In June I traveled with my best friend to Montgomery, Alabama, to a site where slaves were sold. Growing up in the South, I’m certain this was not the first time I have stepped on ground with such a history. It is, however, the first time I remember being confronted with this reality.
As many of you realize, I have been deeply involved in exploring American racism and whiteness over the past six or so years. During these years the times when I have been forced to move beyond the intellectual and theoretical and into the emotional, physical and personal have been few. This is a direct result of my privileged position as a white woman, my preference for intellectual exploration over lived experience (a characteristic ofwhite supremacy) and my personal penitent for theory over practice.
As I explore in this blog post, the intellectual and theoretical can take us only so far. It is because of my understanding of the ways in which we as white people insulate ourselves from the deep physical, emotional and moral damage done by racism that I am so thankful for my experience in Montgomery- seeing the number of victims of lynching, as represented at the memorial. Learning the names of the five known victims from my home county. Being led through the process of oppression beginning at slavery and continuing today with mass incarceration in the museum.
All of the images, facts, memories, personal narratives, symbols, art, and sculptures take you from head to heart. It’s unavoidable. It’s crucial. It’s long overdue. It’s not enough.
Below are links and videos about the memorial and museum and my #sketchnotes. I hope you’ll visit. I also hope you’ll read up on and support other important work being done by the Equal Justice Initiative.
Love and light,