They Say The People Could Fly : African American Folktales

The young woman lifted one foot in the air. Then the other. She flew
clumsily at first, with the child now held tightly in her arms.
Then she felt the magic…
No one dared speak about it. Couldn’t believe it.
But it was, because they that was there saw that it was

                                                                        ~The People Could Fly
                                                                         told by Virginia Hamilton

IMG_0272-003As many here at Writing Prompts have discussed several aspects of mythology and folklore, I have to say my favorite aspect is the way we can learn from the past. Mythology and Folklore make us wonder. Did this really happen? Did these people actually exist? Some of these stories cause us to feel uncomfortable. In a memorizing way, these stories showcase humanity and divinity, and both through the scope of vulnerability.

I was an avid Reading Rainbow fan as a kid. I envisioned myself being one of the children on the show and often rigged my parents camcorder to film myself introducing my favorite books. I remember one episode stood out to mephoto. It was startling and equally intriguing. It was the broadcast on Black History. Stories like Follow the Drinking Gourd, explored African American History and introduced difficult subjects like slavery, through beautiful art and song.

The story called Follow the Drinking Gourd, is actually a map in song form; a coded way for fugitive slaves to follow the Underground Railroad to freedom. I was mystified by The People Could Fly, a tale of slaves that took to the skies, magically leaving their chains behind to fly all the way home to Africa.

Stories like these help us remember where those before us have been and what they felt. A glimpse into their hopes and fears. Observing folklore is like embracing our histories. It can give a sense of where we are in space and time. Through the knowledge passed down through folk stories, we can come to view the world with brand new eyes. Like old souls.

Everyone of us is given the power to transcend the hardships of our present, and transform our future, instead of allowing history to go on repeating it’s mountainous sorrows. I sincerely believe that wherever one finds himself in life, a kosher perspective on where you’ve come from, only paints a brighter picture of hope for the future. ❤ Read my poem Blended Respect

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One thought on “They Say The People Could Fly : African American Folktales

  1. Pingback: Follow the Drinking Gourd | Once Upon A Page

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