Thursday, August 14, 2008

Woezor (welcome)! If this is your first visit, I invite you to scroll all the way back to the beginning to find out how this adventure began. If you're return visitor, welcome back. After a long time away from the blog, you can see that I've been working hard on adding new posts on a more regular basis!

As promised, I've begun to publish on these pages some substantial portions of the book I've been writing about finding and reconnecting with some of the descendants of the African family that the founder of my father's line had to leave behind when he was captured and brought to America during the Trans-Atlantic slave trade.

The previous post talked about how different the African narrative about slavery is from the African American narrative...

Up north where we now were, that narrative was about how scattered groups of people, tired of being victimized by slave traders, banded together and fled, or stood together and resisted, until finally, the threat of being captured was over, and they emerged from this long, dark time, victorious, proud and free.

There are songs and celebratory dances to commemorate their stands against notorious and fearsome raiders like Samory Turi. But there are no songs or dances in memory of those who were carried away into captivity. At least nobody I met could tell me of any. The stories of the disappeared, are, for these descendants of those who managed to escape that fate, stories of loss and defeat. These are tragic stories that happened to other people. And those other people and their descendants are, quite simply… gone.

After dark, if a woman in some tiny village feels afraid to venture out to the pump at night for water, because most nights when she does, she can’t shake the feeling that there’s someone walking beside her, a dark, mournful presence on the periphery of her vision; if the dogs begin to bark and howl because they sense someone close by, even if, past the dying embers of the evening’s fires, they can’t see it or smell it, and if their baleful crying makes a man turn over in the night and look, just in case, to see if his heavy walking stick is within easy reach; perhaps that’s as close to the long-missing ones that the people up here ever get.

That's the end of the chapter, "Into the North." Next week, I'll begin publishing chapter six, which is entitled, "I Would Know You By Your Feet." It deals with what happened on my first visit to the ancestral village, and how the clan elders gathered to meet me that day officially confirmed me as their long-lost kinsman.

Look for it soon.

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