In this episode of "In the Sanctuary," we have a conversation with Gwen Ragsdale. Gwen is passionate about history, particularly history related to the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. As Vice President of Operations and Co-Curator of Lest We Forget Slavery Museum located in Philadelphia, PA, she is surrounded by hundreds of authentic slavery artifacts; including numerous iron shackles and other forms of ironware used to restrain and confine enslaved Africans throughout decades of chattel slavery, here in America and beyond. Also included in the private collection are rare Bill of Sale documents that reveal how African human beings were bought and sold like personal property as well as Jim Crow objects that reflect negative images of African Americans and further fanned the fires of bigotry and racism. She coordinates guided museum tours, researches and writes the contextual panels that accompany the many exhibits and facilitates informative presentations. Her natural story-telling ability enables her to engage audiences large and small during book readings and film screenings.
Gwen also produced two award winning documentary films; “Lest We Forget” and “My Slave Sister Myself”. Both films have won numerous national and international “Best Documentary Awards” including Martha’s Vineyard/HBO and New York and Toronto Film Festivals. Several schools and universities have incorporated her films into their studies as a tried and proven teaching tool for diversity and Women's Studies. Gwen resides in Voorhees, NJ with her husband J. Justin Ragsdale, Founder and Master Curator of Lest We Forget Slavery Museum she is the mother of 3 accomplished adult children and the proud grandmother of boy and girl twins who are the love of her life.