This week, I’ve been concentrating on reading some key books for my research pertaining to slave history and the people who were enslaved on this farm.
In particular, I read Stewards of History by Caryl Johnston, one of the family members of the family who owns and has owned since it’s founding this farm. Johnston’s perspective is unique since she has a personal heritage and familial connection with this place, and I truly appreciated seeing her point of view on the subjects of slavery and religion in history, even when I did not completely agree with her. At points, the writing is a bit ambiguous and hard to follow, but still it was a valuable read.
I also started reading Remembering Slavery: African Americans Talk About Their Personal Experiences of Slavery and Emancipation, the collection of interviews done with people who had formally been enslaved and collected by the Federal Writer’s Project. I haven’t gotten far into the book yet, but the introduction by one of my favorite scholars Robyn D. G. Kelley opens the book with the clearest statement on this topic I have ever read: “Racial slavery has shaped virtually every aspect of our nation’s history.” So true. So true.
Finally, I’m continuing to read The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson. Such fascinating writing about another way that racial slavery shaped the very population structures of our country.
I’m learning much and also learning how to weave all of these perspectives together into a story that is true and meaningful. It’s hard but amazing work.
Have you read any books on racial history, slavery, or race relations that you would recommend to me?