This was posted inside the slave quarters at the Owens-Thomas House in Savannah, Georgia. While visiting the city, I realized there was little mention of slavery and when it was spoken of, it was rather sugar-coated. (There was NO mention of indigenous people at all). Each tour guide or museum made it sound like the slaves were beloved members of the family and well taken care of. Ummm….. they were SLAVES. Owned people. There is NOTHING right about that.
You can see it in the verbiage above. “Enterprising slaves”, following a sentence that reads “with the approval of their owners”. The lack of accountability is appalling. Maybe that is a huge part of the problem we have with race relations now- there are still entire communities throughout the nation that refuse to call it what it was. To acknowledge the horror of slavery- and the numerous ways we justified it.
Another piece of this display struck me. It was “illegal to teach reading or writing” to slaves. That further validates my belief in the importance of education. Just the mere possession of a pencil or paper would be cause for punishment. What better way to continuously oppress people? Cut off their ability and access to learning. Fast forward a few decades, and we still see the effects of this treatment.
When it comes to the topic of slavery, specifically within our country, I am saddened. I am hopeful that we continue to move forward, even as I can be discouraged by what appears to be taking steps backwards. We have come a long way, and yet have so far to go.