Dr. Lorna Andrade emailed this to the Spirituals Choir after our return from our trip and has kindly agreed to share it with readers of this blog. Lorna co-founded the choir with Jim Thomas as part of the Martha’s Vineyard branch of the NAACP and has been involved with it ever since. She’s also a past vice president of the MV NAACP.
Sunday’s trip to the Royall House and Slave Quarters on the air-conditioned bus, with a nice driver as well, was magnificent.
The luncheon hosted by our choir director, Jim, was delightful and heartfelt.
Reverend Phil [Dietterich]’s organ presentation was just magnificent — he’s a true MASTER!
And our guest soloist, Elizabeth [Lyra Ross], was truly soulful as well.
The Spirits of my Ancestors were crying out to me, and I came home and wept with great spiritual conviction.
For the women to have gone through such deep mental anguish and breeding and childbirth on the floor with straw bedding, and the grueling working hours and conditions: this became very visual for me — once again, since I had previously visited these quarters in my younger years at college.
I am not leaving out the torture of our men slaves as well, but I have a more spiritual connection to the women. For those of you who have given birth, you must imagine the pain and suffering endured by each woman, and the mere fact that they had to get back up to work in the hot kitchens, and taking care of crops, and the Big House, etc.
As we sing each spiritual song, remembering each code, the language of each slave, we become more compassionate and understanding of each struggle!
Peace and Blessings,