Later, in the midnight hour, the missing identity aches.
One can neither assess nor overcome the storm of the middle
passage. One is mysteriously shipwrecked forever, in the Great
New World. The slave is in another condition, as are his heirs:
I told Jesus it would be all right / If He changed my name.
— James Baldwin, The Price of the Ticket
We must learn to wear our names within all the noise and
confusion in which we ﬁnd ourselves. . . . They must become our
masks and our shields and the containers of all those values and
traditions which we learn and/or imagine as being the meaning
of our familial past.
— Ralph Ellison, Shadow and Act
Scattered thoughts are framed by very little context, but the sense of loss
is palpable. An iteration of the beloved is crouching among the dead and
nearly dead, yearning for a permanent transition to escape her agony,
when she realizes that such a flight is impossible because “you sleep short
and then return.”1 She is able to rest briefly, but she suddenly awakens amid
hell on earth. Time progresses, but the fates of those who come after her
will include similar impediments in their attempts to access social life.
“Say Me My Name”
ge ne tic science and emerging speculative
technologies in the construction of
afro- atlantic reconciliatory proj ects