In 2005, Dr. Joy DeGruy Leary, a social worker and clinical psychologist, wrote a book called The Post-Traumatic Slave Syndrome: America’s Legacy of Enduring Injury and Healing. The book addressed and researched the residual effects that slavery had on African descendants—effects that still can be seen, even today. Dr. Leary argued that, much like PTSD suffered by war veterans, centuries of abuse caused by slavery has had a multi-generational impact on black culture and life. I would have to agree.

Elie Wiesel said, “For the dead and living, we must bear witness.” With this in mind, I have not become part of a generation that tire of a history engrained in pain. So, when I went to go see 12 Years a Slave, I was excited to see another movie that explored and exposed a piece of history, whether fictional or not. Besides the superb acting and emotional, tear jerking episodes of abuse, movies such as these make me never want to forget the atrocities of slavery and its after effects that still hold evident in the lives and communities of many people with African ancestry.

We are in America, in the 21st century, but —the land of freedom and opportunity It makes me think of the things that have enslaved me.