- Special Sections
- Public Notices
As Black History Month gets under way, I can only think of what my foremothers and fathers thought as they were being transferred to this country in shackles and chains, being tossed about by the high seas, leaving a homeland, some as kings and queens, to a life of leather whips, dogs and being belittled on every hand.
I wonder what they thought about as they were paraded onto the slavery block, and their man and womanhood was exposed to the highest bidder, treated no better than horses and cows at a livestock auction.
I know some history books attempt to glorify slavery, but I don’t think most days were happy ones during that time. My ancestors were proud people, and for the most part I want to think when they were humming spirituals as they worked from sunup to sundown, they were finding some kind of inner peace in spite of the inhuman treatment most were subjected to during that period.
I can’t for the life of me get a true feeling of having your child ripped from your arms and sold off because they knew how to read, and that always was a threat to have a slave as smart as the slave owner. It had to be a trying time for my ancestors to always live in fear and to never know how to overcome that fear. To just have that stuck feeling.
I am so glad back in the day there were people such as Fredrick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln and a host of others who paved the way to end the mistreating of a person because of the color of his skin and not the content of his character. I’m glad that President Lincoln had the intestinal fortitude to sign into existence the Emancipation Proclamation to end bondage of a race that refused to die out.
Not only in the month of February, but at all times, will I honor the legacy of Dr. Carter G. Woodson, who in 1926 started Black History Week to acknowledge the contributions of African-Americans to the American dream. Rosa Parks, who stood even when she was tired, Emmett Till, who would not drop his eyes, but lost his life for being who he was, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for having the insight to have a dream and to help others pursue the dream and move it into existence, as President Barack Obama did, taking the dream and running with it to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
As an African-American, I know we have come far as a race in spite of disparity, mistreatment, cruelty, segregation, harsh battles, killings, injustice and slavery.
Maya Angelou said it best: “But still I rise.”
Shonna Sheckles lives in Bardstown and works in Elizabethtown. She can be reached at email@example.com.