I'm a library fanatic. I've been there at least twice a week (sometimes more) this summer. My favorite activity is scanning the New Arrival shelves and loading my bag with anything and everything.
Recently our library acquired several black history and civil rights hardcover books, and I eagerly snatched up all of them. I'm very proud of my toddler who will sit quietly and flip through hardcover books while carefully turning the pages and examining the pictures.
One evening after she went to bed, I pulled out my new stack of books and began reading each, eagerly hoping to find some treasures to later purchase and add to our book collection. But what I found was enlightening, depressing, and thought-provoking. Some of these books were incredibly raw about the hardships blacks faced. There were photographs of hangings and lynchings, stories about children separated from parents in slavery days, and poems about the evil acts of white people.
These weren't bedtime stories for a toddler.
I did find one book, The Beatitudes: From Slavery to Civil Rights, that I would consider purchasing now. With each page I turned, more tears filled my eyes.
"I am the Lord your God. I was with the Africans who were torn from the Motherland and cramped in holds of ships on the Middle Passage from Africa to the Americas. I heard them chant: Kum ba ya, kum by ya."
(At the bottom of the page: "Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs in the kingdom of heaven.")
"I was with Harriet Tubman when she fled slavery. As she led others out of bondage, I was the start guiding them north."
(At the bottom of the page: "Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.")
"I was with Marian Anderson when she sang spirituals on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial after the Daughters of the American Revolution barred her from performing in their concert hall. I was the microphone."
(At the bottom: "Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.")
"I was with six-year-old Ruby Bridges when angry whites heckled her as she entered an all-whit elementary school to become its first black student. I held her hand."
("Rejoice and be exceeding glad.")
On the last page:
"I am holy water in the stream of humanity. Drink, bathe, and be free."