By Marion Ward
As a little girl I thought the world of my daddy. Even if my momma got mad at him, I always sided with my daddy. I remember him telling me that eating my spinach would make me pretty. That’s my favorite vegetable today. He was very good with numbers and taught me my timetables. I went to college to become a math teacher.
I would have short talks with my daddy about boys—and I mean short. My daddy was my protector.
When he stopped his weekend alcoholic days, he was the most handsome man in his Sunday suits. My daddy was always a no-nonsense fellow and rather quiet without his drink.
One day, we were talking about slavery and as usual I was doing most of the talking. I asked him about his life growing up. He told me about how he picked peaches and would sit on the back steps with his older brother to eat after working all day. I asked if he was a slave. Well, I couldn’t go in that big house. We ate their leftovers. Why you let them do that to you? That’s the question that broke him. With tears in his eyes and his shoulders dropped, he looked at me, taking a deep breath. “Peach, I didn’t know it was wrong.”
Slavery is a spirit and it is our enemy, not a group or race of people.
Many things were done to Black people that was inhuman because we didn’t know it was wrong. This opened up a lot of thoughts for me.
I felt his shame and embarrassment. It was not my intent to shame or embarrass my daddy. But he heard the anger and reprimand in my voice. You know. Don’t-let-anyone-take-advantage-of-you kind of reprimand.
How many of our people submitted to inhuman treatment not knowing it was wrong? How many accepted it as their position in life? How many bought into the lie of this is your place in life? We learned to entertain ourselves as well as others. We were used as killers in their gladiator events. We were used as objects of their sex follies. We were inhumanly used to enrich their sin sick lives.
Yet, the God THEY introduced us to allowed the real truth of HIS WORD to sustain us through it all. The power of God’s Word has manifested its power through the enemy of slavery. Slavery is a spirit and it is our enemy, not a group or race of people. An exposed enemy can be defeated.
Slavery has effected us all mentally. A plethora of mental challenges. Anger is a big one. Stifled confidence in our own creativity, substance abuse to deal with the unexplainable uneasy feelings deep inside, just to name a few.
So, being stripped is not a good feeling, but it opens up and reveals so much. Thank you daddy for suffering for my sake. These are lessons I did not have to endure because you endured them for me. WITH EVERYTHING IN ME I RESTORE TO YOU YOUR MANHOOD!!
Marion Ward was born and raised in Huntington, WV. She lived in Pittsburgh, Pa., for several years after graduating from West Virginia State (College) University. “That’s where I met my husband of 26 years. We adopted three little girls and they blessed us with nine grands. My husband is deceased, but he left many wonderful memories for us. It was rather neat to come back to my alma mater, Huntington High School, and teach students math. My 39 years in education included working as a truant officer, teaching, student support, and school administrator. Now, I’m retired and enjoying line dancing.”
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