Root Work Journal - Summoning Flight - Volume 2, Issue 1
Exodusters: A Poemification of Jacob Lawrence’s The Migration Series
Black folks are constantly instructed to "stop living in the past," when the very act of remembering (re-membering our collective history that has been brutally beaten and chopped to bits then buried beneath a ground of white fear) is what enables us to fly. In the African American Southern stories about flying Africans brought to the so-called United States, remembering the ability to fly is the key to actually being able to do it. And our flight is beautiful; rhythmic, miracle, learned. This poem seeks to illustrate the sequence of flight enacted by Black folks during The Great Migration as a means of
reminding Black folks alive today of the historically precedented power of the movement of our bodies and the resolute-ness of our collective "no." May the rhythm of their rebellion and the permeating sting of the whitelash be properly re-membered through this work.
Yasmine Bolden is a Pushcart Prize nominated Black American poet, part-time creative writing coach, and racial justice advocate dedicated to nurturing the voices of and creating accessibility for young BIPOC involved in the arts. She hopes to represent Black history in the tradition of Jacob Lawrence.
Citation: Bolden, Y. (2022). Exodusters: A Poemification of Jacob Lawrence’s The Migration Series. Root Work Journal, 2(1). https://doi.org/10.47106/12578319