Confronting Difficult History
By Faye Charpentier, History Program Director
On June 11, King’s Chapel History Program staff, King’s Chapel clergy, and congregants engaged in an important conversation about the importance of confronting difficult history. This event was part of a larger conversation about the role and relevance of history to our present moment.
As we look towards current events these past few weeks, the difficult histories of both our nation and this church have weighed on many of our minds. The systemic racism, police brutality, and white supremacy in the world are all historically rooted. The study of these histories not only helps us understand how we got here, but can empower us to confront these issues head-on, and shape our anti-racism work today.
A James Baldwin quotation from “Unnamable Objects, Unspeakable Crimes,” has been frequently shared on social media lately:
The great force of history comes from the fact that we carry it within us, are unconsciously controlled by it in many ways, and history is literally present in all that we do.
Compiled by Jennifer Roesch using research by Faye Charpentier
The King’s Chapel History Program is committed to continuing to include the voices of African Americans and other historically marginalized people in their interpretation and tours. When visiting the chapel, we encourage visitors to engage with these primary sources featuring these African Americans, beyond the historic site's Black History Month programming.
This February in honor of Black History Month, the King’s Chapel History Program shared with visitors the stories of some of our 18th and 19th century African American congregants. Inside the sanctuary and on social media, visitors explored how primary sources have informed our research and made it possible to learn about historically marginalized people through church and other archival records. African Americans have been marginalized throughout history not only through their omission in history books, but also through the lack of information found in archives. Thanks to the growing effort to digitize records as well as finding materials related to African American history, we have been able to begin to learn about the various lives of African Americans at King’s Chapel.
Here are some of the people we highlighted this month who had ties to 18th and 19th century King’s Chapel:
King's Chapel History Program
Dive deeper into King's Chapel's 337 year history on the History Program blog.
In the love of truth, and the spirit of Jesus Christ, we unite for the worship of God
and the service of all.
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