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Cousins: Connected through slavery, a Black woman and a White woman discover their past-and each other

Cousins: Connected through slavery, a Black woman and a White woman discover their past-and each other

by Betty Kilby Baldwin, Phoebe Kilby


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What happens when a White woman, Phoebe, contacts a Black woman, Betty, saying she suspects they are connected through slavery? First surprise? Betty responds, “Hello, Cousin.” Betty had fought for an education and won. She broke through the concrete ceiling in the workplace and succeeded. A documentary of her life was about to debut. Without thinking, she invites Phoebe to a family dinner and the premiere of the documentary. Second surprise? She forgot to tell her family who was coming to dinner. Betty finds an activist partner in Phoebe. Cousins indeed, they commit to a path of reconciliation. In alternating chapters, each tells her dramatic story—from Betty’s experience as one of the first Black children to attend her desegregated school, to Phoebe’s eventual question to Betty: “How do I begin to repair the harms?” Piercingly honest. Includes a working reparations project which the two women conceived together.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781947597426
Publisher: Walnut Street Books
Publication date: 04/20/2021
Pages: 225
Sales rank: 65,009
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Betty Kilby Baldwin entered and graduated from Warren County (VA) High School after suing based on the landmark Brown Supreme Court decision. She started employment as a factory worker, eventually achieving executive management positions. Phoebe Kilby, a descendant of enslavers, was inspired by the “Coming to the Table” movement to connect with descendants of persons her family enslaved. She is trained in environmental management and in conflict transformation.

Table of Contents

1 Two Women…Two Vastly Different Lives Betty Phoebe 3

2 A Child's Point of View Betty 9

3 War is Not the Answer Phoebe 17

4 Soldiers Without Uniforms Betty 29

5 Family Secrets Phoebe 55

6 Hello, Cousin! Betty Phoebe 69

7 Dinner and a Movie Betty Phoebe 78

8 Love, War, and Peace Betty 89

9 Aunt Lucia and Cousin Tim Phoebe 101

10 The Forever Fight Betty Phoebe 115

11 Sojourner Truth in Kalamazoo Betty 134

12 Communing with the Ancestors Phoebe 142

13 Coming to the Table Betty Phoebe 152

14 I Am Free! Betty 169

15 Complicity in the Oppression Phoebe 177

16 Together on the Road Betty Phoebe 192

17 Q&A with Betty and Phoebe 205

18 Repairing the Harms Betty Phoebe 221

Readings and Sources 238

Acknowledgments 242

Also From Walnut Street Books 243

About the Authors 244

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