February 1st is the first day of black history month and a book I think accentuates this month well is Beloved, a novel by Toni Morrison.
The book is based on a historical event that occurred in the 1850’s where an enslaved black woman, named Margaret Garner, murdered one of her children and injured the rest in an attempt to keep them from ever going through the tragedies that an enslaved life would’ve surely brought them.
She had only stabbed herself and the other children so they all survived with a wound, but one did die. This occurred when she ran away from the plantation where her husband and their children, along with a handful of other slaves, were forced to work and being mistreated.
They were moments from being caught and taken back, where they surely would’ve been punished severely for the trouble they caused their master. In the heat of the moment, Margaret made the hardest decision of her life; to end her babies’.
Well in the book, Beloved, Toni Morrison writes the character, Sethe, to be similar to Margaret Garner in that she would do anything to protect her child from the cruelty that the enslaved life scars with.
Many are completely against Garner’s actions because murder is wrong, and adding the fact that it was a child, let alone the fact that it’s her own child, is unforgivable.
Throughout the novel, Sethe and her significant other, Paul D, struggle with their pasts as slaves at Sweet Home, the plantation they escaped from.
After the original master of Sweet Home, Mr. Garner, dies and gets replaced by schoolteacher, a horrible man whose name doesn’t deserve to be capitalized, life for the slaves there becomes traumatizing.
This novel is just one of her great works that have inspired many Americans, no matter how much melanin a person was born with.
Morrison tells readers the stories of the past while also developing the plot of the present story in an intricate way where the past will weave in and out of the present, sometimes so subtly that one won’t know when they are for a moment. This novel definitely shows off her skills.
Black History Month is a month to reflect on the struggles of the past, there shouldn’t be anyone to blame anymore, however, we must also show how we’ve evolved beyond racism and bigotry. All there’s left to do is help those in pain to heal and to look at the past only to learn from it and praise those who helped build the future.
No matter how many times history teachers cover the topic in classrooms, do both them and the textbooks, alike, ever really show the past in its true light?
Morrison went all out; she decided she wanted to show what slavery was and it’s one of topics that can’t be sugarcoated to that extent. Morrison exposes her readers to it all, every hard, cruel, and gruesome moment.
Though she may be subtle about some parts, the moment Sethe is trying save her babies from schoolteacher by putting them somewhere he could never reach, that moment is explained to the last detail. She even goes so far as to telling the scene from three different points of view.
Racism was thought up as an ideal for the creating of profit; to have free labor, and/or the lifting of ones’ personal esteem; to say they are part of a superior race. Personally, there are no races but one; the human race, and everyone should work together for the progression of this race.