(Comments published in the Monthly Newsletter from a congregant)
After lunch we all went to Workshops. I chose UU History 101, because I thought it would be the safest place for me. The outline said clearly that UU History 101 would be held in the Chapel. Unfortunately I went directly to the Sanctuary. After eating part of my lunch, I searched for Rev. Sydney. And sure enough I found her in the Chapel. I learn each day that I am not perfect. As one would expect, Rev. Sydney was wonderfully informed about UU History. She started out talking about Black Unitarian ministers in the 1800s. I thought that she was talking about White Unitarian ministers, because Black people were not allow to read in most of the 1800’s. Rev. corrected me and told me she was talking about Black ministers. (See below) Rev. Sydney handled the group beautifully. She asked us to take a breath after someone spoke before we spoke about what had been said. This worked very well. I can’t remember how it came up, but I said that if I feel slighted or disrespected, I always believe the other person is treating me that way because I am Black. I believe Blacks are trained to respond that way so we can protect ourselves. A woman said that she has often run into that with Blacks, and she did not know what to do about it. I said it was my problem. She should not feel guilty. I asked her to kill me with kindness and I would get over it. We shared smiles and I felt like we connected. Acts against the education of slaves South Carolina, 1740 and Virginia, 1819 Cited in William Goodell. THE AMERICAN SLAVE CODE IN THEORY AND PRACTICE. pt 2. (New York: American & Foreign Anti-Slavery Society, 1853). DINSMORE DOCUMENTATION, CLASSICS ON AMERICAN
Fearing that black literacy would prove a threat to the slave system — which relied on slaves’ dependence on masters – whites in many colonies instituted laws forbidding slaves to learn to read or write and making it a crime for others to teach
them. Excerpt from South Carolina Act of 1740 Whereas, the having slaves taught to write, or suffering them to be employed in writing, may be attended with great inconveniences; Be it enacted, that all and every person and persons whatsoever, who shall hereafter teach or cause any slave or slaves to be taught to write, or shall use or employ any slave as a scribe, in any manner of writing whatsoever, hereafter taught to write, every such person or persons shall for every such offense, forfeit the sum of one hundred pounds, current money
I wished this Workshop had lasted longer. If that is the worst I can say about the experience that’s not bad.
I wish the whole training had lasted longer. I felt inspired, exhilarated and once again in love with my UUCE community.
I have tried to be honest with this evaluation, and on a scale from 1 to 10, I would easily give it a 20. I am looking forward to getting together with others and learning about the achievements of the other Workshops and Caucus spaces