This week at the FPL

Today at the Front Porch Library we celebrated this past Wednesday’s 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, the 50th anniversary of the march on Washington and the 62nd anniversary of me. Miss Genia baked a strawberry shortcake for me–Abe got nothing, but Dr. King and his march got a lot of discussion. Fifty years is a long time–especially if you are twelve, but Ray, my husband happened to be one of the dots in the photos of that long ago gathering on the mall.

He told me the story, and I told the kids, about how Ray lost his job as a DC cabby for going to the march, and what it was like when that black and white photo was a living scene (he heard Bob Dylan and Joan Baez warming up).

We talked about the dream speech (Zaye said they watched the speech in school and that Dr. King talked way, way too slow). But the most interesting part of today at the library (aside from Ryleigh, Corbin and Amy showing up with purple hair) was looking at the Louisiana test administered to aspiring black voters, thirty questions that had to be completed in ten minutes without errors.

Elijah took the test, which starts out reasonable, but by the end asks questions so ambiguous you could mark any answer wrong if you chose to. We set Ray’s photo timer and he was off, getting slightly panicked as the minutes passed, the pencil slipping in his sweaty hand. He didn’t complete the very last question, and though he did well on most of the questions, he had some mistakes. The unfairness of Jim Crow could not have been better demonstrated.

Osten and Essynce returned to the neighborhood and our library after a six month absence. I had a hard time locating her partially made quilt. Maya and Hanna kept the discussion lively–and there were some water balloons to be reckoned with at the end of library time. Another fine day at the FPL.

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