Close your eyes and listen closely,

As you stand in this space take in the moment. 

Can you hear it?

The soft chains rattling in the distance,

The haunting melodies of your ancestors singing,

The footsteps shuffling through the sand towards the water.

This place is not for them. 

This place will not be their prison. 

Just as the lyrics to the song they sing,

The water brought them here, the water will take them away.

The time for spirits is high,

Open your eyes and watch the world come alive. 

Do you see them?

Out in the distance,

Chains so loud you want to cover your ears,

Melodies sung with such passion your eyes water,

Footsteps closer to the water making you want to reach out to stop them. 

Just as you take a step forward one turns to you.

She is beautiful and she is fearless.

In your head her voice speaks so clearly,

“This is our sacrifice, don’t let it be in vain.”

Side note: Thank you to the many ancestors that gave their lives at The Igbo Landing. Let’s not let their sacrifice be in vain. We must do better.

Someone once said that when an old person dies a library burns down.

So you mean to tell me that all that knowledge and wisdom will be reduced to ashes simply because their spirit has left it’s temporary housing?

The walks of my people will now be erased like the rain pouring down to wash away footsteps, is that what you are saying?

Well that is something I just cannot accept. 

My history will not be erased like what was tried to be done to the walls of the great pyramids. 

The pyramids my ancestors built and left messages for those to come that have now been smeared to tell an altered story. 

The story of my ancestors will live through me and the generations to come  because they will be taught to never stop telling the story’s. 

Through me they will know that their roots trace back to Benin, a country in West Africa that once was named the Dahomey Kingdom. 

Through me they will know that my grandmother hid her deaf brother in the trunk of a car and drove from Tennessee to Illinois to escape being lynched. 

Through me they will know that they have ties to the land between two rivers also known as Cairo, IL. Where race wars played a pivotal role in its downfall. 

Through me they will know that their mother and father were soldiers and didn’t hesitate to fight for their country even though many are not so understanding of who they are. 

And through me they will forever say the names Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, Freddie Gray, Philando Castile, Oscar Grant, Botham Jean, Atatiana Jefferson, Pamela Turner, Korryn Gaines, Emmett Till, George Stinney, and the countless others throughout history. 

For those names tell a story that will force the world to face a cold hearted reality that many just cannot accept, but will hear because it will never be silenced. Just like the tales from the old person that is no longer with us. 

So yeah, some may feel a library is burned down when an old person dies, but I say it’s built stronger. 

Every time the stories are told another book is added. And after all the shelves are full and there can be no more, more libraries will be built because my library will never burn down.

She dwelled at the bottom of the sea
Heartbroken from what they had done to her
They came like a thief in the night
All that she knew, they took
Her children were gone and so was her home
Placed on a strange boat to a strange land
They took everything from her except her pride
Her pride would not allow her to cower and hide from them
She would leave this world before she gave the last of her to them
Just as they came is how she left
Into the water and away from it all
She gave herself freely to a body that asked for nothing
Mother Yemaya could take her; those strange people were not worthy
Last breath taken when new life began
She dwelled at the bottom of the sea
With her arms stretched open wide
Embracing all those who wished to be free.