The Place We Make: Breaking the Legacy of Legalized Hate

Books on Tape. Aug. 2023. 6:20 hrs. ISBN 9780593682302. $66.50. HIST
In her first book, teacher and activist Sanderson digs into the history of Oregon’s 1844–1926 racial exclusion laws—how they affected past settlers and how their legacy persists in both the demographic makeup of the predominantly white state and her own reckoning with subconscious bigotry. Sanderson’s account grows from her research on Jacob Vanderpool, the only recorded person expelled from the state for being Black. This injustice is one of many that exacted incalculable costs from Black individuals while favoring entrenched white supremacist culture. Sanderson notes that her own distant ancestor, a preacher who may have supported the laws despite abolitionist views, likely benefited from this system; these benefits extend to Sanderson herself in the present day. Sanderson serves as the primary narrator, with Chanté Griffin soberly reading the foreword she wrote. Sanderson’s narration is, for the most part, direct and articulate, but her voice breaks with emotion when speaking of her faith or exercising the self-awareness needed to face her internal racial bias.
VERDICT Sanderson’s research-supported arguments and persuasive, well-paced narration make for a compelling listen. Though the audio may be of special interest to those supporting racial reparations, progressive Christians, and Oregonians, this story deserves to be heard far and wide.
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