Ra Malika Imhotep on Crafting Freedom

08 Nov, 2020

Ra Malika Imhotep on Crafting Freedom

From the politics to the social experiences, 19th Century abolitionists and current day activists have many similar struggles. However, their relationship also has one unlikely commonality: the material of craft. Ra Malike Imhotep dives into the histories of the abolition movement and modern day activism and explores this literal thread of connection in her post "Crafting Freedom".

From the post:

During the Black History Month lessons of my childhood, I vividly recall being taught about the freedom messages and symbols encoded in quilts that hung on the walls and in the windows of abolitionists. Within Southern Black communities, Black women performed the labor or highly skilled domestic engineers. They were mothers, midwives, daughters, fieldhands, textile workers and freedom builders. From enslavement on into freedom they did the work that not only enabled the most basic elements of survival (food, clothing, shelter), but also gave life its color and beauty. This too holds true for the cultural workers of today's movements towards Black liberation.

In a short clip of the interview, she continues to reiterate what is being said by protestors on the frontlines of the recent uprisings sweeping across the globe, that the push to "defund the police" must move in tandem with a demand to invest in Black communities and allow the people themselves the space and resources necessary to imagine and build structure of support and safety that do not rely on punishment and violence. I believe this radical work of re-envisioning and builing anew is inherently entangled with the thread falling across Sojourner Truth's lap.

In this view, the needles and yarn held in her hands in those 19th century images are not only tools of craft, but symbols of a liberatory ethic that dares us to actively vision and put our hands to work, desigining a new world, stich-by-stitch.

Read the full post here!