Social Science Research Council Research AMP Mediawell

Tell the Truth and Shame the Devil: Testimony and Justice from Ferguson to the Classroom

Gaiters, Seth Emmanuel
The Wabash Center Journal on Teaching

There are these moments in which it seems time stands still. When everything seems to stop. Without closing your eyes, in your mind’s eye, the recollection is so strong that you can still imagine yourself there. Our brains are so delicate and fragile; they imprint the details of the sudden and the tragic. At a cellular level there are these microscopic body, with all of its unfathomable material, affective, and spiritual qualities, internally shares stories of tragedy and our place in it. As humans we (in)voluntarily tell our stories. We testify. We bear witness. We first tell our stories to ourselves, and we remember them, before we direct those stories and others to the world. The body remembers. Anne E. Streaty Wimberly put it so well, “Story is a powerful part of human existence…our stories are the ‘sacred texts’ of our lives.”