Richard Finnelson, Wait a Second

I spent the afternoon cleaning the house and rereading the two chapters–“Chapter 1: We Arrived and were Promptly Kidnapped” and “Chapter 2: The Battle of Buchanan’s Station or The Night We Unexpectedly Weren’t All Slaughtered in Our Beds”–and I’m pleased. It did mean spending a little more time rifling through the war papers devoted to the Indians. And I realized that I had fundamentally misunderstood something. I thought Richard Finnelson and Joseph Deraque were interviewed together here and that information was sent on to Governor Blount. Thus the stories that Finnelson and Deraque weren’t believed about the attack and offered to throw themselves in jail and that they then might have even fought at the battle.

But in rereading yesterday, I realized Governor Blount personally took Finnelson’s testimony. In Knoxville. And then he sent Finnelson to Philadelphia to talk to the War Secretary. I repeat, he sent Finnelson, an Indian, to the Capitol. Before the battle. Then they send Demonbreun after the battle with further updates.

So, in order of “Who can we trust with these papers and important testimony?” It went 1. Richard Finnelson and 2. Timothy Demonbreun. Trailing far behind appears to be our friend, Joseph Deraque. Granted, he did just spend all summer as a Spanish agent, but still.

The next chapter is about land pirates–the Harpes, Tom Mason, John Murrell and the Mystic Clan (and did I tell you this appears to be mostly made up?! Which is perfect for the book)–and Isaac Motherfucking Rape Cult Franklin, who resented being compared to land pirates, but when you’re slicing people along the belly, filling them full of rocks, and then throwing them in the swamp, what the hell kind of comparison do you expect people to make?

And yes, yesterday morning, I couldn’t even stand the thought of looking at it. I’m on a rollercoaster of emotions. And I’m ready to just be back to my normal self.

Living Ahistorically

Last night, Nashville had a community meeting about whether Ferguson could happen here. Over at Pith, I already went into how what was a weird question, because it has happened here.

But this morning on my walk, I thought of a better way to illustrate the problem. We live in a city where white people ask a question that rests on an unspoken question, “Do we have that kind of despair over racial inequity here?”

We live in a city where people my age have living parents who were banned from whole swathes of the city, who were beaten and poisoned and arrested for trying to make that different. Those people my age are trying to raise children in this city–a city that would treat their parents that way.

The people who treated their parents that way, some of them, are still alive. Their children and grandchildren still live here.

And yet, it always seems like we want to move ahead as if the past doesn’t weigh on us. At least, some of the past. We pick the weights we want to bear and it seems like Nashville’s long history of what we do to black people is a weight most white people are constantly surprised to find still exists.

Just Saying

I’m not planning on having cancer tomorrow or dying of it in the future, at least not any time soon, but I want to say this here so that you can help the Butcher with it, should he need it. I want to be buried in the City Cemetery. Ideally, unembalmed in a plain box, for maximum weird and spooky noises emanating from my body as I decompose. It’s virtually impossible to be buried in the City Cemetery now, especially since I have no people in it already. I will still, should I find out death is imminent, attempt to make it happen. If I fail, stick me in the City Cemetery anyway. It might be hard to dig a grave in there under the cover of darkness, so, if you have to, cremate me and dump me in over the far wall.

Odd Absences

I was out at Traveller’s Rest yesterday because Mrs. Overton’s garden nags at the back of my mind. I need to someday take the whole house tour, but it’s expensive and I’m cheap. But two things struck me as I was out there, well, three. 1. Mrs. Overton knew how to work an herb garden. It wasn’t some slave of hers (or not totally), but her calling the shots on what was in that garden. And her first husband was a doctor. As the woman of that house, she would have sat at some interesting intersections. I think her garden reflected that. 2. The kitchen is missing. Well, almost all the old outbuildings are missing, with the exception of the weaving house, the smoke house, and a building up front that I forget what it is. But the kitchen is really noticeable in its absence because the smoke house is still there–the other building that would have been incredibly close to the house. I tried to suss out where it would have been, just using my eyes and the size of the trees. 3. In the weaving house, there was a hank of wool yarn. You can tell it’s wool as opposed to cotton because it’s got a little stiffness to it, the curve of yarn holds its shape instead of folding under its own weight. I assumed the yarn on the loom was therefore wool, but this morning that seems stupid. It could have been cotton. Now I wish I’d given it a sniff. Anyway, my point is that nm is right, there’s an odd absence of sheep in Middle Tennessee.

We talked about this with the Bell Witch. People must have had sheep, especially early on, or what did they make clothes from? Sheep would be a good use of the rocky land to Nashville’s south. But we’re not a heavily lamb-eating culture and you don’t see a lot of sheep around now. I also haven’t run across any mention of people having sheep. But the Overtons had a weaving house and they didn’t grow cotton (they appear to have been a diverse farm at first and then, when they pared down into growing one main crop, it was tobacco), so… right? What’s being woven in the weaving house, then? I wonder if this is some weird sexism problem. If women cared for the sheep and women used the sheep’s products, and if the sheep never contributed to the commercial culture of the farm, did it just not get mentioned? Kind of went without saying? Or am I just somehow failing to notice mention of sheep? I feel like I’m geared up to notice their mention, but maybe I’m not.

yarn 1 yarn 2 yarn 3

Bewbs

I went over to St. Thomas to have my boobs squished, which meant there was plenty of Jesus and calming hymns playing in the waiting room (so, word to the wise–if you find that stuff appalling, don’t go there). But that thin veneer of “A man is always watching you, and loving you, but watching. Jesus is always watching and caring deeply about everything you do.” could not mitigate the fact that getting your boobs squished at St. Thomas is an experience utterly devoid of men. There were no men in the elevator with me, no men in the waiting room. Two hilarious older women checked me in, a woman gently squished the shit out of my boob.

It felt really powerful. Not the mammogram, but the feeling like I’m in a place where my body is utterly known and familiar and ordinary.

I had this thought as I was walking back to the dressing room, that our society is set up in many ways to prevent women from regularly having these kinds of experiences of women of all ages caring for you.

But here was the weirdest part. At lunch, they called to pre-register me and the woman asked if the emergency contact person was still my brother, and then she paused, and said “Bartholomew” and then she laughed. I said, “Yes, but you can call him ‘Bart’,” and she went “‘Bart?’ That’s worse!” and laughed some more. Then she said. “Oh my goodness. I’m so sorry.” And she wasn’t being an ass or anything. I think “Bartholomew” just genuinely struck her as a funny name. But she works at St. Thomas–Jesus’ friend–and she’s surrounded by images of Jesus and His mom. Of all the places in town where the name “Bartholomew” shouldn’t strike someone as weird, you’d think a Catholic hospital would be it. Yes, Bartholomew, like Jesus’ other friend. He also is a saint.

There’s an Episcopal church in town called St. Bartholomew’s.

Well, whatever.

Is This the Best Thing in Nashville?

Last night, I had dinner with K. and B. over at the Mad Platter and for dessert, I had the Elvis… the Velvet Elvis?… the Black Elvis?…. Well, there’s only one Elvis dessert, so that one. They slice it thin and it has some kind of pretzel bottom crust and then a kind of brownie/torte/cake/pudding layer of chocolate and then a peanut butter mousse layer, and it’s just soaking in this blueberry sauce, so that it tastes really sophisticated and like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It may be the most perfect dessert I’ve ever eaten.

When I got home, the dog was carrying around my squares. In his mouth! Not gnawing on them or anything. Just carrying them gently around the living room. And then he apparently hid two in the couch. He apparently has just come to love the squares and wants some for himself. I don’t see how this doesn’t end with him attempting to eat the squares, but it’s annoying and cute in the meantime. I was hoping that this could lead to me teaching him to pick up the squares when I drop them and hand them back to me, but that doesn’t yet appear to be the case. When I’m done with the afghan, I may make him up a square in the left-over bits and we can work on teaching him to retrieve something that doesn’t cause me to have to cry if he ruins it.

Also, I think there’s been some forward movement on Project X. Please keep your fingers crossed extra hard for me.

Taste the Rainbow

Taste the Rainbow

Here’s what each of the squares in my afghan will look like. I’m really pleased. I love this yarn so much. I know I say that. I wish I could get a picture that would capture just how beautiful it is, the way the plies wrap around each other is just about the most pleasing thing to look at. I can’t decide why. I like my cheap-o acrylic yarn, don’t get me wrong, but there’s something about wool that just feels more magical.

I am completely drained from yesterday. My meeting with the artist went great. I worry that I don’t seem excited enough, when really, I’m just kind of overwhelmed that this is even happening at all. Like my needle is buried in “excited.” I can’t really seem more excited, even though I’m really thrilled. When she starts putting the prints together, I’m going to go get to see her studio! And she’s going to make sure that there are crows tucked in the book. We’re hoping to have books ready for the Proto-pulp show in September, but, if not, we’ll at least have some prototypes to show people. And, holy shit, you guys, of course I want you to buy my book, but if she sells the art separately, some of you are going to fall over for the spread that’s poor Tom, just a skeleton entwined with the roots of a tree.

The reading went very well. I think the other guy who was there and I were both kind of on the same page, that we were there to support Sara and to make her day go well. And I think she felt that it did go well and that she was well-loved and I feel like that’s also about all you can ask of a book signing. I did laugh, though, as I was coming home because all of Sara’s people are people I think C. and his wife would really enjoy and I’m was like “maybe my job here is just to try to figure out how to make these people run into each other.” I mean, we had an awesome argument over Hamlet. I can’t remember what about, but people toasted at some points and slammed their fists on the table emphatically at others and what more do you want in a fight about Hamlet?

I said the truth about how I felt about Project X as true and straight-forwardly as I know how to be. I don’t know if it will make any difference, but I have now done everything I know how to do.

Now I need to come up with a grocery list.

Franklin and Armfield

I keep hoping that I will hit some end to the depravity of these guys, but there is none. One of the critics I read says that, to truly understand slavery in the U.S., you have to come to grips with how it functioned as a sexual… he uses the term fetish, which I don’t quite like because it reminds me too much of Freud’s “everyone’s worried about castration!” nonsense and “compulsion” makes it sound like these men just couldn’t help themselves. But, you know, I’m thinking some about the research they’ve done on rapists these days and how the rapists will often–especially if you don’t call it “rape” in the interviews–brag about how that’s the kind of sex they like to have, that resistance and tears or frightened silence is what they want in a “partner” (“partner” is such a crappy term in this context, but roll with me). And that’s true for Franklin and Armfield and the men they were selling their “fancy ladies” to. They liked sex where the other person involved could not say no, was frightened, where her humiliation was an important component.

So, let’s say that slavery was, in part, in important ways, a sexual preference of white men. It was linked to how power was distributed in this country at the time (and in ways now) with the person with the most power being able to prove it through his ability to dominate others. The more people he could dominate, the more powerful he was. Sexual domination was just awesome proof of his power. That helps illustrate the threat inherent in white women partnering with black men. If the white women were raping their slaves (which certainly happened), white women were being powerful in a way that was supposed to be reserved for men. If black men had sex (consensual or not) with white women, they were displaying power that was reserved for whites.

Not all white men, and even not all white slave owners, raped their slaves. But in order to be seen as men in their society, in order to display the right kind of power and status as befitting men of their station, they had to be open to the possibility. It was an essential component of slave ownership.

I have two thoughts reading this stuff. Maybe three. One is that everything that was so terrible about the Harpes or the Mystic Clan was also perpetrated by slave traders. Franklin joked about hiding the dead bodies of his sick slaves in the ravines around Natchez. He even got in trouble with the city because of the stench. He raped women and destroyed families. But Franklin’s money is why we have Belmont University. Armfield was even more directly involved with the founding of the University of the South. So, two, how do you reckon with that?

Maybe there isn’t a way. Maybe we just all wander around in the wreckage of countless previous tragedies. But it seems like we have an obligation to know that’s what we’re doing and to remember the cost of what we have. I think Ta-Nehisi Coates is right, too, that also what slavery is is a kind of warfare. We recognize our veterans, even the Confederates, and find ways of talking about and acknowledging their sacrifices and the hardships they endured. But we haven’t developed, as a country, that skill for the people upon whose lives our country is built.

Third, I’m starting to appreciate Andrew Jackson in ways that disturb me. Yes, he was a genocidal madman. But at least he was forthright about what it would take to live the kinds of lives white people wanted to live in this country, as opposed to the strategy of being outraged by, say, the Mystic Clan but completely cool with slave traders. The other thing I find interesting is that a man of Jackson’s status didn’t marry for love. You married a woman who could give you children. If you were a man and hadn’t been married before, you didn’t marry someone who had been. It’s simply not how well-to-do people did (of course, it happened, but it wasn’t conventional). I think part of why people dogged him so much about the bigamy was because you didn’t come straight out in public and say “Ha ha, you like your wife.” But, of course, there wouldn’t have been the bigamy problem if he hadn’t been eager to marry her. If it had been arranged more like a business transaction, he would have known or made sure about the divorce.

The other, other thing I’m intrigued about is that Jackson stole that Creek kid and gave him to Rachel to raise. Which is pretty much what happened to the Brown kids, but in reverse. They were divvied up as battle spoils and passed out to women who needed children. We draw firm lines between “Nashville” and “the Indians,” but a lot of people living in and around Nashville had extensive dealings with the locals–families killed by them, and importantly, time spent with them as hostages. It’s silly to assume that we could live with people so intimately and not be changed by our encounters. And here’s Jackson, giving a child to a woman who needed one.

Everything you think is a clean line of demarcation is blurry. It all leaks through.

Trade is Trade

I’m reading for my Nashville book and the more I read, the more I’m kind of shocked that no one has written a book like this before. I’m also feeling more confident that I can come to have a reasonable hypothesis for why Richard Finnelson changed his mind and decided to warn Nashville about the impending raid. I wish we knew anything about his wife. Because what seems obvious to me now is that we can’t say that Finnelson was Chickamauga. Yes, he was living in Nickajack and wintered in Crowtown. But with his wife and son. Cherokee men lived in their wives’ villages, among their wives’ families. Finnelson’s wife was a Chickamauga. There’s no reason to believe that Finnelson was.

I’m still struggling a little to find my voice, which is funny, considering how much experience I have blathering on in non-fiction form. But making a sustained, multi-pronged argument over pages and pages while still keeping it interesting is a lot more difficult than writing a post or an article.

1788

“By the influence and assistance of the wife of Durant, a French trader, Mrs. Brown contrived to escape to the residence of McGillevray, the Head-man of the Creek nation, who generously ransomed her fro her savage owner.”–The Annals of Tennessee to the End of the Eighteenth Century by J.G.M. Ramsey, page 516

One of the Demonbreun people asked me about the passage and I’m still mulling it over. Brown and some of her children (her husband and some of the others having been killed) were captured by the mixed Cherokee/Creek group fighting white settlement. She went to the Creeks. Her son went to the Cherokees. More on him in a second. Let’s just ponder this “wife of Durant.”

There was no French guy named Durant other than our friend, Joseph. This took place in 1788, so she wasn’t the wife of Joseph yet. But this has to be Elizabeth, or so the Demonbreuns have convinced me. It does bring up a question of how a lone woman could travel to the Creek nation and have influence. No wonder there are family stories of her being Native American.

Anyway, the Browns.

“‘Price went to Pensacola for goods, and left Richard Findelston and two negro men with Mrs. Glass to take care of his stock. One day, while Findelston was away from home, a large Creek Indian came by and seized Mrs. Glass’s sucking child; the negro dared not interfere, for the Indian would have killed him instantly.”–Joseph Brown, Mrs. Brown’s son, from Ramsey’s book, page 514.

 

I want to connect a dot here, but I’m not sure what dot to connect. Maybe it’s nothing that these two folks, who would come to be so connected to Joseph show up in this story both connected to the Browns.

 

A Wonder I Have about Sam Houston and Eliza Allen

I will never let go of the crotch wound, but I had another thought.

Houston’s mom had to be a bad-ass to survive what his father put the family through (debt-wise) and then her having to move the family to Tennessee after he died. Houston hooked up with the Cherokees at a young age, at a time when Cherokee women still had a lot of power (even though the structure of Cherokee society had been under a great deal of strain, to put it mildly, and Cherokee women did not have the same status they had even thirty years earlier). And we know his most successful marriage was to a woman who was very strong-willed.

We also know that, whatever happened between Sam and Eliza, as much as it pissed her family and town off, she didn’t seem that angry at him over it. So, what would gravely insult the Allens but not Eliza?

Here’s my hypothesis: Bless his heart, Sam did not know this was an arranged marriage and thought Eliza was marrying him because she loved him. When he found out otherwise, he let her go home, effectively ending the marriage. That’s what he found so humiliating about it that he left. Otherwise, why not just make her stay with him? Who at that time would have really given a shit if his wife didn’t immediately love him if the marriage was an alliance of powerful families? I don’t think it dawned on Houston that Eliza felt she had to marry him for her family’s sake. I don’t think he was intimately familiar with women who would demure to their father’s wishes so it didn’t dawn on him that’s what was going on.

This is my guess, anyway.

Changing Plans

Okay, I’ve talked this through with a couple of people whose opinions I respect and I’ve been doing a little preliminary diggings, just to assure myself that there are resources I could use and I think I’m going to do it–to write a history of Nashville. I feel like I need a unifying theme–something that lets me know what to leave in and what to leave out–which I do not have more than wanting to provide a moment for thinking about Nashville history in ways we don’t normally think of Nashville history. Maybe a history of everyone in Nashville who got metaphorically and sometimes literally kicked in the teeth.

I’m not thinking of something comprehensive. I’m really not capable of doing a comprehensive book, nor would I want to. I want to talk about the way we talk about Nashville’s history and the ways we could talk about it, if we just changed our focus. I think I could do that in 80,000-100,000 words.

I feel a little strange, though, about just setting aside the fiction shit long enough to do justice to this. Well, not completely set aside, but no longer let that be most of my extra-curricular writing. But it seems like this is the direction the muses point in and I have to see if I can do it.

If You Try Sometimes, You Just Might Find

Friday, at lunch, we went out for hot chicken and contemplated Elvis. I came up with an idea for October that makes me happy. After work, I went over to the Scene‘s party and saw people I hadn’t seen in a million years. Plus people I see pretty frequently, so that was nice. I had conversations that made me feel better about my writing life in general–“Yes, I know that feeling”–and in particular–“Don’t worry. Just wait it out.” People said nice things about my writing and were happy to see me.

A couple of people asked me about when I was going to write a book about Nashville history, but I just don’t think they understand the scope of the problem–I would like to, but I am utterly unqualified to write the book I think deserves to be written. I don’t know nearly enough about Nashville’s Native American history (and by nearly enough, I mean, I basically know that Native Americans lived here) and to really understand Nashville’s history, you obviously need to understand why the landscape looked the way it did when white people arrived here, which means understanding how people were using the area before white people got here. And I would want to go back all the way. I don’t want any 1,000 year old farms escaping notice.

I understand next to nothing about the history of black Nashville, though at least I’d have some idea how to go about rectifying this to my satisfaction. Still, I’m not sure my satisfaction is good enough. I’m not sure I even know what I don’t know.

The history of Hispanic Nashville has never been written. No one has properly contextualized Nashville’s current Hispanic population with our long relationship with Latin America from our dalliances with becoming a Spanish territory through to us inflicting William Walker on Nicaragua and our pipe dream of creating a vast Southern U.S. white guy-lead slave empire throughout Latin America. A few critics have made the argument that, due to the South’s slave-owning and our dream of conquering Latin America, we’re tied to the Caribbean in ways we don’t usually acknowledge. But looking at how we might  understand Nashville as just a far north outpost of a certain strand of Latin American history would, I think, go a long way to undermining a lot of these “what are they doing here?” narratives.  We see ourselves as historically provincial in order to pretend to be surprised to find ourselves at this place.

But another thing that stops me in my tracks is how to account for Nashville’s gay history? This is a place my shortcomings in knowledge of Nashville’s black history bring me up short. I know that there were gay clubs in Nashville at least as far back as the 50s that were located in areas considered black neighborhoods (though I think at least some of the clubs may have been informally integrated) and Alain Locke spent a year at Fisk in the 20s, I think. But figuring out Nashville’s gay history, especially in a climate where it’s still risky for people to talk about it, let alone to say what their grandparents may have been up to, would be tricky.

So, all this is not to say that I haven’t thought about it. I’ve thought about it extensively. I just don’t think I have the skills to write the kind of book I’d want to write.

And then we went and saw the Dave Rawlings Machine at the Ryman and it was fantastic. I really love the Ryman and I don’t know if it’s just because my butt is getting bigger or because I’ve built up callouses, but they played from just after 8 to just before 11 and I didn’t want to amputate my ass by the end of it. I did end up thinking a lot about how it is that I feel like I know that, when they sing a song like “He Will Set Your Fields on Fire” they aren’t sincere about believing in a God who’s going to burn your life down if you don’t follow him, but when they sing “I Hear Them All” and it bleeds into “This Land is Your Land,” I feel like that’s real. Is it because we’re all singing along sincerely? Or is there something else that signals “this song we just like” vs. “this song we mean”?

Anyway, even the guy behind me going on to his date nonstop with his “insight” into the band couldn’t ruin it for me (though, lord, I did laugh. I mean, everyone in town knows someone who knows someone. Unless his date has only been in town ten minutes, why would she be impressed at that? It doesn’t make you special that you know someone who knows Dave Rawlings. It makes you a Nashville resident.). I was completely smitten. It was lovely.

Dream Afternoon

Taking Sam’s advice, I decided to try to do something audacious on my day off. Through a series of lucky confluences, I ended up getting a guided tour of the state museum’s art collection–both the stuff out on the walls and the stuff behind the scenes–guided, in fact, by the guy who collects the art for the state museum. It was amazing.

And I saw the Wessyngton exhibit, which is everything I could have hoped for. I was glad it wasn’t crowded, because it made me very emotional.

I also fucked up my ankle. But it’s okay, I think. I mean, I don’t think it’s broken or sprained. It just feels like, if you can bruise it throughout the joint, it’s bruised throughout the joint. It hurts to put pressure on it, but again, more like it hurts when you touch a bruise, not like when you’re stepping on a sprain.

Weirdness

The Butcher came straight home from walking the dog, went into his room, and is now blaring Lily Allen. No, wait, he’s just come out with a smile on his face all “Isn’t this great?”

Which, I suppose, but what happened at the park that made this a Lily Allen kind of morning?

On my walk, I saw a dead sparrow. So, you know I’m feeling a little cheated.

The Slant of the Roof

The walk this morning was gorgeous. The weather was cool. A fog rolled out of the hills, but low, and the sky is clear. And I saw that the slant of the roofs on the big houses on Lloyd match the incline of the hills on the other side of Whites Creek. As if someone had thought hard about what kinds of shapes a house in this area should have in order to match the landscape.

The Long and Short Week

I don’t know how, but somehow this week has both gone by too quickly and I’ve not gotten everything I need to get done done and it’s just dragging on. Isn’t it time for dinner? No?

Speaking of dinner, I think we’re going to get pizza from the 312 Pizza Co., because it makes us happy.

Everything Takes a Really Long Time

That’s what they try to tell you about writing. I wrote a story. My first one after turning 40. I think it’s good. It needs some polishing, but it amuses me. I’m mulling over what’s next. I have this thing niggling at the back of my brain, a Midwestern thing. A story with a big sky and bugs thick on your windshield. But I’m not sure yet.

I need, also, to figure out what I’m doing for October. And I need to try to run into a bunch of people to see if I can keep all the various things that are supposed to be in the works moving forward.

Yesterday, there was a blind item on the internet about a back-in-the-day A list country singer and his tv star wife who throw the most spectacular swingers parties in Nashville. This morning, on our way to work, the Butcher and I decided that, if Clint Black made no comment, but “leaked” a cover of him doing John Anderson’s “Swingin’,” he could have all our money.

A Tiny Bit More on Armadillos

Apparently, when white people first encountered armadillos, there was a theory that they were armored rabbits.

Not just because of their ears, but apparently because armadillos have mad jumping skills.

I cannot wait for these guys to start hanging out in my yard where I can observe them more closely.

Creeping Ever Northward

Oh, I forgot to tell you that we saw a huge group of buzzards the other day and when we drove up on them, they were eating an armadillo. Not a half a mile from our house!

I have so many questions, but my main one is this–how do they get across the Mississippi River? I like to believe there’s a good ole boy making his non-legal living acting as a ferryman for migrating armadillos.

Work Things

I spent much of the weekend still feeling puny and reading our upcoming Perry Wallace biography for work. I’m really proud to be working on this book, but man, it’s a hard read. It goes pretty much exactly how you expect it to go, except with Wallace pointing out every step of the way what’s going wrong and why and Vanderbilt turning a blind eye.

I’m wondering if there’s a way to pitch it to Civil Rights classes, if only because it’s really interesting to see a guy on the ground in the late ’60s who’s heard first-hand King and Carmichael trying to take what he finds useful from both approaches and crafting some way that works for him. At least in the history classes I took, it was more set up like an either-or choice. You went Martin or Malcolm. But, of course, living through it, you must have gone both at one point or another. It’s just the human response.

But I came away feeling like I wasn’t sure how Vanderbilt could ever reckon with this history. What would a resolution to “we fucked up” really look like? I admit, I was both glad to see that Vanderbilt has been making amends and feeling like those amends just don’t cut it. And I think that’s the truth of the matter, and I’m not sure there’s any way to reconcile that truth.