London Journal – Friday, March 13

What would it have been like to be a child and a slave in the mid-1800s in USA? What would it have been like to be freed? What possibilities would have opened up?

I learned about one man’s experience of these things by reading Up from Slavery by Booker T. Washington, which I started to read on the flight here and finished today.

It is an inspiring story of rising from adversity through determination and hard work to become an educator, leader and a friend of the President. Washington’s complete freedom from bitterness toward the slaveholder who once owned him and toward anyone is a powerful testimony. His deep Christian faith shows itself in many ways in his writing.

Back to London, in the residential areas of Harlesden, I thought you might be interested in the fact that, since the streets are narrow, they paint dotted lines to show that you may park your vehicle partly on the street and partly on the sidewalk.

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We went to the British Museum today. The architecture of the Great Court is impressive.

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A main point of interest for me was the Rosetta Stone which, because of its writing in three languages gave scholars and historians the key to understanding the hieroglyphics of Egypt. What an incredible gift, that this piece was not lost forever.

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Other highlights were: mummies and the view of the afterlife held by ancient Egyptians; sculptures from the Parthenon; items from Ethiopia and the Christians in Coptic Egypt; and “Living and Dying,” a major display about how people in various cultures deal with these realities.

I learned how limited is my kowledge of these things. For example, I learned about the long and complex history of the Parthenon. Built nearly 2,500 years ago as a temple dedicted to the Greek goddess Athena, it was for a thousand years the church of the Virgin Mary of the Athenians, then a mosque, and finally an archeological ruin.

For a break, we enjoyed tea and scones in the museum restaurant.

In the evening we went to a prayer meeting of the Hyde Park Christian Fellowship, the group that goes to Speakers’ Corner on Sundays. We met at Carmen’s apartment – well, actually, since her apartment has no living room, we met in her bedroom. Living is compact in London!

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