Place of Peace

May 17, 2010
"Mama, how much longer?"

"Not long, honey. Just stay quiet."

"Do you think they know where we are?"

"They will if you keep talking, so hush!"

We waddle our way through the sewer, as quickly and quietly as possible. It's filthy down here, and the top of it is too low to stand up straight. I don’t think the police know where we are. I don’t even know what we did wrong. I know if a white man said what we said, they would be in no trouble with the police, and everyone would let them be. It's not fair for us. We always get the worst and the least, and no one is doing anything about it. They act like they don’t care, and they act like they don’t understand us, but we're all people, and were not any different than the people above us right now-the white people; the people who can peacefully walk on a sidewalk, and not have any trouble but the trouble they cause themselves.

"It's been long enough, we'll climb up here."

"Do you want me to go first?"

"No, stay here, I'll see if there are any police around."

I'm scared. I'm scared for my mother. I'm scared we won't make it out alive. I'm scared this will be the end.

"Come on, it's clear." Her words ease my mind, and my heart slows to a steady pace.

She climbs out, and I follow her out. I don’t see anyone around. The only thing I can see is old shops and trash. It looks like it was once a busy place filled with people, but everything is burnt now. We walk to a nearby building and go inside. It looks to be an old barber shop, probably used back in the 1800's. There are a few singed photos. They are all of children smiling, with their hair looking perfect, like it does right after a clean cut. All of the pictures are of colored children, just like me. This is Alabama, probably the most segregated and racist state in the nation; no white man would allow this in their store. I think I've heard about these places. They are small towns that are kept secret from whites. It’s a place where coloreds can have a real life, and they can be treated like everyone else.

"What happened to this place, mama?"

"The white folks burnt it down. It was once a small town that was built just for us. It was kept a secret form the real world, but the whites must have found it. I used to live in one of these when I was a little girl, about your age, maybe six or seven, but I've never seen another one. They were wonderful places to live, where no one knew you existed except your parents and neighbors. We would welcome everyone into the town who wanted to come live with us, but they had to accept and follow the rules. The towns were based on true communism. In a true communist country, everything is peaceful, and everyone is treated equally. Everyone would have a job, where everyone would get paid the same and not have anything to argue about. There were only a few farmers, and they were always the wealthiest. The farmers worked the hardest and supplied food for everyone. Food would cost very little, but they would still make more money than anyone else. This is because they were leaders of the society, the ones who let the people live, and they were paid for everything they sold, so they became the wealthiest."

"Do they still have those towns today?"

"Oh yes, but no one knows where they are. They are kept a secret, remember?"

"Can we find one, one to live in?"

"The only way to find one is by looking at the stars. There is said to be a town like the one we are in now below every star, but the only hard part is finding where 'below' is."

"I see a star in the sky! Can we go to the town below it?"

"If we find the town, we will live there until we die."

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