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The Mourning the Creation of Racial Categories (MCRC) Project
April 6, 2019 @ 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Documentary screening and discussion opportunity with sociologist Joan Ferrante
Mourning the Creation of Racial Categories, Let Our Loss Be Heard, is inspired by the life of Margaret and Robert Garner, an enslaved couple who ran from Kentucky toward freedom in Ohio with their four children, all under six years of age. The children appeared, according to newspaper reports, as “negro,” “mulatto,” “almost- /nearly-white:, and “light enough to show a red tinge in the cheeks.” Their mother, Margaret, was described as having l /4 to 1 /3 “white blood.” Robert was described as dark complexioned. There was also a baby on the way. At least two of the children were very likely fathered by her master, Archibald Gaines.
The Let Our Loss Be Heard documentary tells the story through dance driven by commentary from choreographers, faculty mentors, the dancers and composers. The film highlights the children’s complexion and ancestry because acknowledging this allows audiences to grapple with a key idea: The 400+ year-long separation of biologically related peoples into racial categories “is at the heart of an unresolved American identity crisis. a dilemma that perpetuates ethnic and racial disunion and makes the resolution of the general race problem virtually impossible” (Carlos Fernandez). Audiences to this documentary will witnesses (vicariously) just one of the millions of stories of how family/biological relationships were severed and rearranged to comply with the categorical mandate that was, and still is (minus legal segregation) the law of the land.
This workshop is sponsored by the Sacred Conversations Group, a collaboration of the Episcopal churches of St. Philip’s and Saint Mark’s Columbus, St. John’s, Worthington, and First Unitarian Universalist of Columbus.
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