This article discusses “Sundown Towns” in the Midwest and their struggles in finding reconciliation. “These are the stories of ‘sundown towns’ – towns where, black Americans knew, they were not welcome once the sun went down. In some cases, such as Goshen, town brochures boasted of “no negro population” as recently as 1955. In others, such as Pierce City, Mo., the first African-American didn’t graduate from high school until 2003, according to a local historian.”
“Getting communities to learn and address the past is difficult, but vital, says Glisson.
‘Some real damage was done. There’s always the rush to move forward without engaging with the damage from the past. We’ve been good at that for 400 years.’
The answer is in building trust, she adds.
‘You have to get people to trust each other to have a difficult conversation. It begins with self-reflection about who we are and the values we hold. And then we begin with historical facts that we’ve inherited. And saying that nobody alive invented racism,” she says. “It’s easier to hear the truth when it’s someone you have a relationship with rather than someone you don’t.’