Monday, October 24, 2011

All men are created equal . . .

This journey has been about history  . . . visiting the South, visiting the Plantations, listening to the impassioned tour guides talk about the enslaved and their conditions, and most of all, what they contributed to the American Culture.  I am sure that anyone who has watched Gone With the Wind has a very romantic idea about the years just prior to the Civil War.  Reality is, that it was anything but.

Monticello . . .. estate of Thomas Jefferson
We have visited Savannah, Charleston, Richmond, and now Washington D.C.  Thomas Jefferson's Monticello home was a must see for me.   He penned the Declaration of Independence. It would appear he led a very conflicted life as he was not in agreement with slavery, however he owned many slaves, and took as his mistress an enslaved woman by the name of Sally Jennings and fathered her children. To further complicate things, upon his death and in his will, he only freed five of his slaves.

Fast forward to today, in the age of enlightenment of 2011, where on a tour bus, I still heard racial slurs.  Over the last few days I have heard comments such as the Civil War is not over, the juries are all black, etc., etc.   This seems to be ingrained and I am appalled to hear first hand that this tension is still nearly a rolling boil.  I personally do not believe in the bondage of another human being, so have a very difficult time with these situations.  I have to constantly remind myself that I am a guest in this Country and it behooves me to act in a respectful manner.

Ford Theatre . .. the site of Lincoln's Assassination
Today, whilst walking all over Washington, DC we paid a visit to Ford's Theatre.   I cannot put into words the emotions I felt and how the journey from the soil where the Civil War was fought took us to the theatre that once again changed the course of history.  Most likely, Lincoln's announcement that he planned to give the ensalved who had fought for the Union the right to vote, sealed his fate as far as John Wilkes Booth was concerned.  He is reported to have said that "That is the last speech that he will ever give".

Still pondering and reflecting on all we have seen and experienced.

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