From this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love, honor, and to cherish all the days of your life. The wedding vows as shared between a man and a woman signify a bond of commitment, faith, and everlasting devotion. A momentous time of love and uncontrollable bursts of pure elation.
Wedding days are meticulously planned for months, even years in advance. The dress has been chosen, the flowers ordered and the bridesmaids confirmed, all 10 of them. The groom had his tux exquisitely tailored for the perfect fit and his best friends are flying in the day after tomorrow. The intricate details, the pure excitement of the special day play a huge part in what will be the happiest moment of your lives. In the modern-day, the stories of this union between two loves are reminiscent of a fairy tale. As we take a step back nearly 200 centuries, the stories are drastically different.
Slaves were not allowed to marry at their own free will as this was a right given only to those who were acknowledged as human beings. Slave owners decided who was allowed to marry, when, and if the husband and wife would remain together or forever separated for their own greed and selfishness. A marriage that was never considered legal nor recognized in the Christian church. To further deny African Americans of their dignity and happiness, women were forced to have sex with their owners, often resulting in having to bare and raise a child of a person they feared the most.
Before the emancipation of slaves, couples needed a way to create their own traditions. Jumping the broom was practiced as a symbol of love between two people. Often done in secret, this ceremony meant they were bound together for no man to come in between and this union was worth the looming fear of punishment. Historians debate the tradition originated in the early 1600s, while others declare that it began during slavery.
The response to slavery in America is widely controversial. A topic that will forever carry great pain for some and an even greater divide amongst the multicultural society is a discussion that has to happen. History is the connection of the dots.
The African American culture is one that is deeply rooted in traditions that are passed down from generation to generation. As a way of paying homage to the ancestors, this tradition is still practiced today. A symbol of remembrance, a token of love.
AJ writes & blogs from her home in Atlanta, GA. You can also find her work as a contributing writer at www.groovmagazine.com
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