When I was a college student at the United States Naval Academy, I received an email from a stranger who was tracing his family tree. My maiden name “Sistrunk” is quite rare, and it is one that we shared so he wanted a chance to meet. Since I was intrigued and didn’t know him, I thought it best that we meet in a public and safe place. I invited him to attend a Naval Academy Gospel Choir concert where I would be singing on the secure campus grounds.
I suspected he was a white male. When he arrived, he discovered that I was black. We shared our pleasantries and after such initial persistence, I never heard from him again. The unspoken truth between us revealed there was really only one way for him and me to share a last name. But you see, he thought there was no place for me in his story.
But there is a history and connected between both of our stories and indeed our lives. Both are laced with brokenness, violence, and darkness while offering a hope for a better future.
The Darkness of Slavery
I was privileged to complete an early screening of the movie, “Birth of a Nation,” now in movie theaters everywhere. If this viewing has taught me anything, it has reminded me of the interconnectedness of our stories and our brokenness. It has caused me again to reflect on the violence that takes place in the darkness.
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