Oakwood Historic Slave Cemetery

There is a monument at the Oakwood Historic Slave Cemetery in honor of the slaves buried on the property.

The slaves were viewed as sub-human, so they were placed in graves with no headstones or makers of any kind.  There is no way to know who is buried here or even the exact number of people buried on this land.

We all know about the horrible existence of many slaves.  They were traded like cattle, beaten by their owners, and had less rights than my dogs do today.

I like to go to the cemetery from time to time.  It helps me remember the past and what can happen when we start judging people based on their race, religion, ethnic group, sexual orientation, or anything else that may make that person different from us.

 

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Thoughts on Immigration

Immigration has been a hot topic lately.  I understand why people frown on those that come to this country illegally.  They are often seen as criminals.  However, I cannot fault someone for wanting a better life and for being willing to risk their own lives to provide for their family.
Coming into this country illegally can be extremely dangerous.  People have died when their boat capsized, or from dehydration in the desert.  There is also the possibility of being shot by border patrol agents (official and unofficial).  Yet these people keep coming in hopes of a better future.
Many of them chose the illegal route, because coming into the country legally is not within the realm of possibilities.  The amount of money they would need to do this may even exceed what they would earn in an entire lifetime.
I think immigration reform should focus on a merit system.  People come and apply for citizenship.  They are monitored for a number of years to see if they maintain employment, increase their education or marketable skills, do volunteer work, and stay out of trouble.  This gives people a way to immigrate without having to break any laws.

What are your thoughts on immigration?

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Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin

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John Howard Griffin was a reporter in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s.  He heard about discrimination and segregation in the southern states.  He was aware of the civil rights movement that was just starting to take hold in Montgomery, Alabama.

Griffen knew as a white man, he would never truly understand what life was like for the black people.  Griffin wanted to know, “What is it like to experience discrimination based on skin color, something over which one has no control?”

Griffin found a dermatologist that was willing to prescribe medication that can cause a person’s skin to get darker.  The medicine was normally used for people suffering with a skin disease that caused white blotches to appear on their skin.  However, Griffin would need to take way more than the recommended dose.  The doctor required blood test during the first few weeks to ensure there were no adverse effects.

Griffin also used sun lamps and a stain to help his skin get as dark as possible.  Then he shaved his head and boarded a bus to New Orleans.  He spent several weeks in New Orleans, before traveling to Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia.

Griffin gives a detailed account of his experiences in his book,  “Black Like Me.”  He was surprised to see how helpful the black people were to a stranger.  He was able to stay with various families and get to know what their life was really like.

At several points, he had to find a place to be alone.  He would start crying at the injustice he was seeing, especially when children were involved.  He was appalled by how some of the white people treated black children.

Griffin also described his interactions with white people.  He was taken aback by how hateful some people behaved.  He was amazed by the cruelty he experienced.  He would listen to white people talk about their moral and intellectual superiority; however, their behavior was a far cry from what they claimed to be.

He also talked about the people involved in the civil rights movement.  He encountered a group of white people actively working with the black community to improve conditions.  They were being targeted by their own race and viewed as race traitors.  However, they believed everyone should be treated with dignity and respect.  They continued fighting for equality in spite of the persecution.

The book is moving and well written.  You can easily picture the surroundings, the people, and the situations.  You can feel what the author was feeling.  This truly is a book worth reading.

 

Coupons for Church Attendance

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I was eating out and saw this sign at the restaurant.  I’ve run across similar signs at numerous places in the area.

There is a little bit of controversy over these discounts.  Some complain that it unfairly discriminates against the non-religious population.

I don’t think it should be an issue.  Stores and restaurants give discounts for all sorts of reasons:  teacher, senior citizen, children under a certain age, military, college student, and so on.

Do you find this sign offensive?  Do you think the people complaining about these signs need to find something better to do with their time?

Let me know in the comments below.

 

 

Jesse Owens – Respect

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The book Jesse Owens World’s Fastest Human is a part of the Alabama Roots Biography Series.

After reading the book, I gained a greater respect for Jesse Owens.  He was born in rural Alabama and lived in poverty during his childhood.

He grew up in Ohio, was able to attend a local high school, and was on the track team.  However, he was not allowed to eat or use the same facilities as his teammates.

At Ohio State University, Jesse Owens was the star of the university track team.  He broke numerous records and helped the school become national contenders in the sport.  In spite of all his success, the team would not allow him to eat with the white students and the university refused to allow Jesse the opportunity to live in the dorm.

To his credit, Jesse never allowed his impoverished background or the daily discrimination to stop him from achieving his goals.

He also refused to allow the Nazi propaganda to stop him from achieving his dream of winning a gold medal in the Olympics.  In fact, Jesse Owens won several gold medals and shattered world records at the Olympic games in Berlin, Germany, in 1936.

I respect Jesse Owens for his tenacity, bravery, and discipline.