By Mark Auslander
What does one contested account of an enslaved girl let us know approximately our tough racial previous? half heritage, half anthropology, and half detective tale, The unintentional Slaveowner lines, from the 1850s to the current day, how assorted teams of individuals have struggled with one strong tale approximately slavery.
For over a century and a part, citizens of Oxford, Georgia (“the birthplace of Emory University”), have instructed and retold tales of the enslaved lady often called “Kitty” and her proprietor, Methodist bishop James Osgood Andrew, first president of Emory’s board of trustees. Bishop Andrew’s possession of leave out Kitty and different enslaved people caused the 1844 nice nationwide schism of the Methodist Episcopal Church, presaging the Civil warfare. for lots of neighborhood whites, Bishop Andrew was once basically “accidentally” a slaveholder, and whilst provided her freedom, Kitty willingly remained in slavery out of loyalty to her grasp. neighborhood African americans, against this, are likely to insist that leave out Kitty used to be the Bishop’s coerced lover and that she used to be denied her uncomplicated freedoms all through her life.
Mark Auslander techniques those opposing narratives as “myths,” now not as falsehoods yet as deeply significant and resonant debts that light up profound enigmas in American heritage and tradition. After contemplating the a number of, robust ways in which the Andrew-Kitty myths have formed perceptions of race in Oxford, at Emory, and between southern Methodists, Auslander units out to discover the “real” tale of Kitty and her relatives. His years-long feat of collaborative detective paintings leads to a chain of discoveries and is helping open up vital arenas for reconciliation, restorative justice, and social healing.
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