I have a dream…
In elementary school, I was taught those four words that stirred our nation into a whirlwind of civil right movements. Those same civil right movements gave many of us the ability to vote, go to school, get jobs and even become the president of the United States.
However, what I didn’t learn was that it didn’t just start with Martin Luther King Jr. It began with the wet blood dripping from my ancestors’ backs while their cries filled the entire plantation field. It began with children being sold to strangers while someone ripped them away from their mother’s arms. It began with black men and women being used as a sport as their bodies dangled from the branches of trees.
People mocked it. People found humor in my ancestors’ despair.
In a 1979 UNC yearbook, I found a picture of a white man and woman posing for the camera while covered in blackface — a degrading practice in American cinema used to depict African Americans in films.