University of Washington

The legacy of slavery is not gone with the wind

The legacy of slavery is not gone with the wind

I was shuffling along a path beside the James River in the hot Southern sun, tied loosely by a rope to 17 other people while an actor dressed as an 18th century slave overseer paced beside us screaming demeaning, racist epithets. The thought crossed my mind that this was the height of white privilege: paying for the chance to experience a few minutes of slight discomfort (knowing the tour bus and lunch were just around the corner) so that I could get a hint of what slavery felt like.

Still, the experience was illuminating. I knew it was all theater, yet I kept my head down and my eyes averted to avoid the faux slave driver’s wrath. To maintain balance and keep an awkward, slow pace,...

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