I recently watched the rebroadcast of an ABC 2017 Special- Taking the Stage: African American Music and Stories that Changed America. It was a wonderful tribute to the African American community. Faces of so many well-known citizens graced the stage (and the audience) at Washington’s John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The program was a tribute to accent the unveiling of the four-story Smithsonian National Museum of African American history and culture. Since I have no pictures of my own, I humbly submit this website that shows some spectacular scenes outside and inside the magnificent museum:
NOTE: Due to the pandemic, it is now closed but I keep it at the top of my JOY LIST of things I want to experience before I die.
This is the first national museum ever to stunningly portray the accurate historical journey of our fellow Americans whose ancestry goes back to Africa. These gorgeous dark-skinned humans were non-consensually snatched from their families, homes, and culture only to be dropped into a totally foreign world. They were shackled and forcibly transported under inhumane conditions for the precise purpose of subjugated labor. That unconscionable journey from the degrading bottom of slave ships to the amazing accomplishments of a modern-day people is astoundingly mind-boggling.
That special made for TV program displayed a star-studded cast of beautiful, intelligent, and sparkling high-spirited people! The spotlighted episodes included many shades of soulful and colorful dignitaries, athletes, and artists from the world over. It was delightful to experience performances by living legends as well as tidbits from many prior generations captured on archived films. And powerful stories accompanied photos of museum items as their historic significance was revealed. Tears flowed freely as seven famed Tuskegee Airmen were revered for their selfless service in WWII combat. They proudly took their rightful, well-deserved place at center stage to represent all those African American soldiers who loyally served this country during wartime. It is beyond time for a grateful nation to acknowledge the bravery and sacrifices of too numerous to name unacknowledged soldiers.
As I tuned in energetically to these men, I felt the kinship of hearts and souls and the certain pride of humans who, 75 years later, still care about the freedom of fellow Americans irrespective of color. I felt them connecting from their hearts to the audience and to those watching from the comfort of home. The in-house crowd stood to their feet on this, and other numerous occasions, to appreciatively and enthusiastically applaud individuals and groups for their noteworthy contributions to our current day society. Among my musical favorites were many original jazz contributions born of hardship and sorrow yet performed with a passion that is so alive and lively that they deserve the gratitude. love and respect of everyone who enjoys music as much as they enjoy freely living in the United States of America.
It is time for humanity to heal the planet. It is time to come together with healed hearts and to move forward with expanded consciousness. It is time to release the antiquated and fledging white supremacy paradigm that programmed our minds and, in one way or another, enslaved us all by subtly teaching systemic racism. That programming has only ever served Caucasians, especially the wealthy ones. It is time for all the world to stand with our brothers and sisters of color and support the movement toward equality, equanimity, and justice. I don’t expect the journey will be easy or swift. I do understand that it is necessary because as I so often heard that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr said, “no one is free until we are all free.” Thankfully I finally get it.
It is worth noting that the stars and stripes have always hypocritically symbolized “…liberty and justice for ALL.” As a lifetime citizen of this country and a lifelong white woman of privilege (by privilege I mean that simply because my skin is white, I never felt afraid to walk in my neighborhood alone, I never felt I was being watched and judged as guilty when I shopped at any stores and I did not ever have to have the “talk” with my kids about how to survive an encounter with an officer of the law and the list goes on and on…) Now I take a symbolic knee as I promise never to salute the flag or recite the allegiance pledge again. At least not until I experience that what it says it stands for is a fact and a reality. It is time to take a stand. I take it here and now. Will you choose to join me?
Art: James Baldwin by James Gayles
Wanda Gail Campbell
Photo by Carol Zukosky
Wanda has served thirty plus years as a healthcare professional. Currently, she serves as a Minister of Peace ordained by The Beloved Community. In July, 2007 she completed her PhD in Philosophy focused on Intercultural Peacemaking. For her own spiritual nourishment, she enjoys reading both contemporary and ancient spiritual writings.
Images of flowers: Wanda Gail Campbell