For the first part of the blog post, I will write down the notes in the order I took them while watching the play.
- Beginning of the play a character mentioned how passed the lake, there is a slave graveyard that does not have any markings. Meanwhile, there is another graveyard that has tombstones. Later on in the play a character says,” you would hardly realize you’re there until you are on it”.
- The walls on the stage showed signs of residue from old picture frames but the only picture left on the wall was a big picture of the old white man. I felt like it was a sign of only commemorating old white men.
- The characters were talking about how when the house is sold, the construction workers would destroy the graveyard in order to build other things such as a Walmart.
- One quote that stood out to me was,”maybe he was a slave to his upbringing”. A character was explaining a possibility as to why their father could have had the pictures of the lynchings. Maybe the lynchings were normalized and the dad grew up in a community where it seemed okay.
- I felt like when the children could not believe that their father was part of the lynchings at first it was like how some privileged people or institutions do not acknowledge issues and try to erase history. It also reminded my of why Untold RVA is so important. Things are being uncovered from the passed that seem surprising and that were hidden.
- The father who passed was supposed to become a supreme court judge. The daughter found this as an accomplishment and as a sign of her father being a good man but in reality that is a scary thought and shows was is happing in politics and society today. Minorities do not have a fair chance in court due corrupt minds and policies that privileged white men created and try to stand by. Continuing about the daughter, I feel that she always tried to flip the script and shift blame from her father to others. She thought other people were the problem and that her father was a good man in her eyes. Also, I found that she cared more about her brother being a sex offender but stays blind to the fact that her dad was a racist man.
- In Act 2, I think they showed the dilemma of sharing and over sharing. One of the grandchildren tried taking a photo of one of the lynchings to post on instagram. In a way it is good to share things like that to educate people but it is also sensitive material that could bring up traumatic emotions from others.
- One quote from one of the grandchildren was,”All I learned is that everything is a secret” when talking about why she came to the house to learn more about her father and her grandfather. That was like Richmond and how a lot of things are hidden due to institutions covering things up.
- one thought that came up during second act was: people can be nice but still participate in cruel things. Some things were normalized. White people did not view black people as humans which made it easier for them to do bad things to them such as lynchings. This could explain why people can appear to be a good person but participate in bad things.
- One sign that the dad was racist was when he saw his son’s black college roommate and would not look at his face. He even later told his son ” keep an eye on your things” as if the black person was going to steal his stuff due to stereotyping.
- A character brought up that their son did not know the meaning of the photos because they were not taught about lynchings in school.
- I related the photos thrown into the lake as the lynched bodies floating through the river.
- “your family makes me crazy” said one of the female characters when she was explaining why she turned violent at the end. The environment that you live in makes you do things that are not necessarily “you”. The family subconsciously had the thirst for violence so then she naturally responded to her environment and became violent herself. This could also explain how some people were able to participate in lynchings. When people around you seemed okay with it, eventually your brain will think it is okay too.
I wanted to talk about how some people do not know what to do to make up for the poor past. The play mentioned how “I’m sorry” means “I’m Sore” which is the oldest ritual and part of the healing process. However, we need more than “I’m sorry” sometimes and need effort and time for true healing. People should not brush over or cover horrors from the past due to embarrassment. People need commemoration and justice. There is also an argument some people have about how they do not pick which family lineage that they are born to. So they do not have to make up for wrong doings that their ancestors made.
I also related how the family tried selling the pictures for profit and not to educate or to to try to make right to the museum we visited. We talked about how we felt the museum was artificial and was not personal at all. I feel like institutions try to make profit then really trying to educate people and to commemorate victims.