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“If slavery persists as an issue in the political life of black America, it is not because of an antiquarian obsession with bygone days or the burden of a too-long memory, but because black lives are still imperiled and devalued by a racial calculus and a political arithmetic that were entrenched centuries ago. This is the afterlife of slavery--skewed life chances, limited access to health and education, premature death, incarceration, and impoverishment.”
Saidiya V. Hartman, Lose Your Mother: A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Route
“Every generation confronts the task of choosing its past. Inheritances are chosen as much as they are passed on. The past depends less on 'what happened then' than on the desires and discontents of the present. Strivings and failures shape the stories we tell. What we recall has as much to do with the terrible things we hope to avoid as with the good life for which we yearn. But when does one decide to stop looking to the past and instead conceive of a new order? When is it time to dream of another country or to embrace other strangers as allies or to make an opening, an overture, where there is none? When is it clear that the old life is over, a new one has begun, and there is no looking back? From the holding cell was it possible to see beyond the end of the world and to imagine living and breathing again?”
Saidiya V. Hartman
“In Ghana, it is said that a stranger is like water running over the ground after a rainstorm: it soon dries up and leaves behind no traces.

“Stranger” is the X that stands in for a proper name. It is the placeholder for the missing, the mark of the passage, the scar between native and citizen. It is both an end and a beginning. It announces the disappearance of the known world and the antipathy of the new one. And the longing and the loss redolent in the label were as much my inheritance as they were that of the enslaved.”
Saidiya Hartman
“Myth is the threshold of history.”
Saidiya V. Hartman, Lose Your Mother: A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Route
“I, too, live in the time of slavery, by which I mean I am living in the future created by it.”
Saidiya Hartman
“If I had hoped to skirt the sense of being a stranger in the world by coming to Ghana, then disappointment awaited me. And I had suspected as much before I arrived. Being a stranger concerns not only matters of familiarity, belonging, and exclusion but as well involves a particular relation to the past. If the past is another country, then I am its citizen. I am the relic of an experience most preferred not to remember, as if the sheer will to forget could settle or decide the matter of history. .I am a reminder that twelve million crossed the Atlantic Ocean and the past is not yet over. I am the progeny of the captives. I am the vestige of the dead. And history is how the secular world attends to the dead.”
Saidiya V. Hartman, Lose Your Mother: A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Route
“No, Kropotkin never described black women's mutual aid societies or the chorus in Mutual Aid, although he imagined animal society in its rich varieties & the forms of cooperation & mutuality found among ants, monkeys & ruminants. Impossible, recalcitrant domestics weren't yet in his view or anyone else's.”
Saidiya Hartman, Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Riotous Black Girls, Troublesome Women, and Queer Radicals
“To remember what they had lost and what they became, what had been torn apart and what had come together, the fugitives and refugees and multitudes in flight were called the Sisala, which means ‘to come together, to become together, to weave together.”
Saidiya V. Hartman, Lose Your Mother: A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Route
“The domain of the stranger is always an elusive elsewhere.”
Saidiya V. Hartman, Lose Your Mother: A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Route


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Lose Your Mother: A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Route Lose Your Mother
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Scenes of Subjection: Terror, Slavery, and Self-Making in Nineteenth-Century America Scenes of Subjection
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Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Riotous Black Girls, Troublesome Women, and Queer Radicals Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments
368 ratings
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