Many people don’t appreciate Thanksgiving. I have lots to be thankful for, but my Thanksgiving this year was extra special. For one, I got to meet my Mom’s side of the family, which NEVER happens. But even more than that, I learned so much about my history, both ancestral and historical. So much of my family and ancestors live in the small (smaaaaaaall) town of Cameron, South Carolina, a place smaller than Cornell’s campus. It literally shuts down at 8pm. It is segregated, with Whites living on one side of the railroad tracks and Blacks on the other. Racial tension isn’t as strong as it was back then of course, but it still exists. I saw it with my own eyes.
Cotton Fields…incredible. What more can I say? There were ACRES and ACRES of it. I couldn’t imagine what it was like to pick this stuff for hours back during slavery. And the prickly things inside this innocent looking cotton…Interesting. But I won’t say what that alludes to.
This was my Aunt Ruth’s house. She died in 1993 and the house has since been deserted. It’s a block from my Aunt Ele’s house. Memories… We went inside and all I could think about was playing with my brother there when we were kids. My Mom was scared that there’d be rattlesnakes in the house (lol), so we didn’t stay as long as I wanted to.
These are the gravestones of my relatives, back to my great great grandparents. Our family has their own little plot in the graveyard. Behind the graves is another field of cotton, and behind that is the White graveyard. Yup, they are separated. Their graveyard even has the nerve to look nicer, with gates around it and everything. Sigh.
I took this pic standing outside Aunt Ele’s house. This is a peanut factory that runs alongside the railroad tracks, the same tracks that Separate Black from White.
I can’t explain in words what it felt like to be in the presence of a place filled with so much of my history. I was moved. Moved like I don’t know what…and it’s rare that I’m at a loss for words. But I just had to share this with everyone because it’s important to remember that we have much to be thankful for. I’m thankful for what my family and my ancestors have given up and gone through in order for me to be in the position I’m in today. And that is very real to me.