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From the Matthews Bridge downtown, you can see the red, yellow, and green—the colors of the Ethiopian flag—that stripe the old gothic belltower, a bright dab of color in the center of a drab post-urban emptiness.
Within these walls, former slaves shed tears, sweated, beat their whip scars with flagellant fists. In this holy space rose cris de coeur, roared and collapsed a thousand times the ghost of a chance, and soared skyward the hymns of a black Moses leading his people home. Try to imagine all the pain, cumulative, felt through every prayer. Who came here for succor? Who died? Who was hungry and given supper? Who came into the world? Who married, and who else, and whom? Who found all the truth they’d ever need and died believing?