Kitty Wilson-Evans' recent portrayal of a slave at First Baptist Church of Thomson was a tremendous history lesson for young and old, alike.
The 70-year-old Ms. Evans, a former kindergarten teacher, author and slave impersonator took those of us who attended her dramatization back to an era that was very unpleasant for many blacks as well as whites - those of us who thought slavery was wrong. Yet, her story was real - one that many of her ancestors actually experienced while living in the Deep South - Alabama to be exact.
One of 14 children, Ms. Evans' story was an important one and needed to be told. It tied in greatly with Black History Month in February, as well as the 150th anniversary celebration which currently is underway at First Baptist Church.
Ms. Evans put her heart and soul into the re-enactment of a slave girl whose name was Kessie. She talked about having grown up in Africa and that one day a ship appeared. White men onboard the vessel took members of her family and friends and others from her village across the ocean waters to Richmond, Va. The city in America had never been seen, let alone heard of by those brought there - chained together.
Blacks on the ship were never told what was in store for them. They knew it wasn't good, though, because of the way they were being treated. In their different languages, many opposed what was happening to them, but there was nothing any of them could really do about it. And for those who tried, beatings and sometimes even death awaited them.
After arriving in Richmond, one of the first things they were ordered to do was to get cleaned up, Ms. Evans said during her oral history lesson. "We had to be cleaned up in order to be sold on the auction block the next day," she pointed out.
Once they were sold, they were known as slaves. Some of them were as young as 4, Ms. Evans added.
Such a cruel thing as slavery should never have taken place in America. Unfortunately, it did and because it did, I'm ashamed of my ancestors - any of whom had anything to do with that kind of an act against other human beings. I can't imagine why anyone would have wanted to do any race of people that way.
Looking down into the sanctuary from the balcony where I stood and took photographs of Ms. Evans, I thought how far race relations have come in America during the last 150 years. It was nice to see both black and white people sitting beside each other on the pews and worshiping together - the way God always intended. Let us all hope we can live and work together as brothers and sisters in Christ and fulfill the works that would be pleasing to Him!