By Mark Pazniokas in the Connecticut Mirror on October 24, 2021
Guilford’s children are capable of absorbing hard lessons about an overlooked past,” [Culliton] said.
“You read a book like ‘Disowning Slavery’ by Joanne Pope Mellish, and you read that book, and it’s not critical race theory,” Culliton said. “It is history of New England and how we forgot about slavery.”
Witness Stones has now installed 72 markers, not all in Guilford. There are more to come, each with a story of an enslaved human being who contributed to building New England.
They can be found on both sides of the Guilford Green, one by the entrance to Town Hall. They are meant to be discovered, to provoke a question, a thought of what came before, what it means today.
Witness Stones is about telling an uncomfortable truth, something done less than formally in the U.S. than other nations, Culliton said.
Canada’s treatment of its indigenous people is the subject of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Germany is forthright in confronting the Holocaust. In fact, the Witness Stones was inspired by the stolpersteine, literally “stumbling stone” in German. They commemorate the lives of Jews killed in the Holocaust on the streets where they lived and worked.
“In South Africa, there’s a lot of things that aren’t wonderful, but they tell the truth there,” said Culliton, who has traveled there. “They tell the truth about apartheid in Johannesburg. They tell the truth about slavery in Cape Town, and it’s out in the open.”
Culliton said the same can be done in the U.S.
“I never taught the kids that America was an awful place. I’m a Marine Corps veteran. My father fought in World War II. I love my country,” Culliton said. “You have issues with your family, you don’t love them less. And that’s our country — we don’t stop loving our country because it made mistakes.” Read the full article.