Tag: slavery

Inheritance

Once, while she was sitting in a chair in my living room, I reached out and touched a Black woman’s hair. At that moment and without thinking about it in any way, my hand was drawn to her hair, its airiness and resilience. I…

In honor of Juneteenth Day

Poetry, because it is so precise and chiseled, can tell stories and convey ideas that otherwise would take volumes. We are educated about the past in many ways. Poetry, especially this exquisite poetry, is one of those ways. I offer two poems by Rita…

Questioning America

The first thing you notice at the National Museum of African American History and Culture is that everyone is trying to be so nice, especially the white people. ‘Excuse me’s’ flutter like confetti, an invisible murmuring of apology for standing in front of someone…

Tell Me What Really Happened

It occurs to me that the way to change people’s attitudes is to tell them the truth. If people are never exposed to the truth, we can’t blame them for not ‘getting it’ when we try to explain things like sexism and racism. Why…

The Rebuked Apology

Interpersonal warfare has many dimensions. In the giant storeroom of weapons and strategies, next to the M16’s and poison arrows, is the rebuked apology. This is the scalpel of conflict, the slitting of the aorta, the permanent solution. There is no coming back from…

Tears for the Past

There is a passage in the memoir, Twelve Years A Slave, published in 1853, in which Solomon Northup, then known as the slave Platt, is handed a whip by his master and ordered to flog his friend Patsey, who is tied, naked and spread-eagle…

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