Hidden History, first podcast for The Reckoning digital project on the history and impact of slavery in Kentucky

Randolph Hollingsworth's picture

With the intricacies of the case surrounding the killing of Breonna Taylor, Louisville has caught the attention of an international community of peace and justice activists watching events unfolding in the U.S. Black Lives Matter movement. This scrutiny has influenced the creation of a new digital project focusing on the history and impact of slavery in the U.S. in particular as it manifested in Kentucky.

"The Reckoning - Facing the Legacy of Slavery in America" is a digital project developed by Loretta Williams (editor) and produced by Nancy Rosenbaum and Dan Gediman. The history and lasting impact of slavery in America is examined by looking at Kentucky as a case study. The project's website includes 

  • four hour-long specials for public radio, as well as a regular podcast series - see details in the trailer here (and information on the public radio stations can be found here). You can listen in on The Reckoning YouTube Channel. Search any podcasting player for The Reckoning: Facing the Legacy of Slavery in America or paste this RSS feed in the app: https://feed.podbean.com/reckoningradio/feed.xml
  • oral histories of former enslaved peoples, from the WPA Writer's Project in the 1930s.
  • bibliography which includes many free and accessible resources to download.
  • educator resources focusing especially on full packages of lesson plans and handouts created for elementary, middle, and high school educators - guided by Dr. Carly Mutterties, executive director of the Kentucky Council for the Social Studies, and University of Kentucky education professor, Dr. Kathy Swan.  

The first episode of The Reckoning podcast series Hidden History is now available. it features an onsite visit to Oxmoor, a former plantation in Louisville, focusing especially on the perspectives of cousins Brigitt Johnson, Russ Bowlds and Lisa Bowlds-Williams whose ancestors had been enslaved there.The podcast includes comments by the following guests: Chanelle Helm, Organizer, Black Lives Matter Louisville; Vanessa M. Holden, historian at the University of Kentucky; Ricky L. Jones, chair of Pan-African Studies at the University of Louisville; Patrick Lewis, Scholar in Residence at Filson Historical Society in Louisville; Sharon Ann Murphy, historian at Providence College in Rhode Island; and, Sadiqa Reynolds, CEO of Louisville Urban League.

See the website (or RSS feed) listed above for updates about the latest in the series.

Episode 2 of The Reckoning podcast series, "Sold Down the River," is up: https://reckoningradio.org/episode-2-sold-down-the-river/

Dan Gediman introduces the podcast with a scene in Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel Uncle Tom's Cabin when an older, enslaved man is sold from a farm in Kentucky (and later in the story, the woman in the family profiting from the human trafficking sale of Tom weeps about it - providing us today with the chorus of Kentucky's state song). Gediman tracks down the descendants of a Louisville slave trader, Stephen Chenoweth, and finds that they are not aware of their ancestors' direct connections with America's internal slave trade. The episode continues with more details about how important slavery was to building and maintaining the socio-economic power of wealthy Kentuckians. Guest experts include Vanessa M. Holden, historian at the University of Kentucky; Patrick Lewis, Scholar in Residence at Filson Historical Society in Louisville; Sharon Ann Murphy, historian at Providence College in Rhode Island; and, Joshua Rothman, historian at University of Alabama.