April 19, 1968

April 19, 1968

By Charles Stone.

Grief. Shock. Fear. Shame. Those are some of the words in the newspaper headlines.

The house feels cold, empty and I’m not sure exactly why. I feel so small and afraid.
My heart is pounding, but at the same time, my mind is calm. I want to ask questions and understand why.

The pictures on the television look like the pictures in my history book. We are reading about President Lincoln’s trip to Richmond, two days after the evacuation by the Confederate government.

Black and White.

On the television, two mules pull a simple wooden farm wagon down a wide street lined by thousands of people on either side.

Black and White.

It is so quiet and I turn to ask my mother if the sound is off. She doesn’t answer, and the tears that stream from her puffy eyes stop me asking more.
I have never seen my father cry before, his head bows in shame and the trembling of his shoulders bring a chill to my heart.

The sound returns on the television and I hear the hoof falls of the mules walking the street. I watch as the procession goes down the three-and-a-half miles from Ebenezer Baptist Church to Morehouse College. Occasionally the television audio picks up someone yelling or crying. There is even the sound of women singing “freedom” songs.

Outside the house, I can hear fireworks, no gunshots. I don’t understand, is this a day of celebration or mourning? I want to ask questions, but again I am afraid. I want everything to go back the way it was, but I’m a child, not knowing what I am wishing.


IMAG0107Charles Stone says: “I am a retired educator, mentor,and child advocate. In my new life, I am a writer and colorist. I live in Pittsburgh PA USA with my wife, Cornis, and our Pit Bull mix named Tango. I am a lover of children, animals and the written word. Currently I am putting the finishing touches on an anthology of short stories depicting human interactions in an array of different genres.”

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