I used to have a Civil War Sunday feature on my blog for some four years. After our Civil War was over, slavery (which was legal in some parts of our country and not in others) was abolished everywhere. (Sadly, "abolished" was a relative word).
One thing we learned in post-Civil War history was that freeing enslaved people does not necessarily make them free. Both enslaved people and their owners are forever changed by the institution of slavery. You can't undo that with the stroke of a pen or the firing of a gun.
Many times, enslaved people can be freed physically, but being freed mentally is a whole other story.
Here is an amazing story of an immigrant who died in 2011 who also spent almost her entire life as an enslaved person, told by a son of the family that enslaved her. This is the cover story of the June 2017 The Atlantic.
But, in other ways, this one story is not amazing at all. This article in the Atlantic magazine has a large "rest of the story".
When the man who wrote this story had someone write an obituary for the woman his family called "Lola", he lied. The obituary omitted the truth of her enslaved condition and the years of abuse that bent and warped her, abuse (both physical and mental), hidden in plain sight from her American neighbors.
The abuse prevented her from taking advantage of the freedom finally offered her. She never learned to drive or use many modern devices.
But, at the same time, you feel for the man who wrote the article - for growing up in a household where he was raised by an enslaved person, witnessing the abuse she suffered and being (while young) powerless to stop it. He was warped by the experience, too. I do not condemn him in any way for initially not telling the truth of Lola. No, I congratulate him, for speaking of a taboo topic.
The fact that so many are commenting online about this article means that we are being made to think about an inconvenient truth - that enslavement still takes place in our country, and you may live or work near such a person, without ever knowing it.
Maybe even right next door to you.
Here is a link to the article and to what has been written in response. It is well worth reading, on this Sunday before our Memorial Day holiday.