Growing up between the ages of pre-school to my 25th year of life in the Southeastern United States as a traditional, Upper Middle Class, White Anglo Saxon Protestant female, I personally experienced the times of interracial change from separate water fountains to Equal Opportunity Employment. It was interesting (in retrospect) to learn how those times of demonstrations and heated racial controversy were so rooted in deep emotions spanning from the time President Lincoln freed the slaves in the United States in 1865, to President Lyndon Johnson signing an amendment to the Constitution almost exactly 100 years later. Same country, same issue, different century. I suppose this was just to reiterate Lincoln's Proclaimation. Even in today's world, the cultural diversity in the Southeastern United States struggles, although it is diminishing from 200 years ago.
I had a friend once, an émigré from Germany, who chose to live in the United States because the political climate in Germany (in the late 1990's) was too divided when it came to the actions of the Neo-Nazi groups. I explained to him then my experiences in the South, and if it had taken human intelligence that long to come to terms with its mistakes, and its victories, how could he expect Germany to fully recover from its own injuries in a mere fifty years?
While the cultural state of Utah quite often becomes the focus of national curiousity and general late night humor, it is a unique and extremely relevant historical location in the western expansion of the United States.
In the area below Provo, there is still a Spanish influence from the very first European expedition into what is now Utah in the late 1700's. The central area between Provo and Utah's capitol, Salt Lake City, is dominated by the influence of the Mormon pioneers.
North of Salt Lake City, there is the historical influence not only of the Spanish and the pioneers, but shadows of the mountain men's free spirit, the wayside stop for travellers making the long journey to California, and the explosion of a transcontinental railroad. Northern Utah is especially unique in the diversity of its cultural growth, and I think sometimes people so embroiled in their future visions of community redevelopment have forgotten that.
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