Reading at the Crossroads

Reading at the Crossroads is an archive for columns and letters which appeared in the Terre Haute Tribune Star. I also blog here when my patience is exhausted by what I feel is irritating, irrational and/or ironic in life. --gary daily

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Location: Terre Haute, Indiana, United States

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Monday, December 01, 2014

Terre Haute's Walk of Fame

To the Editor:

Susan  Dehler’s letter of November 23, 2014, “Where are the women in Terre Haute’s Walk of Fame?”  brings important questions and concerns to mind.

No one should doubt the Walk of Fame is a kind of history. It’s a story of our community’s past told in plaques not pages. Of the now thirty-seven historical figures chosen for the Walk a total of four are women.  The seven inductees just announced are all men. (See Sue Loughlin, “Tribune-Star” story, Nov. 19, 2014.)

Permanent and impressive as symbols, the plaques embedded in the sidewalks along Wabash Avenue turn our city’s past into a story of the men of Terre Haute.  This is a mistaken understanding of history in general; it is a failure to see our city’s history whole.

Four women.  One is a saint, one was a pilot of courage, one tirelessly tread the boards of stages across the nation, and one was a much-honored educator.

These four women were too great, worked too hard and achieved too much to ever be diminished by the term “tokens.”  Unfortunately, if things don’t change with the Walk of Fame’s  committee’s thinking in regard to the fullness of what history is, this is how these great women will be seen. Tokenism is how visitors, students and  our children, especially our daughters and grand-daughters, will come to view these exceptional women as they walk down Wabash Avenue–a very limited and limiting Walk of Fame.

And what of those women without plaques, without their page in this history, who were important contributors to this city and nation?  They are dismissed, devalued and finally, forgotten. Is this what we want from our “Walk of Fame”?

Gary W. Daily

in Terre Haute Tribune Star



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