My Thoughts On Our Excursion to Duke by Rebecca Wagner

Stepping foot on the campus of Duke University for the first time allowed me to understand why it is known as a prestigious university. The atmosphere and architecture of the gothic style buildings were breathtaking. I could never imagine a more beautiful campus. The pictures I have seen of the school do not do the university justice. Although the point of the trip was not to take a tour of Duke University I enjoyed getting a chance to walk around campus and become engulfed in its beauty.

Furthermore, the trip its self was very informative. I enjoyed getting a chance to see the exhibit of the Rubenstein Rare Book Collection that the curator was able to put together for us. The range of information and dates that the articles covered proves that discrimination of races ranged in multiple ways. The content and pictures that the documents included astonished me. I could not wrap my mind around the fact that the Klu Klux Klan was able to take a group picture in the middle of the day in 1927 with no problems. I can’t begin to think what would happen if this was to take place today. Also, the one book that really made me step back and appreciate the rare book collection was the book full of survivor’s stories that was bound by a prisoner of war’s clothing. Being able to put my hands and eyes on this book was touching. The book made everything that I had ever heard about the Holocaust become even more of a reality. It seemed that I was holding the blood, sweat, and tears of the prisoners in between my palms. The last articles that stood out the most to me throughout the exhibit were the newspapers written by W.A.R., I had a hard time believing that these newspapers were really published and distributed amongst Americans. The information that was written in the publications was awful. For example, inside they were selling “racial stickers” and CD’s with “racial songs” on them. Another thing that stood out in the papers was the statement that they approve of colored people having abortions and they push for them to have them, however it is unforgivable if someone that is “one of them” has an abortion. I could not believe the graphic language and connotations that were made within this text. However, I was glad that the newspaper was within the collection because to me that meant that the Southern Poverty Law had stopped W.A.R.’s awful work.

I applaud The Southern Poverty Law for their efforts and work that they have done thus far. The hatred in this world is disgusting and should be put to an immediate stop. I often forget that these hate groups still exist today however the exhibit showed that this is still as much a factor today that it was years ago. Duke University is fortunate to be able to house this information from The Southern Poverty Law in their collection. I am glad I was able to go on this enriching trip with our seminar group to help further my knowledge on the Holocaust and other hate groups.

-Rebecca Wagner

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