Daniel Black, The Coming
Daniel Black’s The Coming is beautifully uncomfortable. What I mean by that it is takes you on a journey through enslavement that makes you feel as if you have been captured, placed in shackles and locked in the belly of a slave ship. It is a fictional depiction of real trauma that begot Black life upon the shores of these yet to be unites states.
Black vividly details the most horrific experiences of enslavement with the skill of Coltrane playing the sax. He takes you to the belly of the slave ship and makes you smell the stench of the air until you are forced to go outside and spit because you feel as if “you can’t get the taste out of your mouth.” These are words and ways he explains the process of death without dying that those courageous souls endured on their voyage from their homeland.
The wisdom that exudes from the page as he writes, “…we fed and strengthened our own captors. We cannot claim naivete’. We cannot say we were people undeveloped. We cannot say there no signs. We can say only that we did no feed them. Sound wisdom was as common as the evening breeze.” One of the most poignantly presented messages came when he writes about how calculated the strategy to capture them was orchestrated. The order in which they people were captured: 1. The farmers-folks who knew the land 2. The healers- shamans who could heal the people, physically, mentally and most importantly spiritually3. The jali- those who told our story4. The warriors- our strength to fight back5. The artist- the one who told us we were beautiful 6. Orators and teachers- they were muted and chained7. Gatekeepers- were murdered on sight because they alerted everyone of troubleAnd everyone else with less noticeable gifts were slaughter: “keepers of knowledge, masters of spirit, gurus of assistance, guardians of order and balance.”