For my 68th birthday, my family planned my second-ever birthday cruise, this time leaving out of the Galveston, Texas, port with several stops in Mexico.
Something wonderful happened during brunch. A very nice Caucasian lady, retirement age, kind and friendly as could be, was seated at our breakfast table.
She and her husband are cattle ranchers in Post, Texas, owners of hundreds of thousands of acres. She said, “Post, the cereal guy!” I thought, “Understood! She is a descendant of Mr. Post.” She talked about the heifers and how, though they are grass-fed and therefore classified as organic, there really is no organic beef because the government requires every cow to get shots to prevent disease.
We chatted about lifestyles, sharing from both sides. It was remarkable!
After a lengthy discussion, she said, “May I ask a question that may be offensive? And if it is, it is not my intention.” Of course, by that time, she had the attention of all four Grant sisters.
The question: “Why do you think there is so much discussion around the Confederate monuments?” After pausing, I said, “I think this is a question for me.”
I added, “Perfect question for [former D.C. Council member] Frank Smith, founder and director of the African American Civil War Memorial in Washington, D.C.”
Without going into an extended history lesson, I reminded her the status of the country in pre-Civil War times, when slavery in America was the rule, when Blacks were not considered human beings. When animals were fed before Blacks, and on and on.
I reminded her how the United States would have been split into two unique and different countries had the Confederates won the war. They did not win, so why celebrate them with flags and monuments? Put that history in books and museums.
Her concern was how those Confederate families want to honor their family members who were wonderful people and loved ones. She shared how sweet, loving and kind they were.
I’ll never understand why one side can’t truly sympathize with the other. Let’s reverse the roles: Suppose that my family had slaves that cleaned, cooked and worked the fields at no cost and with minimal care. The family made millions of dollars in profits. Not one dollar was paid to my slaves, and my family became very wealthy from this free labor. I and my lifestyle led to the riches of my family today. Why would I want change to allow those who were once slaves to now rule over me?
On the other hand, I believe it would be quite difficult — but not impossible — for Confederate supporters to feel sympathy for those once enslaved. In doing so, they would have to believe in God and in loving one another — only then they would feel what life must have been like for slaves during those times. Confederate supporters would actually have to be reminded of the hangings, the beatings, the raping of women and men, and how slaves lived their lives daily.
With that type of sympathy, there might be a chance to put this part of our history to rest once and for all!
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Lyndia Grant is a speaker/writer living in the D.C. area. Her radio show, “Think on These Things,” airs Fridays at 6 p.m. on 1340 AM (WYCB), a Radio One station. To reach Grant, visit her website, www.lyndiagrantshow.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 240-602-6295. Follow her on Twitter @LyndiaGrant and on Facebook.