Truth Be Told - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1838698

Truth Be Told

As loving parents, we are responsible to prepare our children for the real world. Yes? We are to guide and teach them — teach them from the simplicity of tying their shoes and brushing their teeth, to driving a car, to themselves becoming responsible individuals. Morally right from wrong is perhaps a given essential as well. The truth should be told.

Much of our history is becoming “unhidden treasures,” giving light to a revealing of a phenomenal intellect and injustice contrary to what is known. Black Wall Street, Emmett Till, Pyrrhus Concer and too much more are part of the story.

Why should students know all the truth? Because to tell only one part of the story (our history) is essentially to lie. A story (our history) is true only when it’s complete.

It takes courage to be enlightened and courage to bring the truth out of the obscured darkness. The courage to hear and tell the whole story, leaving nothing out. The good, the bad and the ugly truth of it all. The courage to say you were wrong. The courage to know we can do better. The courage to take action and not stall with useless planning and discussion. The courage to right a wrong as glaringly painful as it might be, only to cross through the healing river of redemption and forgiveness.

No, we cannot change the past, but we can and must change our blindness to the past. Who should tell the story? A harmonious project of remembering. Remembering the profound contributions with solemn honesty and respect.

Pyrrhus Concer prayers linger over Lake Agawam and Pond Lane. Prayers of compassion for the widows who lost their husbands at sea. Prayers that students will be privy to a great and complete education. (He started a Widows and Educational Fund at the local Presbyterian Church — to date, the Educational Fund is still active.)

Pyrrhus Concer, a former slave, said to be born in Cooper Hall here in the Village of Southampton, taken from his mom at 5 years old to work on the Pelletreau farm, truly represents unrelenting courage and hope in a better future. Courage and hope are intertwined. Courage is an act of hope. And hope is born of courage. Nothing more to the essential spirit than hope.

“Though born a slave, (Pyrrhus Concer) possessed virtues, without which kings are but slaves.”

Let the truth be told.

Brenda Simmons

Co-founder and executive director

Southampton African American Museum

Southampton Village


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