As we sang in Bethel Baptist Church, the history and meaning overwhelmed me. When the music started, I closed my eyes for just one second and saw what happened. All the pictures I’ve seen and stories I’ve heard played in my mind, and I saw the hope, fear, happiness, and anger that happened here.
As we arrived at the historic Bethel Baptist Church, my heat began to beat in the power behind the reality Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth lived. That he stood on the same ground as I was on. Though I was very nervous about sharing my speech where Reverend Shuttlesworth inspired many, all worry vanished as I began to speak. My words flowed out with greater ease than I ever believed.
I realize now that to truly understand the struggle of some people, you actually have to live it. To actually see hands on the struggle and oppression these people went through is mind-blowing.
It seems so far away—segregation in public places
It was so long ago
When we talk about it alone
But to face a person
Who lived through it
I can see how close it is
It seemed so far away.