All in the same fortnight, Pompeo disses a female NPR reporter and boots her off his plane, and we get the story of a photo hanging somewhere at the National Archives being intentionally altered. The world has ended. How this photo will be classified, and where it is placed, was clarified by a very well-spoken source on Facebook. Her calm, clear and expansive explanation calmed me right down and likely prevented a stroke. She wrote:
“…The altered Getty image used in a promotional display in an elevator lobby at NARA, not in the Rightfully Hers exhibition, was not part of NARA’s accessioned historical holdings, unlike the materials at issue in this post. Due to records hold times in the Federal Records Act accessioning process, agencies and departments still hold legal title and physical custody of their paper and electronic records from 2017…”
Apparently the photo in question has now been restored to its original form. But now I might have the new question of who did what, when?
Apparently the exhibit called “Rightfully Hers” is all about 100 years of us girls making a fuss. I love it!
But, what? Now no one wants to claim the errant photo or display as “part of” the exhibit. It is a lobby or anteroom separate “thing.” So all is well.
Here is the National Archives exhibit post on Facebook. My off-topic comment created a bit of a brouhaha. I wrote, “Were the facts altered? Is this a true representation of the initial art work? Alternative facts, and now an alternative archive – shame on you forever in the historical record.”
Apparently this story in Mother Jones magazine has “mistakes” of its own. Here is Mother Jones’ story of how it was discovered that the archives had altered photographs.
My piece of this story — and the heartfelt hopes I have for truth — come from when I learned The Birmingham News had not covered the news. I was too young, rather too uninformed, and not well-read, other than the Good Book, so even if TBN had told the truth, the whole truth, and all sides of the truth, I would not have known it anyway. I barely read the comics, I had issues with reading.
I learned about TBN’s failures many years later. I was freelancing in Asia in the 1980s and a story I worked on was not shown because the White House would not want it. I have written about this before and it was that story that made my career, and that I walked right away from over that “alteration” “omission” of the news, and I have starved half to death over it, at times, ever since.
As soon as I heard the story about the Archives’ “mistake,” I wondered if they might follow up and do a self-check . But in this world today, I doubt it. Although that issue should not reflect on the Archives; it is because of this climate of fear that many of us walk on eggshells, especially with our pens and our pictures.
This was my Archives, where I have researched family history for two decades (I know some have researched there much longer), and I hear they might have fibbed? Like Southern newspapers and Northern television networks. Nothing is sacred. Rumors swirl and travel at the speed of 5G. Maybe this is just the tip of the iceberg.
In this week of historic events, I read this which spoke about trust for me.
From Wikipedia about Testimony in Jewish Law
“…A valid witness in a Jewish Beit Din must be an adult (see Bar Mitzvah) free man, not a woman or a slave, and not be related to any of the other witnesses or judges. The witness must be an honest person who can be trusted not to lie…”
There are countless people I so admire for their work as researchers and writers and archivists. But we all also know history is written by the winners. Maybe this is historical “context” in action.
Our archives are the witness to our lives.
I came close to getting onto Godaddy, making a webpage for people to add their photos for the National Archives. If they don’t have accurate records of what took place that day, we can help them out with many millions of accurate photos, I bet.
Any folks are welcome to add their photos in comments for our National Archives. 🙂 For accuracy, for posterity.
Another important woman story…
Marionetta Strung-Out has been writing about events