The Importance of Expanding America’s Hidden Historical Narratives

Oak Alley Plantation

Cordell Reaves is a Historic Preservation Program Analyst with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. In his role, Cordell strives to do preserve and illuminate the historical stories that have been overlooked and purposefully hidden from our historical narratives.

Cordell helps to develop educational programming and events that enable historical sites and destinations share their complete and inclusive stories.  

“I think people have a huge misunderstanding of the enormity of the challenges that someone faced trying to escape slavery during the colonial period”     

Cordell Reaves

Much of history has been rewritten in order to fit within someone else’s preferred narrative—one that is more comfortable to adopt. However, that whitewashed history diminishes and erases the significant contributions of enslaved and Indigenous people.

As Marcus Garvey said, “A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots”. That is why the work that Cordell does to expand historical narratives is important. Our future is dependent upon understanding and sharing our past.

  • Laura Plantation
  • Slave cabin on Laura Plantation
  • Oak walkway to Oak Alley Plantation
  • Anasazi Indian dwelling


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