“How tall is too tall, how safe is safe enough? Before September 11, Americans thought little about such questions. And then the most extraordinary buildings in New York City burned and collapsed in front of a worldwide audience.”
Sometimes when historians disagree there are fundamental issues at stake; sometimes differences of interpretation. Often the evidence is still being gathered, so any interpretation is open to revision. From a historical point of view, ten years is not a very long time, yet it is time enough to begin trying to explain the consequences of a major event like the attacks of September 11.
In 2001, I was a junior at the Bronx High School of Science in New York City. On the morning of September 11th, I was sitting in my second period AP US History class, taught by Dr. Melvin Maskin. On days when he was feeling particularly enthusiastic about a lesson, he’d scrawl things like, “The Doc is IN DA HOUSE” on the blackboard. He was always doing things like that: making silly jokes or referencing song lyrics in tests, to get us excited about settling in for a class period of history.
This week we will use the blog at Not Even Past to talk about the 9/11/01 attacks, their history and their legacy. We begin with an essay by Rachel Herrmann.
Demnig’s project asks Germans to take an active role in the reconstruction of the Nazi past of their own cities and localities. Demnig sets stumbling stones in the pavement only on the invitation of local organizations or groups of citizens who have developed an interest in his project and who have researched the histories of the victims who are to be remembered with these stones.
For nearly 30 years, historians have debated about the use of former slave narratives as a “valid” historical source. Scholars question the authenticity of interviews collected in the 1930s, often by white Works Progress Administration (WPA) field workers.
My own family hails from Aligarh, a city about 90 miles southeast of New Delhi and, as Muslims, opted to move to Pakistan. I was aware of this as a child, but because I grew up outside Pakistan, it was not until I began my research and had enough comfort speaking Urdu that I persuaded some of my elderly relatives to tell me their stories of the time of independence and partition.