South End Stew: Passages

by Georgia McDade

Separation—from loved ones, from all they knew  

first in Africa  

then in the “new world” 

often repeatedly in the land of the free 

psychological pain and suffering then, more later, now, maybe forever 

pain transferred to children. 

 Herded, sold as if they were animals, 

bred at the master’s discretion 

barely enough food for subsistence 

shacks, huts for shelter 

rags, hand-me-downs for clothes 

bodies always at the mercy of earth’s elements. 

Heavy labor 

sun-up-to-sun-down-and-beyond labor. 

They must have suffered some of the ailments from which we suffer 

and lacked any of the treatment we sometimes get. 

Still they survived; some unexplainably thrived. 

Lashed and otherwise punished at a whim, they endured 

sexual harassment, sexual assault. 

The fear must have been overwhelming yet not paralyzing—they moved. 

Anyone lifting a voice—not to mention a hand—suffered, sometimes mightily,  

suffered death. 


We shall overcome. 

Yes, no doubt. 

But we can say of much we have overcome as we continue to overcome. 




One thought on “South End Stew: Passages”

  1. Thank you for that reminder of where our people come from and had to go through. For some reason, many people in this country and the world pretend as if it was a long time ago and it was not. It wasn’t very long ago at all!!!!

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