Friday, February 25, 2011

Savannah, slaves, and refugees

Savannah is such a beautiful city- the public squares shaded by oaks draped with the Spanish moss I'd always heard about but never seen, the river that gives so much architecture and character, and the bounties of good climate and delicious food. 
    I visited the house of Juliette Gordon Low mostly out of the curiosity to see a Southern mansion.  Daisy, as she was called, was talented in the Victorian arts as women were in those days.  She was able to paint, sculpt, and write.  Of course she is best known for being the founder of the girl scouts and was even buried in its uniform. 
     A tour of the house showed us the dumb waiter and the space that formerly housed the kitchen but there was no mention of those who kept the household running smoothly.  Were they slaves?   How often were they mentioned in the many letters the Low family wrote to each other? 
      Has slavery always existed?  The Romans had slaves as did the Arabians and the Africans.  There have been and still are, jobs that are just one step from slavery.  And what about modern day sexual slavery? 
       So I will read "A Mercy" by Toni Morrison which gives a voice to those voices missing from history.  And I recommend "Purge" by Sofi Oksanen which tells the story of an Estonian woman, a victim of sex trafficking, who escapes from her captors.
      A brighter, more generous aspect of America is its openness in accepting refugees regardless of their level of education and helping them resettle in the US.  Congress is threatening to cut this program.  Please consider contacting your senators to keep this  program that has contributed so much to this land of immigrants, alive.
Thank you!

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