Saturday, May 2, 2015

Blood, Bonding, and Religious Rituals

Living in South Louisiana, I have been on many plantation tours. In point of fact, my mother's sister brought her family up on a plantation owned by my aunt's husband. There were no signs of the slave quarters on the land, but there was still what was called "the big house" on the property. We were not allowed into "the big house" without adult supervision. I think I saw the inside only once.

I have toured plantation "big houses,"great and small, and have heard so many tourists saying, "I so wished I lived back then." I have often stopped to remind them that, unless they were of the wealthy class, they would not have lived like the wealthy plantation owners. I have also reminded them that there was no air conditioning back then, and there was no mosquito control.

I still live in the southeast of the United States of America, where there remains prejudice about the color of one's skin, even among people of color. The plantation tours are mostly presented as "the good old days" of our nation when "coloreds" knew their places. For this reason, I have recommended the Laura Plantation tour above the tours of the more opulent plantations. Laura Plantation preserves and explains the plight of the enslaved individuals.

Today, I toured Whitney Plantation, restored as a museum of enslaved humans.  Viewing Forrest Nash's clay replicas of enslaved children, taken from actual enslaved children's photographs, kept me on the verge of tears, even without their narratives.

On the grounds, there are several memorials to the plantation's slaves, presented much like the Vietnam Memorial walls. The big difference is that the enslaved individuals' real cultural names are not listed; neither do any of those honored on these walls have last names. There is no way for any of these names to lead to the origins of one's family.

The most heart-wrenching space was the Field of Angels, a courtyard with walls naming children who were born into and died in slavery. "The Angel" by sculptor Rod Moorhead depicts an obviously black angel cradling a baby on which the angel looks with anguish. If my heart hadn't already been broken, this would have destroyed my composure.

I look at my World Pulse sisters in Africa and I see their faces and those of their children in the faces I saw today. I read stories from my World Pulse citizen journalist sisters about human trafficking still happening on our shared earth, and I want to vomit out the evil of those who call themselves human.

I retain hope because I see my sisters of color standing up and making changes in their own areas. I remain frustrated by those who continue to follow ancient religious beliefs that adore deities with blood lust and rage against their own creations.

My greatest ambition is to bring the voices of all who live by The Sacred Spirit of responsible compassion to one conversation with those who believe in rule by fear. Bonding of Spirit is so much stronger than blood bonding or sharing of religious rituals. This is the lesson that must be taught to all who wish to be, not only homo sapiens, but fully human.