Crafting Symbolic Africas in a Geography of Silence: Return Travels to and the Renarrativization of the U.S. South
2017. "Crafting Symbolic Africas in a Geography of Silence: Return Travels to and the Renarrativization of the U.S. South", Afro-Atlantic Flight: Speculative Returns and the Black Fantastic, Michelle D. Commander
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This chapter examines how Black American laypersons and cultural producers in the U.S. South have applied speculative thought to challenge and renarrativize persistent Southern myths that celebrate the antebellum period, forcing narratives of supposed pastoral pasts to confront slavery and its attendant continued racism and injustices in public fashion. It then considers post-1965 Black return migrations to the U.S. South and how these travelers within the United States have either forged separatist communities or invented their African selves as is enacted by the nearby Gullah sea island culture in South Carolina. This chapter argues that through physical movements shaped by flights of the imagination, these Black American migrants alleviate a measure of the pain caused by the initial break, and reclaim, in the face of the U.S. South’s geography of silence about slavery, connections with their ancestors, the spiritual realm, and Africa.