I had a wonderful childhood. However, the wonderful memories about my family, neighborhood, church and school are surrounded by the shadows of bigotry, hatred, Klansmen, segregation and fear. Even as children we understood the eminent danger of walking down the street in black skin.
I grew up in the Jim Crow south. Alabama to be specific. I was a child during the height of the Civil Rights movement, but I vividly remember those days from my 12 year old perspective.
I remember the Monday night meetings where we heard inspiring speeches and the protest plans and instructions for the following week.
I remember the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham when those four little girls were slain. That morning we were preparing for church when we got the news. We didn’t have email or texting in those days but it seemed we got news lightening fast. I remember not wanting to go to church because our church had received threats. When I overheard the grownups talking about the threats I wasn’t afraid. Who would bomb a church? But that morning the threats were suddenly real. That could be me and my friends.
I remember wanting to go to Selma for the march and how disappointed I was when my grands told me I was too young to go. So I watched it on television in the false safety of our den. I felt every blow inside me that they experienced on the Petus Bridge. I was angry, scared, hurt for them, and angry all at the same time. Yea, I said angry twice.
I know I felt all of this pain because I relived it last night when I viewed the movie, Selma. I was back in Alabama watching the march on television angry, hurt, in pain and angry all over again.
I commend you Ms. Ava Duvernay for the excellent job you did in educating us and reminding us. Continue to tell our story in historical accuracy and truth.