Don’t question Angela Davis’ manuscript, Toni Morrison warned her publishing colleagues. Davis was not “Jane Fonda” but, rather, “Jean d’Arc.”
Global Black History
In 1937, a newspaper trumpeted two speculative fiction stories—“Black Internationale” and “Black Empire”— as dramatically as if they were news.
Artist Simone Leigh curated a series of intellectual sermons directed by Black women who grieved, strategized, loved, and yearned for community.
“For those Afro-Caribbean Panamanian who had lived through Panama’s Canal Zone apartheid, Brooklyn segregation probably came as no surprise.”
In the 1740s, Bordeaux developed some of the first modern theories of racial difference, even as the city profited from the slave trade.
“Consider the laughter on October 15, 1982—after 1,000 people died from complications related to AIDS—at the Reagan White House press briefing.”
“When did everyone become Black and not of specific nations themselves? Why did being Black mean not belonging to a place?”
“What would it mean to create a sanctuary for all?”
Butler’s work helps us see how time is a spiral, how the present moment is always layered with multiple pasts and underlying alternate futures.
Rather than politically utopian, Butler’s stories teach us about grief, consolation, hope, and—most of all—how to live in struggle.
“She wanted people to be curious and take action in their lives. Not be sheep. To find the ways we can work together in crisis.”
Pandemics, racist violence, climate change, democratic collapse: it’s finally clear that it’s Butler’s world. We’re just living in it.
“Are there ways in which Black North Americans connected to places and things that were outside of the world we thought they were in?”
Exponentially more enslaved Africans were forced to the lands that now make up Latin America rather than the United States. Where is their story?
“Octavia Butler teaches us,” explains Black playwright Ericka Dickerson-Despenza, “…that we have two options in Apocalypse: adapt or die.”
In 1963, a Panamanian assemblywoman took to Cuban radio to condemn the United States and its control of the Americas.
Once, Black women employed textile arts both as a mutual aid network, and as a safe space to envision a Southern Black liberated life.
Few know the film—the first feature-length film by a West African director—was based on a real-life incident, a real tragedy lost in colonial archives.
White supremacy tells us we do not belong, but we do have a place in history.