Black Imaginary

Afrofuturism has reached a moment in the popular mind, defined by the works as diverse as Ytasha Womack's  Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture to artistic project such as John Jennings and Stacy Robinson's Black Kirby. As I map out my Afrofuturism course for the Spring semester at MSU, I need to strike a balance between an accessible example and background scholarship for the undergrad. I love this tweet because my own thinking about Afrofuturism is linked to the idea of an African-American black imagination going back to the 19th century. What do figures like Harriet Tubman represent in the black imagination? How do they inspire fictive narratives that shape the collective reality for black and white Americans? Clearly, white southerners imagined the efforts of freedom fighters like Tubman in the darkest tones. The secret plotting that leads to revolt is one part of the southern nightmarescape.  Yet, the subjects that would do that are everywhere. The corrupting voices of someone like Tubman or Frederick Douglass become the thing whites must stop. This is one of the reason reading is forbidden. If slaves and read what the abolitionist writes the ideas will penetrate deeper and further, undermining the system.  At the end of the day, yes, I am taking this suggestion to heart.