For My People by Margaret Walker: Reading and Meditation

June 18, 2020  • Todd Breyfogle

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For My People, Margaret Walker


Juneteenth marks the reading, on June 19, 1865, of federal orders enforcing the Emancipation Proclamation in Texas. “For My People” is a lament and a call for hope, not a blind or passive hope, but a call to action: “Let a new earth rise. Let another world be born.” Memory is sometimes used to cloud or erase the truth. For Margaret Walker, memory is the light of truth shining on confusion, hypocrisy, and misunderstanding. Her memorial call is for both honesty and unity, confession and healing, a call to freedom for the future despite the slavery of the past. “Let a second/generation full of courage issue forth; let a people/loving freedom come to growth.” What must we do to heed the call?

Todd Breyfogle, Denver, Colorado

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