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Monday, July 28, 2008

Flying with Toni Morrison, again









Once again I was blessed to be in the presence of greatness and a witness to history. Toni Morrison & 400 of her friends and family met at the Ft. Moultrie museum to install a bench. It is the 1st bench in the Bench by the Road series. It was placed on Sullivan’s Island because it is the site of the first entry for most enslaved Africans who entered North America. The bench is a 6‐foot steel structure with ribbed backing in black and specially coated to withstand the salt air of the Carolina Coast. It is incredibly beautiful.

Yes, I sat on it and looked across the water and wondered. I wondered how different my life would have been had there been no Middle Passage and no horrific taking of people from their families miles and miles and many years ago. I honestly cannot image. I can only be thankful to them and the descendants for paving the way for me to be free today. I can only hope that I grasp every opportunity given to me and rise to every challenge before me. I owe them that. More importantly, I owe myself that. I also owe that to those who come after me.

The pictures (top to bottom) are: the procession of Toni and her friends and family marching to the water, Toni & Phylicia Rashad, the bench, and the plaque by the bench. It was a very moving event. I am so glad that I was there to see it. The inscription comes from an interview Dr. Morrison gave in 1989 about her book Beloved.

It says "There is no place you or I can go, to think about or not think about, to summon the presences of, or recollect the absences of slaves; nothing that reminds us of the ones who made the journey and of those who did not make it. There is no suitable memorial, or plaque, or wreath, or wall, or park, or skyscraper lobby. There's no 300-foot tower, there's no small bench by the road".

We now have a bench by the road and I was there.

2 comments:

Mike Valentino said...

I heard on the radio that they were doing this. I think it's wonderful. I grew up on S.I. but am currently in NC, so sitting on the bench will have to be reserved for later.

doretha said...

Since you grew up around here, you know that the weather is great most of the time.