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Significance of August 1
Salutation to Emancipation Day
One hundred and seventy three years since we were freed from chattel slavery.
Almost two centuries of recounting and continuing the work that was started.
Six generations of separation from the victimization of our great, great grandmothers;
Still, we wear the scars that our great, great grandfathers bore on their backs.
Scarred from the hatred that was meted out for defending their survival;
Collectively we wake up screaming from their pain.
Scars that are manifested in poverty and self loathing;
Paradoxically, their pain has fostered beauty, strength and aspirations;
Their pain has propelled the hopes, dreams, determination, anger, frustrations, bravery, genius and forgiveness
Seen in the lives of Nat Turner, Tackey, Bussa, Harriet Tubman, Robert Smalls, Cudjoe, Nanny of the Maroons, Sojourner truth, Cuffy, Toussaint L’Ouverture, Mary Prince, Samuel Sharpe, Paul Bogle, George William Gordon, Frederick Douglas, Booker T Washington, W. E. B. Dubois, Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, Kwame Ture and countless unsung heroes and heroines.
Some we revere because they were revolutionary moderates;
Others ostracize because they were revolutionary radicals.
All have written the course of our history with indelible ink;
Blasting out doors and windows of opportunities where none existed before.
They sacrificed their lives to resist the Redcoats, Jim Crow, the three Ks and lynch mobs.
They laid the foundations for a better life for future generations.
Salutation to our heroes and heroines who have unselfishly given their lives
To make this world a better place for all.
Thank you for negotiating our legal, civil and intellectual rights;
Because of your efforts, we can be free to resist hatred against our bodies and minds.
While the remnant of hate and ignorance sometimes raises its head;
We stand proudly on your shoulders;
We can’t be complacent; there’s much more to be done!
So, we soldier onwards, always acknowledging that the war was already won.
Written August1, 2011