What is that picture about?
I have been asked. It is on A WING A PREY A SONG face book page, Well, it is a 19th century unknown artist’s drawing from an engraving by John Osler, depicting the privation and exposure to the elements of fugitive slaves making their bid for freedom via the Underground Railroad. It is from African American abolitionist, William Stills, famous Underground Railroad book. The fugitives leave behind, lives of bondage, fear, persecution, insecurity in the Southern states of America.
Note the swallows have gone and the swifts both migratory birds familiar to our shores, are flying making their long journeys to Africa, anticipating food aplenty to survive without privation, insecurity, want…and as they go, Black History month arrives…
I am a daughter of first generation migrants. My late Father was from Lagos, Nigeria. His people were captured, enslaved and transported from Lagos to Bahia, Brazil. In the latter part of 19th century were returnees to Lagos. My mother is from the Caribbean island of St Lucia. I often imagine the lives of both my maternal and grandparents, both born in mid 19th centuries.
Each migrant’s story is a migration of the heart, it’s yearnings and, dreams of freedom. Isn’t this what we all want? To be free? To fulfill our own dreams?
And so migrants arrive in boats, by plane, in trucks, stowaways much like an Uncle of mine at the turn of the last century.
Having survived a perilous crossing, migrants often find European humanitarian corridor closed, what now, is one’s fate?…….