We settled here in Ole Miss just like lots of other black folks and you would think that after they freed us from slavery they could just leave us be. I guess I should tell you a little about who we are and what we have been through so you have a clearer understanding. Well it started when we got here. Brought over on ships, our family was slaves to the white folk right here in Mississippi. There have always been stories told. Why, I remember when I was a little girl my grandma telling us the story of Nat Turner. (1998) He went on a rebellion right here in the South. He was on a mission fighting for what he believed in.
He may not have gone about it the right way but he fought until his death on October 30, 1831. After that it seemed to be one person after the next until finally Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. This was issued in 1863. (1998)This was a valiant attempt at freeing the slaves here in the United States but it technically only freed slaves in the states that were under the jurisdiction of the Confederacy. You would think that would make things better. Nope! There was a 12 year period after that that they worked hard on trying to make things fair for us.
Your great-great-grandma was around through the reconciliation period. She said that we were finally awarded citizenship and in 1870 an amendment went in that stated you could not deny us the right to vote because of our race. (1998) My great-Grandma told us that just when things started looking up…It got worse. The Democrats came in and changed everything. They started doing every thing that they could to put us back to having no rights. But we as a race stayed as strong as we could. What you have to remember is that making our way in this world has been and remains a consistent struggle.
We made leeway though! A young lady buy the name of Sophia Packard and Harriet Giles were able to establish a college for the “Negros” as the white folk like to call us. This was the first college for African American females. Spelman College’s goal at the time was merely to teach black women to read and write. And that they have done. But here I sit in 1963. A 33 year old female who isn’t sure what is going to be in her future. They call us free. I have to ask myself daily though, “Am I really free? ” I mean we have separate schools. We eat in separate restaurants. 2010) They give us totally different bathrooms to use and all this is because of the color of my skin. I look at this world and I think to myself, “I put my clothes on the exact same way as everyone else. ” Should the color of our skin really make things so much different for us? Every single day we have leaders out there fighting for what is fair and what is right. Take Martin Luther King for instance. (2007) He is on a mission. He is part of a group called the SCLC. (Southern Christian Leadership Conference) He has made major strides.
I mean in Montgomery Alabama the black folks get to ride on the same buses with the same rights as the white folks. I can only hope that by the time that you grow up and are able to read and understand all this that you look at all this and have a hard time believing it. As I sit here and write to you and I look across the street of this tiny little home I live in I see the neighbors and in their front yard is a cross that someone has lit on fire. Why, because today he walked a white girl to school. Rumors started and now everyone knows that this little girl likes him.
Yet he is being punished for it. It shouldn’t matter. If there is one thing that you need to know and one thing that I can teach you through this letter it is to be you. Know yourself. Never let anyone tell you that you can not do something. Most importantly, remember that loves has no boundaries. It sees no color. It does not understand hate. It does not segregate nor does it discriminate. I hope that you never have to endure the hardships that we have to endure during these trying times. Always remember to live with no regrets and never look back! I love you with all my heart-
Momma Works Citied Page African American Slavery (1998) Long Island University Retrieved from http://www. liu. edu/cwis/CWP/library/aaslavry. htm#turner Timeline Search for African American History (2010) Google Search Engine http://www. google. com/search? q=african+american+history&hl=en&sa=X&tbo=p&tbs=tl:1,tll:1850,tlh:1899&ei=lrPUS9avLoK78gbfpL3qDw&oi=timeline_histogram_nav&ct=timeline-histogram&cd=8&ved=0CIcBEMkBKAg History of African Americans Information Please Database. (2007) Pearson Education, Inc. Retrieved from http://www. infoplease. com/spot/bhmtimeline. html