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Mission is healing in Lincoln County

Volunteers with Mission Mississippi’s local chapter hope by sharing a documentary about slavery’s impact on America, it will lead to racial healing in Lincoln County.

Rev. Anne Matthews with Lincoln County Mission Mississippi said “Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North” will be shown Sept. 25 at 5:15 p.m. at Church of the Redeemer Episcopal Church in Brookhaven. It’s free and open to the public. A question-and-answer session will follow the showing. Light refreshments will be served.

In it, filmmaker Katrina Browne discovers that her New England ancestors were the largest slave-trading family in U.S. history. She and her nine cousins retrace the Triangle Trade and gain perspectives on the black and white racial divide.

“The hope is that by bringing these things to light it will actually lead to better relations and healing,” Matthews said. “It’s not for the sake of airing your dirty laundry for the sake of airing dirty laundry. She’s really hoping for a positive result to come out of it.”

Making the documentary had a huge effect on Browne and her family. Matthews hopes Lincoln Countians will also be moved by it.

“It’s important for people to know our country’s history,” she said. “They don’t want to look at the slave trading part of our history and how our entire economy was built around slaves — not just the Southern economy but the entire U.S. economy was entirely dependent on slave labor. I think a lot of people don’t realize how much this is a part of who we are as Americans.”

Matthews said Browne is looking for “some kind of healing and reconciliation both within her family and within the larger society.”

This fits into the mission of Mission Mississippi, which is celebrating 25 years, said Lincoln County Mission Mississippi founder Phyllis Spearman of Brookhaven.

“Our mission is to encourage and demonstrate grace in the body of Christ across racial lines so that communities throughout Mississippi can see practical evidence of the gospel message,” she said.

Spearman, a retired teacher, will watch the documentary for the first time Sept. 25.

“I think it’s going to be very interesting to people, especially those interested in the history of the South,” she said. “I’m very excited about it. I’m really interested in seeing it.”

Matthews would like to see this documentary continue the organization’s efforts to unify Lincoln County.

She wants those who view it to “work toward better relationships between blacks and whites and be part of racial healing instead of just kind of trying to bury this part of our past and pretend like it didn’t happen when in fact it did.”