This past weekend has been one of the most emotionally draining, motivating, inspirational, educational weekends of my entire life (plus other words I can’t think of right now). About half of our group went on the trip to Alabama to take the Civil Rights tour, and I am glad I was one of those who went. I always thought I had a decent understanding of civil rights and the struggle that many of the black folk went through during the period after slavery and segregation, but after going on this tour I realized there was sooooooooooo much I really didn’t know.
A lot of what I discovered was hard to see, but harder to accept. One of thoughts that disturbed me the most was that if I had only been born a generation or 2 ago, my life would be so different. I looked at the faces of my friends and classmates at the requested check in (yes we the students requested a check in) and thought to myself if we had been this age during the 50’s, 60’s, and further back in time, we wouldn’t be allowed to be friends, we wouldn’t even be allowed to attend the same schools or drink from the same water fountains. That thought was really hard to deal with, I just didn’t understand how someone could be the target of such hatred due to something as trivial as the colour of their skin.
I’m sure each of us who went on this trip took something different from it, but I think it was pretty much a unanimous feeling of just being overwhelmed from what we learnt that day, and discovering how much we don’t learn enough about the history of black people in schools. The concept of Black History Month, at least to me, seems almost so pointless now, there’s no way you can learn the entire history of black people in one month, Morgan Freeman said it best when referring to Black History Month, “You’re gonna relegate my history to a month”. It’s impossible to try and condense such deep and rich history into 28 days (ironically the shortest month of the year). The link to Morgan Freeman’s interview is posted with the blog, the clip is only 55 seconds, and it’s definitely worth watching if you haven’t seen it before.
One of the highlights of this trip was after we had finished touring the museum and were outside taking pictures a lady approached the group of us that were about to take a picture and asked if she could take a picture of us with her camera. There were 5 of us in her picture, 2 were black, and 3 were white. I was a little confused as to why she wanted to do this but I didn’t think it was a big deal. But afterwards she approached me and another classmate and told us the reason she wanted the picture of us was because we represented change. I can’t even describe the feeling I felt when she said that to us, all we could do was hug her and cry together. After leaving the museum and seeing how backwards America used to be, it is so uplifting and empowering to see that change and progress is happening. In his famous “I Have a Dream” speech Dr. King stated “We will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream”. It is my personal belief that we, as a society, are not all the way there but we have certainly made progression.
Love, Peace, and Chicken Grease
Above is a picture of Shakera and I, and the woman whose name is Rebecca that stopped to take the picture of us.