So this Friday I watched the documentary Meeting David Wilson on MSNBC. It was about this young Black man, David A. Wilson who was researching his family history and came discover not only his own family history but that of the white Wilson family who once owned his own. Turns out there was a guy still living in the same town where the plantation was who was also named David B. Wilson. David A. calls up David B. and says something along the lines of, “Hi, I think your family used to own my family,” and David B. says, “Well that could be.” They then proceed to have a short conversation about the weather. Eventually they decide to meet.
This was one of those documentaries that tore me apart. I couldn’t turn it off but I couldn’t stop crying. Slavery really messes with my head. I cried because he found this guy. I cried because he wanted to meet him. I cried because he went down to the plantation and found an old shack in the slave quarters and stood inside thinking of the joy and the tragedy that must have happened inside. I cried because the two Davids got along. I cried as they got both Wilson families together for a mini reunion even though DNA showed no relation (that didn’t make me cry though, it made me happy). I cried as David A. went further back in his roots and traveled to Ghana, as he stood inside a slave castle looking at the “Door of No Return” and thinking of how long it took him to go back to his ancestral home. Mostly, I cried because I never could have done it.
As I mentioned, slavery really messes with my head. I get incredibly angry. When I get angry I cry. I could imagine myself having that conversation. It would have been full of cursing, name calling, shouting, and tears. I probably would have been hung up on. Then again, I probably wouldn’t have ever made the call because I already know how the conversation would go. It wouldn’t be healthy for anyone involved. It would bring back the recurring nightmares I had as a child of being chased through dense woods by dogs. Whatever poor white person I called and went crazy on would have nothing positive to think about and would probably look down on Black folks and think we were raving crazies after our interaction.
The Davids touched on a question that I have heard so many times. Although I think that it was worded less offensively than I am doing here in the film, “Do you think you have more opportunities living in an affluent society here in America than if your ancestors had never been brought here as slaves?” David A. gave an awesome answer, “America wouldn’t be the affluent society it is if it hadn’t been for slaves.” That comment was one of the few things in the film that made me smile.
1. Well they say that birds do it/ Bees do it/ Time the freak Money B gets to it. The Freaks of the Industry. Digital Underground.
2. If the music make you move/ Cause you can dig the groove/ Groove on/ Groove on. Do Your Thing. Isaac Hayes
3. Went down to the mountain I was drinking some wine/ Looked up in the heaven lord I saw a mighty sign. One More Saturday Night, Greatful Dead.
4. What’s the matter/ Why don’t you answer/ What’s the matter with me. Stockholm Syndrome. Yo La Tengo