Linden Place Museum just became the first organization to confirm a “date” when my author tour for Inheriting the Trade begins in January. I’ll be doing a reading and book signing at Linden Place on Monday, January 14. I couldn’t be more pleased.
Linden Place was built in 1810 by General George DeWolf, the most famous of the third generation of DeWolf slave traders. It was built with the profits he made during one year of the illegal trade. Slave trading became a federal offense January 1, 1808. It had been illegal in Rhode Island since 1787, but the laws were rarely enforced.
There have been some in Bristol who have been concerned about Katrina Browne highlighting this shameful part of the town’s history in her film, Traces of the Trade. Neither Katrina nor I have any intention with the film or book to play “gotcha” with Linden Place or Bristol. We’ve both done our best to tell our story, through the film and the book, respectfully and honestly.
Based on the reactions from audience members at a recent screening of the film in Bristol that I read about in the Providence Journal, it appears that opinions are changing. I’m glad. A commitment to embracing the truth, learning what has brought us to the place we find ourselves in today, and honoring each other’s humanity is how we will overcome the legacy of slavery and heal from the wounds of the past.
Having Linden Place become the first venue to commit to hosting an author appearance is a powerful statement by the dedicated people responsible for this wonderful museum. I am grateful.