Projects of CTTT Members
Many people connected with Coming to the Table lead projects that incorporate some or all of the pillars of the CTTT Approach and Mission, Vision & Values. Below are links to the work of several individuals and groups working to Take America Beyond the Legacy of Enslavement. What can YOU and your LOCAL GROUP do to support these efforts, or be inspired to launch your own?
Abolitionists’ Museum is a play written by Sheri Bailey. Wax figures of abolitionists are housed in a museum where the curator recently hung a Confederate flag. The flag so upsets the statues that they come to life in protest. Using actual words from speeches and writings mixed in with contemporary references, the statues passionately debate and vote on whether or not to burn the rebel flag. At the play’s conclusion, the audience is invited to share their thoughts about the play. Today we need ways for people to respectfully share their perspectives on our painful history. Abolitionists’ Museum is a good way to do that.
America’s Black Holocaust Museum is the only “virtual” (entirely online) museum of African American History. Its 2,550 exhibits consist of interpretive text, photographs, videos, original documents, and content generated by visitors from every part of the globe. ABHM’s mission is to increase the public’s awareness and understanding of the magnitude of the Black Holocaust, its ongoing impact on American society, and what we can do about it.
Bittersweet: Linked Through Slavery is a working group of bloggers who are members of Coming to the Table. This effort grew out of the CTTT Working Group called “Linked Descendants” – people who have a joint history in slavery; a pairing of a descendant of an enslaved person with a descendant of his or her slaveholder who have found each other and are in communication.
Confederates in My Closet is a website started by Ann Banks for the purpose of “reckoning with ancestors on the wrong side of history.” In a series of linked essays, she mines her family history for truths that challenge the Lost Cause narrative, the pro-Confederate ideology that fuels white supremacy. While researching her family’s slaveholding past, she connected with Karen Orozco Gutierrez. Karen’s great grandfather was enslaved by Ann’s great, great grandfather. They traveled together to Alabama to explore their shared families’ history. Read more in this story in The Smithsonian Magazine.
Entangled Lives: A Conversation Between Descendants of “Master” and Enslaved is a public history project by Pam Smith and Ann Neel. One of Pam’s enslaved ancestors had been owned by one of Ann’s ancestors. They later discovered they are “blood related” through another line. Out of their fraught historical connection they began to share their historical and personal journey with others and to encourage audience members to explore their own family histories. Pam and Ann have presented their Entangled Lives program to public audiences since 1996.
Finding Josephine is Dionne Ford’s journey to connect with her great grandmother, Josephine Burton Ford, and the rest of her family history. Her search began at age 12, when she asked a simple question: “Grandpa, are you white?” Her grandfather’s answer sent her on a lifelong journey to piece together her family story and reveal a not uncommon but often untold part of American history.
Ghosts of the Masters: Descendants of Slaveholders Reckon with History. David Pettee and Susan Hutchison, two white descendants of slaveholders explored a hypothesis: was the legacy of slavery still present in the lives of their families today? Could it be present in the lives of others like them? Beginning with colleagues from Coming to the Table, over a year’s time, they interviewed more than one hundred white descendants of slaveholders. This report explores the range of their conversations, including family dynamics, silence, fear & denial, guilt & shame, ancestor worship/mythology, the Civil War, accountability (reparation/repair), connecting and healing.
Gina’s Journey is a project to create a documentary film based on the afterword of the book, Life of William Grimes the Runaway Slave (the first fugitive slave narrative in American history), written by Regina Mason. The story reveals Regina’s long path tracing historical facts back to her great, great, great grandfather and fulfilling his desire to get his story to a mass audience while creating a new story of discovery for herself.
Just Like Family is a blog about African American women who raised white children in mid- to late-century—giving voice to a history and experience not often acknowledged in this country. This cultural fusion of black and white and the intimacy it suggests has undeniably shaped the lives of many in this country in complex ways that I think need to be explored.
The Monticello Community pursues the realization of Thomas Jefferson’s aspirations for equality among all people and envisions a time when everyone with a connection to Monticello’s original community will feel equally welcome and be inspired by their historic legacy. The community works to develop ways to explore and share with other families and communities insights and approaches to finding reconciliation across racial lines. Members of the Monticello Community were among the founders of Coming to the Table.
The Slave Dwelling Project works to identify extant slave dwellings and assist property owners, government agencies and organizations to preserve them. Their goal is to bring historians, students, faculty, writers, legislators, organizations, corporations, artists and the general public together to educate, collaborate and organize resources to save these important collectibles of our American history.
The Tracing Center on Histories and Legacies of Slavery builds upon the work that began with the production of the documentary film, Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North. The mission of The Tracing Center is to create greater awareness of the vast extent of complicity in slavery and the transatlantic slave trade and to inspire acknowledgement, dialogue and active response to this history and its many legacies.
The White Ally Toolkit was developed by Dr. David Campt to teach white people how to engage in constructive dialogue with racism skeptics within their spheres of influence. David opened the 2018 National Gathering with a People’s Plenary, a fun, engaging, interactive poll to determine who was in the room, and their feelings about various race-related topics. CLICK HERE for the results.