“A white man opened fire in a historic black church, in Charleston, South Carolina the night of June 17, 2015, killing nine people, including a pastor, during a prayer meeting. “ As I heard this news, I stopped what I was doing and bowed my head in a moment of silence. It’s hard to love a country that is so filled with racial hatred. I found no coincidence in finding the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center later that week along the banks of Ohio river in downtown Cincinnati. Like a moth to a flame, I was drawn to this place.
“We may encounter many defeats, but we must not be defeated.”
— Maya Angelou This quote, along with many others, are dotted along the walls as you make your way through history. Vivid reminders of America’s four hundred plus years of slavery, with well noted inspirational pictures and stories of those opposed to this practice throughout that time.
I come to a section that has artwork that represents “freedom” to the youth of our country today. One of my personal favorites is from Kayla Savage, 10th grader from Michigan :
Here is her piece:
The diversity of baseball exhibit is yet another example of of how people can come together under the bond of sportsmanship and play through skin deep differences toward a greater goal.
“I raise up my voice not so I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard. We cannot succeed when half of us are held back.”
— Malala YousafzaiThe turbulent time of the 1960’s is shown with powerful photographs, newspaper clipping, and magazine covers.
I end my time here going through the final exhibit reminding us that slavery, oppression, abuse and neglect are not history lessons for us to remember, but continue today. Sex trafficking, child labor abuses, smuggling….we need to be diligent to continue and fight the good fight for freedom. We cannot turn a blind eye and give up or pretend everything is alright.
After this emotional and inspiration time, I walk outside to a balcony overlooking the Ohio river and beyond into the State of Kentucky. The Eternal Flame is lit and burning brightly to remind all of us to keep hope alive.