From my living room window I can see the 7th Street landing on the waterfront. It’s deserted this morning, but if I close my eyes I can imagine what it was like when young Afro-American women sailed up from Virginia to Washington more than 100 years ago. For these country-bred women sitting alone on the hard seats reserved for “colored,” the steamships were magic boats taking them to a new life. The noise and smells they encountered as they landed were new. The crowds, mostly men, worked the winches, carried crates, and pushed trolleys along the docks that lined the waterfront. Relatives led the wide-eyed young women to streetcars that took them to their new homes, many in the Southwest…

poem by: Marjorie Lightman

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