The only bad thing about my recent trip to Brazil was the timing. While my family and I were there, Americans were marking the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. I wasn’t at the first March in 1963 because I wasn’t born yet. So, I hoped to be at this one with friends from my Unitarian Universalist congregation in Montclair and from Coming to the Table, an organization that brings together the descendants of slaves and slave owners in order to heal the historic harms of slavery. These are two groups near and dear to my heart that inspire me.
Coming to the Table was inspired by the vision of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in his historic March on Washington speech that one day “the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.” On August 28th, the same day the march happened in 1963 and 50 years later, an essay that I wrote came out in MOREmagazine. My essay is about the relationship with my “linked descendants,” the people whose ancestors once owned my great, great-grandmother, Tempy Burton. So, I guess in a way, even though my body was in Brazil, a part of me did make it to the march. And somehow, while I did not orchestrate it, my UU friends met my Coming to the Table friends and marched together. That’s some serious synchronicity.
My friends, Phoebe Kilby, from Coming to the Table, and Emilia Colon from the Undoing Racism Committee at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Montclair. They were together at the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington that took place last week.
Me and my essay in the September issue of MORE magazine on news stands now! (Photo courtesy of Greer Burroughs)
Documents and artifacts I've acquired during the search for my family's history were featured in the Back to School 2012 edition of Montclair Magazine.
I want to thank the Montclair Magazine for the beautiful spread in their latest addition highlighting documents and artifacts I’ve acquired during the search for my family’s history and some of the resources I’ve used to find them. The photographer had the great idea to spread out a bunch of my most treasured documents, like the newspaper ad my great, great-grandmother Tempe Burton placed in the Lost Friends column looking for her family who she’d been separated from through slavery. Then, she took separate pictures of other items like the silver child’s cup given to me by descendants of the family that owned Tempe and a letter written by my fourth great-grandfather and made into a pillow by my artistic cousin, Monique. My town boasts a diverse citizenry from astronauts to actors so I’m humbled Montclair Magazine found room to highlight genealogy via my family’s history.