by J. Porter Durham, Jr., General Counsel and Chief Operating Officer, Global Endowment Management, LP
J. Porter Durham, Jr. grew up in the segregated South during a time when public Ku Klux Klan sightings were not uncommon. In this video, Durham describes how a history class at Duke University taught by Lawrence Goodwyn upended his worldview. Professor Goodwyn’s book, The Populist Moment: A Short History of the Agrarian Revolt in America
, transfigured Durham’s understanding of his local and familial history. For the first time, he was “forced to think anew.”
Growing up in the mid-1960s as a white girl in Tuskegee, Alabama, Mab Segrest attended a segregated private school that her parents had helped found in response to a court order years earlier to integrate public high schools. In the shadows of governor George Wallace’s racist violence, history had “come to [her] front door.” Seeking a better understanding of the U.S. South, she found William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury
in the local library. Perplexed by the interior monologue of its opening pages, she forged ahead in…
by Ken Burns, documentary filmmaker
In this video submission, Ken Burns recounts how formative experiences, both deeply personal and as a young person growing up in the midst of the Civil Rights era, have shaped his perspective on American history and have informed nearly all his documentary projects.
Trying to make sense of his own individual story within the nation’s collective reckoning with race, Burns reflects on how “we human beings seek always to find some frame to understand things.” The humanities, he continues, facilitate our finding “some meaning in it all…