It definitely feels like we are coming to terms with the reality of our history when it comes to oppression, racism and segregation. Many have suppressed this for years by ignoring it and just painting over it. Eventually things crawl out of hiding. Many don’t want it to but you can’t move forward unless you acknowledge the past.
I did a podcast with Sarah Beatty in 2019. She talks about the work that her and her husband are doing in Montgomery Alabama. After reading Hidden in Plain Sight, The Ghosts of Segregation by Richard Frishman, in the NYTimes, I started to think about Sarah’s story again.
When Sarah and her family went into the old courthouse with a flashlight to see what they had taken on, they found the bathrooms clearly marked whites and colored and more historical references of segregation. Her children were floored.
Frishman writes about the importance of the testimonies from the past and their cultural relevance. It is our countries social biography. We have papered over a lot of this with concrete and destruction.
The Holocaust was a stain that thankfully has been historically kept alive through huge data bases of stories, documentation in multiple museums and preservation of sites. We need to do the same thing with our stain of slavery and segregation by putting Federal funding into making sure that we preserve all of it in each city and state across this country.
The importance of remembering where we came from, regardless of how dark it is, is how we change the future.