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“A Springboard to a Better Future”

In the wake of recent events, many are rightly calling for an open conversation about race relations in American history. The Promise Land Community Club in Charlotte, Tennessee has been hosting and encouraging that conversation for years. And their programs are getting stronger by the day.

Promise Land is hosting the Tennessee State Museum’s traveling exhibit, “Slaves and Slaveholders of Wessyngton Plantation” through August 2nd, 2015. The exhibit received a host of state and national awards last year and will tour historic sites and museums throughout the state and beyond in the coming years. Promise Land is the second site on the exhibit’s tour.

To accompany the exhibit, and delve deeper into story of enslaved African-Americans in Tennessee, Promise Land hosted Dr. Learotha Williams Jr., professor of history at Tennessee State University, to discuss the North Nashville Heritage Project as it relates to the Wessyngton Plantation exhibit with the goal of creating an opportunity for citizens to reflect on stories that define us as human beings. Serina Gilbert, board member with Promise Land, describes the project’s aim and outcome:

“The discussion was very lively as participants shared information about their ancestors as it related to past experiences of enslavement. Some brought photographs and documents to share. The opportunity to see the exhibition allowed them to compare and contrast lifestyles of slave owners and those who were enslaved and to compare the Antebellum Period and the culture as it exists today.  Based upon the discussion including the tone and interaction, the assumption is made that relationships of the participants were strengthened and mutual respect for the heritage, traditions and beliefs for each other were fostered through this experience. This opportunity for a racially integrated group to discuss American’s history of slavery and how that experience continues to cast a shadow on race relations today can serve as a springboard to a better future. In that sense we believe that the goals for this discussion were met.”

The discussion and exhibit were sponsored, in part, by Humanities Tennessee through the Partnership for Public Humanities. We look forward to continuing our support of Promise Land’s endeavors.