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A Letter to My Enslaved Ancestors on the 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation
I was invited by the Huffington Post to join a chorus of voices reflecting on the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation by qriting a letter to my elsaved ancestors. A link to the full text follows an excerpt.
I don’t know your names or from where you were stolen. I don’t know how many of you freed yourselves or died in bondage. Yet I claim you all and I honor you. The savage ferocity of slavery has torn your names from the memories of your descendants but not your lives, your survival, your strength. I want to thank you for surviving and enduring the unimaginable. As I give thanks for you, I weep for you. I give thanks for your sacrifice – not that you sacrificed yourselves, but that you were sacrificed – human sacrifice on an epic scale to greed and misanthropic racism.
I know that I cannot know the fullness of the horrors you faced, endured, survived and to which some of you succumbed. Yet I must try to give voice to them. In your stolen names I now name some of the horrors of American chattel slavery: intergenerational terrorism, murder, kidnapping, rape, forced pregnancy, forced miscarriages and abortions, child abuse and neglect, physical, mental, emotional, sexual and spiritual torture, beating, burning, stabbing, scarring, maiming, forced illiteracy, extirpation of culture and religion, violent imposition of a morally bankrupt idolatrous Christianity, and much, much more.