A friend posted an archival photo today that made me stop scrolling my feed. It was a photo of a group of six or seven, men, women and children, that he said were standing in a cotton field circa 1776. Their faces are blank as they stand still facing the person taking the photo. Why were they standing like this? Likely because someone white person wanted to record them. Cotton plants stand nearly as tall as the children. No one is smiling. The friend who posted the photo said this is what the Fourth of July means to him – slaves working the fields, very much unfree.
It’s Bree Newsome’s revolution.
As I think of the fourth this year, I think of Black Lives Matters, and five (yes, five) black churches set on fire since the massacre in Charleston, South Carolina. I think of the woman who took the matter of the still-flying confederate flag at the state house in South Carolina into her own hands (and got arrested for it) Bree Newsome. I think of whistle blowers like John Kiriakou and Edward Snowden, who have brought to light uncomfortable things about the United States.
I think of all the unfreedom of these times. The past and the present of it.
I think of Greece too, and all the articles and tweets I’ve been obsessively reading, as I try to follow the unfolding situation. I think of how badly the issue of debt relief needs to be on the table, not off. And I wonder what Greeks will say on Sunday’s referendum. Will people even be able to travel to the cities and villages they were born in so that they can vote?
A clamoring toward freedom. That’s what the Fourth of July means. And this year the voices are rising. Let them.