When I wake in the morning, to when I sleep again at night, I am blessed to recall the stories, of those who stepped before; my heroes and heroines, from my necessary pantheon. Their sagas boost and bolster me, topping me up with positivity, when the fuel level is low.
Since I invited them in, they have remained – bouncing around in my head, bringing buoyancy to my spirit. As well as the incessant racism they all fought, there were the individual experiences; Amy Jacques Garvey – male chauvinism (most potent, during the imprisonment of Marcus Garvey); Henry Highland Garnett – leg amputation; David Ruggles – blindness; and Claudia Jones – tuberculosis and heart disease.
I have written homages, to all the people of my shrine – though only one of the aforementioned names (Claudia Jones), is celebrated between these covers; although two are honourably mentioned, in a piece entitled Blyden Boulevard. But space doesn’t allow for them all to be placed here, as I wanted to give as much balance as possible,
concerning regions and communities, of pre-colonial sub-Saharan Africa. So there are poems looking at traditional belief, Ethiopian Christian sainthood and West African Islamic scholarship; as well as playlets of our diaspora, saluting early Black journalism.
I’m at my happiest when teaching, so choosing the content for this book, was a channel to joy – reminding me of ancestors, I hadn’t visited in a while. Sitting at the feet of the sages, I listen; some of what I have heard, I pass on here. My wish is that your visit to my hallowed place, will generate a desire to learn more – and then to pass that knowledge on. That together, we leave the Mud Hut Syndrome; gaining a balanced, truer picture, of Black history. I hope you enjoy, these songs from my shrine.