“Ancestors, on this day, and every day, I am grateful for your survival. May each of your spirits, and the spirits of those whose bones lay in murky depths of the Atlantic, rise up, rise up, rise up to meet and guide us, your descendants in the here and now moment. We love you. You are not forgotten.”
“On my pilgrimage to posthumously welcome America’s first Africans, I’ve had “nigger” yelled my way, danced with a Yoruba priestess, and built an imaginary wall to distance an imbecile’s spewing of ‘alternative facts’. Incredibly, I’ve been gifted insights, most of which are still manifesting. But this much is clear: Ancestors of the Middle Passage and their enslaved descendants want to be acknowledged, especially by their 21rst century descendants. They don’t care that their names have been eradicated from records. They don’t care that their sweat, blood, and tears have dripped into the earth. They care about eradicating generational trauma and ongoing institutional racism. The ancestors want the truth to set us all free from the nightmare that is racism. And the truth they’re talking about is, in part, about the historical circumstances of their enslavement. I think the African ancestors of the Middle Passage would agree with, Glennon Doye Metlton, when she says, “Every time you tell the truth, it clears the field for other people to tell their truth. And then the truth gets bigger and bigger.”
Most Black Americans have not been raised to honor their Middle Passage ancestors, or the Middle Passage descendants, enslaved or ‘free’. For generations, families have not spoken of them or opened up the tamped down horror of their enslavement. This is a problem of, ‘the root of oppression’ being loss of memory. Every time a Negro spiritual is sung that recognizes Jesus and God, the ancestors are saying, “What about me, us? We are here beside you, in you, see us, see us, see us.” They’re not asking anyone to start, convert, or depart from any philosophy, religion, or spiritual practice. Just as the study of epigenetics (traits like generational trauma stored within DNA) is being recognized, and DNA from saliva can detect ancestry, these ancestors want to be remembered.
Every time anyone says, “Get over slavery, already” the ancestors once enslaved say, “Get over? When is it our turn to be acknowledged, thanked for our survival after what we endured to build this nation?” The ancestral energy of the 20th century Civil Rights Movement grew out of the post-Emancipation ancestral energy, and expands into the 21rst century with the Black Lives Matter movement. For the myriad repercussions of oppression (emotional, psychological, spiritual, and predisposition toward physical ailments), the ancestors plead for a powerful era of self-love, for their descendants.
That’s why Black Lives Matter is to the 21rst century what Say it Loud I’m Black and I’m Proud was to the 20th century. It’s a continued resonance ancestors know is necessary to push against centuries of diminishing black lives as only good for enslavement. And for shame, all alliterations and misappropriations of “fill-in-the-blank-Matter” slogans detracting from the real-life suffering and healing of a people. BLM is literally a life and death issue, a rising up, an awakening, an awareness, for justice. Subjecting this contextual phrase and movement to ridicule or backlash, is to turn a middle-finger to African ancestors, once enslaved.” – Except from Truth’s Place: A Pilgrimage to historic U.S. Transatlantic Slave Trade Ports, Part I, an unpublished work-in-progress by Kim-Marie Walker.