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APH 2012 Annual Conference—Turning Points

Bringing Light and Life to Dred and Harriet Scott's Personal History

Ruth Ann Hager & Lynne Jackson
Thursday, October 18, 8:30 am

Photo of Ruth Ann Hager Ruth Ann Hager
Photo of Lynne Jackson Lynne Jackson

Dred Scott and his wife Harriet sued for freedom from slavery at the Old Courthouse in St. Louis in 1846. The U.S. Supreme Court denied the Scotts their freedom in 1857, bringing the country closer to the Civil War. Since then, the Scotts' personal history has remained largely unknown or misunderstood.

In this keynote address, two St. Louis women will highlight their efforts to change that and will describe the turning points that have resulted. Ruth Ann Hager is a genealogist and reference specialist at St. Louis County Library who used local resources and oral history to research and write Dred and Harriet Scott: Their Family Story. Lynne Jackson is the Scotts' great-great-granddaughter and the founder and director of the Dred Scott Heritage Foundation. As she'll explain, the foundation's goals include reconciling Black and White American histories, with an eye toward healing the wounds of the past.

This presentation will spark awareness that by combining genealogy and personal history, we can bring new life to people from the past as well as the present.

Opportunities for Reflection: The Gift of Life Stories for Hospice Patients and Families

Suzanne Doyle
Friday, October 19, 8:30 am
Image of Suzanne Doyle Suzanne Doyle

With degrees in psychology, nursing, social sciences, and psychodynamic and family therapies, plus a doctorate in Creative Arts and Cultural Studies, Suzanne Doyle is a well-qualified founder and director of LUMINA Life Review and Legacy Program BJC Hospice, the largest hospice program in St. Louis. Her program was featured on NPR in 2011.

Since 2006, Suzanne has recruited volunteers with many backgrounds and trained them to work with patients who are nearing their final turning point in life. She will explain LUMINA and her methods for recruiting and training the volunteers to conduct life review interviews. She'll also show how she teaches them methods for shaping the patients' narratives into unique legacies, often handcrafted books. For hospice patients, the books have brought a sense of peace; for their families, they have preserved the loved ones' lives beyond death.

Suzanne will introduce volunteers from the program, and show examples of the beautiful books created through LUMINA.

Make Your Best Better: Improving Productivity One Day at a Time

Jason Womack
Saturday, October 20, 8:30 am
Image of Jason Womack Jason Womack

Working longer hours will not make up for a flawed approach to productivity and performance, insists productivity expert Jason Womack. Small business owners as well as corporate heads often run behind on deadlines, feel stressed, or struggle to maintain their focus. They can and should make their best better. In fact, even productive people can become more effective and efficient at work and in life, thus preparing themselves for successful turning points.

As a former history teacher, Jason understands the value of personal history. As the founder of The Jason Womack Company, he brings to APH his understanding of how a small business grows. As the author of Your Best Just Got Better: Work Smarter, Think Bigger, Make More, he offers a plethora of practical strategies to help people build solid and sustainable work habits. On Saturday morning, he'll adapt strategies from his book for personal historians, with the goals of helping new APHers jumpstart their businesses successfully and veterans accomplish more with less stress.

The Experiences That Shaped Us: The Story Behind the Documentary

Haliday Douglas
Sunday, October 21, 9:00 am
Image of Haliday Douglas Haliday Douglas

Humanities teacher Haliday Douglas and his then-sixth-grade students are sure to inspire personal historians with the powerful documentary they produced two years ago at City Academy in St. Louis. The Experiences That Shaped Us captured turning points toward racial justice and equality in St. Louis. As he shows clips from the video, Haliday will explain how his students prepared for and conducted interviews with twenty local leaders in the Civil Rights Movement and later edited dozens of hours of video to create this thirty-three-minute documentary that preserves the elders' experiences.

Incredibly, neither Haliday nor his students had prior training in storytelling, documenting oral history, or video editing. They simply acquired the knowledge and learned the skills they needed as they moved forward. Haliday will travel to St. Louis from Massachusetts, where he is pursuing a graduate degree at Harvard. Following his presentation, some of his former students will join him on stage for Q&A and reflections on the ways the project has changed their lives.

Photo Credits: Ruth Ann Hager photo by Dave Moore; Lynne Jackson photo by Brenda Young; Suzanne Doyle photo ©Nancy Lebbing Photography

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