Beyond Boundaries, CRC to present ‘Slavery and Our Roots: A Community Dialog’
Beyond Boundaries, CRC to present ‘Slavery and Our Roots: A Community Dialog’February 09, 2009Aggie Laneaggielane@verizon.net
Beyond Boundaries and the Cultural Resources Council will present “Slavery and Our Roots” Feb. 27-March 21, a rich offering of 11 events and facilitated community discussions addressing the hidden and the distorted, helping people to together think through what keeps society from achieving social justice, both locally and globally.
This community dialogue builds on the effort of many local groups working toward healing and consciousness-raising. It also grows out of Beyond Boundaries’ mission to encourage cross-cultural understanding and self-awareness. The activities will take place at various venues in Syracuse and Fayetteville and will consist of opening and closing events that bracket three mini-series, each dedicated to an aspect of slavery. All events are open to the public and, except for the March 21 closing celebration, are free.
“Slavery and Our Roots” will open with a lecture on “Radical Black Abolitionism” Friday, Feb. 27, at 7:30 p.m. in the Reilly Room at Le Moyne College. The presenter will be Graham Hodges, professor at Colgate University, who will speak on “David Ruggles and Radical Black Abolitionism in New York.”
The first mini-series will be on the topic of “Slavery Today,” with sessions at Fayetteville Free Library:
- Monday, March 2, at 7 p.m.: This will be a discussion of Patricia McCormick’s book “Sold.” The story focuses on a Nepalese girl bought by a Calcutta brothel. The book will be on sale at the Feb. 27 opening lecture. Copies can also be purchased from the Gage Foundation.
- Monday, March 9, at 6:30 p.m.: The feature-length film “Trade” will be shown. It tells the story of a 13-year-old Mexican girl sold as a sex slave into the United States.
- Monday, March 16, at 7 p.m.: The mini-series concludes with a panel discussion on human trafficking in Central New York. This program offers an opportunity to understand the vulnerabilities that foster this predatory activity and learn how to prevent or hinder this practice.
The second mini-series, on the topic of “Northern Slavery and Racism,” will be held in the Warehouse Auditorium, 350 W. Fayette St., Syracuse:
- Wednesday, March 4, at 6 p.m.: The film “Unearthing the Slave Trade” will be shown. It documents the struggle to save the African Burial Ground exposed during the building of New York City’s Federal Building in 1991. Local activist Aduke Branch will share her involvement in the movement to honor the graves of her people.
- Wednesday, March 11, at 7 p.m.: The documentary “Traces of the Trade” will be shown. It follows present-day DeWolfe family members as they uncover the roots of their family’s wealth and status built around the triangular trade of enslaved Africans, sugar and rum. Guy Swenson, a local DeWolfe descendant, will speak.
- Wednesday, March 18, at 7 p.m.: The film “Teach Our Children” will be shown. It shows Northern inner-city poverty and oppression, culminating in the 1971 Attica prison uprising and the forceful state response. SUNY College at Oneonta history professor William Walker will lead discussion on social conditions that keep so many people of color “locked away.”
The third mini-series will be on the topic “Slavery’s Legacy,” with sessions at the Community Folk Art Center, 805 E. Genesee St., Syracuse:
- Thursday, March 5, at 6 p.m.: “Race, Class & the Creation of Power and Privilege in the 20th Century” will begin with a short film. Then computer mapping information will expose how the government and people’s attitudes created white suburbs and black ghettos. SU African American studies professor Herb Ruffin will lead the discussion.
- Thursday, March 12, at 6 p.m.: With the guidance of Le Moyne professor Douglas Egerton, audience members will explore the racist theories embedded in the Founding Fathers’ thoughts. To prepare for this discussion, audience members are encouraged to read the chapter “A Suspicion Only: Racism in the Early Republic” from Egerton’s new book “Death or Liberty: African Americans and Revolutionary America” (Oxford University Press, 2009). Members of the public can get a free copy of the chapter at the lecture or may purchase the book at the Feb. 27 opening lecture at Le Moyne. Copies of the chapter can also be found at http://www.beyondboundariescny.org.
- Thursday, March 19 at 6 p.m.: Using images from the Fenimore Art Museum exhibition “Through the Eyes of Others: African Americans and Identity in American Art,” the exhibition’s curator, Gretchen Sorin professor at the SUNY College at Oneonta, will demonstrate how art influences how people see each other. The 72-page color exhibition catalog will be sold at the Feb. 27 opening lecture and at this lecture.
The series’ closing event, “Closing: Exploring and Celebrating Who We Are,” will take place on Saturday, March 21, from 7-9 p.m. at St. Claire Theater, 1119-27 North Townsend St., Syracuse. This celebratory evening will honor African Americans in Syracuse, their life and culture. It will be historical and cultural-full of photo memories, stories, and song and dance sweetened by desserts in the Southern tradition. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under.
For more information, visit http://www.beyondboundariescny.org.