Beyond the Whiteness of Whiteness: Memoir of a White Mother of Black Sons
Jane Lazarre is the author of many books, including the memoirs Wet Earth and Dreams: A Narrative of Grief and Recovery and The Mother Knot, both also published by Duke University Press, and the novels Inheritance and Some Place Quite Unknown. She founded and directed the undergraduate writing program at Eugene Lang College at the New School for ten years and taught creative writing and literature there for twenty years. She has also taught at the City College of New York and Yale University.
The Richmond Museum of the Confederacy
In chapter 1 the author records the impact of a traveling exhibit on American slavery at a museum in Richmond, Virginia. The visit is part of a grant enabling faculty at the college where she teaches to expand and create curriculum about race and race history in the United States. Photographs of enslaved Americans, artifacts of instruments of torture, tapes of former slaves interviewed by workers of the Works Progress Administration in the 1930s, children’s drawings reminiscent of exhibits in Holocaust museums in Israel and the United States, posters announcing the sale of human beings as well as rewards for their capture—all contribute to a sense of shock: of learning, recognition of culture-wide denial, the horror of this foundational reality of American history, and finally the crucial importance of memory and personal action.