WHAT DOES REMEMBERANCE LOOK LIKE: MEMORIALIZING THE 1910 SLOCUM MASSACRE AMIDST UNCERTAINTY
This thesis explores the challenges of memorializing the Slocum Massacre, a white massacre of the black community living in the area of Slocum, Texas in 1910. In doing so, it considers a combination of sources including oral history passed down by descendants of the massacre, newspaper articles from when the massacre occurred, contemporary historical scholarship on the massacre, and texts connected to the unveiling of a historical marker in Slocum in 2016. Through the investigation of these sources, this thesis finds that the process of remembering the past is more complicated than a binary between those who attempt to remember what happened, and those who attempt to suppress the memory of the massacre. Instead, a host of individuals face inevitable uncertainties about the past and are often forced, by necessity, to makes compromises in memorializing what happened. Ultimately, this thesis thus argues that this inevitable uncertainty within the memory of the massacre, leaves behind a legacy of white supremacy, and a violence that outlives the massacre itself. This analysis also has important implications for ongoing discussions concerning the process of remembering the history of both racial cleansings across the United States, and of acts of racial terror that have received significant scholarly attention. Because uncertainty and the loss of historical record are common in memorializing other acts of racial violence, this thesis' analysis of the uncertainty plaguing the memory of the Slocum Massacre suggests the similar importance of recognizing the uncertainty that exists in other episodes of anti-black violence throughout United States history.
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