Barbara Weinstein, president of the American Historical Association, kicked off last night’s “Opening of the 122nd Annual Meeting” by presenting Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation (see image to the right), with the fifth Theodore Roosevelt-Woodrow Wilson Public Service Award. This award is given “to honor a public figure or other civil servant who has made extraordinary contributions to the study, teaching, and public understanding of history.” Both Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson were historians who served both as presidents for the United States and as presidents of the American Historical Association.
Richard Moe has led the National Trust for Historic Preservation for the last fourteen years, strengthening it as a preservation organization in the United States and internationally. One of his most recent projects with the NTHP is the restoration of President Lincoln’s Cottage at the Soliders’ Home in Washington, D.C. It was Lincoln’s “Camp David” and its preservation offers a unique insight into Lincoln’s life. Moe remarked that history and preservation are two sides of the same coin. Explaining that “History tells you what happened and preservation tells you it happened here.”
The Plenary session, “Searching for the Sounds of the Nation: Music, Race, and National Identities in the United States and Brazil,” followed the presentation of the award and explored the topics of race and identity through the lens of music. Two of the speakers focused on musicologists, with William Ferris of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill looking at the life and work of Alan Lomax in the United States, and Carlos Sandroni of the Universidade Federal De Paraiba examining Brazilian musicologist Mario de Andrade. Ronald M. Randano of the University of Wisconsin-Madison chose to center his discussion not on one individual but rather on the idea of “authenticity” in black music. Three commentators (Jerma Jackson, Ingrid Monson, and Shane White) further delved into the topics of race and identity, offering a number of questions that could further the conversation.