A Few Names Closer to Justice

© 2012 Mrs. Gemstone, Flickr | CC-BY-SA | via Wylio

In a few minutes, Mosey, Meander, and I are headed to Bremo. We’ll be talking with some folks who are particularly interested in the history of the enslaved community there, who asked specifically to come hear about those people rather than see the plantation house or hear the history of the master’s family.

It feels like something is righting itself in a tiny way today.

Yesterday, I spoke with a woman whose husband is descended from Minerva, one of the enslaved women I know the least about on the farm.  This new friend told me about Minerva’s brothers, who I had not known about, and about the family’s move back east to Powhatan County.  She also told me their surname – Drew.  I had never known Minerva’s last name, or the last name of her parents Tom and Daphne or her brothers Madison and Monroe.

It feels like some chasm of silencing is being healed over.

On Monday, I sat in a meeting where a woman asked powerful, hard questions about the nature of slavery and then suggested that we make the presentation of the research we are doing be about these people, not about the place.  “What if we oriented this whole story about these people’s lives?

It feels like justice is beginning to lap in, the first rivulets of a stream that might become a river.

We are so, so late to this knowing, this seeking, this serving.  So very late.  But hopefully not too much so.

May the stories of enslaved people become as common as those of the people who enslaved them. May we ache to see their countenances, long to know their passions, hunger to know their names.  May WE, all of us, come to know all the shapes of our country’s foundations and see the enslaved hands that formed them.  May we hear the thunder of pathways reopened, stories told again, justice, a mighty stream, a cleansing wholeness.