I feel (re)committed to my journey on the freedom trail. Truth Telling Sojourn. I want to see what else there is for me to learn and wake up to.
I wanted lunch in Asheville, NC. Heard it was a cool place. It is. Sat outside with Molly taking in the scene over organic coffee and a much coveted sandwich. She’s getting used to her leash (not).
Lady next to me dressed like a pilgrim, maybe a Quaker. I don’t know how Quaker’s dress (or pilgrims, really) but she looked like the possibility of a Quaker.
Quaker’s provided safe haven for A LOT of runaway slaves. Asked her if she knew of anything about the Underground Railroad in the area. “Oh no, slavery was not that big here. Farming was not the same scale here as further south.”
Buncombe Co. Population: 12654 total, 1933 slaves, 111 Free Colored; 16.2% African American
That’s funny. Personally I think over 16% of the population being slaves is pretty damn high.
Everywhere I have checked, every person I have asked, no one knows a thing about the Underground Railroad. Not specifically.
I am spending the night near Atlanta with a lovely friend who was born in South Central LA and who’s family lived in a neighborhood locals called “the jungle”. I bend Jarette’s ear and learn from her perspective.
“Jen”, she says, “there will be no recognition of the underground railroad until there is recognition of slavery and what went down. It’s not talked about. It hasn’t been dealt with as part of our very real and recent history. Look at the Holocaust. That’s real because it was brought to the light and then reparations happened. Healing then can happen.”
Germany got exposed. Trials happened. The world watched. Reparations took place.
I am spending the day at the MLK national museum site in Atlanta. Maybe some light will be shed.
Behold. I am waking up ~to a different lesson than what was skimmed over in high school U.S. history. In cased you missed the memo, slavery persisted after the Civil War.
After the war, another full ship of captured humanity arrived, was allowed to dock and the human auction continued. Word of freedom was kept from Texas. “Free” African Americans were imprisoned without just cause, beaten and then “leased” for $26 a month to work in the fields, in the steel mills, in the factories against their will. Re-enslavement went on until World War II. 1940’s. Recent; just yesterday recent. The movement of equality in the nation is young. Very young. The residue of dehumanizing is palpable.
“…witness to the now undeniable truth that slavery persisted after the Civil War requiring all of us to view his legacy through a new window”
Douglas A. Blackmon is an American writer, journalist who won a Pulitzer Prize in 2009 for his book, Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II.
(Hey, check this guy out. He is totally legit and he wreaks with credibility.)
I feel compelled to share all this because it is news to me and I thought maybe it would be news to you. Knowing this grows compassion, humility, understanding and unity in these times of persisting separation (segregation).
Even in the face of these new truths, historical facts, beyond the heaviness this brought me, I felt inspiration and experienced light as I walk the streets and neighborhood that MLK grew up in. I sat in his church, the same one his father and grand father preached at. They, being the U.S. government National Park Service, played his sermons as I sat beholding further the light of Truth and how the Truth will set me~us~me~us free.
I feel filled. I wander back to the car and I let Molly out for some time in the sun. She displays total trust, comfort and soft beauty. Something I wish to step into myself. May our collective history and rising consciousness continue to bring us into the light of awareness, infusing a social justice revolution with light and love for all of human kind.