Abstract

Abstract:

This memoir essay reflects on the legacy of my great-great grandfather, Claude Kitchin (1869–1923), a Democratic congressman who served in the House of Representatives from 1901–1923, and as the House majority leader for three terms, including during World War I. Recounting my childhood encounters with Kitchin’s portrait in my grandmother’s trailer and my early career as a teacher in the same North Carolina county where Kitchin disenfranchised black citizens, the essay describes the process of learning to use this shameful history as a catalyst for deepening my racial justice commitments. If we want to be part of the solution and not the continued problem of structural racism, I conclude, myself and other southern whites need to confront the horrors of our ancestral past and then consider how they endure (even within ourselves) in the present.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-1488
Print ISSN
1068-8218
Pages
pp. 156-162
Launched on MUSE
2019-09-18
Open Access
No
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