III. Race // Sedalia, Missouri

During the early summer of 2017, we visited Sedalia, Missouri, a city of 20,000 roughly halfway between Kansas City and St. Louis. Several weeks later, the NAACP issued its first-ever travel advisory for people of color in the state of Missouri. While the national news media have focused on the violence and racial tensions in places such as Ferguson and St. Louis, Sedalia is a community that for years has gone out of its way to keep a lid on racial issues. That all changed when Marge Harlan, a white, retired psychologist, caused quite a stir. But it wasn’t the black history library Harlan runs that attracted attention. Instead, it was the slave cabin she had constructed on her property that residents could no longer ignore.

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