In the Mississippi National Ghetto, a twelve year old girl, her brown skin as clean as her mother could get it with rags and spit, turned off the antique iPod to conserve its aging battery. She pulled open a drawer on a wooden chest and reached inside. With a care most twelve year olds wouldn’t use, she removed a cloth patch, its colors faded, its inscription barely readable. Even though she couldn’t read—there were laws against her kind going to school—she knew what it said. Her great-grandfather had taught it to her like a mantra: 99th Fighter Squadron – Tuskegee Airmen.
In Newthistory such a squadron, such a name didn’t exist. History had been revised so it no longer conflicted with what "the people" wanted. A wave in 2010 became a tsunami, but the only history the girl knew was from her great-grandfather. Though his time in her life was brief, those reminiscences brought it to life for her.
She reached into the drawer again and drew out a plastic model of an ancient warplane called a Mustang. The silver paint had chipped and peeled in places, but its red tail, the trademark of the Tuskegee Airmen, still shined. Her great-grandfather told her many planes like this one had streaked the skies over the Mediterranean Sea and southern Europe during World War II. The pilots were men whose skin was the same color as hers. No school would teach this, no one could talk about it on pain of imprisonment. Her mother always got so nervous and weepy when the girl took the forbidden items out in the daylight. Someone might turn them in to the Ghetto Police.
The girl glanced up at the small, street-level window. It was summer, so her mother had taken down the cardboard cover for fresh air and light. Today, the girl could see a patch of bright, blue sky. Sometimes she had even seen a real airplane high in that sky, a tiny speck against the blue. Whenever that happened, she would whisper, like a prayer, "Some day, I fly a plane, too."
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