June 5th, 2019

Today on day 5 of the Civil Rights bus trip we visited the Legacy Museum, the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, and the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.  Then this evening we had the opportunity to hear from Carolyn McKinstry (author of “While the World Watched”) and Lisa McNair, the sister of Denise McNair, one of the girls killed in the bombing of 16th Street Baptist Church.

It was a full day, to say the least.

I’m not sure I even have words to describe my emotions, thoughts, and feelings at this point,  but I think one theme of the day can be summed up with this statement by historian Richard Bailey, “There can be no reconciliation without an acknowledgment”.

Today I acknowledged the horrific death of 4 innocent girls, the names of 4000+ racial terror lynchings, the unnamed victims of lynchings, the lynchings that happening in my home state of Pennsylvania, the slave trade that created a system of wealth/privilege for the white people in the south, the domestic slave trade that continued after slavery from Africa ended, the sexual exploitation of slave women and girls, the ways slave families were torn apart, the brutal beatings of slave by their masters, the dehumanizing ways slave owners described their slaves when they put them up for sale, the horrific medical experimentation done on slaves, and the list could go on and on.

I acknowledge these things because they are a part of our history.

I acknowledge them with the hope for reconciliation.

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