We have certain members of the Preservation Trust who have worked to stop all “advocacy” and who wish the organization to invest all its energies into ‘education’.
What has happened is Newburyport is neither educated nor doing any advocacy toward historic preservation.
We have high-minded, intellectual elitists who have adopted the modern, liberal concept that educating is an end in itself. These are the voices that decry results-oriented policies in our public schools. To them, such efforts are dirty, bourgeois and unbecoming to an educator. Getting students to be self-reliant, able to learn and think on their own, being fully equipped with the tools of knowledge? Not hardly, the new definition is a direct result of union-oriented mindsets more intent on helping ‘educators’ have permanent jobs rather than training our citizens to face a challenging and often dangerous world.
And conflict? To these new type of educators that is hardly necessary.
Yes, teachers will ramble off monotone dates of ancient battles but every one of those conflicts was a turning point in history. I have been in the bowels of the Library’s archives and gone through chronologically the newspaper articles on the historic preservation of our City. It was nasty, troublesome, at times a dirty, muddy brawl with angry people on both sides. We can look all superior now at how pretty our City is but it’s lovely side was built on the bones of shattered careers and many embattled losers and winners.
If historic preservationists are to win out for the enriched betterment of Newburyport’s citizens; we have to come out swinging and expect some bloody noses. Let’s face it, we’re trying to do huge things in a community that hates change!
Prior historic preservationists didn’t have the track record that we do. When I see an old picture of Jack Bradshaw standing in front of a boarded up derelict of a building and he goes on about the city being a heritage tourism site, I can imagine the howls and guffaws from the locals.
We have a great example that ‘Mad Jack’ didn’t have. In other words, we have the winning hand of history and the present.
Let me quote from Jim Roy why Advocacy IS education:
“…we’re headed for a good old-fashioned donnybrook when the new, city-wide historic district is proposed…The voices of cultural ignorance will be out in force – “Don’t tell me what to do with my property!” – and people supporting the district will be tarred as yuppies, newcomers, and elitists. Our warning on all this to come is simple: an historic district will not pass just because it’s a great idea. A real political campaign – signs, volunteers, mailings, and money – will all be required to win this fight. Hopefully, fifty years down the road, some of our names will be remembered as people who put it on the line, with both sweat and dollar bills. This is going to be a real struggle. Get ready.”
-Jim, Roy, Newburyport Liberator, Vol. II, No. 15, February 19, 2010
You know what I say, “Arm yourself, it is time to do battle”.