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Book/Film Discussion Group: Whose History

May 27 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

The West Linn Alliance and the West Linn Public Library are hosting our May 27th  discussion of:

 (This film is season 2, episode 4 of the series America Divided)

You can register for this event Here

Whose History explores how Tennessee, and Memphis in particular, has faced our legacies of racism and white supremacy with a focus on the taking down of confederate monuments and the recognition of lynchings. The film includes interviews with Memphis activists and organizations working to create a more just and equitable city.

The West Linn Alliance is aware of controversy related to Jussie Smollett, the narrator of Whose History? American Divided, the subject of our next film discussion. This film is not about Mr. Smollett, but rather the removal of Confederate monuments and the history of the racial terror of lynching in our country. The information and history presented in this episode are accurate, and without a doubt, we believe are worthy of discussion.

A summary of the events related to the controversy, including that the charges against Mr. Smollett were dropped, can be found in this New York Times article.

America Divided is a 12-episode documentary produced by EPIX.  Whose History? , produced in 2018, Is the 12thepisode in the series.  It doesn’t deal with the omissions of our history text books.  Rather it focuses on a narrow area around Memphis, TN, and how the oral history of lynching has been silenced while the false narrative of a glorious and wonderful confederate past  has been glorified in sacrosanct monuments.

The host conducts live interviews with residents and leaders in the area to bring a contemporary angle to the documentary.  One interviewee says he believes “truth and reconciliation are sequential.”  His premise is there can be no reconciliation until the truth is revealed and accepted.  Watch the film and decide what you think.

The film is available on the West Linn Library’s Kanopy system

Discussion Group Guidelines

Observe confidentiality.  What is said here is not to be taken outside.

Acknowledge emotions up front. There are many emotions that may come up when talking about race. It is important that people be allowed to express how they feel and for people to be okay with the discomfort.  Tolerate ambiguity because we are not here to debate rather to learn through sharing.

Participate by listening empathetically as well as sharing honestly.  Be sensitive to differences in communication styles and cultural differences

Avoid guilt and blame. We are all born and socialized into a society that we did not create. We all have a responsibility to work towards making things better for everyone. By acknowledging responsibility without guilt or blame, we can put our energies in a  productive direction.

Speak from your own experience instead of generalizing. Use “I” instead of “they,” “we,” and “you”.  We want to hear your own stories and experiences.


May 27
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
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