“How We Remember,” a CBS Interfaith Special, looks at the ways we choose to remember our shared history and why. This special broadcast will air Sunday, Oct. 7 (check local listings) on the CBS Television Network.
Three years after a white supremacist murdered eight congregants and their pastor at Charleston’s Mother Emanuel AME Church, the congregation grapples with both the memory of loss and the struggle against white supremacy in America. New York-based architect Michael Arad was chosen to design a memorial that will honor the lives of the nine slain members as well as the survivors. Arad is known for his work as the architect of the National Sept. 11 Memorial, located in Manhattan’s Financial District. Following the massacre, Dr. Maxine Smith, a life-long member of Mother Emanuel AME Church, was a key liaison between the public and the church, and is now a leader on the memorial steering committee. She discusses the meaning of remembrance in her community and why the congregation decided to memorialize the death of its members. Rev. Eric Manning, the pastor of Mother Emanuel AME Church, discusses the resilience of the community, the legacy of white supremacy in America and why we need to remember.
Just blocks away from the Sept. 11 memorial, the last vestiges of what was once Little Syria, one of America’s most religiously diverse neighborhoods and the epicenter of the Arab literary movement, is threatened by the sprawl of skyscrapers erected in a recent construction boom. Joseph Svehlak is a first-generation American whose mother lived in a tenement building currently under threat of demolition in the Lower West Side. He is a tour guide and member of the Friends of the Lower West Side, a group of activists whose mission it is to preserve and landmark historic buildings in the former Little Syria region. Also featured is Todd Fine, a historian and co-founder of Save Washington Street, a coalition of preservationists and concerned citizens formed to protect the historic legacy of the Lower West Side.
Historian and public scholar Judith Dupre, author of the 2007 book Monuments: America’s History in Art and Memory, discusses the history of monuments in America and why remembering is a part of the human condition.
John P. Blessington is senior executive producer and Liz Kineke is producer. In creating the topics and content for this series, they sought input from religious scholars, clergy and others including Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Islamic, Sikh and various interfaith organizations.