Tuesday, June 2, 2009

I'm not writing so much as to start a new thread (but you are all welcome to comment here as you see fit)--Afton has got us off to a good start this week--but rather just to say hello as I travel to my mining conference in Creede, Colorado. My friends and I arrived in Jerome AZ last night just before dark. Early enough to take a look around this historic old mining community.Taking copper ore out of this mountain, Jerome was the leading ore producing site in north America for many years until its death in the mid-1950s. From the 50s to the mid 70s it remained a classic ghost town (really nearly abandoned) and then "hippies"move back in and soon "hippies" became artists and a massive restoration was underway. I'm sitting in a little park overlooking the old blast furnace and below me the valley that stretches as far as the eye can see. Jerome is at 5500 feet--a mile high as the local cafe advertises. It is a also described as one of the "wickedist" towns in the west, saloons and brothels marked Jerome's "best" years.

But, like most of American history--and the history of the slave trade--its only when we get closer to we see the interesting and varied threads that make up the whole cloth. I'm off to Creede, another former mining ghost town, to discuss the contributions of a former slave and black man--Fred Coleman--to the discovery and mining of gold in--yet another--former mining town (now restored)Julian California. As these old towns--ghost towns--rediscover their pasts they are also rediscovering the interesting and diverse population of people who contributed to their original development. Fred Coleman's history--his contributions to Julian-- has only in recent years been acknowledged. The slave trade snuffed out millions of lives and disrupted--destroyed the cultural fabric of west Africa, but it also brought (however unwillingly) millions of black people to north and south America--people who have made an enormous contributions to the "American"cultural fabric. From my park bench in Jerome, I wish you folks a good day and fun with your researching and our discussions.

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