Picture of Family

My artifact is a picture taken of my great grandmother, her 2 bothers and 1 sister and her mother (my great great grandmother). My great grandmother’s name is Gladys and was about 7 or 8 in the picture. Her mother’s name was Ophelia. They originated from Panama and were slaves around the 1800’s. The picture is special because is a piece of history. It shows me where I come from and helps me understand where I am going. In the picture are my great grandmother’s siblings. In the 1800’s one day they went outside and never came back. To this day no one knows what happened to them. The family believed they were kidnapped and killed for being dark skinned. I can’t quite infer anything from just looking at the picture. This picture came to me from my Grandmother who currently lives in Georgia; she gave it to my mother years ago and explained the history to her. Last night, she sat down and explained it all to me. I was shocked to hear that my great aunt and 2 great uncles could have been killed for being dark skinned. My grandmother married a dark skinned Trinidadian man at a young age. This makes my mother Trinidadian and Panamanian, and she married an African American man; this makes me Trinidadian, Panamanian and American. Living in New York today is a bit scary because in a time like this what do I identify as? A Trinidadian woman who doesn’t speak Creole but has specific traditions? A Panamanian woman who doesn’t speak Spanish but looks black?

Year: 1800

– monae bates

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