My friend, Avis Wanda McClinton continues to challenge and educate us about both the history of enslavement and the continued oppression of black, Indigenous, and other people of color (BIPOC).
She shared some of her experiences in the Friends Journal article, My Experience as an African American Quaker.
Avis Wanda recently spoke at an NAACP Zoom meeting. This is a video of the visual aids she created and spoke about:
She gave me permission to share that video, and sent the following:
Hear my plea,
Dear descendants of slave owning families,
I’d like to ask you to share your records about the people that were enslaved by your ancestors.
Slavery produced many records, such as ” master bills of lading”. These are thorough and clear receipts with pertinent information about the cargo of human beings being transported, including shipping instructions about ports of entry and ports of discharge. There are bills of sale and lease contracts that were left behind.
The legal documentation of the disbursement of the enslaved men, women and children that your families held in bondage, are in wills, marriage records, household inventories, deeds and probate records.
Exploitative, wealthy European families kept exact records of their trafficking in dark skinned humans. These early Quakers accrued great wealth, which has been passed down from generation to generation, and now to you.
The letters, correspondence, and photographs that are selected and stored for permanent preservation in your archives at Swarthmore and Haverford colleges are historical materials.
They provide evidence and memories and tell stories of American’s history from long ago.
They help us today to understand and interpret the past and help us to learn from it, so that we all can have a better future.
Here is a related blog post: https://jeffkisling.com/2018/04/28/avis-wanda-mcclinton/
Queries from Avis Wanda:
Query: Does your faith community face the need of having honest and open discussions about the legacy of slavery with all its hurtful facets? Can we accept the strong feelings that will arise from these discussions?
Query: Is your faith community prepared to work with your local community to create a racially diverse and equal society?
Query: As a Friend would you allow another individual to insult, demean, hurt, or exclude another from his or her worship? How can people just stand there and let bad things happen?
My hope in researching the American slavery era is for a more humane world and a better existence for everyone. We are all God’s children.
We are in this together, folks.
Avis Wanda McClinton
A child of God’s