June 2007


Underground Railroad

tapistry detailOne of Elizabeth and my three stops in Cincinnati was the National Underground Railroad Museum, sandwiched between the football and baseball stadiums.

The museum was kind of hokey—we managed to arrive at the same time that 400 members of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. The line was out the door. Fortunately the line moved quickly and we were able to get our tickets with only two hours left before the museum closed—so we attacked it with a great deal of enthusiasm.

Overall the museum was a bit on the preachy side: it had a message (Slavery Bad. Freedom Good.) However after having recently read Sarah Vowell’s Partly Cloudy Patriot, I am now officially annoyed with the word “enslaved”—like “enslaved African Americans.” The word is too indirect and not blunt enough: they were slaves.

At the end the museum tries to talk about “unfreedom” in all its forms: racism, sexism, homophobia, etc…

It’s not that I am opposed to ending racism, sexism, homophobia and all of that, but I think cramming it all into one museum stretches its credibility.

3 comments to Underground Railroad

  • Ed

    Did you visit the Baseball Museum? It has pictures of the best all around player of the game, Pete Rose. They won’t let him in Cooperstown because he bet on his team to win. But men who cheat by taking steroids are okay. Drug users like Darryl Srawberry are in the hall of shame I mean fame too.

  • @ed: the baseball museum was not on our agenda, and I detest Pete Rose. I don’t think he still understands why what he did was bad.

  • True, Adam. But I believe Rose does believe what he did was bad.

    Just not that bad.

    That said. He belongs in the Hall of Fame. He wasn’t the first person to cheat the game. And he wouldn’t be the first in the Hall of Fame to have cheated.

    Since I haven’t seen proof he bet on his team while playing…I say let him in as a player.