Monday, December 25, 2006

Annie Christmas

Today (for some reason) I am thinking of Annie Christmas, the name taken by a revolutionary black woman survivor who was an instrumental part in the radical black freedom mission (1859) that is usually attributed to John Brown. The orignal Annie Christmas was a legendary black woman warrior (a cross between a momma-messiah and John Henry as the story goes), and this Annie Christmas took on her name and called herself inheriting an imperative to struggle for her people. Annie Christmas moved to the United States from the Caribbean after surviving incest and conspired with Mary Ann Shadd and Mary Ellen Pleasant (and yes, John Brown) to arm US slaves and create a free black state. After the plan was discovered she suffered further sexual abuse at the hands of her captors. She finally escaped. And her story has passed on (and been passed over) And here.

In Michelle Cliff's brilliant work of historical fiction about Annie Christmas, Mary Ellen Pleasant et. al. "Free Enterprise" (read it!) she insists that we have to become "talking books". Our stories of resistance, our dreams and the visions that we act our experiences of violence are often repressed. Today I am proud of and waiting for and in love with our stories, our visions, our actions, our histories. "Talk it on."

Sunday, December 03, 2006

verily thus sayeth the Lorde

as if she knew what we were up to right now...
From "My Words Will Be There"

"It is necessary to determine how much of this pain I can use. That is the essential question we must all ask ourselves. There is some point where pain becomes an end in itself, and then we must let it go. On the one hand, we must not be afraid of pain, but on the other hand we must not subject ourselves to pain as an end in itself. We must not celebrate victimization, because there are other ways of being Black.”

“Even if you are afraid, do it anyway. We learn to work when we are tired; so we can learn to work when we are afraid.”

"I have always felt that I cannot be categorized. That has been both my weakness and my stregnth. It has been my weakness because my independence has cost me a lot of support. But you see it has also been my stregnth because it has given me the power to go on. I don’t know how I would have lived through the diffeent things I have survivived and continued to produce if I had not felt that all of who I am is what fulfills me and what fulfills the vision I have of a world.”

“There are very few voices for Black women, speaking from the center of conciousness, for the I AM out to the WE ARE.”