You could have freed a thousand more slaves if they knew
they were slaves. I ask my students what freedom means
One said the ability to roam widely without the
supervision of his parents. Where would he go? Red Lobster.
You have Red Lobster money? Yells the smartest student in the class.
There’s an eruption of laughter. Then silence. In the silence, I
think of black men in chain gangs on southern roads, supervised
by white men with guns. This was after slavery.
What is freedom to the unfreed who has never tasted it? I think
of you, Harriet, and your bravery and I remember the laughter
that preceded the silence. How it filled the room like clouds
in the sky. A taste of joy. A sign of freedom.