Damaged Heritage: The Elaine Race Massacre and A Story of Reconciliation

Damaged Heritage: The Elaine Race Massacre and A Story of Reconciliation

by J. Chester Johnson

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Overview

An illuminating journey to racial reconciliation experienced by two Americans—one black and one white.

The 1919 Elaine Race Massacre, arguably the worst in our country’s history, has been widely unknown for the better part of a century, thanks to the whitewashing of history. In 2008, Johnson was asked to write the Litany of Offense and Apology for a National Day of Repentance, where the Episcopal Church formally apologized for its role in transatlantic slavery and related evils. In his research, Johnson happened upon a treatise by historian and anti-lynching advocate Ida B. Wells on the Elaine Massacre, where more than a hundred and possibly hundreds of African-American men, women, and children perished at the hands of white posses, vigilantes, and federal troops in rural Phillips County, Arkansas. Johnson would discover that his beloved grandfather had been a member of the KKK and participated in the massacre. The discovery shook him to his core. Thereafter, he met Sheila L. Walker, a descendant of African-American victims of the massacre, and she and Johnson committed themselves to reconciliation. Damaged Heritage brings to light a deliberately erased chapter in American history, and offers a blueprint for how our pluralistic society can at last acknowledge—and repudiate—our collective damaged heritage and begin a path towards true healing.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781643134673
Publisher: Pegasus Books
Publication date: 05/05/2020
Sold by: SIMON & SCHUSTER
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 244,455
File size: 8 MB

About the Author

J. Chester Johnson is a poet, essayist, and translator. He is the author of several poetry collections, as well as the retranslated Pslams for The Book of Common Prayer, which he did with W. H. Auden. He served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U. S. Treasury Department under Jimmy Carter and lives in New York City.
J. Chester Johnson, the acclaimed poet, essayist, and translator, is author of the forthcoming memoir, Damaged Heritage: The Elaine Race Massacre and A Story of Reconciliation (May 5, 2020). He is the author of several celebrated poetry collections and non-fiction work and was one of two poets (the other being W. H. Auden) on the drafting committee for the retranslated Psalms in The Book of Common Prayer. Johnson also served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U. S. Treasury Department under Jimmy Carter and lives in New York City with his wife.

Table of Contents

Introduction xv

Foreword Sheila L. Walker xxi

1 A Changing of America 1

2 The Genuinely Human 31

3 First Stories 47

4 March 15, 2014 57

5 Monticello, Arkansas 72

6 After Freedom Summer 103

7 Drew School 133

8 In Memoriam 159

9 A Reconciliation In Phillips County 180

Afterword 197

On Dedicating the Elaine Massacre Memorial 203

Acknowledgments 205

Endnotes 209

About the Author 215

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