Wednesday, July 14, 2004

"Behold the only thing Greater than yourself!" Omoro Kinte

Do you remember the miniseries, ROOTS on TV in the 70's? .....I guess there is still controversy concerning this film today. Alex Haley the author of Roots died in 1992 and in 2002 the Kunta Kinte/ Alex Haley Memorial was dedicated in Annapolis MD at the city dock.

About a month ago we watched ROOTS with the kids. It is not easy to watch but it is a part of our history. This slavery business shows us how life has never been perfect and never will be.  Does not every nation and culture have things that they are not proud of and as human beings there are things in our own past that we are not proud of?  Some of us as individuals have things that are quite overt, no doubts.  Most of us have the more concealed faults of the higher nature, those are what Henry Drummond calls the "sin against Love may seem a hundred times more base"  than drunkenness, s-xual immorality and murder.  Nevertheless it is a part of our history.   We are molded and shaped by our experiences both the good and bad. 
Hopefully, we learn from our own mistakes but we are to also learn from the mistakes of others.  The old saying goes, "those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it."  The only things that I know about public education are a few facts from relatives and also from reading books by John Taylor Gatto (former public school faculty member in NYC, 30 years and teacher of the year).  What I have heard is that real documents, real books and the truth are NOT included in the curriculum.  History is rich, dramatic and gut wrenching at times.   
Kunta Kinte was a proud African who never lost sight of where he came from or who he was.  Why did he run?  Freedom was taken from him and he would not go down without a fight.  He was a free man in Africa and he remained free in his heart and his spirit.  He was able to live above his circumstances and he past on his heritage to his child and an oral history had begun. 
To Annapolis we went.  After a quick stop at the Visitors' Center where we ran into one of Dan's co-worker from Westborough State, we headed over to the oldest state house in the Union.  The skies opened up on us as we approached the building, which way do we go?  We ended up at the locked back door and it became torrential.  We huddled under the porch together.....after Michael and Katie got soaked.  As it let up we ran to the other side and they let us in even with our 2 aqueous adventurers.  Squeaking and dripping on the marble floor we took in the history, art and architecture of this historic building.   
Then we made our way down to the dock.  It was a somber occasion.  A story of pain, perseverance and fruit of not just one man's work but of thousands of men, women and children who endured passage to this country in a very inhuman way. 
What an opportunity........briefly the Kunta Kinte - Alex Haley Memorial starts at the Compass reminding us to remember where we come from, then to the statute of Alex and 3 children to remind us to tell our personal history to our own children as well as others and lastly The Story Wall which is to be a place of healing.  There are 10 sculpted-bronze plaques with words and images from Haley's Roots at the Story Wall.   (

I loved the feel of this city and just getting to places where we can learn and grow as a family.  The world is truly our classroom and experience is the more prolific teacher.     

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