A new, diverse take on slavery’s legacy

Slowly but surely, Americans are coming to grips with the painful legacy of slavery, our nation’s original sin.

I told the story of my slave-owning ancestors and their slaves in Uncle George and Me, published last year. Now comes a new anthology that includes an excerpt from my book along with similar stories from two dozen other authors.

Slavery’s Descendants: Shared Legacies of Race and Reconciliation, now available from Rutgers University Press, is a rich tapestry of stories from a wide diversity of authors – some descended from slave owners, some from slaves, and some from both enslavers and the enslaved.

The stories were gathered by Coming to the Table, a national racial reconciliation group. They are widely divergent but share a common thread. My fellow authors and I all felt compelled to confront our ugly history and, in so doing, contribute to an urgently needed national conversation about race.

The anthology’s authors hail from all over the country, North and South. Three of us from Virginia – A.B. Westrick, Karen Stewart-Ross and I – will get together for a book launch party at Chop Suey Books, 2913 W. Cary St., Richmond, on Saturday, May 18, 6:30-8:00 p.m. You may have seen the wonderful story about this Carytown institution recently in The New York Times. They’ll have our book in stock, and we’ll all be happy to sign copies.

If anyone has suggestions for similar events elsewhere, let me know. We’re anxious to get the word out about our labor of love.

The authors of “Slavery’s Descendants” are a diverse bunch — descendants of enslavers, the enslaved, and both.

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