On a Boat
It’s the Fourth Week of Summer Camp. Oh man. These kids! Each day we ride the waves of unpredictable.
Today, the schedule has Tennis first thing in the morning, then Swimming, then back to a normal schedule when we get back. When the tennis coach did not show up in the morning and the Chess Masters showed up after lunch, we accommodated and still had a great time. There is so much going on at camp and the computers are all so bogged down with ad-ons and viruses that I have not been able to do much online- apologies all around! But my roommate is out with her boyfiend, so I will share my today.
Yesterday all the campers went on a field trip to the National Great Blacks in Wax Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a wax museum depicting significant moments in Black history that the creators, Dr. and Mrs. Martin wanted to preserve African-American history, commemorate great leaders and role models, work against concepts of race inferiority, and work with like-minded charitable organizations. They started with four wax figures in the back of their car in 1980 and today there are over 150 figures now. The tour started with ancient Africa, the Queen of Sheeba and such. Then we walked down into a slave ship and learned about slavery, the dehumanizing violence and terrible conditions those who had been kidnapped were subject to. Some of it was rather graphic with brandings, forced feedings, one woman hung from her thumbs and being beaten for attempting to run away and even a lynching exhibit. My kids were not allowed to see that, thankfully. One girl told me today that she dreamed she had been locked in the exhibit and had to sleep in the slave quarters on the ship- try to imagine!
There were many, many important people, many I had heard of, many I had not. All of them were life-sized and almost all of them were extremely realistic so some of the kids were really scared. They look like they could step forward at any instant. Hannibal on his elephant [not life sized], Bessie Coleman, Harriett Tubman, Reginald Lewis, Sojourner Truth, Jessie Owens, and Joko were my favorites of the dozens of people. I never knew about Jocko Graves before. Have you ever seen the little statues in people’s yards of a black man in a red coat? That’s Jocko! The short version of the story is that his job was to watch the horses for George Washington while he launched a surprise attack. He was 12 and told he was too young to fight, so he stood all night holding two horses and froze to death doing just that. Cool story.
Another wave was the flat tire Bus #2 had on the way home and the 2 hours with 44 kids at McDonalds, but that’s not my story to tell.
Aaaanyways. It was a lot of information for my mostly 6 year-olds to take in and I left knowing we would have to discuss it today. Really it was a blessing that Tennis was canceled. First thing we talked about what they had seen and wanted to talk about. They all remembered the violent stuff, of course. We had them all lie down on the floor and talked about being on a slave ship for 3 months after being taken from mom and dad. Stacked row upon row with every possible space filled, never being allowed to get up- not even to use the bathroom! And definitely not to get your wigglies out. They found Jim Crow hard to believe. We have a “Camp Grandma” who volunteers with us and she shared her memories. I was really impacted! Apparently so were they because one girl said she was afraid of white people.
“Well, except for you, Miss Sarah.”
Then we talked about what “black” means? They told me that’s what they were like I was dumb or something. So we talked about “white” people. We talked about racism and how our country started through the use of slaves and how some of the things that happened 200 years ago to make our country still exist. We started losing them when we started talking about the importance of getting an education which I hope they will remember. In all reality, they only thing they are going to remember was that we did “the wave” at the very end. Because, duh, they were on a booaaaat!
Ok, so my favorite thing that happened today- when I asked who got to decide who was black and who was white and the first answers were “God”
I pray He is looking over these little campers because America can be scary, regardless of what color you were made.