Where Do We Go From Here?

“Where Do We Go From Here?”, The famous speech from Martin Luther King. No, we did not go to his memorial, neither did we learn about the philosophy of his speech. But we did go to the place that recognizes one of the things he is the most devoted to: Equality for African-Americans.  

June 21, 2011, the third day of the USIPP program in USA. It was sprinkling and chilly outside, which made it perfect to have an indoor activity. We had all our usual routine of trying to wake up early in the morning, and then have breakfast. We then drove over to The Charles Wright Museum of African American History, located in Detroit. This museum is founded in 1965 and is said to be the world’s largest institution dedicated to the African American experience. Our half-day at the museum was divided into 3 parts: the introduction, the tour, and the discussion.

The introduction in which we went through a series of art work that described very briefly the coming and protesting of African-Americans in Detroit in very early days. We saw many art works done by Guyton, who decided that the “black and white” city needed more color, and so he went around painting the city. He also put hangings on people’s houses (I actually got to see a street which still had stuff puppets hanging all over the outsides of a house later that day)

After the Introduction came the tour: And Still We Rise: Our Journey Through African American History and Culture. We playing out scenes of the story of the African-American history: from when the journey begins in the prehistoric days of Africa, the forcing of civilians through the door of no return, it’s shipping right up until how they become an integrated part of the community. It was a very interesting journey. Our tour guide made it very exciting, since he went into “character’.

The last parts is the one I consider most loaded with information. It was the decussion and lecturing by Yolanda Jack. In the discussion, we received further explanation of what we saw during the tour. Also the current condition of how African-Americans are living today. Though the racial discrimination has died down, conflicts do still erupt every now and then. Then there is also the debate amongst the African-Americans regarding their identity and where to bring their future. It is still questioned whether they have responsibility to go back to their homeland, or are they to stay put. It was a very interesting discussion, and I really learned a lot. Though I previously understood that the African-Americans had a rough time in the US during their earlier years of settlement, the experience of going through the story and seeing of “what really happened” is a great joy and very eye-opening.

-Fira

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