SWelcome to our podcast series called Captivity, Betrayal, and Community. We are a group of students at Williams College who have spent this semester studying the entwined histories of liberation movements and enslavement in the US, Cuba, and Africa. Rather than doing a traditional assignment for this course, we chose to create a podcast series focusing on looking outwards and connecting with Williams alumni to get a more practical understanding of our class’s thematic focus. We chose alums who were connected to the Just Futures Mellon Grant and people involved with activism and community organizing. These alums come from a diversity of backgrounds, including professors at elite universities, teachers, writers, and more. We acknowledge the privilege and social position of being students at an elite institution like Williams where we have been socialized and taught to adhere to bourgeois and anti-liberatory values, norms, and practices. Our conversations spanned across different time frames, including the beginnings of our participants’ engagements, current works, and future aspirations. With anti-Blackness as our focus, we touched on themes of devastation, loss, radicalization, politics, and community. We seek to explore how the interplay between community, betrayal, and captivity capture the intricacies of trying to seek a just future and liberation. We acknowledge the work we are doing is in an academic, institutional, liberal zone, but the purpose of this work is to see how we can get out of these zones. How can we do work outside the academy? How can we become rebels? Do we want to be rebels? More is at stake than what can be shared and the full potential of this work has yet to be realized.
We dedicate this podcast series to Kevin Johnson who was unjustly put to death November 29th, 2022 at approximately 7:40 p.m. CST. The image for this series depicts him with his daughter and her newborn son. It was taken from the ACLU website.
Thanks to Phacelia Cramer, Isaiah Blake, Ayami Hatanaka, Dr. Ahmad Green-Hayes, Dr. Jallicia Jolly and Margaret Kimberly for agreeing to be interviewed. Coco Rhum, Trudy Fadding, Samy Castaneda, Rose Angelina Martin, Jeremy Torres, Leah Nadell, Elijah Parks, Sarah Jane O'Connor, Anaira Lopez, Kayla Swift, Micaela Foreman, and Kaon Suh conducted interviews. Jacob Posner edited the series.