Saturday, June 23, 2012

Lest We Forget

Last week I had the opportunity to travel to Savannah and Charleston for  business and pleasure.  I'm glad I had a chance to not only plant seeds that hopefully will grow into a fruitful  business opportunity, but I was also  able to visit historical sites, take tours throughout the cities, and walk the grounds of Plantations with former slave quarters.  I must admit It was sobering and humbling all at the same time.

This trip was especially touching for me because I'm in the process of working on my family tree and roots (and believe me this takes patience and time).  Although my paternal side of the family is from the South, they are primarily from the state of Texas, however, I remember hearing my grandmother say we had some "Geechee" in our background.  As a child I wasn't  sure what that meant, but as I grew I came to understand that the "Geechee" people came from sections of Louisiana, the Carolinas and Georgia.   This trip allowed me to learn more about this part of my background.

As I walked through the small slave quarters (they were the actual quarters, not replicas, close to 200 years old), I could feel the memories, pain and hopes of our ancestors.  As I journeyed through some of the oldest African American churches in this country, I was able to see holes in the floor in the shape of diamonds that allowed air and sound to pass for those traveling through the underground railroad.  As I visited the Civil Rights Museum I could see the progress we've made as a people, but what I found sad is that with all the ground that's been covered, there's still so much to be done.  I also found a level of prejudice where I actually heard a white tour guide say the slaves  were happy on the Plantations. People on the tour would not speak up (except for me, I had to say something).  I couldn't believe it.  Of course there are a lot of good people in this world, but sometimes if we don't speak up a few bad apples can spoil the whole bunch.

If we're not careful anger and bitterness will build and resume in the hearts and minds of mankind.  Martin Luther King, Jr., once said, "injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." It's up to us to forgive the past, but we must learn from it so we don't allow it to be repeated.  Forgiveness does not mean forgetting.  The Schomburg Center in New York created "Lest We Forget" which documents the triumph over slavery.  Teach our children the truth and let your voice be heard.
Healing Without Hate:  It's a choice. It's a lifestyle. Pass it on!
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