Becoming Water: Black Memory in Slavery’s Afterlives
Listen to an Essay by Makshya Tolbert on the Emergence Magazine Podcast
Emergence Magazine is an online publication with annual print edition exploring the threads connecting ecology, culture, and spirituality. As we experience the desecration of our lands and waters, the extinguishing of species, and a loss of sacred connection to the Earth, we look to emerging stories. Our podcast features exclusive interviews, narrated essays, stories and more.
In this narration of her essay, writer and poet Makshya Tolbert wades into the liminal, haunted space that exists between water and Black memory. As she navigates Black lineages of thinking and practice, she comes to the meeting place of past and present, life and death, slavery and freedom, and embarks on her own return to water.
Makshya Tolbert is a Black, queer writer and land worker. She received a Certificate in Ecological Horticulture from the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems and is a member of the DAISA Enterprises team as a Communications and Community Specialist. As a 2015 Tom Ford Fellow, she worked with the Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation, the Surdna Foundation, and North Star Fund to strengthen local food supply chains, and as a US-Italy Fulbright Scholar in 2019–2020, she studied food, slavery, and fugitivity at the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, Italy. She currently lives in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Sheila Pree Bright is an acclaimed fine-art photographer known for her series Young Americans, Plastic Bodies, and Suburbia. Her documentation of responses to police shootings in cities across the US inspired her book #1960Now: Photographs of Civil Rights Activists and Black Lives Matter Protests.