I had a good education.
I didn’t know there were holes. Cavernous black holes.
We were being taught only one slice of history.
We were learning in the dark.
I was taught Lincoln freed the slaves.
I didn’t learn it took years for all to be free.
I learned about the underground railroad.
I didn’t know it had a maritime route.
I learned that the evil of slavery was a Southern thing.
I didn’t know it was also a Northern thing, in the very town I grew up in.
My education was woefully inadequate and fostered ignorance that has taken a lifetime to overcome.
Much of what I know now I learned over time. Through my personal relationships with those who experienced life much differently than I.
I learned even more while researching my latest novel. The information I came across rewrote my own lifelong history. It changed my perception of my own personal experiences. The book was a work of fiction, but the mystery was real. How could centuries go by without the truth being known?
Shame. Embarassment. Fear. Human failings.
Juneteenth will now be a national holiday. As it should be.
This will not bring an end to ignorance, it will open a new conversation and shine a light on the need for everyone to have a seat at the table. For all points of view to be shared. For a universal truth to finally be accepted.
What we don’t know hurts all of us. The willingness to teach the whole story, and to learn from it, will be our salvation.
MJ Miller is busy recovering from a somewhat long and painful marketing career. A prolific procastinator and querying addict, her musings can be found on her author’s blog as well as a few other blogs floating in the cloud. Visit her website at authormjmiller.com where her works of fiction can be found.