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Over Troubled Water

Strengthening the relationships between all African ancestored descendants

Sunday, July 31, 2011

We are a strong people. We will be greatly empowered when we realize that we have already overcome one of the greatest travesties known to man, American chattel slavery. I have often considered the emotional impact that slavery would have had on my ancestors. I never really anticipated I would ever really be able to remotely understand what that was like until now. After slavery, a new system of labor, sharecropping became the chosen way of harnessing the labor of the former freedman. The economic systems of labor were identical, and so were the behaviors and effects of those behaviors upon the hearts and minds of those who survived both systems.

Those families who stayed and spent their lives trapped on plantations and in labor camps suffer the effects even more so. It is time we identify the ways we are yet doing the slave master's bidding so long after he has been forgotten. I am struck by the following account of Sheba's search for love to make up for the things that were done to her, and the inability of those around her to provide the true nurturing she needed. It is a miracle she is here to provide this insight. I hope it helps us to take a second look at what slavery did to us and what we are doing to each other. First and foremost, we should do what is in the best interests of the children around us. They are the future.

Robin Foster
Over Troubled Water

What slavery did to us
By Queen Sheba

In the arms of the black man, I became a tool to be used and abused as I searched for love from the people that came in to my life to full the void left by not having a relationship with my father. Once I thought I had found it. I met a man who was very kind to me. I was about fifteen he was around twenty-five. I was crazy about this guy. He drove a black and white car with a fish tail on back. The things I took my mom through with this man I regret today and beg her forgiveness. 

Once she came and tried to get me to leave and go with her to the field to pick limes. She even had a talk with him. He told her that he had tried to get me to go home, but I would not. If anyone would bother with me, he would go to them and have a talk, and they would leave me alone. I felt protected by him. Life felt good to me. He was living in a trailer park and he would let me go down to the store and get what food I wanted to eat on credit. At the end of the week, he would pay for it. At home with mom there was never food to go around with her having so many kids.

One day things came to a halt, and he made me go home. He got very mean to me, and said he did not want me anymore because his wife was coming back. He had never said anything to me about a wife. She was in what they called the “crazy house” and she was coming home. My whole world fell apart for days. I did not know what to do. I did not want to leave this man. I was out of my head. I would go around and just hang around the trail park just to get a look at him.

One day I went off the deep end and went to talk to her. This lady could have killed me and not done a day in jail because of her condition. She said he was not worth it and that I was young and forgetting about him would be the best thing for me.

My life seemed as if it was over for me at that time, and everything started falling apart around me. Around this time, there was group of girls threatening to double team my sister. I was sitting on the stairs when my mom tried to get me up to help her. I could not move. My twin sister was a fighter. She would cut you in a minute and beat the mess out of you or whatever it took to get you off her. As for me, I hated fighting. I was a coward and very afraid.

That’s when they all started calling me crazy, but they had been calling me crazy all the time. I do believe that is when it seemed my whole family turned on me. That was the day I decided to end it all. I made plans for doing so, and I carried out my plan.

After I went into the kitchen where they all were sitting around being happy, I sat at the table not saying anything. The next thing I remember was waking up at the hospital with my head hurting and sore all over. I was taken home and never got any kind of therapy. Back then they just did not do that for black people. We escaped through drinking. While writing this, I called my mom to speak to her about it. She said she should have gotten some help for me. My mom did what she was taught. She kept on moving thinking, “this too will pass.”

Looking back on what I went through as a young girl, I realize that I wanted someone to love me, but I did not know what love was. What I have found out is that you first must learn to love yourself. This is something that I was not taught. When we come into this life, we must be taught by the way we are treated by our parents and the people that are around us. This is something that was taken from us during slavery. We were not allowed to care for each other and we were deprived of the opportunity and the memory of establishing a family.

                                                                  See Dear Daddy

We began to treat each other the way we were treated. This behavior was encouraged by those who held us in bondage, and generations later there are those who still are trapped in this cycle. Everyday a young girl matures and goes out searching to fill the emptiness in the same ways. In today's world, that could mean the loss her life. Like a wounded bird, she is lulled away by one promising false security, basic needs, and a substitute for love. When she comes to, she realizes too late she is in for more than she bargained for, and the cycle continues. 


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With the blessings of technology, all African ancestored descendants can develop an online haven where healing can take place. Let's recite and relish in our history. Let's come together to identify the principles that help us to enjoy freedom and happiness. Hopefully, "Over Troubled Water" will be the beginning of that for you. We welcome contributors who will share their history and perspectives that we may all learn and benefit.
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"I believe that all men, black and brown and white, are brothers, varying in time and opportunity, in form and gift and feature, but differing in no essential particular, and alike in soul and the possibility of infinite development." --W.E.B. Dubois
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Over Troubled Water by Robin R. Foster is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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The village is coming together! We are from many diverse groups from around the world. We invite you to use Over Trouble Water as an avenue that will spark much needed dialog. This dialog can lead to great enlightenment and healing. Every effort will be made to supplement using historical resources for further study, however, opinions or views expressed in articles reflect the contributor's life experiences and are the responsibility of the respective contributor. Comments should be addressed to the respective contributor.

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