This article intervenes in the debates on African American memory. After Hurricane Katrina, African Americans had to flee the Gulf, and this created a contemporary new diaspora, which shattered the traditional means of transmitting memories—extended families’ stories—as communities separated. The article analyzes Jesmyn Ward’s response to this evisceration and dispersion of Black memory in Salvage the Bones. She develops “salvaging,” which is a new form of memory and which this article juxtaposes to Toni Morrison’s concept of “rememory.” Instead of rememory’s traumas, Ward suggests that southern Blacks capture the everyday to mitigate the uncertainty of their lives. Salvaging entails scavenging old memories and rememories to forge an amalgamation of overlapping, colliding, and repurposed memories. Salvaging forges independent memory bubbles that can be reentered by descendants to celebrate the periodic losses. This article illuminates a revolutionary system of Black memory making and transmission.

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