First off, I would like to say that this class is like no other class I have been apart of. Growing up in Connecticut, I had never dealt with, seen, or even heard of any segregation or any type of racism. When signing up for this class I thought we would be learning about slavery, racism, and segregation through books. Little did I know that we would be doing in depth research on specific individual lynchings in Pickens County. The only word that I can describe through the entire class is appalling. I had the opportunity to learn and understand the attitudes and feelings Southerners had toward African Americans during this time period.
My group researched a lynching of individuals that were accused of burning down a white males cotton gin. As part of this class we took a class trip to EJI in Montgomery. In one of the rooms on a wall in their building, they have jars labeled with lynching victims names on them with dirt from the sites where they were lynched. This mural is breathtaking and nothing like I have ever seen before. I had found the group of lynching victims my group and I were researching. Strange enough I felt some type of connection seeing these names of the men and women we were tirelessly searching for online to know more about them. After that trip and getting to know more about EJI, I felt like it was my moral obligation to work my hardest to find the truth as to what really happened and why these people were brutally murdered.
With all the research that myself and the class has done, I now have a better understanding of the recent controversies with Confederate flags, statues, and museums. This understanding has made me more compassionate toward those who are and were oppressed due to racism and the old south’s attitudes toward African Americans.