In a few weeks, Tallahassee residents will gather around the Capitol and downtown area for the annual “Springtime Tallahassee” celebration. According to the event’s Web site, the celebration is intended to honor the capital city’s physical beauty, as well as its history and culture.
Recent television commercials flash images of smiling families milling around Kleman Plaza as OutKast’s hit “Hey Ya!” plays in the background. To the naked eye and untrained ear, the celebration appears to be an inclusive historical celebration.
It is not. “Springtime Tallahassee” is an empty charade of history, which omits the people whose contributions and sacrifices are the building blocks of this state and nation.
The core committee of 500 citizens who work together to produce the event are divided into five “krewes” that represent five periods in Florida’s history: Spanish, American Territorial, Antebellum Statehood, War and Reconstruction and 20th Century. Each krewe assembles a float and dresses in period costumes reflective of the respective era. However, by all observation, black and Native Americans are not represented.
Instead, the historical eras seem to glorify the lifestyles that were enjoyed by white Americans at the expense of people who were treated as second-class citizens.
Admittedly, it is easy to gloss over the atrocities that this country inflicted upon others in favor of the “good old days.” But we must not forget that those days were not good for everyone. While the spirit of progress will not allow minorities to wallow in pity or sorrow for the crimes of theft, slavery and violation, they must be acknowledged.
FAMU, FSU and TCC have professors and students who are able to paint a more precise picture of history for those who would rather forget certain segments. These scholars and activists should be called upon to help develop a more accurate showcase of history in the capital city, no matter how painful or ugly it may have been.
Conversely, Black and Native Americans in the Big Bend area must take the initiative to see that the truth of this area’s history does not go unnoticed.
In order for society to progress, people must remember, acknowledge and cherish their history.
History does not belong to a chosen few, therefore it cannot be represented by one race or culture alone.
If “Springtime Tallahassee” is going to represent the history of the capital city, it is time for its organizers and the people of the city to properly recognize the history in its completeness – not just the “good old days.”