The Great Migration
‘Fantasy is the faculty or activity of imagining things, especially things that are impossible or improbable.’ lexico.com
My parents were among those African Americans of the Diaspora that moved North during the Great Migration, which began in 1916. Our people imagined an opportunity to live and raise their children under better circumstances and to rid themselves of the hostel racism they encountered in the South. The future of my father, born in 1923, and my mother, born in 1925, collided in Chicago, Illinois – South Side.
As a young girl, after my parents divorced, I fantasized about having my brilliant father in my life again and about someday being reunited with my younger brother, who was adopted as a toddler. That fantasy became a nightmare when he was murdered in his twenties. Like most young women, I daydreamed about having perfect body parts, and of course, I romanticized through a myriad of successfully failed relationships, searching for my perfect love.
We do have our improbable dreams.
I have always been the “wisher” in my family, always vocal and able to express the dreams God had placed in my heart. But Black people of my age group (baby boomers) were often cautioned by their elders to “wish in one hand and poop in the other and see which one got full faster.”
Fantasy is a longing for something that vibrates through every fiber of my being. Over the course of a lifetime, fantasies can change; mine certainly have.
I believe that everything, good or bad, begins in the mind. In retrospect, this whimsical child created stories in her head at bedtime; as fate would have it, my musings were the precursor of setting my poems, essays, and stories onto paper and later digitizing them. That fantasy grew roots, and one day, I realized that I had become the author of several books.
Sometimes our fantasies do become a reality.
My fantasy is for Black folks not to kiss their sons and daughters goodbye after giving them “the talk.” The talk that cautions our youth how to appear less threatening and more compliant to white police. Our goal is that a minor traffic stop or a chance encounter with law enforcement charged to serve-and-protect citizens does not result in their injury or untimely death.
Wouldn’t it be awesome to be able to confidently guide our youth to follow their hearts and not follow a steady paycheck into a career? To mentor them not to seek a vocation based upon where blacks are ‘accepted,’ even if we are not paid, valued, or promoted as their white counterparts. The second-class citizens in America must bring so much to the table to receive so little. My best example is the hypocrisy in comparing how uber prepared former President Barack Obama and First Lady Michele Obama was to be America’s First Couple. They exist in stark comparison to the reality star, tax evader with rape allegations trailing him and his ill-reputed wife, herself, highly valued over immigrants of color.
I fantasize about when I can plan my vacation travel based on where I want to go, rather than where my melanin-ated skin is welcomed. I deeply resent the numerous unnecessary traffic stops and searches that peppered both my son’s lives and feelings of impotence and outrage, as I calmed my youngest daughter’s fears after two white male police officers pulled her over. She was separated from her young son and forced to sit her “dangerous” 120 lb. self in the back of a police squad. At the same time, they checked out her identity and ran her license plates. Wherever we are Black, we are endangered. My fantasy is that it ends.
More than anything in this world, I want change that will bring about the restoration of my people to the greatness that was stolen from them over the three hundred forty-six years from 1619-1865 when the thirteenth amendment was ratified.
KJV Joel 2:25 “And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.”
The longer I exist in my skin as a Black woman, born into second class citizenship in these United States of America; my deepest, inextinguishable fantasy is for my people to be finally free of the disempowering stain of chattel slavery and America’s enduring racism. My country is of thee, sweet land of Liberty, let freedom (finally) ring!
Susan D. Peters, aka, Ahnydah (ah-NIE-dah) Rahm, brings a wealth of experience gained as an expatriate living in West Africa. Her memoir Sweet Liberia, Lessons from the Coal Pot, received the Black Excellence Award for Non-Fiction from the African American Alliance of Chicago and the Mate E. Palmer award for Non-Fiction from the Illinois Press Women’s Association. Broken Dolls, Susan’s second book, represents her foray into the mystery market and is the first of a series featuring Detective Joi Sommers as its heroine. Her most recent publication is Stolen Rainbow, a short story focused on the post combat recovery of a beautiful marine captain after a devastating combat injury. Her work is featured in three anthologies, Baring It All, the Ins and Outs of Publishing, Signed, Sealed, Delivered … I’m Yours, a contemporary romance anthology, and The Anthology of the Illinois Woman’s Press Association. Buy her books online and at www.SusanDPeters.com.