Separate but Equal

The lawn was a rich green. As many as 500 graves were lined an inch apart, each adorned with a bronze vase full of flowers. “This is one of the few cemeteries in Charleston that isn’t underneath a church parking lot, or squashed between bed and breakfasts and museums,” the tour guide said.

“So where are the slaves whose lashed backs this city was built on?” a man asked. He wore a solid black t-shirt. On the front were the words, “Black Lives Matter.”

“Well… It’s been moved… to account for the expansion of this… graveyard, but…” The tour guide pointed toward the far edge of the cemetery where shrubs and weeds were overgrown, and dead tree limbs hung over faded, forgotten names etched into tombstones stacked nearly on top of each other. “As was customary in the South… graveyards were… segregated.”

“How could anyone call that resting in peace?” the man asked, but half of the group had already started back for the bus, not wanting Charleston’s racial history to ruin their vacation.

word count: 174


Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers is a weekly challenge where you write a story in 100-150 words (give or take 25 words) using the provided photo prompt as inspiration.

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23 thoughts on “Separate but Equal

  1. So much truth here! It’s most definitely not resting in peace when people 1) performed these acts of segregation in the past and 2) these acts remain unacknowledged and willfully ignored in the present day. Stories like this need to be written, art shows the truth that racism still exists and change needs to happen. And this story is very well written, too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. I think people pay more attention to stories or poetry than let’s say, a Facebook rant, so I hope my words and the words of others can get to the masses and change the world!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A really interesting fact that even the grave yards were segregated. How sad and awful. I wish that the racism would finally stop today.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wish so too. I wish people would just grow up and realize that there’s always gonna be someone different. Learn to accept them for who they are or go jump off a cliff. We don’t need idiot people like that in our world.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh this is heartbreaking–and so well done. I wish I could say something wise, hopeful, comforting; the pain of recent events is so raw for anyone with an ounce of sensitivity. And there’s a part of me that just can’t accept it’s real–how can people hate so much?? It’s just stunningly beyond comprehension. I’m amazed by your talent–that you’ve been writing since age 3–good glory, God has really gifted you Big-Time. Bless you, thanks for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. 🙂 It’s so hard to believe the insensitivity that seems to be rampant these days. Fiction is my safe place. Instead of Facebook rants, I prefer to write stories. Hopefully they capture the reality of the world in words that everyone can understand.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I am in total agreement with the majority of the writers who have filled your comment flow with words of abhorrence of racism in all its forms ~ You are a good writer Nortina! A good piece of work ~ Well written.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I remember being 21 or 22 in New Orleans and being told that there were two “kinds” of cemeteries.
    We live in a better time, but it’s still not good enough.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is so sad. Sadly, that was the way things were. It reminds me of how some people put other people down to make themselves look better. This is basically the same thing. (Being racist). We were ignorant people back then, and ignorance bred ignorance. I hope we have gotten past this by leaps and bounds. I hope we continue overcoming it. That was a terrible thing that happened in Charleston and I hope it never happens again. I can’t help but think the man that did it isn’t just a racist but is also mentally ill. Back to your story, it is sad that the graveyard is segregated but there is no excuse in leaving it in disrepair.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I just hope that what happened in Charleston and in other parts of the country is an eye-opener to those people who still choose to ignore the blatant racism and prejudice in this country & in this world. A lot of people think that minorities just complain and complain, calling everything racist. While some things may be an overreaction, THIS ONE definitely isn’t.

      Anyway that was my rant for the day. Thanks for reading. 🙂 The story wasn’t initially about Charleston. The photo just took me back to the history of segregated cemeteries in the South.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t blame you for feeling the way you feel. I’m glad you are honest and open about it. I certainly hope for the end of racism everywhere because it is ignorant people that are racists. Segregated graveyards are and were disgusting. They show our blatant ignorance.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Were you inspired by the recent events in Charleston, S.C.? I very much liked your writing, it holds a stark realism to current events that you don’t often find in flash fiction.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This piece wasn’t particularly inspired by the recent events in Charleston, but it’s definitely related. My family is from Charleston, so I will write about it often. I would say this story exposes the willful ignorance people have of America’s racist history. Even in the midst of the racially charged events of the past several months, people are still stubborn in that willful ignorance. However, one day they are going to have to realize that simply ignoring it will not make the problem go away.

      Liked by 1 person

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