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‘Mercy Street’ Star Shalita Grant Says ‘We Are Still Entrenched in Systemic Racism’ (Video)

”I’ve always understood that time period of the Civil War as the foundation for where we are right now,“ the actress tells TheWrap’s Stuart Brazell

Shalita Grant, one of the stars of the PBS Civil War miniseries “Mercy Street,” thinks it’s still important to tell Civil War stories more than 150 years after the event.

“I’ve always understood that time period of the Civil War as the foundation for where we are right now,” Grant told TheWrap’s Stuart Brazell. “We are still entrenched in systemic racism…So it was really important for me to inhabit that role and be as simple and as subtle and as truthful as possible.”

Grant plays Aurelia Johnson on “Mercy Street,” an escaped slave working as a laundress in the hospital at the center of the series. She experienced untold horrors at the hands of her former owners.

Grant is herself a native a Virginia and spoke about the experience of growing up in a former Confederate state as a black woman.

“Virginia is one of three states that has Confederate History Month,” she said. “So as a black child coloring in pictures of Robert E. Lee and ‘Stonewall’ Jackson with titles like ‘Gentleman of the South,’ it’s a very disorienting thing to do.”

“Mercy Street” airs Sundays on PBS at 10 p.m./9c.