Unfinished Business

Grant - Hamtramck, Michigan
Entered on July 15, 2008
Age Group: 65+

I can feel it, O I can feel the enormous pride in every pore, every thought in my mind as I walk to the mailbox with the letter in my hand. I see A. Lincoln and John Brown in front and there I am walking in Julia Ward Howe’s Army of the Lord with the letter in my hand.

I can hear the sing of the lash as it tears into the soft flesh of the black man’s back and my breath quickens with the sorrow that my white brethern has stooped to such lows as having someone killed so others will toil in his stead.

I see the “tight packer” slave ships with their human cargo so densely packed that slaves cannot turn over to relieve themselves and they lie there until their excrement is washed away by the ship’s crew and the morning cleaning requires that sick slaves be tossed overboard.

I see the black families standing in the slave markets waiting to be sold and my feelings of immense sympathy go out to them when the family is broken up when the plantation owners buy only the young and the strong.

I see them, the terrible lynchings by night riding gangs with hoods. And I am moved to the sickening of my soul to think that slaves praying for God’s deliverance is falling on deaf ears from God himself.

And I am moved to realize this inhuman behavior toward the least of us was done in God’s name. And I am moved to see the human misery that slavery has caused in all of us.

I am moved to see that the descendants of slaves cannot get decent jobs, cannot get decent housing, decent educations, I am moved to see that this lessens our humanity toward one another.

And then I think of Byron’s Freedom/yet the banner torn but flying/ streams like the thunderstorm against the wind. And my feet get a little lighter as I step closer to the mailbox with the letter.

And then I see all the descendants of slaves in the future and the amalgamation of all of us in this great fight against bigotry, hunger, and oppression. And I see a proud people that possess the intellect and the character that could overcome such evil walking hand in hand into the bright sunshine of freedom. And I am moved as I lower the letter into the mailbox with my contribution to this great fight.