9 AUGUST 2017 BODY OF CHRIST NEWS The Underground Railroad When our Book Club voted, and planned to read this book, I said, “Oh nooo- I'm not up to reading an old slavery book”. Of course, I said this to myself. Books on slavery, abuse and journeys to escape disturb and depress me sometimes. Yet, The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead, was that and more. I was uplifted a bit because it gave me a reason to think about what my ancestors endured. I wouldn’t be here today to testify for them. The book prompted me to give thanks and continue to move on and strive. Lest we forget. The book conveyed the experience of the mind, body and soul enslave- ment and the will to be free. While I always associate slavery to just physical bondage. I was mesmer- ized by the insight the author pro- vided about what the slave, the slave hunter, fugitive, conductor, - insights about what they all were feeling inside and out. Yes, it is a fiction novel. This was a historical fiction. It seemed to me that e the author was trying to invite me to reflect on my own ancestors’ experience, the ones who came before me. Perhaps, providing me the time to express appreciation for all they endured. Also, to gives thanks for the les- sons we needed in order to forge ahead. The character descriptions might even make the reader wonder if they recognized the endurance of our ancestors and what they had to endure. What they had to be in order to survive and travel to freedom. The main character, Cora’s description reminded me of my great grandmother – a beauty, smart, powerful, straight stature, walking with head always upright, stern while enduring the pain of the experiences she had to get to that next point in her life. Cora had different stances or poses after each intense experience that ebbed and flowed. She survived each trial and tribulation on/in the Underground Railroad with a different and unique resolve. or was it during the Underground Railroad? My image of the Underground Railroad has changed drastically after reading this book. It is a drastic occurrence, not a mere mode of transportation. Throughout the journey, there were tracks and cab compartments. That was symbolic to a kind of structure during the travel. Yet the journey was not constructive. Some of our ancestors, even the one we knew here on earth left an indelible mark on us. To have faith and survive with what they were presented in the effort to embark on this journey within the train and its confine- ments. The author described an intense desire for liberty. He introduced a character who could not read, yet he recited the Declaration of Independence. So much irony in the 322-page book. Colson Whitehead described the evil intent of slave owner, the purpose and passion abolitionist, the paralysis of the trader, the desperation of the “run- away” and the bystander who had his particular agenda. This journey on the Underground Railroad is not a legend tale. This was part of our history. It told of master against slave, slave against master, brother against brother, friend against friend in a despera- tion place to survive. To reach the end of the train’s journey, life after escape was not easy and liberty for all. It told the story of a people try- ing to be free by my any means nec- essary. So much that they would travel into an even darker tunnel wrought with further turmoil in their existence. There was a desperate search in finding goodness in somebody, anybody who had the purpose and passion for helping to set a person free, or right the wrongs of slavery. Was this the abolitionist? They were on the path. The author described the character and mindset of the abolitionists’ very well. This book was about hope, endurance, and the virtuosity of humankind. The author attempted to explore how the one who desired to set another free experience the journey of the runaway. In this book, hope did not come easy to the runaways. Hope was illusive. The author gave a descrip- tion of the free man, once he tasted freedom. Even though he left the confines of slave owner, he contin- ued to carry a sense of burden with him. Even though, he disguised it vey well. There was a sentence in the book that read, “A free man walks differently from the slave man”. Perhaps this is the lesson for todays times, walk free ya’ll. After reading, I can say that am still not fond of books about slavery. It is a painful part of our past. But there are some elements of the past that we can use to be present now and move into our future walking in awareness of hope and peace. Let’s get busy walking like we are free. Be free, mind body and soul. BOOK REVIEW OBITUARY The sun rose on the life of Mother Rose A. DeGroat on June 29, 1913 in Marlin, Texas when she born to Charlie and Lucrecy Griffith Nelson. The youngest of fourteen children, Rose grew up with four brothers and four sisters. In 1915, the family re-located to Ft. Worth, Texas. As a child, she loved to jump rope and play marbles. Educated in the public school system Rose attended elementary school and I. M. Terrel High School. She did not graduate, instead choosing to leave school and help with her family. While living in Ft. Worth, Rose was a member of Johnson Chapel A.M.E. Church. She sang in the Junior Choir. She was also a member of the Mamie Carr Auxiliary. In 1941, Rose was united in marriage with Captain Beverly in Ft. Worth. To this union were born two pre- cious children, Lugeania and Gordon. Captain Beverly was always a sharp dresser (as was Rose!). She was a lov- ing and devoted mother. In 1949, they relocated to Denver, CO. Rose united with Campbell A.M.E. Church. In 1962, Rose was united in mar- riage with Sgt. John R. DeGroat whom she met in Denver.They loved having parties and entertaining their friends. “Every-one loved being at the DeGroat house.” A woman of deep faith in God, Rose joined Jordan A.M.E. Church.She was also a member of the Gold Star Wives of America after Sgt. DeGroat’s death in 1990. Rose was employed with Rose Medical Center in Denver in the posi- tion of Nurse Aide. She was known and loved for dedication, her care of her patients and kindness to everyone she worked with. In her free time, Rose enjoyed going to church, shopping and going out to eat. She loved roses and most enjoyed lis- tening to and singing gospel music. Her love, cheery smile, kindness and dedi- cation to God and her church will be deeply missed by all who were blessed to share a part of this lovely lady’s life. The sun set on the life of Mother Rose A. DeGroat on July 15, 2107 when the Lord called her home to eter- nal rest. She is preceded in death by her husband, son, Gordon, daughter, Lugeania; parents and thirteen sib- lings. Those left to cherish her memory include her granddaughter, Jessica DeGroat; and a host of nieces, neph- ews, great nephews, great nieces, cous- ins, other relatives and many friends. Rest in peace...Mother Rose. Mother Rose DeGroat Rose A. DeGroat, 06/29/1913 – 07/15/2017 Thelma Craig Reviewed By Thelma Craig Written by Colson Whitehead