Recent activist and academic work regarding same-gender marriage and relationships has brought to the fore supposed precolonial archives that seem to suggest that something we might call homophobia is as colonial in Africa as is the notion of the nation-state. While this archival work might be important in creating space for African queers, it fails to engage fully with what it might mean to be both African and queer, in the here and now. So what, if there were no ancestral queers? What do these archives concretize and block out of queer possibilities? While thinking with, and against, this archival record, this essay centers one family’s recent history as a calculated exercise in both memory and method. Putting older black women on the agenda evokes their and others’ freedom and the intellectual contributions of black women who have, over the years, constituted the survival of black theory and a logic of care. This is an exercise in how else one could choose to arrive at blackness and queerness and feminism by way of narration.

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