How This Belief About Taking Flight Helped Set Them Free

“They say the people could fly. Say that long ago in Africa, some of the people knew magic. And they would walk up on the air like climbin up on a gate. And they flew like blackbirds over the fields. Black, shiny wings flappin against the blue up there.” - Virginia Hamilton.

How This Belief About Taking Flight Helped Set Them Free
Via Wikimedia Commons

She bent slowly toward the earth and ascended right into the air. Folks on the plantation were in shock, but she dreamt of flying back home, and this belief made it a reality.

“Come fly away,” enslaved people would say to each other in code when organizing their escape journeys. Some were said to have become weightless and ascended right from the plantation field.

But it’s because of this one thing.

They believed. They dared to dream about being free, and so it was. Their dreams became wings that transported them into a liberated reality.

Flying meant they could return to their natives and be once again with the land and their loved ones. And because our ancestors knew a thing or two about wrapping themselves in faith, it’s scripture like Galatians 5:1 that helped inspire them toward freedom:

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty where with Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”

To survive, our people had to dream, and these stories became truth with wings, keeping us going in only ways that dreaming, faith, and God can.

How can ancestral beliefs about flight help us get closer to liberation?

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