In The Slave



“And she was the first. It was 1761 – so far back before the revolution that produced these United States, so far back before the concept of freedom disturbed the insolent crimes of this continent – in 1761, when seven year old Phillis stood, as she must, when she stood nearly naked, as small as a seven year old, by herself, standing on land at last, at last after the long, annihilating horrors of the Middle Passage. Phillis, standing on the auctioneer’s rude platform: Phillis For Sale.

Was it a nice day?

Does it matter?

Should she muse on the sky or remember the sea? Until then Phillis had been somebody’s child. Now she was about to become somebody’s slave.”

– Christina Sharpe, In the Wake: On Blackness and Being


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