Being a young, African American woman from a small southern town in Alabama, this class is much different than any other previous history class I have had before. In earlier history courses, lynching wasn’t even a part of the vocabulary used to talk about any part of history; there wasn’t anything remotely available that would document a lynched person’s life. When you refuse to talk about a certain part of history, you are ultimately refusing to acknowledge a family’s past. When you refuse to document their lives, you erase their hurt, struggle, and pain from ever existing. There are people who can’t trace their family history due to the fact that a family member’s life was written down or talked about. I am one of those people. This class forced me to make certain connections in my life to the past that I didn’t think to do before.
Being in this class and being from a small town, there were plenty of references to the Confederacy. One of the most shocking happened when I was informed that my county was going to erect a confederate memorial. Seeing how there are people in history who were so adamant on documenting history, I saw no true reason as to why there was a need for a new Confederate statue when there are people’s lives who aren’t documented. Throughout the semester, I felt as though documenting the lives of these people was an important asset that should be prioritized. Leaving a memory and legacy of who a person was is the smallest amount of dignity that you can give a person who’s life was ended too soon.