Black people are always on the run. Our movement for the past 500 years has always been at the evil bloody hands of white supremacy.
Our progress is measured by how far we’ve come from slavery and colonization. Instead it should be measured by how much we’ve innovated since walking this earth as the first humans.
Our ancient cultures, civilizations, languages, resources and knowledge have been removed from the memory of many American and Caribbean born Blacks. Can a society that was built on black folks’ back do a complete 360 and begin to uplift them?
I’m not sure.
The movement of African bodies during the trans-Atlantic slave trade was for the enrichment of European greed. The movement of our bodies during slavery was for the wealth of the colonies and was the milk that nursed our country in its earliest years. The Great migration was us moving to the north to escape the dirty sharecropper system.
On Friday May 1, I visited the Jacob Lawrence Migration Series exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Lawrence painted the series at the age of 23. The master painter’s collection told the story of survival within this era and it had me thinking: how much longer do we have to run away from this mess?
It’s time to go. But for our own good and everlasting survival.
Similarly, Blacks from the Caribbean moved in masses towards the later part of the 20th century. A recent report says foreign-born Blacks, primarily from Jamaica, Haiti and Nigeria, Trinidad and Tobago and Ethiopia, continue to make the move to America for a “better life.”
I also look to the Mediterranean where people from Senegal, Mali, Guinea, Eritrea and Somalia, are risking their lives to migrate to Europe to escape poverty and war stricken countries. Many of these men and women know that they will likely not make it. And many of the children are being snatched up into human trafficking.
My grandparents came from the south and Caribbean searching for this freedom not granted to them. And now two generations later, I’m trying to understand how to survive within a gentrifying city. Where is stability? Yes nothing should be just handed to you. But also nothing should be this weary.
You know the formula. Yes it’s a setup. Yes it is by design. That is why it returns. That is why we will continue to be on the run. We must find our footing in ground that won’t slip from beneath us because of those bloody hands.