Slavery Reenactment

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Adventures / Civil Rights Pilgrimage / Writing

I heard the woman yell for us to get off the bus. I had been watching her pat down the males as they faced the brick building for the last couple of minutes, and I knew our turn was next. I rose from my seat and glanced behind me, seeing the frightened faces of the girls I had shared the last couple of days with. I saw another face as I turned back, struggling to keep serious. We marched down the bus steps, somber. My body folded into itself, trying decrease its surface area. The woman eyed each of us, and told us to face our palms up to the sky. She inspected them, then screamed at a girl who she saw crack a small smile. My body shook as my palms quivered. She instructed us to line up in a single file line, boys in front, girls in back. I put my hands on the small shoulders of the girl in front of me and started to march. Soon, I became frustrated, as the person behind me was constantly stepping on the backs of my shoes. I heard her small muttered apologies and continued on. It was cold and gray outside. The woman stopped us on a bridge. I looked down and saw the rushing current and sharp, entangled branches. How hard would it be to jump off? We were moving again. I heard a metal garage door open as I stared down at my feet, concentrated on walking properly. We were pushed in and told to get into a dark, enclosed room. Packed in, our breaths intermingled. My body was pressed against three others. I grabbed onto my friend’s hand, who thankfully ended up behind me. The door slammed shut and we let out surprised yelps. It was silent. All I could hear was my breath, straining to quiet itself. I heard a sniffle, and then more. My nose became runny as I listened to the haunting voice of the woman, singing of hardship and death. My eyes became blurred, then a tear fell onto my right cheek. I increased my grip on the hand enclosed in mine. The song continued, growing. I sensed others weeping. My heart beat faster as my tears ran stronger. Then it ended. The door was opened, dark light filtering in.  We filed out slowly, as the woman warmly embraced each and every one of us. She told us to not pity her ancestors, but to pity those who were ignorant enough to have hurt them. The slavery reenactment had come to an end.

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The Author

A reader, photographer, and writer of all things.

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