Monday Buzz: Honoring a Hidden Past Through Storytelling

An organization gives voice to African-American women of the Civil War era. Also: how to create a culture of active employee engagement.

Today is Emancipation Day in Washington, DC, a city holiday marking the abolition of slavery in the District. And last week, as part of their Emancipation Day commemoration, members of the Female Re-Enactors of Distinction (FREED) donned period-era dress and delivered powerful monologues about the “nameless, faceless” women of the Civil War to an audience of government employees.

FREED, an auxiliary organization of the African American Civil War Museum, is doing the vital work of telling the stories of Civil War-era black women, a group the history books often overlook. The volunteer re-enactors depict a mix of real-life historical figures such as Hallie Quinn Brown (1850-1949), a college professor who toured Europe delivering talks about the black experience, as well as crafted personas.

“African-American history is pretty much lost,” Frank Smith, founding director of the African American Civil War Museum, told the Washington Post. “For many years, the Confederacy owned the narrative … in the last 15 or so years, we’ve been trying to turn that around.”

Engaging Employees

Much has been said and written about “servant leadership,” the philosophy that being a leader requires a mindset and set of practices rooted in serving others. Ari Weinzweig, cofounder of Zingerman’s Community of Businesses and a big proponent of servant leadership, recently spoke with Association Success about how this approach pays off handsomely in better employee engagement.

Weinzweig shares five lessons on engagement, including that leaders should treat employees as they do customers. He also recommends that employees learn all aspects of the business they work in. This requires a lot of time and effort, but Weinzweig contends that the more employees know about the context and larger vision of the organization, the more they are empowered to contribute.

Other Links of Note

“Media is hard.” CNNTech reveals why GoPro’s media business fizzled out.

Do you allow your employees to use Airbnb while traveling? MeetingsNet shares why many organizations are reluctant to add home-sharing to their travel policies.

Infographic of the Day. Top Dog Social Media shares the best ways to market to different generations through social media.

Slave houses. Oak Alley Plantation, Louisiana (StevenGaertner/iStock)

Raegan Johnson

By Raegan Johnson

Raegan Johnson is a contributor to Associations Now. MORE

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