Arts and Culture Community

Beginning this week, WFPL will air “The Reckoning: Facing the Legacy of Slavery in Kentucky.” Hosted and produced by Dan Gediman, The Reckoning traces the history and lasting impact of slavery in America by looking at how the institution unfolded in Kentucky.

The series will air on 89.3 FM in three, one-hour parts at 7 p.m. on Wed. Oct. 21, Wed. Oct. 28, and Wed. Nov. 4.

Over the past several months, Louisville has emerged as what the Washington Post called “the epicenter of the national movement for racial justice.” The killing of Breonna Taylor by Louisville police set off months of nightly protests that put the city, and the state of Kentucky, into the spotlight worldwide.

The Reckoning looks at Jim Crow oppression in Kentucky, exploring many of the issues that have exploded into public consciousness throughout the country in 2020.

Kentucky stayed in the Union during the Civil War, seemingly on the right side of the battle over slavery, but the truth is far more complex. Many Kentuckians fought to hang onto slavery and the wealth their slaves provided. In the years that followed, white citizens campaigned to downplay slavery’s role in the state’s economy and culture while working to deny Black citizens a seat at the table.

As part of this story, we will meet members of two families who were deeply affected by the institution of slavery. One is a prominent white family descended from both a major slave trader and one of Kentucky’s largest slave owners, the other an African-American family who descend from two of the people enslaved by the white family. These families reflect how slavery touched nearly every person, place and institution in America, and how the country still needs to reconcile this painful past with the the impact slavery has had on the present day health, wealth and safety of African Americans.

About The Series

The producer and host of the series is Dan Gediman, who has been producing award-winning programming for public radio for over 35 years, including the NPR series “This I Believe,” the Audible documentary series “The Home Front: Life in America During World War II,” and “50 Years After 14 August,” which won the duPont-Columbia award, one of the highest honors in broadcasting.

Loretta Williams is a Peabody award-winning reporter, producer, and editor who works on stories that delve into American’s cultural divides. She is the editor for The Reckoning and brings the perspective of a descendent of those who were enslaved.

More information about The Reckoning can be found here.