As I walked through the Blacks in Wax Museum I was both upset and happy by what I saw. Going into the slave ship and seeing the slaves being branded like livestock and shackled one on top of the other really brought to life the struggle that the slaves had to endure. I don’t understand how the white people can think of the slaves as less than human, and at the same time want to rape the women. The Lynching Exhibit opened my eyes to how cruel people can really be.
What hit home was the story of pregnant Mary Turner and her husband. They hung both she and her husband and proceeded to cut off his genitalia. When they returned and found that Mary’s baby was not dead they cut it out of her stomach. They then took two cats that were feeding on the husband intestines a sewed them into her stomach, and placed bets to which one would claw its way out first. It made me angry to see the Boulevard of Broken Dreams, because it showed what we as black people have become today.
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We don’t need to be slaves anymore; we enslave ourselves with the mentality that the white man is holding us down when we are really holding ourselves down. We shoot each other, rob each other, rape each other, and kill ourselves with drugs. Our ancestors fought and were hung so we could have freedom only to have us hang ourselves. Now to the happy part of my journey through the museum, I traveled to the upstairs section that depicted our struggles “after” slavery. Even though slavery was over it wasn’t over in the minds of everyone.
White people would still segregate and demean black people in obvious ways, such as: having white only water fountains, schools, and diners. When black people would try to eat there they would have drinks poured on them. Their hatred for black people was so strong that they would kill their own for going against them. Like in the case of 8 year old white girl who kissed the 8 year old black boy on the cheek, and that night they came and took him and placed him on a pile of sticks to be burned. When a white official objected they mutilated him instead.
Despite all the racism and hate we still managed to become a proud people with much success in many fields, such as: writers, entertainers, freedom fighters, civil rights activist, athletes, and many more. The museum reminds me of Sankofa in the way that it takes you back in time to relive history and give a sense of where we came from and who we are as a people. We can’t truly appreciate what we have accomplished if we don’t understand where we started. I have come to understand and appreciate everything that I have, and my ancestors ad to fight for. My rights to vote, eat where I want, learn where I want, and have the same opportunities as everyone else. The kind of things that we have taken for granite now seem so much more important to me after learning about the Sankofa and Maafa, and visiting the Blacks in Wax Museum. Willie Lynch’s letter on how to so call “control the slaves” was an underestimation of the Africans mental process and loyalty to each other. He was mistaken by thinking that he could pit them against each other in order to gain control over them.
They were intelligent enough to realize that the enemies were the slave owners, not their fellow countrymen. He tries to compare breaking a slave with breaking a horse. The only problem with that idea is that the slaves were not animals. Of course if you break in a horse to be gentle by petting it and feeding it from your hand you can gain its trust, but tarring and torturing a slave will only bring about fear a resistance. If a woman sees a male beaten in front of her till near death she will be more likely to try to either get her child out to safety or kill it for fear of it growing up in a situation like this.
If she does keep the child with her, her influence alone will not raise the child. There will be others that will have the same influence upon the child, and it will feed off of everyone’s thoughts and feelings and acquire his own. Willie Lynch assumed that the slaves, whom he and the other slave owners snatched from their homes and families, would be willing to trust them over the other Africans. His racism led him to believe that the Africans could be broken into trained animals and do his bidding.
He suggests that they should dehumanize these people to the point where they have no culture, only the new one they are provided with. As proud as the Africans were as people it is sad to say that some of the baggage has carried over from slavery to us today. We see people killing each other over shoes and money. Stealing from our neighbors and raping the women we should be uplifting. We have females hating on other females, because they have light skin and “good” hair. The slave owners provided use with the slave mentality; now some of us still live by it and break each other down.