Katherine Cecil may have been raised over a thousand miles from Philadelphia, Mississippi, but she was still able to comprehend the significance of the positive tenor present in Sunday’s activities.

Born and raised in Sussex and London, Cecil has spent the last three years in the city of New Orleans working towards her Masters of the Arts degree at Loyola University.

Admittedly intrigued by Southern culture, Cecil spent the four days prior to the commemoration services absorbing the often horrible information presented at the
“Unsettling Memories: Culture and Trauma in the Deep South” conference sponsored by Tulane and held at Jackson State University.

Sunday’s commemoration ceremonies were the conference’s crowning moment. For Cecil, they were surprisingly hopeful.

“It’s been a lot more hopeful than I thought. I thought it was going to be a lot more depressing, because of the nature of what we’re celebrating or commemorating,” Cecil said, adding that she was inspired by the people’s dedication to build “something creative” out of such a potentially destructive event.