The Fashion Book here brings Elizabeth Alexander who was a Pulitzer Prize nominee caters to the examination of art for exploring the pain racism inflicts on the Black Youth today through her upcoming essay collection “The Trayvon Generation”.
What do I want my children to be free mean? And, how much worry is considered to be enough, and for a mother’s worry what is the effective power? This argument will later be discussed but there is no existence of Black men without Black feminists. And, free in this context doesn’t only mean marking the accomplishments that seemingly are impossible. While it only just doesn’t mean being outspoken. But, it means to be free within ourselves, but in such a way that is legible and discernible to those who are living in our community today.
I am a Black mother, and I have two Black sons. I exult in them, their struggles, happiness, and accomplishments. And, I carry worry for them so deeply that I dream of my worries for them in my sleep. While every Black mother that I am acquainted with, has this feeling of exhaustion in their way, I think that every Black mother must dream about their fears regarding their children.
We can also say that Black is not dreaming since they are too exhausted that the dream space is without any sort of image or language, it is just darkness. If we have Black children, and we are not supposed to be fathers, mothers, or even Black for having Black children, there is a part of us that is always exhausted and always vigilant.
I tell my sons, who are Black young men, and the young people they bring with themselves to our lives, to care for themselves and each other. I tell them, also that not every problem could be solved by them, and neither do they carry any responsibility for all the woes. No one is. One can’t stop knowing the inequity. Perhaps the greatest triumph that you have to cater is to live to tell as well as bear witness to the struggles of other people.
Without communicating the care and sense of responsibility, and bearing witness, we surely cannot know whether we will be surviving into the future or not. I hope that as it was told by Langston Hughes to us we will be there surviving the future. I also hope that we will be free within ourselves. But, of course, our freedom must be reasserted and seized every day. I further wish for our young people freedom of thought, movement, and imagination. That is the reason why our writers’ brilliance as well as the brilliance of our artists is so crucial for them, to learn from as well as to call them into their self-expression and imagining.
Whereas, there is an infinite supply of stories related to the ingenious survival in our tradition and making a way out of no way. We also do not yet know what the future is like, and we also do not know what freedom is like. It could be catered to in many forms. And, I also wish for our young people to take a rest from the unending work that is brought by this race work, and what they get from the spectral anxiety that serves as a part of what being Black is like.
King in the Wilderness is a film by Peter Kunhardt that chronicles the last year in the life of Martin Luther King, as lonely as he leaves the people and the ones he loves to do the work he must do so that he may further be brought to his by his senses. The narrator of it is the friends of Dr. King as well as his associates from that time, now elders, who then tell us about that particular year. They not only are elders, but, they are survivors, and we also have an understanding of the profound sacrifice as well as loneliness that then can accompany the righteous work and visionary, as well as having a feeling of a deeper sense of King, the human being as well as the ideals that his generation-mates and he was serving.
One of the people who worked with Dr. King and other civil rights leaders is my father, who brought them to the White House for having a meeting with President Johnson and later go through the advancement of the shared goals as well as hopes of that time. He was a young man who was in his early thirties, and who was working as special counsel to the president in that potent stretch and a short history of America.
My father is eighty-three in King in the Wilderness. He leans forward into the camera when he starts speaking and raises his eyebrows for opening his face wide in urgency. He said, and I quote “They discovered only after [King’s] death that he was more radical than they knew.” “I don’t think he wanted us to take anything other than all that we deserve. And that’s what radicalism—in the best sense—is about: using the power that you have to transform the society for the better.” Among his fellow wise warriors in the film, my father is a lion in winter, still making his case for our humanity since it was the work of his life and it is now a bequest to our children.
The question that now arrives is why did I end up with my father working in a film, when he already is there with us, and I also have so many different private memories of him where he is imparting wisdom? And, the answer to this question is because there he was captured in a work of art that was lasting, and carrying on. Life was captured by it in its celluloid, canvas, paper, or digital films. It doesn’t come for me or my children, only. But, it is for anyone who is found within the sound of the movie’s voice. It is for sure, that there is no forever when it comes to our living, but knowledge and art and wisdom can live forever.