Cousins: Reaching Across the Racial Divide

Dates: January 19, 2022

Meets: W from 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM

Location: Online

OLLI Member: $5.00

Enrollment requires a 2021 - 2022 OLLI at MSU Membership

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream that "the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood." Drawing on lessons from their 2021 book "Cousins: Connected Through Slavery, a Black Woman and a White Woman Discover Their Past-And Each Other," Betty Kilby Baldwin and Phoebe Kilby tell their story of discovering their family connections and embarking on a path toward reconciliation and reparation and finding a way to live Dr. King's dream. In addition, participants will learn about ways they can reach across the racial divide and work toward racial reconciliation, whether your family has connections to slavery or not.

This program is in collaboration with members of OLLI at Western Michigan University.

Apply for a needs-based scholarship to take this offering.

Fee:   $5.00


This is a real-time (live) online class that meets at the specified day(s)/time(s) listed.

We will send you a reminder email with login instructions one business day before the program start date. If there are additional sessions, we will send reminders the morning of those sessions.

Phoebe Kilby

Phoebe Kilby grew up in Baltimore, Maryland, where she lived with her physician father, mother, and sister. Phoebe had a long career as an urban and environmental planner, working on contracts with local, state, and federal governments. With concerns about the morality and wisdom of war and a growing interest in peace, Phoebe studied extensively at the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University. A descendant of enslavers, Phoebe was inspired by the Coming to the Table movement to connect with descendants of persons her family enslaved. She is dedicated to helping European Americans and African Americans together to uncover and explore the truths of their experiences and move toward racial reconciliation. With Betty, she continues to pursue a common grace.

Betty Kilby Fisher Baldwin

As one of five children, Dr. Betty Kilby Fisher Baldwin grew up in rural Culpeper and Warren counties in Virginia. Thanks to her father's determination, she entered and graduated from Warren County High School after suing the school board, based on the landmark Supreme Court Brown vs. Board of Education decision of 1954. Betty started her employment as a factory worker and climbed the corporate ladder to achieve executive management employment. After she retired, she wrote and published her autobiography, "Wit, Will & Walls." Betty has four children. Betty and her husband are based in Texas but spend much of their time traveling the U.S. in their RV. Betty is actively involved in Coming to the Table. This nationwide organization provides leadership, resources, and a supportive environment for all who wish to acknowledge and heal wounds from racism rooted in the United States' history of slavery. She frequently speaks with Phoebe about making connections across the racial divide to create a more just and peaceful world.


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