Note: This is a limited podcast, and is available wherever you get your podcasts. I found this on Apple Podcasts. As of this posting, it is still available for your audio pleasure.
The title of the podcast invokes the imagery of the first ship carrying the first 20 enslaved Africans to what will be known as the American colonies in 1619. This was the birth of what will be recorded as the TransAtlantic Slave Trade.
I am a fan of podcasts! Since I got my first iPhone about 4 years ago, I have subscribed to at least 20 (with three of them that I am going to talk about this month–stay tuned). But the one that has had such a deep impact on me is the one hosted/created by the New York Times writer Nikole Hannah-Jones.
I began to be interested in Black History about age 8 or 9. I remember my elementary school classrooms being decorated in red and black, with the (as I refer to them) ‘Token Four’ Black History Month Figures. If you attended public school, you know which ones:
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Ida B. Wells Barnett/Langston Hughes/Sojourner Truth (this depends on the teacher)
I remembering being really upset when Black History Month would be over. Even as a child, I wanted to know more–I wanted to know why I/we/us couldn’t learn more about Black historical figures. I wanted to know why we only had a month to learn about these amazing people! In being honest and transparent, Torches, most of the Black history I learned, that I have as walking around knowledge? I learned on my own.
Yet, following Nikole Hannah-Jones on Twitter (@nhannahjones), I knew this project was on the horizon. I was looking forward to this launch. I was even excited for the curriculum that was being developed around it! Remember, this is the same curriculum that Orange Thanos thought was ‘unpatriotic’ and divisive.
The beautiful thing about this podcast is it’s honesty, accuracy and it’s unapologetic look at slavery, it’s influence and, in turn, what that influence has done to this nation! In five episodes, Nikole Hannah-Jones and her team walk us all through 400 years:
Episode 1: The Fight for a True Democracy
Episode 2: The Economy That Slavery Built
Episode 3: The Birth of American Music (I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS!)
Episode 4: How the Bad Blood Started
Episode 5: The Land of Our Fathers, Part 1
Episode 5: The Land of Our Fathers, Part 2
This podcast is a honest look at Black history from the vantage point of a wanting history. It fills in gaps, it fills in holes, it will make you cry and think! All these things are necessary to teach Black history as it should be taught! Black history in this nation is complicated–it flies in the face of the grinning White male historian narrative that preaches how inferior everyone else is in comparison!
This podcast, this coming curriculum is what I wished I would have had my hands on when I was that anxious, curious, 8,9-year-old child. I wanted to see myself in the world that was around me, and I didn’t see enough of!
What this podcast has done, and I believe should do, is spark conversation that is generations old! It should inspire a generation of Black people to explore these nebulous and concrete things called heritage and history. It should inspire the children the see the BECAUSE OF THEM WE CAN campaigns, HOMECOMING by Beyoncé and realize their history is rich and ancient. I want this podcast to remind all of us to be young, gifted and Black is only the tip of the iceberg.