For When You Can’t Find Home

The theme for this year’s Humanities Symposium is “Home,” and here at the Center for Public Humanities we have been critically thinking about what home means, both for communities and individuals. As the Humanities Symposium approaches, you will have the chance to hear from our very own Fellows about this subject. Here is a reflection from…

A Borrowed Anguish

The year 1851 marked a monumental change in both the development of American literature and in the abolitionist movement. At the time, slavery was both prevalent and popular, and although the owning of slaves was illegal in many Northern states, economic reasons and greed compelled the passing of the Fugitive Slave Law in 1850. This…

Spaces of Fear

Last night, we heard from author and historian Taylor Branch as he shared “King’s Dream for Justice: Then and Now” for the American Democracy Lecture.  Now, we hear from Messiah College student, Arion, who offers a reflection on the lasting impact racism and segregation has had on our own city of Harrisburg.  With the growth…

A Tribute to Jim Weedon

I first met Jim Weedon in the Fall of 2014, on the front porch of his home in Harrisburg, PA. Jean Corey and I had driven there that afternoon to talk with him about his experience as a member of the 1954 Eastern Negro League Baseball Team, The Harrisburg Giants. I had been feeling anxious…

Welcoming Difference

On April 4th, I joined a small group of Messiah students, and alumni in attending the Sixth Annual Freedom Seder at Beth El Temple in Harrisburg. The topic of this year’s event was immigration, and the refugee crisis, focusing on how the three major monotheistic world religions of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, are called to…

Sweat and Sanctification

Mitakuye Oyasin – all my relations. In this land of free speech, there are millions of voices. As the lyrics of our national anthem float through the air of athletic stadiums across the country, some athletes make their voice heard as they silently take a knee. When the game is over, the Internet, television, and…

Color and Canvas: Finding Unexpected Voices in Public Art

This spring I had the chance to take a road trip to Portland, ME, and spend a day moseying around the city.  Wandering up and down Congress Street, a modern building with large glass panels hanging over the front doors caught my eye. Frosted text covered the windows: “مكتبة.”  “Bibliothèque.”  “Library.” Intrigued, my friend and…

Those “Unspeakable Hats”

My family’s Facebook Messenger chat has been pretty active lately.  We used to only use it to send each other New England Patriots memes, but more recently, our discussions have centered on articles about politics and protest.  We debate the new president’s drastic executive orders—my sister and I disapproving, my parents more willing to reserve…

Four Reflections on the 2016 Election

Ryan Gephart: It’s hard to put into words all of the emotions I have felt over the last week. I have lost a lot of sleep over all the hateful rhetoric I have seen thrown around, and often justified in Donald Trump’s name. “If our president can say these things, then so can we,” the…

Pondering Policy Post-Election Day

Choosing the next leader of our nation was not the only issue decided upon last week. I regret to inform those of you who aren’t already aware, but several states, including California, Oklahoma, and Nebraska, chose by referendum to either retain or reinstate capital punishment. The death penalty is one of those contentious issues that…

Gracious Communication: Conversing with Ta Nehisi Coates

“White supremacy does not contradict American democracy—it birthed it, nurtured it, and financed it. That is our heritage.” These are just of a few of the contentious words Ta Nehisi Coates has penned during his time as a national correspondent at The Atlantic. For those of us raised on the idea of “American exceptionalism,” Coates’…

American Disenchantment and the Psychology of Patriotism

In this era of polarized political discourse and deadlocked Congresses, the fight to define the United States has become increasingly divided between nostalgia and reform.  Both views are the same sides of one coin: American patriotism.  We love our country and we want what is best for it.  That’s good, right?   But when does…