VIRTUAL Civil Rights History Trip

We at Franklinton Center at Bricks, Inc. are proud of the work that we continue to do and the groups that we have the privileges and joy of partnering with. In the midst of our new COVID-19 reality, as we have closed our doors to hosting revenue generating Social Justice Conferences & Retreats, we are proud to be invited to host virtual convenings in new and unique ways.

Groups that have determined that place matters. Groups that have determined that the land is important to the work of justice lived. Continue to reach out to us to help attendees gather and learn together…

The Rev. Dr. Ginger Brasher-Cunningham and the congregation of First Church Guilford, UCC (Guilford, CT) who has been planning to visit FCAB for their Annual Civil Rights History Trip wondered how they might be able to make their trip a virtual visit.

They asked… Can we watch a video about the center?

To which Vivian Lucas, our Executive Director responded: “From a historical perspective, please check out the following video called the Brick School Legacy which gives some background about one of the 2 former schools from which the present FCAB ascended.  This video was produced by Dr. Willa Cofield.  

But equally important is the idea, that the history of the place is a living thing that requires time and space to be unraveled. So on February 15, 2021 First Church Guilford, UCC was able to visit Franklinton Center at Bricks.

Below is a portion of Civil Rights History Trip Virtual Style, A Reflection by Julie Fitzpatrick:

Three: Sankofa
Ginger prays for us and all those who have lost loved ones of late.
We head to The Franklinton Center at Bricks in North Carolina by way of our guest hosts
Rev. Elly Mendez Angulo and Vivian Lucas.
Welcome home, they say.
At Franklinton [Center at Bricks] they live the journey of Civil Rights, Vivian begins on 245 acres.
A property that is in part the remains of a plantation,
A place rooted in slavery and racism,
A place haunted and driven by the current needs and struggles of their surrounding
Counting on them.
The needs are great:
For education,
For housing,
For health care,
For a car,
For technology.
The digital divide is a gaping hole and [FCAB] lays down a bridge.
It is
A prayer space,
A reflection space,
A nourishment space,
An education, liberation, restoration space.
A teaching space.

Sankofa is their logo.
Sankofa is a mythical bird with feet pointing forward and neck tilted back.
Its song says go back and fetch that which is good.
That which is sustaining,
That which is whole –
And this center fetches that which is good.
Growing crops – not only cash crops not only those that bring in the dough but those that
bring about food justice-
Their vision focuses on ingesting justice-
The Metaphor fascinates me.
We see baskets of yellow and orange peppers, squash, pumpkins, zucchini, beans –
leafy greens
Weaving together a respect for the land with a respect for bellies and bodies.

A swimming pool in the distance beckons to a community
Learning to swim
To stay afloat.
There are signs in the space
Marking welcome for all genders.
Signs saying
Y’all means all
Civil rights are inclusive
LGBT rights are civil rights.

Being awake in one way means being awake in all ways.
Elly says Muslim drivers now stop at the center to pray.
The whole space asks who are you and how can this also be your home?
What do you need as individuals, as groups?
How can we be noble enough nimble enough humble enough to bend for what those
needs are and offer what we can in response?
(And while we’re at it let’s wash our hands and register to vote.)

Next we hear Trevor Noah and the struggle of
Black women,
Black suffragettes,
Black Civil Rights leaders written out of the history books – out of the stories,
Black sisters silenced:
Sojourner Truth,
Ida B Wells,
Ella Baker,
Diane Nash,
Dorothy Height.
The layers of isms

Noah says if you don’t know, now you know.
And I think now I know, now what?

We watch clips from One Night in Miami
Leslie Odom Jr. sings “A Change Gonna Come” while a house burns in the background
But Change gonna come, he cries out.

We close out on compassion and crying too.
The youngest one among us-
Video off but ears on-
Cries for the end to the divisions in this country.
His cry is a cry of caring,
A cry from hearing all we have heard.
We hold the tears and sign off from our virtual trip
Holding onto Sankofa
Determined to look back, fetch that which is good, and share it.

If you would like to read Ms. Fitzpatrick’s Reflection in full, please visit First Church Guilford