Thomas found his name carved into a brass plate.
“Thomas Porter?” Maya asked. “Why didn’t you tell me there was a monument to you in this park?”
The bronze figure stood slightly larger than life in a classical contrapposto, arm extended magnanimously out to the city. A straight, sharp nose, thin lips smiling beneath a curling mustache.
“I try to keep a low profile,” Thomas joked, “that’s why I told them to use a white guy for the statue.”
“And you were city treasurer almost 200 years ago,” Maya said continuing to inspect the monument. “Didn’t know I was dating such a big-shot.”
Thomas just shrugged and continued walking. There was something unnerving about how the statue with his name on it looked down at them.
Maya spent the rest of their walk looking up what the internet could reveal about the other Thomas Porter: an oil painting in the state portrait museum, some mentions in the city’s history, and a “Historical Porter Plantation” just outside of town.
Thomas feigned disinterest, but he couldn’t shake the image of the other Thomas Porter’s imperious smile as he remembered how some slaves were given their masters’ surname to mark them as property.
* * *
Story by Gregory M. Fox