A Weeping Willow Tribute to Black History Month

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This absolutely magnificient Weeping Willow grows in Dayton Virginia and is joined by hundreds more. Someone had the good sense to plant these way back when. From way back when to today, they have become the pride of the area. I’ll go back to visit if it’s only for the willows. They are so strong and spread their long willowy arms to the ground yet reach high in the sky to touch the sun. The roots below ground are just as powerful as the limbs above. 

That’s how it is with blacks in America. Those brave people who sat where they weren’t suppose to sit and made everyone take notice of the situation are the strength for those who are reaching for the sky. Some are gone and buried but not forgotten. Some are reaching and growing and planting more. But there is still unbroken ground. There is still ground where they can not thrive and we need to make a way so they can grow and thrive on their own. Until each little willow can have a chance to become the one shown above, we must continue to cultivate the land until it is ready for the planting. So much still to be done. 

I wrote an article at my examiner site if you care to read it. The title is:

Desegregation through the eyes of a white child  I tell you my journey through third grade and our first black child in the classroom. I’ll tell you why white kids did not do more.

7 Comments Add yours

  1. Les says:

    Brave of you to talk about what still is, but should not be a touchy subject. I think we are of similar ages, but your experiences were different and far more negative than mine. I grew up in the white suburbs of Richmond and around 1968 they changed the districts so that they would be a little more diverse. Each of my elementary school’s classes had 2-3 black children placed in it. All of us were curious at first, but the kids were welcomed and we all played together and my parents had nothing to say on the issue, at least in not front of us. No one was spat upon, nor were rocks thrown, however the socializing ended with the school bell. Today when I look at all of the different skin tones and accents at my son’s school, and how MUCH less racism is an issue, I realize how much time was wasted and that we missed out on opportunities.
    Thank you Les and I enjoyed reading your comment. By the time I was in High School, the ratios had evened out. It was about half and half. Any of us who grew up during that time wished it had been different. There should be no walls of prejudice because you are correct—we did miss out on some good friendships.

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  2. Rebecca says:

    Anna, I enjoy your blog and have visited occasionally, being an avid gardner myself. I think I found your blog thru Kathi at http://www.lavenderlaceandthyme.blogspot.com.

    I read with interest your article on Desegregation and felt compelled to comment. In fact, I posted an entry on my blog (www.in-every-season.blogspot.com), which came from a dream filled with memories, a couple of weeks ago. I too was a small child growing up in the deep south of Georgia in the 60’s. I found such a sharp contrast in your experience versus mine. I certainly know the horrors experienced by black families in the deep south during those times. However, my experience with the black families that were aquaintances, even neighbors, were quite different, thankfully. Oh, the boundaries were there, albeit very subtle, and the southern women of that time, both black and white, kept to those boundaries. But hatred and torment were not tolerated, or expected by those in my small world at that time. Of course we know it all happened, but it seemed like a world away for me and the black children I played with. The innocence of childhood. But I believe our families, the values we were taught, made all the difference in the world. Isn’t it a shame that not more of us were taught that acceptance and friendship? Thank you for a painful, yet thought provoking article.
    I’m glad you read my article on Examiner.com. I probably won’t ever write one like that again. I went to school with a majority of kids whose parents strongly sided with one or the other. But I would think even being a bit prejudice is like being a bit pregnant. It’s no good no matter the dose.

    Thank you for stopping by. I just love Kathi and she’s as good as gold.

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  3. Lindsay says:

    Gorgeous tree. One of my favorite quotes is “A man does not plant a tree for himself, he plants it for posterity.”
    I’ve not heard that quote and thank you for sharing it. I have never seen so many willows in one place and they were all huge. I wonder what a tree like that has seen in its lifetime.

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  4. linda says:

    I remember reading that story and being moved by it in one of your previous blog incarnations Anna. It’s a perspective that’s not included in the conversation as much as it deserves to be.

    Kudos for speaking out on segregation from the perspective of a white child, and for rising above the bigotry you were able to see through so clearly and passionately.
    Thank you and that first article was a tough one. The first one I’ve ever written on the subject. It touches my heart that you remember. I haven’t read anyone who has told the story from my same angle. There is probably a story out there like it but I don’t google and try to resurface those wounds. I’m just glad they are healing.

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  5. The lessons learned from history are so important to the future. Nice tribute.
    I really like the bottle tree link you have on your sidebar. You know I was thinking of calling some vineyards that do wine tasting and see if they would like to give me some colorful wine bottles so I could make a bottle tree. Or I could just drink the wine and enjoy building one myself. And…great article on the Folkart festival. Folkart and NC just go together don’t they?

    You and I know all about the South and its struggle with equal rights. Having grown up in it, I understand it so much more and wish I could go back and be a better person. I’d forget about being afraid and follow through with some of the friendships. I would sure like to know how some of those folks are doing today. Successful I bet cause they were smart then. I moved away at 16 and was away for over 25 years before returning for the fried chicken, front porches, and magnolia breezes. By that time, everyone else had moved and there are no known addresses left.

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  6. Darla says:

    This is a lovely tribute and do you know that these trees are one of the easiest trees to propagate? Fast growing too.
    I didn’t know that about them. I want a few for my back yard as there is a natural spring running underground. I think it would grow like crazy. They like the moisture. There are some spiral varieties that are very cool looking too.

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  7. joey says:

    I’ve always has a thing for Weeping Willows, Anna … this is lovely tribute and eye-opening post.
    Thank you. I am very passionate about Black History Month and my ability to write about it. I can only tell my story and that’s what I tried to do at the Examiner.com. I hope it will be received well. It is true and maybe that argument has never been followed. I hope to shed light on what still needs to be done but giving credit for what has been accomplished.

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