A photo of “Memorial Arch” has been chosen to represent my day with my family in Lorain County. The Arch was dedicated in 1903 to honor the missionaries of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions who lost their lives in the Boxer uprising in China (Martyred Missionaries). The names of 13 missionaries and their 5 children who were massacred by the Boxers are displayed on the two bronze tablets. These martyrs had ties to Oberlin College- they were students or families of the students who died in the violent uprising around the end of the Qing Dynasty. The Boxer Uprising or The Boxer Rebellion took place in China between 1899-1901. It was an anti-foreign, anti-colonialism, and anti-Christian movement by the Militia United in Righteousness.

Feeling Disrespected But Moving On

Three broad things comprise my day yesterday: since I have mood disorders which are part of my existence, that is one of the elements of my day. The second category, which is vastly more important, is my family.

The third element is everything physical and external about the day, the places where we visited. The people we encountered would also be in this category of “externals.” The rude woman is part of the externals. She made the day mildly unpleasant. The lady at Carlisle Center who hollered at us for veering off too far into the garden area shocked me as well. The guests attending a private party at the center seemed to think highly of themselves as they shoved past my family unexpectedly. Several well-dressed, well-coiffed ladies brushed past us as we exited the nature observatory, which was open to the public. The smell of chili hung in the air as we made our way out of the awkward and invisible battle against social classes.

Once we were outside, we enjoyed the simplicity and splendor of nature. The Raptors in cages outside the center were more dignified than the assembly of guests feasting inside the building! Maybe they thought to pay for hall rental meant exclusivity from the public. They must’ve have been angry to learn we had the right to be anywhere else on the premises.

The Invisible Battle Of Social Classes

My spirits were lifted and strong this day, so I wasn’t worried about unwelcoming stares or harsh reprimands. I felt the gaze of security guards as we browsed the Allen Art Museum, but I remained calm. The museum was free and open to the public, so a working-class family could enjoy the same cultural affairs as those of higher social persuasions.

Because sociology is my passion, my thoughts dwell on sociological elements more than anything else. Those martyrs and brave people that founded Oberlin fought for the oppressed. Many people fight oppression based on their skin color, their religion, sex, and social status. The battle never really ends- even with monuments erected or buildings dedicated. I tried to keep those people who fought in mind as we embraced the austerity of The Monroe House, one of the buildings of our visit. James Monroe purchased the house in 1870 after returning from Rio De Janiero. Mr. Monroe was an antislavery politician, and also a professor at Oberlin College.

Inspired, Educated & Refreshed

Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass were familiar icons on the walls of The Monore House. The tour guide taught us about the other faces on the walls. These were people who took part in The Oberlin-Wellington Rescue of 1858. Thirty-seven people were charged with helping John Price escape from slave-catchers Escape 1858. I inquired about the photo of a young African-American man- John A. Copeland participated in John Brown’s (Copeland’s uncle and a famous abolitionist) raid on Harper’s Ferry in October of 1859. It was troubling to learn that the family of Copeland never recouped John’s remains. Oberlin residents held a memorial service in 1859 in remembrance of Copeland and two other Oberlin residents.

Remembering The Heroes & Martyrs

In order to enjoy a day, you must sift and wade through the harshness of critics. The “critics”- may appear to be abrasive, but they too have their own battles. Our job is to filter the animosity with class, regardless of what is occurring with our own lives and (although mood disorders make filtering others even more challenging). The heroes and martyrs were not concerned about maintaining the status quo. They were able to see a broader, more important perspective in the world.