Local History Conference Looks at Hidden Stories

The Bundy Museum, with the involvement of BU and other sponsors, brought people together to hear about local history with unexpectedly profound results. When Lisa Beal presented "History of Two Families, One Black, One Jewish" she discovered that her great grandfather and a participant's grandfather nearly went into business together: hers had a truck and the other had a dead cow to sell. Another remembered her grandmother from her childhood. And a young man expressed deep appreciation for meeting Lisa, whose activist mother was the inspiration for the Frances Beal Society, an activist coalition at Binghamton University fighting racism, sexism, queer/transphobia, corruption, ableism and other oppressions.

And that was just one workshop! Others that brought connections from those present were "Patterns of Immigration, Ethnicity, and Americanization in Early 20th century" buy Rachel Blaifeder, "Cold War Technology with Southern Tier Roots" by Susan Sherwood of Techworks, "The History of the Women's Center" by Peg Johnston, and "The American Dance Asylum" by Greg Bain. Again, just to name a few.

Prof. Gerald Zahavi of SUNY Albany detailed "Socialists, Patriarchs, and Spies: EJ Workers and the Question of Loyalty. The audience was surprised to hear that Binghamton was a hotbed of radical activity post WWI with many rival Socialist and Communist chapters and that George F. Johnson was tolerant of political diversity and called out the "false Americanism" of for instance, the Ku Klux Klan.

The new radio Bundy WBDY-LP at 99.5 FM will broadcast the talks in the coming months. Kudos to Andrew Pragacz and Diana C. Gildes for organizing this conference. More https://www.bundymuseum.org/perspectives/



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