My name is Natasha Trethewey, and I was born in Gulfport, Mississippi, in 1966, exactly 100 years to the day that Mississippi celebrated the first Confederate Memorial Day, April 26, 1866.
People are going to be living quite soon for 100 years. Our idea of how a family works no longer applies. It’s no good saying you’re going to have children for 15 years and then you’re going to retire and have hobbies, because you’ve got 40 more years to go after 60 and you’re in good health until 90 or something.
Growing up, my birthday was always Confederate Memorial Day. It helped to create this profound sense of awareness about the Civil War and the 100 years between the Civil War and the civil rights movement and my parents’ then-illegal and interracial marriage.