Monday, January 31, 2005

Forget it man, it was a long time ago......

The eyes have it.

Above is a photo of one Sara Gudger a former slave. I came across this today after a web search that was prompted by starting to read Ralph Ellison's "Invisible Man".

"Invisible Man" begins with the unnamed protagonist smoking some reefer in his basement squat whilst listening to Louis Armstrong. The reefer brings him to a dream state where he talks with a woman slave that has poisioned her master and is crying, because she loved him as well as hated him. Her sons, the sons of the slavemaster, remain inside hooting and hollering with joy, whilst the protagonist of the book questions their mother about her seemingly contradictory relationship with the man she murdered. Eventually the sons chase him out of his dreamtime, and back to the music of Satchmo.

It led me to wonder what the woman slave might have looked like.

Sara Gudger's eyes, if not her face told me what I wanted to know.

I am a bit of a lurker in the "Enemy board" the rap group Public Enemy's bullitin board, and every so often a Right-wing troll comes in and starts a mud slinging match with the bunch of black nationalists and whitey liberals that make up much of its population. The conversation always starts with "Hey man, forget about slavery, it was a long time ago."

Not long enough ago for it to have been before the advent of photography, I'm afraid.

If you are one that occassionally dismisses the effect of slavery on the collective unconsciousness of todays black population (I would have said "African American" but it goes way beyond America's shores) I would suggest that you double click on the above photo and stare into Sara's eyes. What would she have told her kids, what would they have told their's?

And what makes you think that the black person you speak with today, especially in America, has no family stories of their own to tell?

Time heals all wounds you see, but some of those wounds become scars.

Peace and Hope



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