National Trust conference attendees first heard from Dr. Mindy Fullilove at the National Preservation Conference in St.Paul, MN in 2007 where she talked about her book Root Shock: How Tearing Up City Neighborhoods Hurts America and What We Can Do About It. In the years since, Fullilove has continued to examine the connections between the environment and mental health in cities and beyond. During her talk at PastForward 2019, attendees will hear about another project, the 400 Years of Inequality. Here is a video of Fullilove’s 2018 TED Talk about “What you should learn about the city you live in” and a short Q&A as an introduction to her talk in Denver this October.
Tell us a little bit about the 400 Years of Inequality project and how it came into being?
The project started in 2016, led by the University of Orange which was joined by 5 other partners. We have called on families, groups and organizations to hold place-based observances, especially during this fall. Many groups have responded, like Boston University School of Public Health, Carnegie Hall and the Jackson Medical Mall in Jackson MS. Many kinds of observances are planned, from church services to hikes.
How does your work on inequality relate to historic preservation as a practice? How has this work evolved since you last spoke at the preservation conference in 2007?
We know that what gets preserved is likely to be the places and stories of the rich. Historic preservation has acknowledged the challenges of being more inclusive. My own work has centered around the city of Orange, NJ which has many historic assets—we like to think that Orange, NJ is the most historic city in America (and so is yours!).
What else would you like attendees to consider before attending your TrustLive at PastForward.
Observances of the anniversary of Jamestown are an occasion to have a conversation that you think is important to your place. As so many groups will be doing this in this timeframe, we will have the support of our common knowledge that past inequality does not have to dominate our future.