Why do diversity and inclusion matter?
Approximately 50 million Africans were taken from Africa to Europe and the Americas, and it is known that at least 30% to as many as 50% of them died during the migration. The importation of black people from Africa as slaves lasted for about 400 years from the 15th century to the 19th century, and Africans were turned into slaves solely because they lived in Africa and became commodities for white people.
Mutinies occurred frequently on slave ships coming from Africa to Europe or the Americas, but nearly 50% of shipboard mutinies are a little-known history. It is said that the higher the proportion of women among the black people on board the ship, the higher the likelihood of mutiny. It is said that when white people put black people on a boat, the black men were locked in a narrow space under the boat, but the women and children were kept on the boat and were not tied down. This is because relatively free women secretly went under the ship and rescued black people.
Dr. Rebecca Hall began studying history while working as a lawyer. She followed the traces of black slaves, especially female slaves, and explored slave revolts and human rights as women.
When we deal with black history, we initially try to forget the horrors of the past. Think and act as if something like that never happened in the past. But even though the past may be shocking, we must take a closer look. This is because it heals the wounds of the past and serves as a stepping stone for those of us living in the present to overcome trauma in true unity and move forward. The past is not a ghost that disappears when we drive it away.
Author Rebecca Hall asked, 'What made women rise up at a specific time and place?' during the slave rebellion. I was curious about this. But she was never found in the records. The subjectivity of female slaves, both slaves and women, was rarely preserved in the records of the victors.
Wake, a graphic novel and memoir, is an imaginative masterpiece that tells the story of a female-led slave rebellion and chronicler Rebecca Hall's efforts to uncover the truth about hitherto marginalized female warriors.
Beautifully illustrated in black and white, Wake is a powerful reminder that the past may be gone, but we still live in its traces. Her writing lets us know that trauma is not something that can be erased but something that can be overcome.
And there are black artists, such as Dr. Rebecca Hall, who use their black identity to show messages about their rights as human beings.
Bisa Butler is an artist who creates quilts so detailed they look like paintings. La American artist Bisa Butler highlights African traditions through fun and colorful plush collages. Portraits of women, men, couples, children, and the elderly are Butler's primary source material, and it is through his work that we are all human, regardless of skin color.
Whether in Rebecca Hall's black-and-white graphic novels or Bisa Butler's colorful fabric artworks, we discover the noble dignity and identity of being a human being.
I think this is the truth we should always remember when learning history and living reality.
And I think this is what we need to educate students about, by informing them of accurate historical facts without distortion and finding ways to treat trauma together for a better society.
Myungja Anna Koh