Under the Tree, Episode # 48

48) I Have a Story to Tell

I remember when in 2003 Ruth Simmons, the first Black president of an Ivy League school, launched an investigation into Brown University’s toxic ties to slavery. That illuminating and inspiring effort began with questions: What do we know? Who is visible in history? What stories are missing or suppressed? What is owed? Harvard just released a report revealing its own links to America’s original sin—one illuminating contrast is the names of the wealthy and the powerful (Increase Mather, Governor John Winthrop) alongside the human beings they enslaved who bore a single name or no name at all:  Juba, Cesar, Venus, “The Moor.” What are their stories? What wisdom and richness is denied? Tara Betts, thinker and creator, mentor and teacher, author of  the poetry collections Arc & Hue, Break the Habit, and the forthcoming Refuse to Disappear, joins me Under the Tree for a conversation about poetry, teaching, and the need for radical repair in this urgent moment.


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