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I’m teaching Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglass, An American Slave. Written By Himself. It’s very necessary. I occasionally run into troubles teaching race to privilege, or, not troubles so to speak, but challenges. When I encounter them this is the text I give them, and while searching around for some other LaTonya Peoples songs I play them during this week of the lesson (LaTonya People’s “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” and “Wade in the Water” and Roosevelt Charles’ “Let My People Go” and others), I happened upon this:

I bet you can’t watch just half. You are going to have to see the whole thing. I guarantee it.  I try to give them all the lessons I can about Race in America, and it is always the music that comes through to them most. I’m going to try to poem what if feels like to open these eyes. It feels a little strange, because I never know if I’m doing a good enough job, but right now it also feels absolutely necessary.

A Traveling Moon

What can I say to teach it, this course of blood and swinging, what am I going to say, swing up, sweet chariot? When all the blood said

let me, let my people go,

and I cry out I don’t want it to be a theft, just love, when I say now is the afternoon then, to wade in the water, to take those shuttered children into the water, those sleeping children, and wake them

right up, tell them to go up and up until the spilling ground is a cloud beneath them, up and up under the super moon, up there until they reach

the sweet honey on the rock, and the moon is a traveling moon.

**************

I don’t know. It is hard to explain, how I feel trying to teach a bunch of comfortable white kids about the world. I know a lot of you understand this. Here’s another mesmerizing thing to watch before you go to bed:

Night, happy Tuesday!

 

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