Olde Saratoga BLM March 6/10/2020
Photos and Text by Lawrence White
In late 1990 the Klu Klux Klan marched down Broad Street in Schuylerville, NY (Olde Saratoga) in what they said was an attempt to gain new members. It did not work. Instead, Al Sharpton showed up two weeks later with 400 counter marchers and the KKK never marched on Broad Street again.
Saratoga is known for revolution. After all, the turning point of the American Revolution occurred here and the monument to those bloody battles sits on the hill above what has become known as Schuylerville. Schuyler is the family name of Phillip Schuyler who was a General during the Revolutionary War and became a Senator after the war ended. He was also one the largest slave owners in upstate NY and his statue is being removed from Albany which adds a tone irony to a Black Lives Matter march in Schuylerville.
The Black Lives March I witnessed in Schuylerville on Wednesday, June 10, 2020, was a much more peaceful revolution and was quite remarkable for that and other reasons. The people who attended were sincere, deeply moved, and passionate. You could see it their eyes as they peered over the COVID masks we all wear these days.
I would also say they were angry and embarrassed by a system they relied on that let them down over and over again. They were mortified by the ghastly killings that continue without justice and they demand a change to the system that allows it. It made you want to feel that this time it will be different. This time change is going to come.
Walking along the route with the protesters, I noticed that some of the drivers in the stalled traffic were shouting and honking their horns in encouragement. Others seemed unimpressed. One driver had his windows wide open blasting speed metal. It did not seem respectful, but that was as bad as it got. In viewing the march and the 8 minute 46-second kneeling ceremony and observing the level of cooperation with the Sheriff’s on the scene, it seemed that perhaps we had already turned the page and we are entering a new normal. As I say, it gives hope.