Let me start with some things I thought I knew …

I’ve been standing on the end of the diving board contemplating entering the blogging pool for a while and I finally decided to jump in. Okay, maybe “decided” is the wrong word because, while they haven’t exactly pushed me in, my professors have certainly been letting me know that as a journalism major, I really belong off the board and in the pool. But before you get the idea that this blog is going to be water-related, I’ll end the analogy and introduce myself.

I am a senior at Quinnipiac University majoring in journalism, but my undergraduate studies also include an associates degree from Randolph Community College and a year at North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University. I grew up in Connecticut, in the city of Shelton, and I currently live in the town of Granby. In between, I have become a wife and mother, lived almost half my life overseas in Australia, then spent a few more years living a little less South in North Carolina where I decided to return to school as a non-traditional student hoping to play a role in what is often pointed to as a dying medium – print journalism.

What always stopped me from diving in to blogging (sorry – last one, I promise!) is not unique to me – What should I blog about? I really couldn’t decide where to start and so I have to thank one of my teachers at QU this semester, Cat Carter, who suggested history as an approach to current topics that interest me. After a little thought I decided to focus my first few posts on some basic history I thought I knew before I went back to school.

And what could be more basic than the discovery of the Americas, right? You’ve probably recited the poem, “In fourteen hundred and ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue…” Of course, you may already know that the Vikings came here long before Columbus – probably half a millennium. But apparently there is evidence of African explorers making their way to the Americas centuries before Columbus as well. Why did I not know that? The book  “They Came Before Columbus”  was originally published in 1976 and its author, anthropologist Dr. Ivan van Sertima, asserted that Africans had traveled to pre-Columbian America and exerted some influence on the culture and history. While his theories are not accepted fact, my point is that I was completely unaware of the speculation which has been in print for almost 40 years.

This wasn’t the only new thing I discovered sitting in Anwar Alston’s grammar class at NC A&T. Remember the Alamo? Maybe you misremember it if, like me, you never learned that the continuation of slavery was one of the reasons it was fought. James W. Russell, a professor of sociology at Eastern Connecticut State University, published the book “Escape from Texas” in 2012. Though this is a fictional novel, it provides an account that argues “the extension of slavery was the true underlying cause of the Texas War of Independence.”

I’ve learned some other facts about slavery in the United States that surprised me. Maybe they’ll surprise you too but you’ll have to wait for my next post to find out …

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