Sunday, February 21, 2010

Links to the Past

the second film i saw today was A Child Shall Lead Them about eleven children that integrated the Nashville Public Schools. i didn't learn anything new with this film, most of it was basically the same circumstances that surrounded Little Rock Nine and other institutions that were forced into integration years after the law was passed. something i took from this film was more an emotion rather than the beginnings of an idea or debate in my head.
the students that were still living were interviewed as well as their parents. their perspectives and thoughts during the time they were being jeered and what they think about it in made me want to talk to more of the elderly.
what kind of fascinating experiences do the patients at the local nursing home harbor and what did it do to them as individuals? do their family members know about their lives and if so, has it changed them in any significant ways? (the photos in this post are of the Little Rock Nine, although they were not featured in the film).

i've been trying to research my family history for a short while now. i was watching the documentary with Henry Louis gates Jr. on PBS where he traced the family trees of different black celebrities like Chris Rock, Oprah, and Tina Turner (i believe there was a second edition of it this month on PBS of people of other descents). not only do the participants find out the names and places of their ancestors, but they also find out their occupations, information about what they spent their money on, whether they were enslaved or not..etcetera. Tina Turner found out that her great great grandfather had sold his home and the land he lived on so that he could buy the land and the building for the only black elementary school in their small town at the time. Tina was crying and i was on the verge.

all of my grandparents are dead and the two that were living in my teens lived a good deal away from us, so our visits weren't all that often. and when they did happen, conversing with my grandparents about their childhood and younger years was not on the list of my priorities. something i now regret.
what could i learn about my direct ancestors and effects would it have on me? what if my grandparents' grandparents were free? what if i learned that some of my ancestors aided some sort of rebellion, or lead one or had escaped and camped out in the wilderness for years on end? what if one of my family members was a murderer? a rapist? or the village idiot? how would that effect me? how would that effect you?
maybe will fill in some of the blanks....?

the photos in this post are some of the most powerful images i've ever seen. the look on the girl's face that is oozing hatred; the look on the black girl's face...the attitude in her sunglasses alone...the calm, collected, controlled aura she has...
truly powerful images.

comment. think. converse with your living ancestors.

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