Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Searching the dial, I heard the familiar Tarheel accent come across the radio speaking of slavery. My back tightened uncontrollably. "Great." I thought "another argument on how the Civil War wasn't about slavery." Quickly, another voice entered the discussion, an African-American voice. Soon I learned both men had the same name, David Wilson, and were related historically as the relatives of an enslaved family and the family of their owners. What followed was a considered and balanced discussion on our heavy heritage we all carry in South.
Both David Wilsons had participated in creating a unique documentary titled "Meeting David Wilson" on the still lingering effects of slavery. The black David Wilson had uncovered his roots to slavery in Rokingham and Wilkes Counties, North Carolina and had the courage to come back and confront that heritage. What he found was a man that contradicted his own stereotypes. The White David Wilson is a thoughtful, kind, and carefully considering participant in this rediscovery. His qualified love of his family and his hope for a better world come across in this video. The Black David Wilson is equally intelligent and searching as he experiences unfamiliar territory and crosses lines drawn by race all too old and ready for erasing.
This is a ice breaking documentary worth buying, seeing, and sharing. That it happened in my own back yard makes it intriguing without lessening its universal importance. Its bravery and obvious longing for a better world make it eternally appealing.