|Daisy Century as Sojourner Truth, Dec. 6, 2015 St. Paul's Elkins Park|
Or a woman you’ve met in a genealogy group on Facebook, Marilyn Nance, learns about the event and drives down to Elkins Park from Brooklyn with her husband, combining a visit to the celebration with meeting one of her DNA cousins, who lives in the Philadelphia area. And then you learn that you and Marilyn are both related to genetic genealogist Shannon Christmas.
Or you meet local poet Bernadine Davis, who asks you about your Going Down Home project, and confirms that the process of weaving together our past and our present is necessary work, often guided by the God of Second Chances, and meant to find substance that is missing.
Those abductions into the past and Eastern North Carolina occurred over the weekend, Dec. 5 and 6th, here in my community. The two-day celebration combined music, lectures, a gospel concert, author’s table, tours of the church (built by Jay Cooke in 1861) and the replica of a station on the Underground Railroad. There were wonderful actors who portrayed Harriet Tubman, Lucretia Mott, Harriet Beecher Stowe and Sojourner Truth. There were members of the 3rd Regiment, US Colored Troops who marched, presented colors, staffed an exhibit.
There was no escaping the past – not America’s legacy of slavery, the enviable courage of the abolitionists, music that still calls to us from fields of memory.
There is no way of escaping how we are led to each other in the present.
Shango-Jamal Lewis, Old York Road to Freedom Concert
Dec. 5, 2015