Next episode: Thursday, 26 September 2013
This week on Fieldstone Common, Marian Pierre-Louis interviews Elise Guyette, author of Discovering Black Vermont.
An impressive work of historical recovery, Discovering Black Vermont tells the story of three generations of free blacks trying to build a life and community in northern Vermont in the years following statehood. By piecing together fragments of the history of free blacks in Vermont–tax and estate records, journals, diaries, and the like–the author recovers what is essentially a lost world, establishing a framework for using primary sources to document a forgotten past. The book is an invaluable resource for those conducting local history research and will serve as inspiration for high school and college students and their teachers.
When she was in 4th grade, Elise A. Guyette discovered that her people, French-Canadian, Lebanese, and Irish, were left out of her Vermont history text. When she began teaching, she was given the same little green textbook to teach her first students. It reminded her of the sting of being overlooked and, as a result, she has spent her adult life in pursuit of stories omitted from traditional histories. Guyette is an historian, writer, and educational consultant, who is a part-time faculty member at the University of Vermont. She has taught history workshops for teachers throughout the United States, and in China and South Africa. Her publications include the textbook, Vermont: A Cultural Patchwork; a teacher’s guide for Making a Living: The Work Experiences of African Americans in New England; Gandhi in South Africa: A Perfect Miracle or Political Expediency; and Behind the White Veil: A History of Vermont’s Ethnic Groups in Many Cultures, One People: A Multicultural Handbook for Teachers. Her newest book tells the history of the United States in microcosm from 1790 to 1890, from the viewpoint of African American farmers in northern Vermont.