Posted by danielle

When coming into the Harry Watkins project I wasn’t sure what to expect nor what I was going to take from it. I was learning about history and theatre through Watkins and thought he was comical as well as knowledgable. I only expected Watkins to talk about theatre in his journal entries but he also talked about historical events such as slavery and the unfair treatment. Watkins gave me a deeper insight on his current events that are now our history which helped me in a history class that I was taking when I first came into this project.

During the mid 1800s when Watkins traveled to different places in the United States exploring theatre, slavery and riots were occurring. Watkins mentions on the 28th of March 1846 that a “Negress” was being executed for being adulterous while a crowd gathered and watched.Watkins jumps from that brutal topic of execution back to a part he played in theatre. He isn’t one bit phased by the execution of an African American woman. This was a common event for an African American to be executed and through Watkins that fact was reaffirmed.

While being introduced to Watkins through his diary he has helped with my writing assignments in my “History of New York” course. When writing a paper on how unfair African Americans were treated throughout the U.S I thought back to the certain execution and inappropriate language that Watkins uses. He often refers to African Americans as “Niggers” without thinking twice. I was learning from the writings of Watkins about history and its context from the first person perspective which was both rewarding and fascinating. Watkins diary was intertwined with my history course, and I was able to learn more than I expected.