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."

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