The Freedom Activist Archive by Delicia Daniels, Ph.D.

The Freedom Activist Archive

Time is not even trauma is not something that has passed from the past. Trauma is the cybernetic patterns that keep repeating itself ecologically, spiritually and corporeally..the invitation is to listen, is to humble ourselves enough to fall down to the earth and listen differently. Listen to the ancestry, listen to the world around us we have numbed as a resource.
-Bayo Akomolaf 
-M. NourbeSe Philip - Zong!

The Freedom Activist Archive establishes a key aspect of African American Culture currently underdeveloped in government archives by extending and altering the way we engage the narratives of “runaway slaves.” This archive begins with the transformation of an 1831 New Orleans antebellum newspaper titled The Bee.  Twenty-Seven “runaways slave ads” were collected to complete this assessment.  The men and women in these advertisements are according to Marisa Fuentes, “spectacularly violated, objectified, disposable, hypersexualized, and silenced.” For example, The Bee currently categorizes Catherine, a “runaway slave” as “a young American girl” with a “small size, ” “thick lips,” and a “down look.”  To counter this cruelty, The Freedom Activist Archive, presented through Scalar, a digital platform, conceals the cruel aforementioned terms (i.e. thick lips) with a visual method of erasure and highlights appropriate categories such as Political Clothing and Escape Measures based on unobserved language in the original ad.

The geospatial map posted above represents a course of divinity. The freedom path for each activist is mapped according to the days on which they are listed as fugitives who escaped in The Bee. This renewed path retraces the Transatlantic Slave Trade Route from Africa to the United States to instill celestial justice unavailable to them during the greatest coastal crime in history.

The inability to read selective runaway slave ads throughout this archive represents unequal visibility experienced by numerous African Americans on a daily basis. 
The archive visible in the margins displays The Pen and Paper wrapper Abraham Lincoln used to sign the Emancipation Proclamation. The pen was later presented to Massachusetts abolitionist George Livermoore. 


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