EXP@CSC course connects history with Culver-Stockton student
Thursday, December 18, 2008
CANTON, MO – The “History of Crime in America” class traveled to Chicago, Ill., as a part of the three-week EXP@CSC course. The trip included a “sobering but ultimately inspiring visit to the DuSable Museum of African American History,” according to Scott Giltner, Culver-Stockton College assistant professor of history.
The students were able to explore many different exhibits while at the DuSable Museum including an exhibit on African American farmers and lynching-inspired art. Giltner says some of the paintings were rather “chilling and thought-provoking” but, “the biggest moment at the DuSable, perhaps the biggest moment of the trip, was a quite personal run-in with history for one of the students.”
While looking at a photo exhibit on African American servicemen in World War II, Ben Burnett, C-SC junior physical education major from Troy, Mo., realized he was staring face-to-face with a photo of Commander Burnett, his relative.
“I saw the photo and it looked like the exact one that I saw about 10 years ago when I was looking through family pictures with my grandmother,” said Burnett. The photo was of the 1943 graduating class of naval sailors from Norfolk, Va. “When I glanced up at the picture, I saw the tree in the middle of the background, right above the class that was graduating from the Navy, as well as the window and doorway at the right of the picture, that’s what got the picture running through my head. I recognized the background of the picture more than the people in the picture, but I do remember the man standing in the front, the only white male, and remembering my grandmother telling me he was of some relation to the family.”
The “only white male” in the photo was Commander Burnett, either Burnett’s great uncle or grandfather’s cousin, posing with the first class of naval graduates that he took through to graduation, which happened to be an all African American class. This event led to “a long discussion on the endlessly fascinating dance between history, coincidence, and a family memory. I’m sure none of us will ever forget it, “said Giltner.
If Burnett and his family can locate the original photo, they plan on reconnecting with the DuSable Museum to share any family memories and experiences. Asked how this experience added to his trip, Burnett said, “It was a highlight for sure.”
“History is indeed everywhere and anywhere you look,” Giltner added.
OTHER FEATURED ARTICLES