marked for cleanup that’s in East Fallowfield and it’s of the “United States Colored Troop”.
I say all that to say this:
What I would like to do is and this is an informational item, I’m going to gather folks and we’re going to be looking at the Zachariah Walker story and it’s basically a remembrance revitalization plan.
This year will mark the 100th Anniversary of that Death. And what we will start to do as we look at the revitalization of Coatesville is that we have to do two things:
We have incorporate, of course the story of the steel mills, that is part of the story; but we have to look how the steel mills could have polarized Coatesville by way of class.
So it gave employment to a fellow like Zachariah Walker but it also created a class dynamic.
But in doing so what I would like to do in focusing or looking at this Zachariah Walker story, I would like to have two rationales and two objectives:
The first is to re-launch the Historical Commission. I think that would be a great activity and a great program to kind of re-launch the piece.
And then the second one, I started off by saying given in the University of Mississippi you may never graduate from Old Miss and also about being “GRITS-A Girls Raised In the South”. The second thing I would like to do is pick some of these different agendas that you have, the strategic plans that you have, flags and like sorts; is getting rid of the indifference. When people are allowed to incorporate and realize where they come from is very, very important.
I am concluding with this remark:
Booker T. Washington who started the school in Tuskegee Alabama is the author of the book “Up from Slavery”. One of the things that he talked about in his book was that “character, integrity, industry and intelligence really helps a person to basically mark where they are from.
I am a proud Mississippian who is now adopted this state. There is a lot of rich history in Coatesville. Unfortunately it’s just buried. It would just be great to have this story out and the Zachariah Walker story looking at, again, reconciliation. South Africa has a wonderful reconciliation program.
Reconciliation and Revitalization”
Tonya Thames Taylor.mp3
Jim Pitcherella-The best book that I have read about the lynching of Zachariah Walker is:
No Crooked Death: Coatesville Pennsylvania and the Lynching of Zachariah Walker Dennis B Downey (Author), Raymond M Hyser (Author)
In an achievement that has inspired the admiration of the world, South Africans confront the brutal legacy of apartheid in FACING THE TRUTH WITH BILL MOYERS, March 30, 1999
Posted by James Pitcherella at 11:41 PM