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Food For Thought: Scholarly Teachings on Historical Matters

Norfolk State University students, faculty, and a host of other conference-goers took time to eat and reflect on the 1619 era through research from great historian scholars. Dr. Corey D.B. Walker of Brown University, Dr. Ben Vinson III of Johns Hopkins University, and Dr. Peter Wallenstein of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University each gave oral reports on issues regarding  the construction of America in the year 1619. Sure, anyone who has taken an American history class would be familiar with the concept of racial mixing between early Americans and such terms as ‘mulatto’ and ‘mestizo,’ as well as the social hierarchy concerning it, but Dr. Vinson III took time to break it down even further. Displaying the correlation between Latin racial classification with America’s, his presentation “Comparing Colonial Paradigms: Racial Structures in Latin America,” explained the development of the Iberian government, and the breakdown of race and caste systems in 1619. Dr. Wallenstein’s presentation further stressed Dr. Vinson III’s study, with the subject of slavery, politics, and culture, and how ideas were traded among American people. Dr. Walker’s presentation entitled “Let Us See Our Friends and Brethren” delved into the development of freedom and politics in 1619 America. Choosing to change the event’s theme of “When did we become Americans” to “How did we become Americans”, Dr. Walker educated us on how racial differences worked together in order to become a collective group. So much information detailing a different perspective on American history was gathered during these three afternoon presentations. Leaving with a new-found outlook on early American living, the room of history enthusiasts finished their lunches and archived the teaching that had just been administered.