“We all carry trace fossils within us – the marks that the dead and the missed leave behind. Handwriting on an envelope; the wear on a wooden step left by footfall; the memory of a familiar gesture by someone gone, repeated so often it has worn its own groove in both air and mind.”

~ Robert Macfarlane

WE, TOO, are HISTORY

Land acknowledgement:
Mockingbird creates an online community from the home of Founder and Creator, Marcie Alvis-Walker, who lives in Chicago, Illinois, on Kiikapoi (Kickapoo) land.

The first time I ever heard stories about the origins of The United States of America, I was the only the Black experience in the room. This observation is both benignly small, because of course I am so much more than skin color, and also metastatically large to the point of swallowing everything, because of course skin color is the one matter that has most shaped and ornamented our history.

 

Being the only Black experience in a history class was probably my first hint that history was not only nuanced, but deeply personal. However, sadly, most of us were taught that history is exact, merely dates and landmarks, holding only one perspective that began with the words “we the people…” But those words, written eons ago, did not apply to me or anyone in my family tree. And so the history I learned through most of my life, with its few “exact” stories, left a wound rather than any kind of deeper knowing that might lead to inner healing.

 

Yes, knowing the origins of our constitution is important, but so are the names of the indigenous people our constitution left out, along with the names of those who arrived in 1619, dehumanized and enslaved. And while it’s certainly important to know and remember their stories, it’s equally critical to know and remember the stories being told in our own homes. All this now-ness is future history, as are your family recipes, school photos, hand-me-down quilts, beloved books, etc…

 

In 2019 I created a Patreon-supported community called Mockingbird, intending to share my journey in gathering all the lost and buried stories of our history. Although welcoming patrons along on this expedition of exhuming a more diverse human story has been a great honor, I have lately wondered how we might exhume our own narratives alongside our collective history. It’s been such heavy work these past few years – especially 2020. In short, I began to wonder how to begin examining our own narratives, adding to the layers upon layers of stories rooted in the soil of this country.

 

How do we heal our inner-histories?

 

There are many ways to engage with this community that is, to my delight, broad in its inclusiveness and ever-growing. Sign-up for bi-weekly Mockingbird lessons by joining our Patreon community, subscribe to our free monthly newsletter at Substack, and follow us on Instagram.

 

Peace,

Marcie Alvis-Walker

Founder & Creator