THE ROOT: Alice Walker “Lest We Forget: An open letter to my sisters who are brave”

TheRoot.com
Updated: 6:17 PM ET Mar 27, 2008

March 27, 2008

I HAVE COME home from a long stay in Mexico to find – because of the presidential campaign, and especially because of the Obama/Clinton race for the Democratic nomination – a new country existing alongside the old.  On any given day we, collectively, become the Goddess of the Three Directions and can look back into the past, look at ourselves just where we are, and take a glance, as well, into the future.  It is a space with which I am familiar.

When I was born in 1944 my parents lived on a middle Georgia plantation that was owned by a white distant relative,  Miss May Montgomery. (During my childhood it was necessary to address all white girls as “Miss” when they reached the age of twelve.)  She would never admit to this relationship, of course, except to mock it.  Told by my parents that several of their children would not eat chicken skin she responded that of course they would not.  No Montgomerys would.

My parents and older siblings did everything imaginable for Miss May.  They planted and raised her cotton and corn, fed and killed and processed her cattle and hogs, painted her house, patched her roof, ran her dairy, and, among countless other duties and responsibilities my father was her chauffeur, taking her anywhere she wanted to go at any hour of the day or night.  She lived in a large white house with green shutters and a green, luxuriant lawn:  not quite as large as Tara of Gone With the Wind fame, but in the same style. MORE ….

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