In episode 10, Drs. Brandy Liebscher and Danielle Beck talk with Allison Thomas about her passion for researching her ancestors who were enslavers dating back to the 17th century in Virginia. Allison shares her family’s legacy, with humility and emotional honesty. She also discusses how racial healing can only occur if we are willing to tell the truth and face our history as European Americans and the ongoing impact of slavery in our country.
Allison Thomas’ Bio:
Allison Thomas is a partner in Larger Than Life Productions and is currently producing for theater, film, and television. Allison produced the CG-animated movie, The Tale of Despereaux, executive produced Seabiscuit, and co-produced Pleasantville.
Allison also headed a public relations company specializing in technology start-up companies. Clients included Steve Jobs’ NeXT Computer, Pixar, and RealAudio. Prior to that, Allison worked in the public sector for President Jimmy Carter, Governor Jerry Brown, and Senator Alan Cranston.
Allison serves on the steering committee of the Southern California chapter of Coming to the Table, a national organization that provides leadership and resources for healing the wounds of racism rooted in slavery. Allison has also served on the boards of the USC School of Dramatic Arts, Oakwood School, and the California Women’s Law Center (co-chair), among others and was Los Angeles Public Library Commissioner for Mayor Richard Riordan. In 2004 The California Women’s Law Center honored Allison with their Pursuit of Justice Award.
Use of the term "enslaved people"
You may have noticed the term “enslaved people” was used in this episode rather than the word “slaves.” Here’s a brief article that speaks to the importance of using language that humanizes rather than dehumanizes others. Link here.
Resources discussed in episode 10 (click on links provided):
Coming to the Table
Additional resources Allison recommended for our listeners: