My View From The Steps Of Old Main: A Protest Memoir

We lied motionless as death. Cold and stately concrete pressed against us. Mist touched our bodies steadily and obliviously.

I have read of and experienced white gaze conceptually but never physically until now. I see smirks and smiles and awe and disregard. I see judgements being made in the spirit of the Roman coliseum, threatening to label my life and my actions as one thing or another.

I see reluctance from wannabe allies as well as black brothers and sisters. I see solidarity in the relieving of backpacks to die in instead of being early to class.

I see a folded and wind-tinted American flag against the gray backdrop of our state of affairs, I mean of the clouds in the sky.

I hear laughter, and I hear my thought reaching for a good reason why it’s there but finding nothing except the dust of oppression that has built up on our immobilized spirits.

But in moments like these, I remember that we are not entirely debilitated. We died in, because we were moved to die with MikeEricTrayvonAiyanaSean….AmadouRodney…MartinMalcolm…us.

And move we did.

And move we will.

Stony the road we trod,
Bitter the chastening rod,
Felt in the days when hope unborn had died;
Yet with a steady beat,
Have not our weary feet
Come to the place for which our fathers sighed?
We have come over a way that with tears has been watered,
We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered,
Out from the gloomy past,
Till now we stand at last
Where the white gleam of our bright star is cast.”

– Lift Every Voice And Sing by James Weldon Johnson


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