Our Story

"It is to history that we owe our frames of reference, our identities, and our aspirations. And it is with great pain and terror that one begins to realize this."
-- James Baldwin

"The two have discovered history is not about the past. Race is personal. It's a kind of shared insanity."

— Tyrone Beason, Seattle Times staff reporter.

We were digging into our own family genealogies – Pam in Chicago and Ann in Tacoma – helping each other for two years. We hadn’t even met face-to-face when we discovered that we are connected on opposite sides of a 19th century slaveholding household in “Little Dixie” Missouri. After recovering from this shocking news, we decided to see if we could explore how our identities and experiences are entangled with the history of slavery and oppression in the US and still remain friends.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

“There have been times when we were so frustrated with each other we could only communicate through poetry.”

“I want to ball you up
like a messed up piece of paper
and throw you out of my life.”

− Pam from “Wasteland”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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“Perhaps I wandered
into this wretched place By accident
and Should flee for my life.”

− Ann from “On Being a White US-ian.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Yet most of the last 30 years we have enjoyed a deeply meaningful friendship that remains constant, despite our being in different states — Pam now in Virginia and Ann in California. We had a choice to make in facing our families’ past histories and we chose to be candid and honest with each other about what we were feeling along the way. We also chose to speak out about the damage our shared history, like that of so many others, has done to our country. We invite you to see our upcoming film, Our Entangled Lives, and to call on us to speak to your organization.

 
 
 
 

Website by Jay Scherberth

OEL graphic by Amanda Barnes

Copyright 2021, Our Entangled Lives

 
 
 
 
 
 
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Highlights of Pam and Ann’s Appearance on Oprah