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Smith College Lecture

***The staff of the Jim Crow Museum receives dozens of letters and emails. Some of these communiques offer insight into race relations -- historically and in the present. While some are hateful, we have decided to share some of these letters and emails with our Internet visitors.***

Your presentation on Friday afternoon at Smith College was wonderful, disturbing and unforgettable. At the end I said "thank you for all you do" and shook your hand, but what I really felt like doing was hugging you in gratitude for helping me to grow and for helping to revitalize my soul.

I also wanted to say something as a parent -- the pain you experienced when your daughter put her head down when the kids had on one of those masks -- I can't express what I felt and still feel and am so sorry that she and you and all of us have to struggle everyday....I can get away though, can't I? I am "white."

I am mostly someone who cleans the river. The groups that I am dedicated to are basically battling the status quo in the name of racial equality, human rights and social justice. I know, sounds lofty but what can I say -- it is -- what it is. We have sponsored workshops called Healing Our Nation: Understanding the Impact of Prejudice and Race, etc., trying to promote appreciation of diversity. We are watch dogs here in West Chester (Pennsylvania). Sometimes we have to talk about the dirty river but our goal is to friends and I are in it for the duration and are doers not talkers....

I must congratulate you on your vision for the future of the Jim Crow Museum. Wish I knew some people with tons of money to send to you. If I meet any....

Your suggestion to create something is a breath of fresh air -- yes, we can do something, yes, we can speak out, yes, we can keep on, keeping on....Yes, we can present truth to lies....

I want you to know that I did as "promised" and visited those hate sites. It was a brief visit. I have to be in a stronger frame of mind to handle this amount of....

You gave so much of yourself and connected so strongly with all of us. My daughter Catherine, remember on the poverty highway, my sister Barbara and I continued talking and planning and trying to come to grips with our part in all this and what we plan to do.... Barbara was particularly glad to hear you mention Haitians! She has done missionary work in Haiti but is in it for the love of her friends and not their conversion!

Cate was having a hard time discussing how she felt about all you presented. She stands alone at times with some of her old friends. She is struggling to discover how to create her something. She sees, hears, speaks out and truly cares so I know that someday she will make a difference.

Warm Regards,
Ruth MacFadyen

p.s. Thank you.......hope our paths cross again.

-- Oct. 2, 2005