A View of Public History: Taking It to the Streets

When I was a little girl, my father used to take me on uncharted neighborhood adventures. “Come on, Baby Girl,” he would say, “Let’s hit the streets.” This meant that we would be heading out of the house and meandering through our neighborhood and beyond. On our way to wherever we would end up, we always stopped at the corner store down the block, where Daddy would buy a Sugar Daddy candy bar for himself and a packet of Sugar Babies – my favorites – for me. On our long walks through the Cincinnati city streets and parks, cutting through back alleys and wooded byways, my father would teach me lessons. He taught me the Greek alphabet on these adventures, for example, challenging me to recite the letters as we tramped along. “Alpha, beta, gamma, delta epsilon, zeta, eta, theta, iota, kappa, lambda . . .” I can remember chanting these letters in a child’s sing-song voice to the beat my dad had taught me, my mouth full of chocolate-caramel Sugar Babies. (My father’s affection for his Black College years and Kappa fraternity brothers proved to be the unexpected foundation of my study of the ancient Greek language later on in high school.) Continue reading