Browse Exhibits (1 total)

Community and Diversity in Guilford by William Cox


At first glance, Guilford may appear to be a homogeneous community: more than 95 percent of the population identifies as white and, driving around the town, one sees road after road of well maintained middle class houses.  The town's historical roots are obvious as Guilford has one of the largest collections of colonial-era homes in New England and several farms that have been in operation for centuries.  

A closer examination, however, reveals unexpected elements of diversity and some long lived divisions along economic, political, religious, and ethnic lines.  Generally, these differences are either embraced or subordinated to a larger sense of community. But, on occassion, these dissimilarities have generated friction that has played an important role in the life of the town.

The purpose of this exhibit is to point to literature that discusses why Guilford is known for such a strong sense of community, that recounts the experiences of different minorities in town, and that explains the sources of friction among various groups of Guilford citizens.  As of March 2018, this is still a work in progress: additional citations will be added over time, so those interested in the topic should check back periodically. 

In preparing this exhibit, I benefited greatly from the support of Dr. John Plant, the Chair of the Guilford Keeping Society Library Committee, Frances Swietlicki, a member of the board of the Guilford Keeping Society, and Joel Helander, Guilford's town historian. They were helpful in pointing out various texts that I should be reading and in providing many compelling, historical photographs related to the topics I was exploring.  Any errors in this exhibit are my own.  

-- WC, Ellicott City, Maryland, March 2, 2018