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Notes from the road, Part Two: Duke University

Posted January 12th, 2008 by

Katrina and I flew from Washington, D.C. to Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina yesterday morning. We were scheduled to be part of Duke University’s annual commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King holiday–that lasts two (or more) weeks each year. Katrina was working with her production staff long-distance to finish up the final edits to the credits on Traces of the Trade prior to the premiere at Sundance in just over a week, which made for a very busy and complicated day, and I was preparing for a reading of excerpts of Inheriting the Trade in the rare book room of The Perkins Library at Duke.

I arrived at the rare book room with our two hosts, Joy Moore from the Annie E. Casey Foundation and Mary Braxton Joseph from Duke University, around 1:30. I didn’t know what to think about a book reading event surrounded by four walls filled with ancient books in the mid-afternoon on a Friday. Would anyone show up? Indeed they did. Mary really got the word out because we had approximately 35 interested souls filling the seats, who were engaged throughout the reading and the Q&A that followed. The rare book room was a perfect location. I felt inspired and awed while surrounded by the historic treasures that lined the walls.

At 7:00 in the evening, competing with a nearby, on-campus, women’s basketball game (which the Blue Devils won over Florida State, by the way), roughly 50 people showed up for a screening of clips of the film and a long–and sometimes heated–discussion of the message of Traces of the Trade. The entire day was inspiring and enlightening.

This morning (Saturday), Katrina was interviewed at WUNC (North Carolina Public Radio) by Dick Gordon, host of “The Story.” It will air sometime prior to the premiere of Traces at Sundance and once it does (for those of you who–like me–live in places where “The Story” isn’t carried) you can listen to it online. I listened from the sound booth and am always amazed at how much I continue to learn about Katrina and her personal journey even though I’ve been so deeply immersed with her for the past seven years. I recommend you check it out once it runs. I’ll try to remember to make note of it here.

We left North Carolina grateful to those at the University (and the Casey Foundation) who convinced us to make the effort to fit this visit to Duke into our schedules. The reception was so deep and sincere that I look forward to returning. We flew out of Durham (me to New York and Katrina to Boston) in the early afternoon. I have the good fortune to spend some time with my dear cousin Elizabeth (who I first met during our international journey with Katrina to make the film), her husband Fari and their children Yunin and Adrian, while I’m here for the service at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine that will commemorate the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade.

Playing with baby Adrian (6 months old) reminds me how close babies are to grace. They left that place of grace to be born into this world and it just feels to me like they still have a close connection.

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Copyright 2012 by Thomas Norman DeWolf | Website: James DeW. Perry