My wife Lindi and I went to see 12 Years a Slave yesterday. It wasn’t a film I wanted to see. It was a film I needed to see. It is harsh and searing and honest in its depiction of the institution of slavery in the United States. I hope (and encourage in particular) my white friends will watch this important film. 12 Years a Slave is now a key resource to understanding the traumatic wounds – physical, psychological, and spiritual – inflicted upon black people for the benefit of white people, and inflicted upon white people (whether directly or indirectly connected with the system of enslavement); wounds that have never been healed, have been passed down through generations, and continue to cause harm to all of us today.
My second request is you read the words of my Gather at the Table writing partner and friend Sharon Leslie Morgan. She wrote “400 Years a Slave” on her Our Black Ancestry blogsite after experiencing 12 Years a Slave the day before we did. I read Sharon’s words (click here) before we went to the theater, and again after we returned home. Her story is as powerful and haunting to me as the film because Sharon’s family lived and suffered and died in slavery and its racist aftermath. When white people make the effort to sincerely understand and acknowledge the experience and feelings of people of color as regards these historic wounds, and to understand how white people were and are wounded, and the present-day consequences of this damage, we take our first real step toward healing.
THANK YOU Tom…. for summoning the courage to see this film and for using my thoughts as a point of reference. This journey we have been on is INCREDIBLE…. It makes you the "poster boy" for what all white men (and women) SHOULD do to help right the wrongs of our past. Much love, my friend 🙂
This journey HAS been incredible, Sharon, and it continues to be. My gratitude to you, and for our ongoing journey, is deep. Much love is returned right back to you…
I just finished reading Gather at the Table, recommended by my friend Barbara. A very moving book.
This is a great movie Tom, slow in places but that is licensed emphasis. Everyone who traces their past to the early colonies of New England or the mid southern areas should expect to see some of their ancestors depicted in this movie. Denial is easy, accepting the human truth takes guts. It is time we all grew up and faced the facts, When they can be Discovered and proven.