Dr. Kwesi Daniels | @kwesi_daniels shares his views on the power of #historicpreservation: how even the simple act of documenting a place that others feel has no value can transform how people see themselves. Documenting a place tells them, others and the world that your story has value. Your identity means something. Your history is important.

Check out his interview with me where we talk about how places like @tuskegeeuniversity are using technology like drones, QR codes, 3D printers and more to preserve history. View the video on my YouTube channel:

Dr. Kwesi Daniels is the Head of the #Architecture Department at #Tuskegee University. His professional experience ranges across various disciplines, including historic preservation, architecture, sustainability management, and urban geography. Dr. Daniels developed the historic preservation program at Tuskegee University, within the Robert R. Taylor School of Architecture and Construction Science.


🏛️ Historic preservation expert Dr. Kwesi Daniels discusses the importance of preserving cultural and historical sites, including Tuskegee University, and shares his journey and passion for the field.


– Kwesi first became exposed to preservation during his architecture studies at the Historic American Building Survey, but initially did not see himself in the field.

– His interest in preservation grew during his dissertation research on gentrification and its impact on communities of color.

– Kwesi highlights the significance of cultural preservation, bringing value and economic development to marginalized communities.

– He emphasizes the importance of engaging with emerging technologies, such as laser scanning, drones, and augmented reality, to document and preserve historic sites.

– Kwesi calls for strong leadership and community involvement in preservation efforts, emphasizing the role of local expertise and grassroots support.

3 & a Possible #HIstoricPreservation Live Chat with Dr. Kwesi Daniels, Tuskegee Univ. – YouTube


(00:00) hi good morning and welcome to another episode of three and impossible I’m Monica Rhodes and I am very happy to introduce this new video series as we know histories are often multi-layered and the name of this show is no exception so if you are a Spades player then you know when you’re predicting how many books you’re going

(00:24) to win in that hand so that’s worth a part of the possible comes in because you’re predicting uh the future uh this show also represents the essence of cultural preservation which is is just not a conversation with the past and present but it’s predictive in nature and then finally through this series I

(00:41) am looking to reconnect with my ecosystem of preservation practitioners and others it was a big ecosystem Lots going on uh and I’m using this as a way to to have a very informal casual conversations uh where I ask three and possibly four questions so without further Ado I am joined here with Dr Kwesi Daniels who is the head of the

(01:08) architecture department at Tuskegee University uh Kwesi’s professional experiences ranges across various disciplines including historic preservation architecture sustainability management and urban geography he developed the historic preservation program at Tuskegee University within the Robert R Taylor School of

(01:29) Architecture and construction science the goal of the program is to train architecture and construction science management students to handle the nuances of historic properties using technology like laser scanning scanning 3D printing drones VR virtual reality and augmented reality this preservation work has expanded the

(01:52) Contemporary resources of Tuskegee University into African-American communities in Selma Montgomery Birmingham and Tuskegee his students are currently working to preserve the Armstrong School in Macon Alabama a tuskegee’s rural School model building and a precursor to the Tuskegee Rosenwald community school program

(02:15) Dr Daniels earned a Bachelor’s of art architecture and a master’s architecture from Tuskegee University and the University of Illinois at Chicago and a master’s of Science in sustainability management from Columbia University in 2020 Dr Daniel earned his Daniels earned his PhD in urban geography from Temple

(02:35) University his doctoral research focused on the positive and negative social impact universities can have on communities and on their campuses particularly communities of color so crazy welcome to the conversation uh I want to jump right on in and ask you how did you get into the work that you’re doing and you’re leading at

(03:00) Tuskegee man I feel like that old man you know oh back in my day uh you know we you know I actually was exposed to preservation uh when I was in my uh entering my third year in architecture with the historic American Building survey and we were documenting African-American sites around North Philadelphia amazing

(03:24) amazing experience and I honestly I didn’t feel like it was a fit for me I didn’t realize how unique it was to be documenting it predominant you know only African-American sites uh but I’ll be honest I didn’t see anybody who look like me and I was like this can’t be for me so I was like well I’m gonna I want him I want to do

(03:48) architecture like that’s not what I came here to do I’m gonna do architecture at the time I thought there was a difference between the two and it really you know it wasn’t until you fast forward when I was working on my my dissertation I had done some preservation work you know previous work at Tuskegee and and in North

(04:03) Philadelphia with the Joe Frazier uh boxing gym yeah dope brother um you know but I it wasn’t until I was working on my dissertation and my goal was to try to figure out how to solve challenges around gentrification and I walked in you know with this bright idea that you know I’m about to change the

(04:26) world with this research right and I’m watching the time take away and I’m watching the neighborhood change and it it after a conversation with one of uh uh the people that I was working with one of my partners he mentioned how what types of prop spaces were disappearing and I immediately said you know

(04:46) preservation could be that solution and from there it it became uh what I felt was my calling because I said I when I first got started I didn’t I wasn’t I didn’t really push myself in this direction I was pushed in this direction at many times and it’s just that the light bulb went off uh and then being back at

(05:09) Tuskegee at the same time while this is happening we’re looking at our campus we see these buildings that have a need we have all we see all these challenges that need to be addressed and I said I need to we need to go hard on preservation and we’ve not turned turned back since I like that and Quincy I I didn’t know

(05:32) that we both got our start in preservation in Pennsylvania so I I did this preserve America program uh for the state and uh documenting African-American sites around Pennsylvania excluding Philadelphia and Pittsburgh so I was all out in the you know yeah Williamsport all of those places are doing doing the work but I think Philly

(05:58) I think Philly yeah foreign so you so you took all of that you know back to Tuskegee can you talk a little bit about uh the campus and what what you’re up to up to right now yeah so you know our campus I mean it’s a beautiful campus uh it’s a great shot of the campus you know but most of the buildings that you’re

(06:22) looking at were uh the students made the bricks and used those bricks to build them uh under the guidance of the first professionally trained African-American architects in the country starting with Robert R Taylor to Walter T Bailey to uh William Sydney Pittman Wallace Rayfield I mean you know these are these

(06:42) literally are like the who’s who of African-American architecture and the Civil Rights Movement many of these Architects played a major role in designing buildings and spaces that were eventually used during that movement yeah and so we’re looking at how not only can we preserve the campus and that Legacy but also get us linked into our

(07:03) historical Legacy of our students not only building you know well at the time we were building the buildings now we’re looking at how we preserve them uh but our students you said so the students built the buildings oh yeah yeah oh yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah so so um you know Dr Booker T Washington was

(07:25) the first principal of our campus and one of his philosophies was learning to do by doing he graduated from Hampton Institute and was given a a philosophy of educating the head the hand and heart which was really this philosophy you see in a lot of places uh you know MIT for example their education of the head and the

(07:49) hands so that that’s not unique but for Washington coming to Tuskegee he looked around and saw that I have all these I have these dilapidated buildings because he had acquired an old plantation and in the process of teaching students their lessons they were also realizing we got holes in these buildings that we need to fix

(08:13) and he’s that’s what prompted this idea of you know what rather than it be a separation between the lesson you know or the theory and the application we can combine the two one of his favorite phrases and I I reference the map behind you we’ll spend a whole lot of time talking about rivers and streams and Border

(08:37) bodies on a map or in a book what will never go to the river stream or water body that’s behind the schoolhouse and talk about all of those things and so what you see if you go back to the image of the campus what’s amazing is like we’re we’re one of the we’re the only uh college campus that’s a National Historic Landmark

(09:01) so to be in an environment where you get to preserve a National Treasure and it’s a space that’s the only one that I’m aware of that the architecture program designed it and the architecture students built it using architectural principles makes it not only very unique but I say you know a clear example of American architecture

(09:27) uh you know it’s a clear example of sustainability yeah and and so you actually when you look at those buildings they’re actually not buildings you know they’re actually a curriculum you know this is a this is a working curriculum where you can see Brick Masonry you can see tin smithing you can see um a carpentry

(09:55) uh agriculture uh uh I mean every you know the original Chapel was built by the students and they did everything from laying the electricity uh where we had one of the very first buildings in Macon County uh and I’d say Alabama to be electrified uh and it was because one of ours the first educated uh African-American electrical

(10:20) engineer came to Tuskegee in about 18 uh in about 1900 and electrified the campus and we became a power plant so for us historic preservation is aligned with that trajectory that Legacy of Education that says oh we don’t just produce things to teach you and then we disappear no we’re producing things that

(10:47) you can take out into the community in order to meet the needs of the local community and one of so this image here with us doing uh window restoration these are Community residents two or two of them are Community residents and two are students uh the the woman Miss Elizabeth said uh Miss Elizabeth Sims

(11:09) she had a what’s called a Tuskegee Rosenwald Community School and wanted to restore it and we said well the easiest the most important thing you have to do is address the windows and had no idea what we were going to be doing I contacted a window restoration expert out of Florida and when I told him Tuskegee he said you mean like we’re

(11:33) George Washington Carver went I was like yeah he said man he saved my family he saved my community from the bullweaver when I always wanted to give him give back to him in eight months he stayed with us teaching us how to restore Windows and so that turned into this amazing project that that was in 2008 you fast

(11:52) forward 10 years we’re doing it on a much grander scale and looking at the buildings on our campus to see how do we restore them how do we teach architecture through the trades so that there’s no disconnect from working with your hands and educating your head and understanding the education of the heart

(12:11) is of giving to society giving to humanity giving to the community around you which is all Booker T Washington was doing and that’s why Tuskegee was able to be a not only a trendsetter but a Trailblazer in so many many ways um so that’s that’s the fun we’re having everything man that that’s that’s you

(12:30) know pretty incredible incredible you know Tuskegee is indeed a special place I was just on with uh Joy uh superintendent Canard national park there and she was you know sharing about book T Washington The Oaks which is managed by the park service on tuskegee’s campus um and and then just talking about the

(12:55) cultural Legacy of the place and Benjamin Davis came up as one of those uh examples of the work with ROTC and we also talked about uh George Washington Carver’s impact um so it’s it’s just um it’s a it’s a place where uh uninterrupted uh you had this this beautiful mix of uh all of these fields coming in to have a focused impact on

(13:21) the Tuskegee uh the city of Tuskegee and surrounding communities and you’re continuing that Legacy um why is that why do you think that’s so so important for communities to be involved in this work for students to see preservation as as the future so as I mentioned for me working on my research and knowing the

(13:46) challenges that that African-American communities face around gentrification and all that is is there’s a uh uh there’s a migration of money back into urban areas where African-Americans have lived for about you know three to four generations uh in depressed States and so what I find with preservation is

(14:13) it provides some answers that uh for children who’ve grown up in environments where you see a building as dilapid and you believe that because it’s dilapidated your community has no value well that’s not true sometimes all it takes is a little bit of paint a little bit of you know as my mother would say a little bit of elbow

(14:35) grease you know all that all it takes is for you to get engaged and that window that you thought was broken and was a problem uh that’s actually a window that you can fix and now when you fix that window you can start to engage in Economic Development you can engage in uh growing your community making your community

(14:59) beautiful you can do the work that you not only would be proud of but everyone would be proud of and as a collective you can increase the value of your own land so you don’t need someone else to come back in and bring an influx of massive amounts of dollars you can actually bring up your own value without having someone else dictate the

(15:21) terms for how your community will be shaped um and and so I find that in our communities we have these cultural resources that are as significant as Tuskegee University that that may be your grandma’s house that’s significant to you yeah that may be where uh the the first train depot was located this may be the

(15:46) site where uh a porter you know met in order to make a decision about how they were going to uh you know do a the a labor union like there are these stories that are unique to these spaces that the only people who know it are the ones that are living there and so if we push the people out then we lose all of that cultural Rich history

(16:10) about how to survive in really amazing odds that could be used every single day and so I find that this is important because for our students who come from around the world I can actually give you something that you can take back and you can give it to your mother because your mom’s gonna say oh you’re

(16:33) an architect you know for our students oh you’re an architect you make my house you know you’re going to design my house you’re like a violin or not do skyscrapers like the only don’t want to do skyscraper that doesn’t do you any value I can give you a skill that you don’t have to you can also take to any place

(16:48) in the world and walk into an environment and and see oh okay I see you have an old building I I can I actually have something that I can give I can trade a service to you a skill to you for something else and then I can also move into a space like the Taj Mahal right you know you have there’s a value that’s there I

(17:13) understand that so I can play in all scales simultaneously and bring architecture to the table so it doesn’t just have to be about drawing it can also be about touching and understanding the tangible uh relationships between it and and the people around it uh and at the very end uh it’s it’s humanizing

(17:33) you know we come it’s a as someone trained in architecture I’ve never learned about the human side of a building I learned about my side you know my ideas about what a building should look like what I found with preservation is oh you you can’t just walk in a building and do something you know you must be introduced to it

(17:53) you know we work with civil rights sites there’s a uh one of the buildings uh the homes we were in was the Harris house in Montgomery Alabama which is on Jackson Street which is where Dr King lived when he was preaching at Dexter Avenue Memorial King memorial uh Church about the church so you walk in Dr

(18:15) Harris says you know it walks us around and says you see that spot right there you know that’s where Congressman John Lewis said when he was here and he got busted in the head and you know this is where the Freedom Riders sang you know this is speaking about Benjamin O Davis you know this is where um you know Benjamin O Davis and uh uh

(18:37) the Tuskegee Airmen this is where they would come and party and have fun up in my dad’s man cave today right uh this is where they hung out I was too I couldn’t come up there I was too young right yeah those memories memories stories narratives things that make you look at it with a different set of eyes

(18:58) and so for me uh it’s beyond just historic preservation it’s cultural preservation because it’s more than just the history it’s it’s the culture it’s the food it’s the talk it’s the conversation it’s the engagement it’s the it’s the the the practices that you you did it’s the why of how your community came together

(19:22) and and I find I’ve been able to share this with students and find connections with kids in you know from sixth grade up to you know 70 80 year old people uh because it’s something that resonates with all of us yeah and that’s the part of preservation I don’t think gets enough um credit for the work that is that it’s

(19:46) doing right like you know you read a New York Times article or you know something in the journal about how people are thinking about preservation as locking up one building in time forever or put in museum museum buying it in some way embalming it in some way uh and and not wanting anybody to touch that ever and

(20:11) it’s you know it’s interesting that the the people that are practicing in in my ecosystem this could be further from the truth and so in a lot of ways it’s like the idea of what preservation is locked in the past in the same ways that they’re thinking preservation is locking things in the past I mean the work of

(20:31) Tuskegee is a great example of you know preservationists comes in in many different uh in many different ways very different and uh it’s not about these these just about these buildings and it’s never been about those buildings so I think you made a great point with uh with with sharing that you know stories

(20:50) are a key piece to all of this it’s it what it drives uh the conversation you know whenever I used to visit uh places for work it you know yeah people want to show the building but I would spend all day talking to people about their stories somebody called in to the trust and wanted to talk about something

(21:08) they’re talking about those stories uh so uh spot on spot on so with that being said so you know now that we uh we talked about the the past the preservation uh what Tuskegee has done to uh this cultural continuity that has been Central to the work that that was before you that you’re currently leading

(21:28) what what is the future looking like what do you think the uh not only the future of Tuskegee but more more broadly um you know what what skills what conversation should we be having in the field or what are we already having that we need to amplify that we should be talking about and shifting our discussions our focus our energies uh

(21:52) our funding towards oh man uh so I’m gonna so if you think about it like like as a pyramid you know on on your base level I’d say that’s your labor that’s your trades you know that’s your hope crew uh you know that’s your realizing I have a whole body of people who have been written off whether they’ve been uh you know whether

(22:17) due to mass incarceration whether it’s due to mass unemployment uh mass under education or just Mass divestment from society because it doesn’t Vibe with me uh or just I haven’t figured out where I want to go right that that body of people have value they still bring value to the table so to me that’s one that’s

(22:42) the first layer of of investment you start to pour these skills of how to preserve buildings and spaces into them they immediately have value again and they become immediate contributors to a community that person that you said had no value the minute they preserved this house they’re not gonna break into that house

(23:09) I’m not about to break the window that I just put in right I know this house when I see a person looking at it and admiring and they talk about the quality of the work you know what for 20 years of my life people may have talked about that may have written me off and told me I’m nothing but the minute they looked

(23:28) at my work and talked about it they said wow that’s beautiful that may have been the first time I heard that term beautiful associated with me and my character right and so to me that’s so that’s like the first level of the future for where we go not only is not only just in historic reservation but as

(23:46) a society uh the the next level becomes a little higher and that’s where we look at how to engage with merging Technologies one of the Beautiful Things is starting a brand new program is that we’re not rooted in uh Dogma we’re here we like technology you tell me y’all guys you know the people are doing something with some drones we want

(24:09) some drones people are doing something with some laser scanners we want some laser scanners yeah you want something with uh uh augmented reality and AR glasses yeah we want some of that too and we are doing all of that so yeah the question I was thinking about when when we first met when I came down to Tuskegee y’all had the the park

(24:31) service down there and y’all were uh doing documentation doing some laser scanning drones I’m like okay um something like that it was yeah yeah we we I mean we like we do some gorilla laser scanning now you know like you like ride around and see a site oh pull up the equipment real quick I get this I mean

(24:57) thank you just riding around in the back just in case literally literally we got I mean if people knew what was in the car you know it may not be a good thing for some of the places we go but yeah we were in Tennessee uh students we were at the normal conference and I had a conversation with somebody uh again this

(25:25) is that this research knowing black spaces have been transformed and I said where’s the space that we need to go that most people wouldn’t even know about can you point me in that direction and we got so we went there and we go sit down and eat amazing food in Nashville it’s this uh black owned restaurant in Nashville

(25:46) and as we get outside to go get some gas I look around I noticed that the same name that was on the restaurants on the gas station across the street there’s also on the strip mall across the street I’m like whoa all three of these places they’re owned by the same black family that’s it d ude yo pull out this laser scanning

(26:06) equipment foreign you know the first time I started documenting things that was in it was in Philly um I was uh for in grad school at Penn and uh I was taking pictures of this neighborhood and someone leaned out their Windows like hey hey I was like hey how you doing like you’re working for the internet I was like

(26:40) it’s always funny because people are curious about what you’re doing right because like you you you’re doing something and it’s always a way to have a conversation so tell me how did what did people say man that’s not what you had in the truck whenever whenever we do this it what what’s that that you’re doing oh

(27:01) who are y’all what you work I mean I feel real special you know I mean you just if you’re just the architect you just walk up you stand around okay maybe I take down some notes no no no no now I’d have pulled out some equipment like we putting some stuff down and I’m like no please you know can you not walk

(27:19) over there for a second just just give me a second real quick and then I’m like oh what’s going on well there’s some lasers going around unless you oh lasers like I mean you when you launch the Drone I mean you want to see some eyes from the children up to the adults whoa like put that right you put that drone

(27:37) on the on the ground launch that thing in the air and you start taking photos people get excited yeah and the value of coming into a space that everyone may have deemed has no value and you tell them why you’re doing it I’m documenting this because you have value and I want the world to know about it I want people

(28:00) to know this place exists we we went to uh I just want to underscore the fact it’s like not only you know documentations this community has value but you have value your story is important enough for us to document that just just transforms how people are seeing themselves like your your history you your identity is valuable and it

(28:22) deserves to have this technology help us to document and preserve it yes and and when we understand that the technology that we’re bringing to the table I mean this is expensive technology yeah you know you you know you’re scraping around eighty thousand dollars sixty thousand dollars range in the trunk

(28:42) like when I pop my truck okay this is this is some expensive this is some expensive stuff you know the the spark that goes off in the students eyes right they’re standing in an environment they may have never even stood in people may have said you can’t be here yet we can be here because we can show

(29:10) you gems this place is not full of crime and degradation and dilapidation it’s called divestment it’s called lack of attention lack of focus so we can go in this space and bring some value to a place that a person may not even have known what kind of value was there and at the very least this might be the only documentation

(29:37) however if they want to preserve it we could say this is the first documentation we can take you from we document it now we’re going to build a virtual model of it now we’re going to do some stuff with an AR you give me a QR QR code and some in a cell phone man I I put I bring some people to your spot right you know you

(30:00) now need to start doing some fundraising you can do some grad schools fundraising because you now have something for people to see these are the things that I can show people I can connect with kids I have a I have a 3D printer we documented the uh Booker T Washington cabin there was a replica it was cabin documented it and I

(30:27) remember telling my kids you know do something that people want to steal like what well you know if it ain’t no value nobody want to steal it right so I go to this uh I go to this this um uh career fair and I have the laser skin I mean I have all the equipment out I have the the 3D printer there and I’m printing off a

(30:49) model I’m like I’m gonna give this to them and then like halfway through the day I look around I can’t find my my little replica of Dr Washington’s cabinet oh this little one of those those students that stole my cabin and I felt bad for a second and I said wow that must mean this real value either they took it because they wanted

(31:11) to take it or they took it because they thought I was giving it away I was giving it away so crazy this whole conversation is a call out to that students read back my cabin man you know but then I mean the things that you that we get to do and I get to spend you could not have told me that I could play with

(31:36) technology like I’m playing with right now and all of it is for the purpose of making spaces that have not received the type of attention get the attention and we can we can play with it at whatever level you’re comfortable with so if all you want is a photo we can do that if you want to walk through it as

(31:58) if it was restored you can do that if you want to get a model of what you have we can do that as well you want a QR code you can send everybody to on the internet you know yeah we work on internet you know we we could do that you know whatever you want to do you know what they somebody might be on a

(32:17) I unfortunately I missed this particular building but it was a building in Montgomery uh an organization was tearing it down and I said oh man let me get it and document it real fast the equipment had to go on the shop by the time the the day I got the equipment out the shop was a day after they tore the

(32:36) building down and I was like oh man I would have loved to I wanted to capture that right but let’s say I got there the day before they turned it down tore it down now I’ve documented this and if you you know you think about the connections I don’t put something out here the future we think about people immigrating to

(32:56) certain locations we think about the separation of being in an environment a new environment but you need to connect with an old environment people that have Alzheimer’s often they can only associate with certain places and spaces and time that bring them back to that memory what’s it look like to come in

(33:13) and document a place and now that same individual they wear VR glasses and they’re in their home with everything in the same place does that calm them down they don’t realize you know does that give yeah does that give a level of comfort to that immigrant family that may have migrated from South of the

(33:34) Border and they made and as far as they know they’re never going to return home but because we documented their home we said your home was value valuable when they needed that quote-unquote fix they just put these glasses on and they got to go back home that grandmother who came up and she’s 80 years old hasn’t

(33:51) been back to her home country in 30 years and you’ve just you’ve never seen her smile because you didn’t realize what was missing was that that that that that experience that smell that taste that touch that look of being back in in her hometown our home home and you give that and she can see the pictures of her

(34:10) family inside that home and you see her cry for the first time right I mean there’s some things we can do now and it’s in front of us we don’t have to we don’t have to spend lots of money to do it we can we can work with you wherever you are to get you where you need to be yeah yeah and and again you’re talking

(34:29) I’m like you know people underestimate the value of place attachment like knowing where we were when certain things happened knowing what that smell is like what that where that creepy board is because you probably try to come in the house late and you didn’t want to hit that Creek so your parents were here like you know all these

(34:48) memories that are just tied to place you know places not just houses you know cemeteries places of worship um I don’t think we spend enough time there uh you know kind of talking about how connected we are to place it’s a thing you want to understand how connected we are to space to to place you go back and

(35:06) look at what happened at 9 11. you know there’s a reason that the United Nations states that it’s a war crime to destroy buildings when there’s when there’s armed conflict being connected to place you want to understand what that looks like talk to someone who’s been incarcerated for 20 years and they come back to their

(35:26) neighborhood and they don’t recognize anything there’s a dissonance that happens when you’re in an environment that you know this this actually this is not how it looked I know how it looked there was a there was a grocery store on the Block over here there was a it was you know there was a a little red house over here you

(35:45) know I know the kids aren’t there anymore but I do expect to see the house maybe the paint’s gonna be faded I expect to see it even if it’s dilapidated right there’s a distance that happens when people come to an environment that used to look a certain kind of way and they weren’t around for that change

(36:03) to take place or as that change took place there are a lot of people walking around who have mental health issues I wouldn’t be surprised I’ve not looked at the research on it but I wouldn’t be surprised if some of that has to do with I mean I’m walking around spaces I don’t recognize I can’t place myself anywhere

(36:22) so if I can’t place myself in space what value do I have right [Music] preservation actually has tools that have been developed for decades for centuries that can meet so many challenges if we really just recognize that every building is an existing building after it gets put up and so if we don’t spend our time

(36:54) teaching our kids how to work with an existing building then we’re going to tear it down too fast yeah which means we’re going to lose you know we all everybody understands money because if you don’t have any in your pocket you need it you know money right so if you don’t have the money but you need the money

(37:13) well let’s look at the what you know how much is Sweat Equity what’s Social Capital look like you bring people you know we preserve the the shallow roles in world uh Community School we had people who all they could bring was orange juice some biscuits and some jelly on a on a Brisk Saturday morning

(37:36) we had kids who all they could do was lift some planks of wood we had administrators who rarely get out and work with their hands and then we had seasoned people who work with their hands all the time we were all coming together we were able to hire some people to do do the work we had res we had alums of

(38:02) the school who had not been back to the school in 30 years ride by see the school open and come inside and have a family reunion when you know these are the tangible things that I would never get this from a new building because it has no history as there are no latent smells that are inside this they’re they’re you

(38:29) know there was a teacher Miss Humphreys there’s no name plaque for Miss Humphrey’s tucked in a corner that’s been sitting there for 20 years like a a missing treasure that you just got your hands on like oh it connects memory right yeah that doesn’t exist in a new building but I promise you the memories that will stay with you

(38:54) when I was at the Rosa Parks house where she grew up you know we know the name Rosa Parks how Monumental changed the world Mrs Parks had a closet with three Nails in it how many clothes are you gonna hang yeah deposit with three nails but it’s a home my dad built for her one Outlet in that home I look in my closet now man I I assure I

(39:24) search for hangers right but she had a closet with three Nails those three nails were created a woman who transformed the world yeah those three nails gave her the strength to sit when everybody else would have stood and moved gave her the ability to say I’ll I’ll be glad I’ll gladly be the face of this

(39:53) particular movement in in human The Human Condition right right I’ll say a question we can certainly definitely talk all day about it Rosa Parks and like her long Legacy of activism including um you know her fight against sexual violence even before uh sat down on their bus advocating for women uh there’s a book called The Dark

(40:17) End of the Street that details her activism beautifully but I want to get back to this thing for we we rap I’m thinking about your pyramid so you have the trades at the bottom which you know is how we connected you know this this feeling this critical Gap because buildings are coming down very uh quickly new buildings are coming up and

(40:35) what’s getting lost are the people that know actually how to preserve these historic buildings then we talk about emerging technology on the same page there what’s at the top of the pyramid relationship as we close okay you know you gotta have you gotta have leaders and and the thing about leaders that doesn’t mean you got the

(40:54) PHD shout out to all those doctors right hey but that doesn’t mean you gotta have a PhD you know the one of my biggest leaders was Elizabeth Sims who was in that video you know sitting at a meeting and watching her have passion for how to preserve her space pouring resources and bringing resources to her

(41:14) that was the most powerful thing because she had the passion and she had the project we had the knowledge and the resources we were able to help so at the top is the leadership and and that means you know in leadership that’s that’s education that’s training that’s understanding how to talk to fundraisers

(41:35) uh how how to how to develop policy right you know policy is huge you know that that and that component all the way at the top uh that spans all levels and if you do that you’ll find that the people that you’ll bring to the table are not always the ones with the most money in in the most uh the most degrees

(41:56) uh the people that you’ll be bringing to the table are often the people at the ground who know what it is to put a nail and a wood piece of wood together and they can tell you what the this nail in that wood means to their Community uh and and all of that they’re the ones who are The Advocates who make everything

(42:15) else move okay you uh you are absolutely right uh every every every big effort that we know about nationally every every every National Park every everything you can think of started at the local level at the Grassroots level um leveraging and utilizing that local expertise to build this Groundswell of

(42:36) support the strategy you you are you you’re right at every level it’s needed and it’s going to take our field into the direction that needs to go uh at every level so as as we wrap up crazy uh that’s uh let’s let’s think about you know how would you um we talked about the future anything else as we close out

(42:58) that uh you would like to share with our audience about what Tuskegee in particular uh has has up next man I just I encourage your audience come and visit it is a mind-blowing space as I said these aren’t buildings yeah we walk inside them but how many places can we say that we’ve been and we’re standing in a curriculum

(43:26) we’re talking about an environment that they said black people could be educated the easiest way to to to to dispel that myth is to say you know while you say that look at you know look at how uh look at the building you’re in this building was was was built because we educated black people and the people

(43:47) who did the education what other black people got the knowledge and then they came back and they educated these buildings have been standing for over 130 years to be in a place where the avant-garde of of human [Music] Society have walked these grounds presidents of the United States uh uh some of the the richest men in the

(44:15) world uh some of the most engaging social changes social changers in the world they’ve literally walked that those grounds they’ve stood at that Monument they’ve been in some of these buildings and so I just say I encourage folks to come experience what Tuskegee is because it is uh it’s a space that was created for

(44:43) all of humanity and we’re doing the work to preserve it and so when you do come make sure you say you know you you bring your working gloves and your clothes because we got work for you now and uh whatever works hey we can put you to be we can put you to put you to work in some way that you can continue to

(45:03) contribute to this National Treasure this world treasure well said Kwesi Kwesi thank you for joining the conversation today as always always good to see you and catch up with you yes it is yes it is looking forward to our next time so uh thank you all for for joining the conversation today and please come back next week uh Tuesday at

(45:27) 11 o’clock for our next guest um arrivederci

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