Mon 23 Jun, 2008
Tags: Elly Hale, Media coverage, Seattle
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer has an article this evening, “A Family Confronts Its Slave-Trading Past,” featuring an interview with my cousin, Elly Hale.
Elly, whose full name is Ellen DeWolfe Hale, grew up in Reno, Nevada, and now lives in Seattle, where she works for the EPA. Elly’s thoughtfulness and compassion were strong assets in our journey and during our lengthy conversations as a family. For Elly, as for all of us, this is an ongoing process, and as the reviewer, Cecelia Goodnow, observes, Elly is “still visibly moved by her struggle to reconcile the consequences of her family history.”
Of the discovery that she is descended from easterners who were deeply involved in slavery, and her need to explore the implications of that past, Elly comments that “we are connected to the past and the future in ways we don’t realize.”
The reviewer singles out the director’s “quiet, somber storytelling” which “lays bare the tangible horrors of the slave trade” and conveys to viewers the “sense of disquiet” which DeWolf descendants like Elly were feeling. She also writes that the film is “powerful” and that “it’s impossible not to be moved.”
I’ll leave this post with Elly’s thoughts on the film’s ending, since I think these comments capture both Elly’s reflective and optimistic sides:
The ending gives you a hopeful sense, and the feeling that the distance between us is of our own creation, and we can fix that. It isn’t just about us. It’s about human blindness, but it’s also about the history of our American culture.