Already tired from a way-too-long day and not-enough-sleep night I rose to scroll social media and found that yet another black man has been robbed of his place and purpose on earth at the hands of the police, those who should protect and serve. I won’t go into that much because I’m simply exhausted about and by it all. I will and did reflect on a post I wrote called What Are You Going to Do? (https://angelamooreblog.wordpress.com/2014/12/04/what-are-you-going-to-do/) which was written in December 2014 following the events surrounding the murder of Eric Garner.
A short while ago I had the privilege to visit the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, Michigan. The walking, interactive tour through time took an unexpected turn for the worse as I exited the beautiful scenes from Africa where we had order, rules and regulations, commerce, products and produce, systems and structures, families and tribes. I hesitantly made my way through the horrendous upper deck of the slave ship where visual and verbal narratives scared the crap out of me as they detailed in real-size figures, artifacts and facts the “day in the life” of a captured African human being (who just so happened to be a man) on the upper deck (including the absurdly large slab of salt used to “preserve” us, ultimately leading to the high blood pressure we battle today). I was almost at my wits end on the upper deck, but then I was left to walk down a dark, dark set of stairs and turned the corner just below the lower deck of the shockingly real mock slave ship to see dozens and dozens of beautiful black, brown and bronze figures laying far too close together in the fetal position replicating the horrific passage of my forefathers. I was mortified to see the life-looking, lifeless figures lay there waiting for ‘Merica.
I didn’t think I could feel much worse as I did that day and through the journey we walked stoically and hesitantly through the museum’s trek of selling a man on a slab of brick for three cast iron pots, ripping him from his wife and children (who by the way would have cost less than three cast iron pots), picturesque, abusive cotton picking, the industrial era of literally building a nation with the brawn of their backs, tree-lynching, civil rights fights, the role of the church, music as a backdrop, owning businesses, achieving success and eventually running a country.
I didn’t think I could feel as angry, helpless and pained for how they did you, and simultaneously as appreciative, hopeful and proud for how you have rose up and STOOD the test of time as I did after my visit to the museum June 28th. Until today. My head aches. My heart hurts. My soul pleads for peace and protection. I’m at a loss for words regarding where we are as a country right now. What I will say is that I love you, black man. I know those words won’t bring the dead to life, stop the senseless killings, dry any tears or recompense for wrong, but if no one tells you let me tell you! I love you, black man.
Black man… you have been through hell and high waters from the time you were plucked and pillaged from our native land to the time you were shot then screenshot as you were ripped from your earthly home. I love you, black man. I know our Father didn’t send you here just to become a trending topic, roundtable debate, media fodder, fleeting cause and a freakin’ hashtag! #enoughofthat You mean so much to me. You are my father, my brother, my companion, my best friend, my nephews, my cousins, my uncles, my co-workers, my college buddies, my world.
I love you, black man. For centuries, you’ve had our backs, at the cost of yours being literally branded, beaten, bruised, and broken. Now I have yours. Pardon the repetition, but I love you, black man. You matter.