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Foreman: (Dis)Remembering Black Women’s Lives

Summer is here and look what I found in my Evernote archive.

This 2011 video essay by P. Gabrielle Foreman reflects on the social justice labor of love that is collecting, archiving, and cataloging black women’s history.

My interest in history began around my grandmothers’ kitchen tables, needling them to frustration for information on ‘who our people are.’ The featured image is from my personal photo archive. You might call it an alternative archive (#altarchive) of Chicago in the 1980s. But the Afro-Atlantic is marked by horizontal and vertical trails–migration, displacement, and deep roots–all operating in tandem with memories of home and hope for the future. Neither passive nor timid, and powered by real work and bodies (work and bodies often gendered female), collecting memories, photos, trinkets, and stories activates homespace in the Afro-Atlantic. It is not such a far cry from that to ‘activating the archive,’ as described by Foreman.

Yes, when I steal photos from my mother or badger my aunt about this or that distant relative I never met, I am gathering an #altarchive. But what I’m really doing is gathering and remaking myself whole.