Be thankful for what God has done

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 9, 2010

As my cousin from out of town and I were touring and sightseeing the City of Natchez recently, we noticed the old building and the work of formal slavery and our ancestors. I felt the need to write.

Some of the words I rewrote after going home and sitting down at my dinner table to rest and read my Bible.

I begin to have a remembrance of how things that I saw remind me of how much the history of slavery compared to farming the Delta before I graduated from high school and moved here to attend Alcorn College at Lorman.

A bit of history here in Natchez near St. Catherine Street shows the landmark where our ancestors were sold and brought in yesteryears. It is called the Forks of the Road.

The slaves were undressed, their privates were examined and exposed for everyone to see. They were shamed and treated like animals. If they appeared healthy, they were auctioned off to the highest bidders, sometimes never to see their husbands, wives, children or family again.

The Forks of the Road was a place of dreaded sadness, tears, fear, torture, embarrassment, pain, suffering and sometimes death for the black people, and a night of joy, excitement of partying and celebrating for the white slave owners after the selling and buying of slaves.

This was the life of many of our ancestors. It was awful in slavery, doing all the work that the master told them to do. They worked from sunup to sundown. Life, as we know, on the slave owner’s plantation was not an easy task. Even the children had to work day in and day out.

The people cleaned houses, raised children and attended to all of the master’s needs, no matter what the master needs may have been. And our ancestors were not allowed to speak any opinion of anything.

They tilled the land, planted the crops, hoed and picked everything that they planted.

Some of the slaves were professional cotton pickers. Some picked up to 300 and 400 pounds of cotton daily and they suffered all types of abuse.

They had little or no education. They struggled and strained for many years. Many times they cried out to the Lord for help and begged the Lord to change their condition and to help them bear their heavy loads.

We should be thankful to God who sees and knows all things. Exodus 18:11 is brought to my mind.

God is everything to all of us. God has taken us from behind the plow, taken the hoe out of our hands and the cotton sack off our backs. God freed us from slavery and the house of bondage.

Do you know we are blessed? And God keeps sending blessings our way. God put money in our pocket, food on our table, clothes on our back and shoes on our feet.

Let us start giving God the glory.

We have come this far by faith, leaning on the Lord. God has never failed us yet.

Now look around. Do you see what God has done for you? He has brought us a mighty, mighty long way. Just look at the blessing.

Now, places that the slave farmed, our children own the land and have beautiful houses and mansions built on some of the fields.

Our souls I can look back and wonder how we got over, but the Lord done this for us. Are you thankful?

Thelma Johnson is a Natchez resident.