Book event focuses on ‘Slavery’s Descendants’

Presentation and discussion Thursday Aug. 8

Looking America’s racial past square in the eye is a newly published book, “Slavery’s Descendants, Shared Legacies of Race and Reconciliation,” which contains a collection of 25 essays from descendants of slaves and slave owners.

There will be a presentation and discussion at 11 a.m., Aug. 8 at St. Augustine’s-in-the-Woods Episcopal Church in Freeland.

Whidbey Island resident Eileen Jackson contributed a story of her own and will be speaking at the event to provide more information about the book and share her personal story of meeting family members who were both enslavers and enslaved.

“This book is really sort of a blueprint for how we might begin to address the issues that are so prevalent in our society today,” Jackson said. “It’s a very complex topic … because the emotions of the individuals aren’t necessarily the same as the political rhetoric.’”

The contributors to the book are part of the national organization, Coming to the Table, which works toward racial reconciliation. The stories speak of pain, loss and human cruelty but also of love and connection.

“Some are descendants of slaveholders, some are descendants of the enslaved, and many are descendants of both slaveholders and slaves,” the book description reads. “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.”

The book, which was edited by Dionne Ford and Jill Strauss, contains four sections, “Uncovering History,” “Making Connections,” “Working Toward Healing” and “Taking Action.”

Jackson said it’s important for people to know that the event will be a “‘safe place to talk about these very contentious issues,” she said.

The book is available at Moonraker Books in Langley.