The Politics of “Protecting” Community
This chapter examines the relationship that Union's history brokers have developed with Union as a Historic District—a relationship that they presume is shared by other residents as well. It discusses how the unveiling ceremony for Union's historic highway is a ritualized process in which history brokers establish history as sacred. From this perspective, the “Union community” is conceived primarily as a physical landscape that encompasses history as well as race. With the branding of Union as a Historic District, social and legal sanctions are enacted, fortifying it against potential land developers. But while history brokers act as the gatekeepers of history, descendant residents are endowed with the role of historic markers, authenticating with their presence Union's status as “historic.” This situation allows some residents to enjoy the luxury of rustic living at the edge of urban development, while confining others to an economic wasteland in the midst of prosperity.
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