Brigham Young believed slavery was an institution put in place by God as punishment for bad behavior by black descendants of Cain. It was their destiny to live lives of servitude. Young felt it was blasphemous to fight against it. God would remove the curse and end slavery when righteousness prevailed.
Five men in Brown’s small army were black, a fact I never learned in school. Who were these black men, the white-centered telling of history left out, and why did they cross the bridge at Harpers Ferry that fateful night?
If teachers taught us of their bravery and sacrifice, we would know courage is not skin color. And that whiteness is not what makes us American.
“Mary Snyder Wood was more than the words ascribed to her, including faithful, beloved, devoted to her husband, mild, and modest with a sincere disposition.
Although Daniel called her Mrs. Wood or Aunt Mary, I call her Mother Mary. I hear Paul McCartney’s “Let It Be” song lyrics in my head each time I think of her.
“When I find myself in times of trouble Mother Mary comes to me.
Whisper words of wisdom. Let it be.”
I yearn for Mary’s whispers to fill the spaces around her so I can see the authentic, complete, and complicated woman she was.”
“Daniel planted our family in the soil of the Mormon church. He watered us with his loyalty to them. His faith in the gospel’s truthfulness was the warm sun, inviting us to sprout and bloom, taking hold of the church dogma with blind trust.
As adept as he was in finding good dirt for corn and wheat seeds, he did not spot the church’s tainted soil, which allowed racists like me to grow. Or maybe, the less tasteful truth is he did see it and planted us there anyway.”
“While my grandfather helped a wagon escape because his outrage moved him to take action, others were taking action to end the greed-fueled brutality of enslaved men, women, and children, living their entire lives as someone else’s property.”
“A group of pioneers who traveled together was called a company. Companies took their name from the man responsible for leading them. Some companies established rules to follow while traveling together. There were practical rules, like returning lost property to the Captains for safekeeping, tying dogs to wagons at night, and bringing horses and mules into camp before sundown. Other rules of not leaving camp without permission and pledging implicit obedience to the leaders were attempts to keep order in place.”
Once upon a time, a boy named Joseph said he talked to angels. He claimed he began receiving holy revelations as a teenager. In 1830, at the age of twenty-five, those conversations became the foundations of the church he built, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints also called the Mormons.
“Those who remained loyal to the crown during the war were called Loyalists. In 1783, after England lost, many Loyalists were offered land or monetary compensation both to lessen the blow of losses suffered and as a reward.”
“I admire a tree’s solid footing in a spinning world.
Walking in forests anchors me.
Placing my palms against a tree’s rough bark, I wonder what secrets it holds.
A tree’s fall leaves are rich with colors of death, and its spring leaves bursting with renewal remind me of the impermanence of life.”