2 out of 4 stars
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There are few things about history that have truly surprised me, but learning about how recently some major events have happened almost always takes the cake. Rosa Parks and her historical bus ride is one such example; when learning about events like hers, my brain always somehow assumes it happened hundreds of years ago, when in fact 1955 is barely over 60 years ago. That means that it's very likely a person's parents or grandparents were alive during that time (or even that YOU were alive then!), and that these events are so recent that they're likely still alive in people's minds. The fact that it's less than 30 pages long made it seem very approachable and a great place to start learning!
With as commonplace as race is in the media today, I was intrigued when I came across The Wounds Have Healed... The Scars Are Bleeding! by Lindon J King. The book aims to unite black people in an effort to work together and raise one another up while discussing a bit of the history of slavery and how foreparents who suffered through it pass that suffering on to their descendants. To be honest, as a white person myself I didn't feel like this was something I would be able to review properly even though I was interested in it, but within the first paragraph of the preface the author wrote "I aim to inform those who do not know and cannot understand why bitterness and anger are embedded in the racial divide, and why these emotions are more noticeable and pronounced in the lives of our people." This made it sound like the perfect book for me, and I was happy to dive in!
Lindon begins the book by describing a bit of slavery, including the injustices and torture slaves went through and the fact that African tribe leaders traded their own brothers and sisters for commodities. Injustices are detailed enough to turn even the most resilient stomachs, both with graphic and poetic descriptions. From here, Lindon talks about how so many people's identities have been lost to slavery, from the changing of ancestral names upon their purchase to their loss of their African heritage as a whole. He discusses how important it is that people take it upon themselves to raise their children right, stop arguing over how dark or light their skin is, and stop putting one another down and killing one other.
I went into this book expecting a lot more about recent history since half of the title mentions that "The Scars Are Bleeding". Just under half of the book discusses how the wounds came to be, and I learned a fair amount about slavery, such as the Haitian Revolution and the extent of just how badly slaves were often treated. The rest of the book primarily focused on a need for unity and a few examples of how black people tear each other down. But the book was missing that bridge between the two, how recent events continue to divide people, whether that's from a hundred years ago or things the Selma to Montgomery march. I also felt a little lied to about the preface reaching out to people like me who "do not know and cannot understand", and how those of us who don't have slaves as our foreparents can be allies. He did make a good point about how people can take the passion and fury of being oppressed in the past and do damage with it by fighting one another, and Lindon wrote that "it is so evident that the hatred we have toward each other – the acts of violence and the disrespect we inflict on ourselves – is worse than that which is being demonstrated to us by those outside the black communities."
However, I did enjoy just how much of this book does apply to everyone. Unity is something everyone can use: people of every race, religion, political party, gender, and sexual orientation. All people could benefit from Lindon's call to lift each other up and help one another. Lindon is also clearly Christian as he makes references to the Bible. He made great points about the strength and courage of those enslaved; they didn't give up despite the horrific things that were done to them and those around them, things I can hardly even think about without getting nauseous let alone imagine experiencing! This strength, courage, and dauntlessness of foreparents shows that offspring are certainly capable of the same things, and there's still plenty to battle today.
The Wounds Have Healed... The Scars Are Bleeding! was a fairly enjoyable read, and while it's a good starting point to encourage people to unite and lift one another up, it failed to live up to my expectations. It's also hard to recommend this book to anyone specific: the first half of the book is applicable to anyone, but the second half is written specifically for black people. The detailing of torture and punishments done to slaves is too dark for children, who would be my other recommendation. I also found four errors, including a few punctuation errors and an incorrect usage of the word "cargoes". I'd rate the book 2.5 stars if I could, but since we don't give ratings with half stars I'm giving it 2 out of 4 stars.
The Wounds Have Healed...The Scars Are Bleeding!
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