Well, it was the first consistently nice day all week, so Justin and I decided to take a day trip out to the Book Barn in Niantic, CT, and meet up with Eggie, Darian & Aivar at the beach.
We love the Book Barn all the time, but especially in Covid Times because much of the bookstore is outside. There are actually three different locations, all sort of one sprawling bookstore, and we did go to all three because different things are at different locations.
Anyway, in light of my recent study obsession, I picked up two books:
The Black American appears so far to dive into the Black experience from primary documents in the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries; Voices of Freedom focuses on ideas in the later part of the 20th century, so between the two, it looks like I have much of it covered in primary documents.
Last night, our landlord (and neighbor) loaned us a documentary about the slave trade in Rhode Island called Traces of the Trade. There were parts about the film that bothered me on a technical level, but overall I felt it was an important expository with plenty of self-awareness, even in the cringey bits. There were some great moments in it where some of the members of this family were able to finally hear themselves speak from their very specific perspective, despite all the work they were doing to undo their family legacy. It was warming, really, because you know their hearts are in the right place, but there’s just so much to undo.
It looks like The Black American touches on (and hopefully gives depth to my understanding about) the Rhode Island slave trade, so that’s why I picked it up.
Voices of Freedom is a collection of important primary references, so I thought that would be great to have, not only for myself, but as primary documents for my students.
And just to ease some of the tension, I found this book:
Our original plan was to go to the BB, then head over to the nearby Rocky Neck beach, but early this morning we could see that it was going to be crowded, so we decided to play it by ear. By 2pm there wasn’t any letting up, so we decided to wait til 4 after the beach technically closed, and meet up with Eggie, Darian & Aivar for a little afternoon dip at the Hammonsassedenntesaquatch Beach, about a half hour west of Niantic.
I had this very clever idea to wear a swirl dress that wraps in the back so I could put my swimsuit on inconspicuously in plain sight. It worked “swimmingly.”
It was nice to see our friends in the wild, though we were all tamed together. I was happy to see some other beachgoers also masked up, though pretty much everyone kept their distance, which is probably even more important than masks. It was reasonably peaceful, and I felt very relaxed and at ease when we left.
On our way home, we checked on the timeline for the free viewing of Just Mercy. We thought we read that it was expiring in 12 hours, so we made it our plan to watch it immediately. It turns out it expires in 12 days, so we could have waited, but I’m actually glad we didn’t. The movie was an uplifted bummer (my favorite next to full-scale bummer), and made think for just a moment how I would love to be research support for someone fighting for those who are lost in the prison system.