editor's note / the last generation of black people

exclusive feature
Brian Hughes Kasoro
{Minneapolis, MN}
(2012). The Last Generation Of Black People. New York: The Liberator Magazine.

"A people's name should link them to land, history, and culture. 'Black' tells you how you look, but not who you are."
— Dr. John Henrik Clarke

"Let us mix the long memories of a people destroyed with new narratives of our own making, as we move into space of our own choosing, as we dream in images woven from our people’s best desires, as we plan on designs drawn from our own reflection, then make again the universe that might have been but was not, here in this place, now in this time freed for our new creation."
— Ayi Kwei Armah, "KMT: In the House of Life"

"Your teachers/ Are all around you./ All that you perceive,/ All that you experience,/ All that is given to you/ Or taken from you,/ All that you love or hate,/ Need or fear/ Will Teach you—/ If you will learn..."
— Octavia Butler, "Parable of the Sower"

In 2012 my generation seemed to find itself swimming in the proverbial "primordial waters" (see: Carruthers, Jacob. Mdw Ntr: Divine Speech: A Historiographical Reflection of African Deep Thought from the Time of the Pharaohs to the Present. *Reviewed in Liberator 5.1 #14). The darkness underwater can be frightening upon entry. It can also grow to become blindly euphoric. As we are subsumed, the best of us and ourselves realize that we are capable of embracing chaos in order to survive--sometimes fostering chaos in the process. But, often, darkness remains un- and improperly named. In that spirit, Mike Wilson's previously published piece, "Pre-blackness, blackness & post-blackness: 195,000 b.c. to Today," best sums up the rhythm and temperature of this publication.

Yet it is Dr. Carruthers who grounds us to the past and helps guide us to the future; recovering and retelling the ancient African story of "Weheme Mesu" (The Repetition of Birth) in his essay, "An African Historiography for the 21st Century" (The Preliminary Challenge. African World History Project, Association for the Study of Classical African Civilization).

"[F]our thousand years ago ... Amen M Hat pronounced Whm Msw (Weheme Mesu) as his Horus name.... The renaissance began with the publication of a text that emphasized Good Speech (*The text is entitled "The Prophecies of Neferti." See: M. Lichtheim, Ancient Egyptian Literature, vol. I, The Old and Middle Kingdoms. Berkeley, University of California Press,1975. 139-145. **In the story, the king orders his advisors to bring him a wise person who can enlighten him with Good Speech and Excellent Discourse.) as the route to restoration after the divisions and conflicts at the end of the preceding era. Literary productions characterized the period. Old texts were revised and new genres were established for the creation of new literary directions. Thus the spirit of this rebirth was not merely the rote repetition of the past, rather it was the establishment of a new edifice on the firm foundations of ancient traditions. But the waters of the deep well of time-tested ancestral wisdom did not dictate details, rather this flow inspired bold innovations."

Like the sunrise, we are perpetually reborn. Old Weheme Mesu reminds us that we're reborn in different ways each time; solving the paradox, as Dr. Carruthers says, by being timeless yet keeping time. And, if we are practicing our Good Speech, we find our purpose as shining measures of time in a timeless eternity. As long as we remember The Repetition of our Birth, we can call ourselves whatever we choose. As such, the birth of poly- or hyper- or more detailed blackness is the death of blackness; of slave-black and negro-black and commercial-black and yesterday-black. Without paradox, setting into darkness is the beginning of rising out of darkness. Knowing this to be true, we choose here to occupy our present with speeches for the future. Despite yesterday's return to darkness, we ask, "what will we be today, sun? And the next time we are born?" What some know as death, we know as coming forth by day. Over and over again, as Nzinga Ratibisha Heru says, "with compassion, without compromise."

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