After Reading Emerson's "Self-Reliance" This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   "Go love thy infant; love thy wood chopper; be good natured and modest; have that grace; and never varnish your hard, uncharitable ambition with this incredible tenderness for black folk a thousand miles off. Thy love afar is spite at home," writes Emerson in his essay "Self-Reliance." He says all men, whether rich or poor, or black or white, have goodness, and God is present within us all. Man is an individual. A living, breathing soul of thought. But man is infringed upon by foreign powers.

Slavery. The oppressive system present during ancient times and the modern era is our darkest moment. Slavery. A picture of oppression and torture develops in my mind. I see pyramids carved of stone. I see beauty and power and awe. Then, I see slaves. I see their bones clearly through their malnourished bodies. I see heavy rocks plaguing the spine. I see knees buckling under the heat.

I hear whips crack. I hear bodies falling to dirt. Their cries go silent. Mouths open, but no words. Only a horrid stench. One of pain. And exhaustion. And hatred. And greed.

Didn't anyone realize slaves are not objects to be bought and sold? They are people with living souls, beating hearts and breathing lungs?

Why was I shown this immoral pastime? I cannot change the world, but only accept what it has to offer. Its highs and its lows.

I do not know if my ancestors repented and asked pardon for their injustices, or if their souls are weighed down by guilt. No matter. I, the present writer, take shame upon myself for their sake, and pray that any curse on their souls may now be removed.

I have a dream that one day a boy will come to me and say "Sir, I have come here to stand up for freedom and equality."

And I reply, "Boy, you will run behind enemy lines and hide in a tent till the bloody war of slavery is over. Then you will return home to grow up and grow old. There you will tell my story: "there was a place called Camelot. Where once it never rained till after sundown, by eight a.m. the morning fog had flown."

Run boy, run and tell my story. ?


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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