Jacob Freeman, GBP Student
The most important lesson learned from not only the Greater Boston Project, but from all history classes in general is to be taught from the choices and mistakes of history, to not make the same mistake twice when history repeats itself. At first I found it strange that the curriculum focused almost exclusively on the story and history of Boston chronologically, but makes students pay attention to the current situation of the city and it’s current events. But now that the year has all but come to a close, it has become obvious that this was all extremely intentional, to walk us through the epic of the new world and to understand the trials and tribulations of the times, and how they were so pivotal and crucial to the hearts and minds of the time, to learn them any other way would be to look at their situations only as a viewer, and understand and truly comprehend only a fraction of forces at play.
This focus on the current state of affairs in the big city and, more importantly, how it seems to have gotten that way is a huge contributing factor to how all of us perceive modern day current events. A raging problem throughout the course of America’s history, and a defining issue of the country is that of immigration. Even though the issue has persisted constantly, we perceive the issue much in the same way compared to decades upon decades ago. Travelers and pilgrims from other regions, especially ones of slightly different ethnic or cultural backgrounds, are seen as undesirable and immediately restrictions are placed on them and their influx into the country, as fear of the others taking over this great country from the inside is as harrowing as any terrorist action to some. But now with historical hindsight, we can dismiss these fears as unsubstantiated, nowadays there is nothing seen as more American than an Irish or European immigrant fleeing to the land of opportunity and beginning their life anew. But even with these learning opportunities and centuries of historical lessons and examples more than comparable to today, individuals continue to hold onto these purely emotional beliefs and shun immigrants and the right side of history.
One of the most remarkable traits of humans and what truly separates us from any other real form of sentient life is our ability to learn from our mistakes as individuals and a species, it is regretfully said that hindsight is 20/20, but this can only help in the future. In the past year with the raging civil war in Syria and the advance of an Islamic state in the Middle East, the issue of immigration to the first world has only multiplied. With most of the entire country being built and inhabited by immigrants and the generations of historical record of migrational benefit to America and the entire populace, one would think that new souls and cultures would be welcomed with open arms upon arrival, but history is never that clear headed. Immediately the public and media exploded with arguments and counters to acceptance of these refugees and fear of the country's goals and morals being undermined by these subversive terrorists. As it stands America has only accepted a few hundred Syrian refugees and plans to yield more have mostly been shut down by the fearful minority.
Events like this are precisely why this class focuses so heavily not only on Boston’s past and present, but how they play into each other. The ability to look at past events and see their connection to the modern day is a skill rarely exhibited in this day and age, which is why the Greater Boston Project makes sure to hammer in this analysis and connection skills so humanity doesn't get caught making the same mistakes.
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