As a storyteller/musician it is my honor to share the gift of music created by my ancestors in my one-man concert (SOS) Saving Our Spiritual Roots. It is also my honor to share with you places I have found on the Underground Railroad, that gave me a real sense of pride in all that my ancestors accomplished in spite of what they endured in bondage. It made me realize how strong and vibrant the slaves were and the vital role they played in securing freedom for all people in America. I knew with the spirituals they created that the songs were powerful tools they used to help change the mindset of a country to end legalized slavery. Slavery is immoral anywhere or at any time in human history, period. The slave is not only dehumanized by slavery, but so too is the person enslaving another human being for personal gain. We can’t change history, but what we can do is see what all the people did both slave and oppressor. Looking at the people rather than the institution of slavery, let’s us see better the life they actually lived.
To see the place where Harriet Tubman was born and raised, and the Bucktown Village Store, in Dorchester County MD, where the overseer hit Harriet in the head with an iron weight, that changed her life forever was inspiring and grounding at the same time. Seeing for myself first hand made it real for me. It proves just how much an impact the slaves had on American values and culture, all of it, the good, the bad and the ugly. Keeping it real removes the myths, straight up. I like that. And seeing it for myself, allowed me to see how strong, smart and beautiful my ancestors really were. Jay and Susan Meredith have restored this store, with their own time and money. They too, believe Harriet Tubman is an American hero, and wanted to do what they could to preserve this history for all of us. They are Americans coming together to preserve our history in spite of the ravages slavery had on our soil.
We need to embrace and share our diverse cultures with each other as Americans. Join me as I take you on my own personal journey to know the cultural heritage of my ancestors. It is an amazing journey getting to know my own culture and share with others as they share their cultures with me. I hope to inspire creativity, activism, music and art as I believe they go hand in hand. Music and art reflects the true essence of what is going on within society in each generation. Our diverse cultural heritage, our music and our art as Americans are extremely valuable. Celebrate our cultural heritage with me! Visit historic sites on the UGRR, you won’t regret you did!