The Place We Make: Breaking the Legacy of Legalized Hate
Sarah L. Sanderson (Author) Chanté Griffin (Foreword by)
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DescriptionAn incredible true story of a Black man convicted and exiled from Oregon under the Exclusion Law in 1851--and a contemporary White woman wrestling with racism, faith, and privilege after discovering she's related to two men who contributed to the exile. Summer 1851. Jacob Vanderpool was exiled from the Oregon Territory under an exclusion law that banned people of African descent from living within its borders. To this day, he remains the only person in the United States to ever have been tried, convicted, and punished solely for the "crime" of being Black. More than a century and a half later, Sarah L. Sanderson made the shocking discovery that she was related to not just one but two of the White men who played a role in Jacob's exile. This discovery started an investigative journey to consider four men involved in Jacob's case--Oregon City's founder, the case judge, Jacob's accuser, and a local pastor--and the cultural and theological fallout of the decisions they made. Along the way, Sarah took a hard look at her own tendencies, both unconscious and deliberate, to ignore the possibility of bias in her heart. Brave, compassionate, and filled with transformative realizations, this stunning work of research and reflection is an exploration into the flawed but endlessly redeemable human heart, and an invitation to the holy work of self-examination to guide you to better understand, care for, and love the people and places you call home.
August 15, 2023
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About the Author
Sarah L. Sanderson holds a master of fine arts in creative nonfiction from Seattle Pacific University, a master's in teaching from Seattle University, and a bachelor of English and philosophy from Wheaton College. For the past eight years, she and her family--including her husband, their four children, her brother, and the family's two dogs--have made their home in Oregon. These days, her pursuits include writing, speaking, teaching creative writing, learning to pray, and building a beloved community.