Remembrance in Slavery's Aftermath.
A Day of Commemoration, Reflection, and Celebration.

Sunday, February 6, 2011 in Covington and Oxford, Newton County.

On the final day of the conference, "Slavery and the University: Histories and Legacies" (hosted by Emory University) conference participants and community members will gather in Newton County, Georgia, where Emory College was founded in 1836, to reflect on the local legacies of slavery and its aftermath. In its early decades, Emory College depended in significant ways on the labor of enslaved people; many faculty were actively involved in the theological and legal defense of the peculiar institution. This history is intertwined with stories of religious faith; the great national schism in the Methodist Episcopal Church, for example, was precipitated by the slave-owning status of Methodist Bishop James Osgood Andrew, first president of the Emory Board of Trustees. Following Emancipation, freedpeople and their descendants continue to work on and around the Emory College campus in varied capacities, although they and their children were not allowed to attend Emory until the 1960s.

2011 marks the 175th anniversary of the founding of Emory College. On February 6, the conclusion of Emory’s Founders’ Week and the first Sunday of African American History Month, we will gather to reflect on this complex shared history, join in worshipful remembrance, and celebrate the achievements of the many families descended from enslaved persons who contributed to the creation and development of Emory University.

Our discussions on Sunday, February 6, will engage with an installation work by the noted African American artist Lynn Marshall-Linnemeier. Entitled, "Unraveling Miss Catherine's Cloak," this multimedia piece emerges out of the artist's collaborative work with many people from Emory and Newton County. The work's title refers to Catherine Andrew Boyd (c. 1822-1851), also known as "Miss Kitty," one of the enslaved persons owned by Bishop James Osgood Andrew. The details of Miss Kitty's life have long been discussed and contested among Oxford's white and African American families; it is our hope that in remembering Miss Kitty, whose story has long divided members of the Oxford and Emory communities, diverse voices will be united in respectful dialogue.

The art work and discussions will also reference the stories of indigenous Native American communities associated with Newton County, including the historical experiences of African Indians, many of whose ancestors were enslaved by Creek and Cherokee in the region and transported along the Trail of Tears in the 1830s.

Schedule:

11:00 a.m. Service of Worship and Remembrance. Grace United Methodist Church. Communion Sunday Service. 3145 Washington Street SW, Covington Georgia. (Sermon by Bishop Mike Watson. North Georgia Conference)

2:30 p.m. Slavery and Jim Crow at Emory and in Newton County: A Talking Circle. Residents of Newton County and members of the Emory University community, including descendants of enslaved and slave-owning families, will reflect on slavery and its legacies. Panelists will begin the conversation and audience members will be invited to ask questions and share their own reflections. [Installation in Old Church of Lynn Marshall-Linnemeier's sculptural work, "Unraveling Miss Catherine's Cloak'.”]

Participants in the talking circle include:

  • Bishop Woodie White (UMC) Candler School of Theology, Emory University
  • Anderson Wright, Oxford community & Rust Chapel United Methodist Church
  • Jim Scott (Co-chair, President's Commission on Race and Ethnicity, Emory University)
  • Oxford College alumni Callie "Pat" Smith, Horace Johnson, Avis Williams;
  • Forrest Sawyer, Jr. (President, African American Historical Society of Newton County, Georgia)
  • Valerie McKibbin (President, Oxford Historical Shrine Society)
  • Rev. Tom Johnson (President, Oxford Historical Cemetery Foundation)
  • Virgil Eady (former member, Oxford City Council)
  • Imani Lewis (Black Student Alliance, Oxford College of Emory University)

Moderators: Mark Auslander and J.P. Godfrey, Jr.

4:15 pm. Wreath Laying in Oxford city cemetery in the historic African-American section of the cemetery and at the gravesite of Catherine "Miss Kitty" Boyd.

NOTE: The talking circle in Old Church is cosponsored by the African American Historical Association of Newton County and The Oxford Historical Shrine Society, as well as the following Emory University units: the Transforming Community Project; Office of the Dean. Oxford College; Office of Religious & Spiritual Life, Oxford College. and the President's Commission on Race and Ethnicity (PCORE).

For more information on the day of reflection, please contact Mark Auslander, mausland@brandeis.edu


Remembering Slavery and Jim Crow at Emory and in Newton County:

A gathering of Commemoration, Reflection and Celebration
Old Church, Oxford, Georgia

Invocation: Rev. Hezekiah Benton, Pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church
Historical context (Mark Auslander, Brandeis University)
Welcomes by Jerry Rosebery (Mayor, Oxford) and Kim Carter (Mayor, Covington)
James Wagner, President of Emory University, Greetings/recent Board of Trustees resolution
Community response by J.P. Godfrey, Jr. (former member, Oxford City Council)
Musical selection: The MLK Interdenominational Choir of Newton County
Unveiling of art work, “Unravelling Miss Kitty’s Cloak” by artist Lynn Marshall-Linnimeier. Reading of the names of enslaved persons in antebellum Oxford
Greetings from: Dr. Earl Lewis, Provost, Emory University; Professor Leslie Harris (Transforming Community Project, Emory University); Dr. Jim Scott (Co-chair President’s Commission on Race and Ethnicity; Forrest Sawyer, Jr. (President, African American Historical Society of Newton County, Georgia); Valerie McKibbin (President, Oxford Historical Shrine Society)
Talking circle
Moderated by Mark Auslander and J.P. Godfrey, Jr.
Bishop Woodie White, United Methodist Church, Candler School of Theology, Emory University
Anderson Wright, Oxford community & Rust Chapel United Methodist Church
Virgil Eady, Oxford & Emory College alumnus
Callie “Pat” Smith, Oxford & Emory College alum
Imani Lewis, President, Oxford College Black Student Alliance
Rev. Thomas Johnson, President, Oxford Historical Cemetery Foundation
Rev. Avis Williams, Oxford College, Emory College and Candler School of Theology alumna.
Benediction, Rev. Sharma Lewis, District Secretary, Atlanta-Decatur-Oxford circuit, United Methodist Church
Musical selection: The MLK Interdenominational Choir of Newton County
4:00 p.m. The gathering adjourns to the Oxford city cemetery (three blocks north, two blocks east of Old Church)
4:15. Wreath laid at the grave of Miss Kitty (Catherine Andrew Boyd) Words of remembrance by Rev. Avis Williams. Musical selection by Voices of Praise Gospel Choir, Oxford College
4:30 Flowers laid at the African American cemetery historic marker. Words of remembrance by Oxford College Chaplain Rev. Lyn Pace, Musical selection by Voices of Praise Gospel Choir, Oxford College
4:45 Shuttle bus returns to Emory Conference Center