Race remains a potent and divisive force in our society. Whether it is the shooting of minority people by the police, the mass incarceration of people of color, or the recent KKK rallies that have been in the news, it is clear that the scars from the United States’ histories of slavery and racial discrimination run too deep to simply be ignored. But what are the most productive ways to deal with the toxic and torturous legacies of American racism?
The book Slavery’s Descendants brings together contributors who are members of a national racial reconciliation organization called Coming to the Table, to tell their stories of dealing with America’s racial past through their experiences and their family histories. Some are descendants of slaveholders, some are descendants of the enslaved, and many are descendants of both slaveholders and the enslaved. What they all have in common is a commitment toward collective introspection, and a willingness to think critically about how the nation’s histories of oppression continue to ripple into the present, affecting us all.
About the presenters:
Dionne Ford is author of the memoir Finding Josephine, forthcoming from Putnam. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, LitHub, More, Rumpus and Ebony among other publications and won awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and the Newswomen’s Club of New York. A 2018 recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Creative Writing, she lives in New Jersey with her family.
Jill Strauss, PhD is an Assistant Professor at Borough of Manhattan Community College CUNY where she teaches conflict resolution and communications. Her research involves the arts and restorative practices, analysis of narratives of difficult or contested histories, memory, and reconciliation. Her doctorate is from Ulster University in Northern Ireland where she lived while doing her research and fieldwork and she is a Fulbright Scholar.
This program is part of the 400 Years of Inequality series and is co-sponsored by the Undoing Racism Committee of the The Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Montclair.