July 13, 2020
As America confronts, commemorates, and questions its history – preservationists like Catherine Fleming Bruce are helping to frame those conversations and providing powerful examples of how historic places can help us in these challenging times.
Bruce is the author of an award-winning book on sustaining the sacred spaces of civil rights, human rights, and social movements and how this work can support the march towards greater social justice. With her book, “The Sustainers: Being, Building and Doing Good through Activism in the Sacred Spaces of Civil Rights, Human Rights and Social Movements,” she became the first African American winner of the annual Historic Preservation Book Prize, presented by the University of Mary Washington Center for Historic Preservation.
It’s a weighty topic – but one we must explore – and with someone who knows it well on this week’s PreserveCast.
MORE ABOUT OUR GUEST
Catherine Fleming Bruce is author of the award-winning book, ‘The Sustainers: Being, Building and Doing Good through Activism in the Sacred Spaces of Civil Rights, Human Rights and Social Movements.’ In 2017, she became the first African American winner of the annual Historic Preservation Book Prize, presented by the University of Mary Washington Center for Historic Preservation in Fredericksburg, Virginia.
An alumna of Agnes Scott College, with a dual BA in English, and Creative Writing and Art, Bruce received her Master of Arts in Mass Communication and Information Studies at the University of South Carolina, and also pursued doctoral studies there.
Bruce founded TNOVSA Global Commons, a company that supports engagement in transformational politics, global ethics and norms, and historic and cultural preservation. She led the effort to preserve the home of South Carolina civil rights activist Modjeska Monteith Simkins and is currently preserving the Cyril O. Spann Medical Office along with the Visanska Starks House and Carriage House, all in Columbia, South Carolina. She lives in Columbia, South Carolina, and has one son who serves in the US Military.
As America confronts, commemorates, and questions its history, preservationists like Catherine Bruce are helping to frame those conversations and providing powerful examples of how historic places can help us in these challenging times. Bruce is the author of an award-winning book on sustaining the sacred spaces of civil rights, human rights, and social movements and how this work can support the march towards greater social justice. It’s a weighty topic but one we must explore and with someone who knows it well on this week’s PreserveCast.
Hey, it’s Nick here. Before we begin today’s episode, I want to remind you that important conversations like this are possible thanks to listener support. PreserveCast is powered by Preservation Maryland, a nonprofit that believes in expanding the understanding and relevance of history in our lives. So please consider visiting PreserveCast.org, where you can chip in a few dollars to bring more stories like these to an even wider audience. Thanks. And now let’s get preserving.
Catherine Fleming Bruce is author of the award-winning book The Sustainers: Being, Building and Doing Good through Activism in the Sacred Spaces of Civil Rights, Human Rights, and Social Movements. In 2017, she became the first African American Winner of the Historic Preservation Book Prize, presented by the University of Mary Washington Center for Historic Preservation in Fredericksburg, Virginia. An alumna of Agnes Scott College with a dual BA in English and creative writing and art, Bruce received her master of arts in mass communication and information studies at the University of South Carolina and also pursued her doctoral studies there. Bruce founded a company which supports engagement in transformational politics, global ethics and norms and historic and cultural preservation. She has led efforts to preserve important civil rights sites and is currently preserving the Cyril O. Spann Medical Office along with the Visanska Stark’s House and Carriage House, all in Columbia, South Carolina. She lives in Columbia, South Carolina and has one son who serves in the United States Military.
This is Nick Redding. You’re listening to PreserveCast and today we are joined by Catherine Fleming Bruce, the author of The Sustainers: Being, Building and Doing Good through Activism in the Sacred Spaces of Civil Rights, Human Rights, and Social Movements. And we are so excited. It’s such a timely conversation to have about this book and even about things that have happened. The world is changing so fast even since the book was published and it’s already in its second edition and probably could be in a third or fourth by now. Catherine, it’s a pleasure to have you with us here today. So excited to talk with you. But before we jump into the book and your research and all of this, where did you grow up and what was your path to preservation? How did you get into all this?
Well, thank you so much for having me, Nicholas. I’m really pleased to be here. I am an army brat, although a bit long in the tooth to say so. But yes, I’m an army brat. So I was born in Kentucky on the military base there and we lived in several other installations in Texas and most– a good bit of the traveling time that I had was in the state of Washington. So my parents, my dad originated from New York and was relocated to South Carolina. My mother spent some time in North Carolina, relocated to South Carolina. So that was the home base, Sumter, South Carolina, and so after all of these trips which included Alaska and some parts of the Pacific or Northwest, we returned to Sumter, so that’s where most of my growing up was done. During that time, my dad was really committed to black history and would provide us books about heroes and legends, and there were a couple of other books that people tried to produce to do the best they could to capture black history. He would grab those and make sure we had got them. So we always had– and I was the bookworm in the family [laughter], so I gobbled all of this up.
So we grew up with this sense of history, sense of black history, and as I moved into Columbia, South Carolina after my education in Atlanta, Georgia at Agnes Scott College and my return, I was interested in personalities there that connected me to place, so it’s kind of easy to go from looking at historic figures to the places that they lived in, and the person that kind of started that for me was Modjeska Monteith Simkins. Modjeska was a local civil rights activist very well known in the community and someone that had done the dissertation on her life and a friend of mine from the work at the Arts Commission at the time who did video productions said, “Somebody got to do a documentary on her” and so that’s how I met Modjeska and we started talking. But I was very interested in her house and I said, “This really ought to be a preserved site, a museum,” so she’s like, “That’s for somebody else to worry about. I don’t [laughter] care about that sort of thing,” but that stuck in my mind.
After she passed in the 1990s, I assumed that something would happen with the preservation of her house and after some investigation, I found myself actually on the architect– I think it was American Institute of Architects or the people running the annual top 10 most endangered historic sites, and I was on that committee and there was, among the applications, was Modjeska Simkins house. I was like, “Oh, oh, well [laughter] I guess nobody is doing anything,” as much as I thought that would happen, so I ended up rounding some people up and we formed the non-profit and we spent the next 10 years working on saving the building and we were successful in doing that. We were able to transfer the property to Historic Columbia Foundation because they get a line item in the budget and they would be able to sustain the work, but that was my intrigue into the world of preservation.
Right. And you have this background and we gave your bio at the beginning here, but you have this really interesting background, sort of multi-disciplinary area. It’s political, it’s advocacy, it’s outreach, it’s communications. It almost seems like it was purpose-built for preservation because preservation is like the ultimate, multi-disciplinary. You’d have to be able to do everything from fixing wood windows to making the case before a politician of why it matters.
So it kind of set you up for all of this and your book, The Sustainers, which I’m mentioned now it’s in its second edition, seems like it was almost precisely written for the moment that we’re now living through. So I’m curious to kind of to start to lay the groundwork, and I hope, I mean, this is probably going to come off sounding like an extended commercial for this book, but the book is very good. I just finished reading it, and I’m a big fan.
Okay. Thank you. Thank you so much.
I think everybody should pick it up. But where did the idea for the book come from? So was it sort of this experience of you lived through it and now you’re like you want to tell more people or what precipitated the book itself?
Oh, well, what happened was I had written several drafts of– portions of the book, some for my grants, student work, and some just to go in the library to preserve, I hadn’t thought about doing an entire book. But in 2013, that came the anniversary, the 50th anniversary of 1963. And Birmingham was going to do a large series of events and the City of Columbia where I live, our mayor, Mayor Steve Benjamin, who has had multiple national roles by this point. But at that point, he was still our mayor, but he was very interested in history and civil rights. And he reached out to the mayor of Birmingham to say, “We want to join you in that emperor.” And several other cities also joined in. So it was Memphis, Jackson, Lana, a couple of other cities. So from there, I said I’ve been thinking about doing this book on the history of my own work in preservation. But I was also curious about these other stories, and I realized that often when you go so to preserve sites, that’s not the story that you hear. You hear the story of the site and the people that connect with a site, not the work under that. And I know that it had taken us a decade to get this work done.
And so I wanted to know where the other experiences were like, so I decided to do a symposium and try to find the people who had been working on those sites or who really were responsible for championing the preservation of those civil rights sites. So I wasn’t able to find some of the stories and I did restrict my story to actual preservation site, as opposed to the brand new civil rights buildings that you will see in Atlanta and some other places. I wanted to stick solely to preservation. So those that I was able to identify within those cities, we had that symposium. So it was really wonderful. I got to meet the person who was behind the preservation of the Lorraine Motel in Tennessee in Memphis. And what a moment to be able to meet such a person. So each of those stories were told within that context. And then I decided to expand that to a book, too, to keep those stories going. And so I added a few other stories to that, including the Selma to Montgomery Cheerio, the site in New York where Malcolm X was killed, the a few others, I added those in and, yeah, and also the Emanuel Nine. I talked about that building as well here in Charleston.
So, and this is the privilege of being self-published because you can just say, “Hey, wait, I want to add this” and there’s nobody saying, “No, you’ve already done enough.” You can keep going. So I did the book, and one other little note about self-publishing is that after I won the Historic Preservation Book Prize in 2016, and went up to receive that award, I was also invited to another book event in Virginia. And so we had our authors together and I had my book with me, and one of the authors was flipping through. And she was “How’d you get all these colored pictures in here? My publisher wouldn’t let me do that.” I said, “Well, I’m the publisher. That’s how come that happened.” So it made me realize what a benefit it was to do that.
Yeah, and it really goes– I mean, it goes deep into these stories. I mean, it’s fascinating and, also, I mean, just sort of maddening to understand how long it took at the Lorraine Hotel, and just I mean, the struggle to protect these sites, which is just part and parcel of the sites themselves and the stories, and not only was there a struggle for civil rights, but just even the struggle to save the sites. I mean, it’s sort of almost like repeats itself in kind of a sad way. But sustainers, so let’s talk about that. Let’s kind of play out some of these things. So the sustainers are preservationists, I guess, which I think is cool that you’ve coined a different term because I think preservationists, it conjures up a whole bunch of oftentimes bad images. Is sustainer something that you think is a– is that a better way to explain the work that people do in these communities?
Well, I thought of a sustainer as a person who has either stumbled upon or somehow encountered this place that they have become so enamored with, and committed to making sure that story stays alive, with the idea that it has something to transfer to current generations and future generations, a very particular set of stories that they want to continue, not just something in the past. So I think of the sustainer as somebody who struggles in a similar way, as the person who is trying to achieve civil rights, and I tend to think of the work as being related. The work of restoring and preserving a civil rights site is related to the work that the actual people there did, and that if those stories go fallow and uncovered, then people don’t realize that they are following the footsteps of other leaders, other people who have been working in the vineyards for justice. They think it’s something that just kind of mushroomed out of their own intelligence. And we’d encourage it; surely those things are there. But it encourages people to see themselves as part of a continuum. So the sustainer is the person doing that work of making sure that the earmarks and hallmarks and landmarks are there to tell people this story happened here is part of your current story is part of your future story. And in doing so, they are contributing to our call for justice.
Yeah, and I mean, it’s interesting that you describe– we talked about this before we even started recording. But you describe these places and you often refer to them as battlefield which I think is an interesting way of sort of reframing it in peoples minds. And you suggest though at the same time, they can inspire and they can sort of demonstrate human goodness. And so do you have an example of a site that, that speaks to you that you really feel that goodness at it?
Well, I think of the Malcolm X site, I think. The Audubon Ballroom is a good example that where the ballroom was a place for Malcolm to come during his time when he was trying to organize the Organization of [Afro-American?] Unity. And he would have these speeches in the community from that stage on a regular basis. The last speech ending in his death. So being able to preserve that site helps us to connect back to his work globally and doing global work in a localized way. Because he had already finished his tours of the African continent and this other locations. So now his global work became local, and he was enabled through opening that space for him to do that. Allowing the public to come in [to?] interact with him. And his sacrifice. So he became a martyr to that cause of trying to embrace the public in his work. So that sacrifice was certainly a public good. And that laid battle for a long time because there was a argument in the community about whether the building was worth saving. And of course, once people heard that then you had folks galvanizing, from students to community people to make sure that didn’t happen. But it was a question about whether preserving that building was a social good or if there’s something else that could be put there, there would be more beneficial jobs and whatever was going to happen with this extension of Columbia University that had been proposed.
You talk about sort of towards the end– it might even be the end of the book, but sort of this idea of the future of all these and I think we can touch on that maybe towards the end of our conversation, but is preservation the thing that you really should be doing or is there some other societal good, and, I mean, that’s kind of what you’re getting at here with Audubon, which is, is this the best thing, the highest and best use for this space and this land? And for the limited capital and capacity of communities, should they be investing in this? And I think you make a pretty good argument that this should be balanced along with the rest, but we can’t just forget about where we came from. And I think that, that does sort of beg the question too about what we’re living through right now. So with Black Lives Matter sites, which you defined in the book is sites of shooting deaths of [inaudible] African-Americans, how do they fit in to this, right? Because, I mean, as you were publishing the book, Ferguson had only happened, I guess, a few years prior, and obviously, so much more has happened even since. And I forget who it was. It might even be Will Smith or somebody who said that racism isn’t increasing. It’s just we’re taping it now. And so we’re seeing more of this now and it really is just front and center. And can these sites inspire? And what about preserving and commemorating them, where are we headed with this and where has your– maybe the research that you’ve done and the work that you’ve done looking at previous civil rights sites, how does that sort of inform what might happen with these sites?
Well, most of what I saw, with regard to the shooting victims, was murals. And you have things that happen later on, street namings and other kinds of pieces that go in, but the first thing that you see happens, of course, the stuffed animals and then things of that nature. And then the next thing we’ll go with some kind of visual expression that can remain. And you see that, you’ve seen that with George Floyd, recently we’ve seen that with Breonna Taylor. So she has a new large mural. I think it’s in Maryland, isn’t it?
It’s in Annapolis, yeah, yeah.
Yeah, yes, yes, so that has gone up. And in our state of South Carolina recently, taking from the Black Lives Matter lettering that has gone into the street there is a recent– as recent as last week, street markings that say, no room for racism with the paintings of the Friendship Nine in making up the word racism there. And the way I look at that with regard to my work is this is an effort to lift up the humanity of these individuals who were killed. With the main point being that they’re not seen as human and they’re not treated in a just way during these encounters. Concluding with their lives being ended. And so we want to present them as the human being that we knew and loved and embraced, and try to commemorate that and make that permanent in the community.
And so much of that, it seems like, has been missing, I guess. Particularly let’s say we go back to African-American history, the 19th century and slavery and historic sites that may be mentioned slavery or maybe don’t, but they’re missing the humanity. So it’s almost like in a sense, maybe we’ve learned a little bit from that, in that you go to these sites, and they’re nameless, or they just have a first name. And it’s almost like their humanity is lost to history. And so I guess in some way, if people are aware of it or not, this is sort of a reaction to that and capturing the humanity in these places.
Yeah, Quite so. And I think some of us who have been working for a long time can remember that evolution in museum and history organization where a lot of the focus was slavery antebellum so forth here in our city that was the focus for a long time. And there were only a very few people who are doing oral history interviews on civil rights leaders, and because our mythology at the time was that, oh, the civil rights didn’t happen here, it happened in Atlanta, it happened in other places. We had this nice, quiet thing where people did some behind the scenes. And we’re very proud because we didn’t fighting and protest and all that. And so naturally, that has been uncovered to be no, that’s not the case at all. We all have those parts of the history in our community, and they do speak to our humanity. So we’re now looking at the opportunity to do a more well-rounded presentation that hopefully can be taken on into our everyday interactions.
So I think one of the other interesting things that you’ve talked about, and that you mentioned in the book is that you talk about how certain sites can capture and reflect the energy of the experience. And I think that this is something, this is like a universal beyond just civil rights sites, but it means something you capture here is that sites can kind of continue to resonate that energy. And in this case, in many of us, the civil rights sites, that’s obviously a good thing, like what you’re talking about before where it’s sort of continuing on that work and sort of this sense of a shared future, but sites can also channel negative energy. Think of [inaudible] or places where something really horrendous happened. Can sites do both? Is there such a thing as a neutral historic site? Or is there sort of this balance at all sites? How do you kind of reconcile the good and the bad and historic sites?
Well, I think all of them particularly civil rights, right, any that have some kind of movement, justice challenge component to it are going to have both. That’s why it took the chain site so long to be preserved is that people want the whole thing to go away. That was the attitude is like we had this horrible thing happen in our community and we want to show people that we’re a progressive city and we have commerce and we have equal opportunity and all that. So let’s just forget all these things that happened that are so painful. So this is why to be on the auction blog for the Lorraine Motel to be rescued, it had gone down that path as well. You also have how different people in the community might view that, people who are close who the individuals, people who have their own ideas about how that history [inaudible] described and played out or if certain parts should be hidden and not discussed, and we’ve seen that with I guess the part of King’s life that he was affairs or whether or not this or that person was involved in same-sex activities. So there are lots of pieces that people may want to control, which have other forms of negativity to it. But it’s also part, all this is part of our journey as a community to finally come to grips with race. I don’t know if you can ever say finally. I think these are things that have to continue to be wrestled with, with every new generation. They don’t go away.
Because it’s for the human condition [inaudible] and we have to have new generations for people who are going to reinterpret, who are going to recommit to justice and democracy and principles of equality.
Yeah. And you have to have a place to do that. And what more fitting a place than these places where you’re going to wrestle with those? What stories do you tell? Who do you talk about? What is fair game, what isn’t? What’s too painful? What isn’t painful enough? But where else to do that but these places where it unfolded? Any I wonder, too, and I don’t remember you getting into this in the book, but I’m curious if you have a thought on this, which is the preservation community is overwhelming white, I mean at least the professional preservation community, and it’s something that the preservation community wrings their hands on and wants to change and wants to fix. Do you think that that’s, I mean I know that there’s no one answer to this, and there’s probably a lot of reasons that that’s the case, but what role do you think the fact that it’s been so hard to protect these types of sites and sites where African-Americans can see themselves in and see themselves reflected? Do you think that’s one of the biggest barriers that if we have more of these sites and there is a more full telling of history it seems to me that that could potentially bring in more African-Americans into the preservation community, which is such a critical component of the future because if the preservation community isn’t reflective and doesn’t look like the communities that it serves, then it’s not going to relevant anymore?
Right, right. I would say just on my experiences that there are always people who are trying to be preservationists. Now, I, myself, am not somebody who– my degrees are in English, scriptwriting, art, journalism, so that was my area. I studied ethics and international law and other things. So that wasn’t my professional area. But I was doing the work and I’m still doing the work. So I think part of what needs to happen is to find a way to support the people who are doing the work, even though they may not have the protection of an institution that provides us funding, either a university academic institution or a nonprofit institution, they may not have those things yet, but they’re out there. And I think as you see people in this debate with the monuments, and we actually had that debate with the Confederate Flag on the State House and that started and went up through Charlottesville and some other events. So now that argument is coming up a new with a lot more young people involved. So you do have a window to talk to people about, okay, what is going to be important, and how can we engage you in further preservation efforts?
Right. Yeah. And I think how do we shift the conversation from– and I don’t want this taken the wrong way, the monuments. I mean, that’s a whole other podcast that we could do, I guess, but I mean, taking down the monuments is one thing, but then securing funding to preserve places and tell the history that deserves to be told is another part of it. And I don’t know if we’ve moved fully into that yet. That’s sometimes is harder.
Yes, exactly. And so that’s an opportunity to bring new people in who are interested in that dialogue to say what are some things– if you wanted to rescue some things, what would they be? Even if you wanted to start with the portraits of George Floyd and Brianna Taylor, if you wanted to start with that and then move on to physical buildings, then educate people and bring them into what it takes to do that and to see who is going to respond to providing the resources that are needed to do that, and also make it something because the other challenge that we’re going to have now with preservation, and I’m sure it has been a subject is COVID. Yes. So we now are looking at, okay, how are we going to do this old preservation thing with regard to that? And so we’re going to have to develop new models of how the buildings are used safely. And hopefully, that will only last until the vaccine comes into play and then we’ll be able to move on from there. But you’ll always have to have these contingency plans for the use of the buildings within society, how they can embed a number of different projects.
Yeah. And buildings have to serve a purpose and they have to be relevant and all that good stuff. So let’s do some rapid-fire, future questions here. What places should be preserved but still aren’t? What’s on Katherine Flemming Bruce’s wishlist of if I had all the money, I could do it. I would go and preserve– fill in the blank.
Well, there’s still small number of women’s sites that are being preserved proportionately. So I would like to see more sites that talk about the role of women and the leadership of women and history and current social struggles. I would like to see that. I’m very interested in– and I’m still working on a site myself. We have a site that’s connected to one of the early black surgeons who was active during the civil rights period. And also throughout the state working with other doctors, providing that healthcare that people didn’t have access to. So I’m very interested in sites that talk about healthcare access for black and brown people and how they resolved, how they work to resolve the problem with this access and how we’re kind of up and down just like in the civil rights struggle, you see an up and down with the access to healthcare issue. Hospitals were built and most of them were closed during the ’60s and ’70s around the country as hospitals became integrated, new hospitals were built. But we still have a majority of people who don’t have access. So telling that story is of great interest to me in preserving the history that shows the segregation of the sites and how those individuals tried to create a solution to the problem. What happened to the solution and what can we learn from that today as we’re struggling with these same problems of access?
Yeah. And much like civil rights, it sort of informs our future and kind of gives us a sense for where we’re at now and perhaps how we got there and maybe in an optimistic way, how we get out of it.
Very much so.
What are the biggest barriers to this work? What do you need most? And I guess as a follow up to that, if people want to be supportive, not only of you and the things you do but things that are happening like this in their community, what should they do? So what are the barriers and what can people do?
Well, I think the biggest barrier has been allocation of funding. In my state– well, I won’t say the whole state, I’ll just say in our community of Colombia, we have one source of funding for preservation projects that comes from the county. And we have a little bit of money that comes from the state SHPO, historic preservation office. So we don’t have a lot of committed funding for the brick and mortar buildings. We also have hospitality tax funding but that money has not been allowed to be used for that purpose. So I think that’s one of the biggest problems is figuring out new sources of funding for these projects. I think most of them now are doing the tax– what is it?
Tax credits, yes. And a credit means that you have money and you spend and you [laughter] so that’s for developers. That’s clearly not for us. So what’s going to happen is, if most of the projects are being funded by developers, there’s a whole lot that’s going to be left on the cut room floor or that never gets a chance at being considered for funding. So a lot of these projects of black and brown history will not make it to the table unless there’s dedicated funding for that. So I would say that’s the biggest problem. But also how to make that a priority. Or how to make that a higher priority in the minds of funders is also a challenge. And it’s a challenge in general for the preservation community but certainly, we talked about that when I was doing [Majesta?] project, people would say, “The money that you’re raising, it could go for this or that social cause.” So we had the same discussion but everybody who steps foot in the [Majesta?] building or in the Lorraine Motel or or the Summer Montgomery Trail or in the building where Jackson Mississippi, the NAACP leader was assassinated, Medgar Evers.
So when you’re in those buildings, that’s all you need to know. That’s why they’re important. You can feel it.
So what’s next for you? Where can people find you if they want to learn more and anything that you’re writing right now?
Well, I’m mostly working on political stuff right now. We have a lot of people who are running for this year. And I think that’s one of the most important things that we can pay attention to. However, I am working on the Cyril O. Spann Medical Building project in Columbia, South Carolina. So we’re very excited about that. We just, we got a federal, just our preservation grant and we got the match from Dominion Energy. So as we speak, that assessment is happening on the building. And then we’ll have a plan for restoration of that. And we want that building to open in conjunction with the Good Samaritan-Waverly Hospital owned by Allen University. So they’re also restoring that building.
And these buildings are– and between them is a Visanska-Starks House. All three of them have markers and they’re all related in that Dr. Spann was the chief of staff for Good Samaritan-Waverly Hospital. So all three of those markers were there. Two of them were just put up last year. We’re in the process of restoring and hopefully opening those buildings next year. So that entire block will be transformed by this work that we’re doing. And we also want to point out that the Good Samaritan-Waverly Hospital is going to be named after the Emanuel nine who were killed in the Charleston shooting. Because three of those individuals are graduates of Allen University.
So we planted a tree in Dr. Spann building which we call the Tree of Peace and Resistance as a way to connect the public issue with the issue of civil rights and peace and nonviolence. So we’ll be able to continue to have those discussions. So that’s the biggest preservation project that I’m working on right now. I’d love for people to order the books since it’s been put out there. We’d like for people to use it in their discussions on why it’s important to focus on civil rights buildings, civil rights history. Hopefully, it will lead some of them to become activists in that area as well. And to teach future generations of people who could be doing this work of sustaining our buildings.
Yeah. And it’s I would agree all with that. And I like how you just sort of mentioned that you’re redoing an entire city block basically and you’re like, “Oh, just that little project. I guess I have that going on [laughter].” But so there’s that. And I would also say as someone who works in this and lives and breathes this, there is a lot to be gained from reading the book. So I would encourage people to pick it up. I think that there’s a lot of insight and it’s really a helpful read, and fun, too. Just well done. So thank you so much for this. Before we go, most difficult question for anybody who comes on, your favorite historic place or site.
Let’s see. I went to Washington DC a couple years ago and just had a little bit of time to visit a site. And I decided to visit the Library of Congress. And I really love the Library of Congress. It’s just, it’s fabulous. And so for a bookworm, whatever answer would you get that a library as a favorite place. But it did offer a number of very interesting exhibits including one on race.
It had George Washington’s books and Thomas Jefferson’s books at that time. It had something from international perspective, and just so many things that captured the imagination. And isn’t that where, that’s the scene where the Watergate journalists were at that table with the cards? Didn’t they do that in the Library of Congress?
It might have been. I don’t know. But it definitely is by far one of the most beautiful interiors in the world. I mean, it is something else.
And Baltimore Zone Carla Hayden is now the librarian of the Congress and–
–the first African-American female head of the Library of Congress, which is pretty cool. And came out of the Baltimore Public Library System.
Bringing it full circle. Almost a civil rights site [inaudible] to itself. Another glass ceiling broken. So a good way to end a fantastic conversation. This has been so much fun. We could do this probably every week because there’s so much to learn from all the work that you’ve done. And I appreciate all the good work that you’ve done and what you’ve got coming. And hopefully, we can have you back on again in the future to talk about some more success under your belt.
I’d love to. Thank you so much. This has been fun.
I love it.
Thanks for listening to PreserveCast. To dig deeper into this episode’s show, notes, and all previous episodes, visit preservecast.org. You can also find us online at Facebook and Twitter @perservecast. This program was supported by the Historic Preservation Education Foundation. PreserveCast is produced by Preservation Maryland in Baltimore City. Thanks again for your support and remember to keep preserving.