I just returned home from a trip to Dearborn, Michigan. It was a lot of fun – for the most part. But, there were a few exhibits at The Henry Ford Museum that really got to me. I don’t even have adequate words for this. We live in a world where not very long ago, this happened. Why? Why? We couldn’t even share the same water fountain?
Then there was this:
Segregated waiting rooms. At first glance, I was in such shock, still angry about the signs that I didn’t even see the full impact of this. As I did, I became nauseated. If you look carefully you’ll see that on the white side, the paint on the walls is much nicer, the benches have backs to them, and are of a much better quality wood. Did you notice the placement of the American flag? And then there’s the wall – an actual wall between them.
I suppose I shouldn’t have been feeling the shock that I was. I’m a history buff and was a Political Science major in university so certainly, I have learned much about these times and the Civil Rights Movement. But honestly, seeing there in front of my eyes just had an impact like no book or movie or history lesson ever did. For a moment, I felt like I could almost sense the pain of the people who had lived through these atrocities. And yet, even that thought is ridiculous. No matter how much I hurt for them, I can’t even begin to imagine what they endured.
Seeing those sights, what they represent….the inhumanity of it broke my heart. Knowing that here we are more than 50 years later and that prejudice, that racism, that inequality still exists continues to break my heart.