Witness Stone Project
By Logan Vanacore ’25
What I have learned from all my research throughout the witness stones project cannot be put into one word or saying. For it can only be described as a wrongdoing beyond comprehension.
What I’ve learned from these stories — some inspiring, some sorrowful — is that enslaved African Americans were treated as though they were animals. Some were beaten for standing up for themselves and for what's right. Enslaved individuals were mistreated for generations and even after all this time, hundreds and hundreds of years, we are now just starting to wake up and see what has been hidden away from us all these years.
In a way, it’s amazing and makes me hopeful for the future to see that these injustices are being brought to light and are now, being accounted for.
I know I have learned a lot about African Americans being enslaved, and that there was a lot more slavery in the North than I thought there was. I had no idea how badly enslaved individuals were treated: they were beaten and forced to work, starved, forced to live in houses not even fit for rats, physically and mentally abused and kidnaped and forced onto ships that were not fit for humans. So much so that many wouldn’t even make it to the shores of this so-called free nation alive.
What got in the way of my learning was not a lack of resources or anything like that, it was the fact that I could not comprehend how such a horrible thing could happen and be allowed for so long. I could not imagine what it would be like to be an enslaved individual at that time.
What helped me to learn was the kind of comfort that came to me knowing that I’m doing the right thing by accepting what's happened in the past while also acknowledging that not all enslaved individuals submitted to the injustice, but instead stood up for themselves and fought back.
I feel very grief-stricken while also very grateful, two words that don’t really make sense next to each other but that's what I feel. On one hand, I feel grief-stricken for all the kids, moms, dads, and grandparents who were devalued by greedy upper class individuals. On the other hand, I feel grateful because I’ve learned all this valuable information about my country — and the world — in the dark ages of slavery.