One Hundred and fifty years ago, on January 1, President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. I knew that bit of history and didn’t really think much of it (the 1st is also my middle sons birthday so I was consumed with celebrating him), until I went to the post office. I needed to mail packages and found that I needed a stamp. When I saw the offerings of stamps I came across the commemorative stamp and had to purchase a page of them. They look really cool, don’t you agree?
I had to purchase them, because no matter how I feel about the politics of it all, the bottom line is, it changed the course for my people, forever. I had to purchase them because I need to show this to my three boys and, then begin the hard, emotional task of teaching them a vital part of their history.
Although it breaks my heart to have to teach them that only 150 years ago their ancestors were considered not to be people, but only property. Slaves. It’s a hard reality and one that breaks my heart. Why? Why, do they need to know? Because you learn from the past to prevent the same thing from happening in the future. When someone calls them a “nigger” they need to know the ignorance and history behind why someone would think less of them. I cannot hide it from them. I have been called a nigger by mere strangers, with pure hatred towards me even though I had never met them in my life. They need to know.
I hate to have them know that only because of their skin color people will judge them, but it is a reality.
My husband, a professional, law abiding man, was just stopped the other day, before getting into his car at our hotel, because he “fit the description” of a unidentified robber in the vicinity. Two cops surrounded his car, startling him and I wonder what their intentions truly were. The hurt in my heart and the outrage in my spirit that is there because of that experience cannot be quenched and I have to protect my sons by teaching them history.
So, as many celebrate the emancipation I acknowledge it and recognize the historical significance of it. I also use it to begin an educational process with my family, one I wish didn’t exist. One I hope time will heal and our society will change, however the reality is that is hasn’t yet. So, with a sorrowful heart I teach the boys that they are not the past, they are the future and they are AMAZING, STRONG, EDUCATED and INCREDIBLE. As is their father, the man who supports his family, loves his family and contributes a lot to society. He is not a robber! He doesn’t deserve the treatment he received from police he received and our boys won’t either. I have to have them know this because they are the future.