Last night I went to the screening of a soon-to-be released documentary called Meeting David Wilson. It’s the baby of a friend of mine, called David Wilson.
To give you some background to the film, it’s based on my African-American friend Dave Wilson tracing back his family history and finding out that the descendants of the people who enslaved his ancestors only 3 generations ago are alive and well – and that one of them is also called David Wilson!
The meeting of New York-born, African-American, great great grandson of slaves David A Wilson and Southern, great-great grandson of slave owners David B Wilson forms the basis for an insightful look at race relations in the US, and what it means to be an African- American today. A tricky subject for sure, but one which asks some pertinent questions and also gives some meaty food for thought.
One person that Dave meets on his journey into the past is a 97 year old woman, a family member of his, who still lives in the area where his family was enslaved. For such an old person, this woman is incredibly sharp and also offers some thought provoking opinions…
At one point, Dave asks what she thinks about reparations. Surprisingly, her response was that white people owe African-Americans nothing. She said that our focus should not be on what happened in the past, but what we can do now. Any anger African-Americans have should be used as fuel for present change, rather than being directed at something we can no longer do anything about. So interesting.
In the end, the African-American Wilson family (which is huge) meets with the other Wilson family and they come together for a celebration. United, if not by blood, by history. This meeting was the embodiment of Martin Luther King’s vision in which he says: “I have a dream that one day… the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood”