The closer I got to the grave, I ‘membered home. I forgot I was made a slave, forgot I was made free, forgot I was colored, nigger, and ‘membered I IS AFRICAN. Called root woman in this land ‘cause I knew the healing magic of herbs.

My physical death was my life but that would take years. Part of me died the day I was put on a boat and brought to this terrible place. This foreign place, with its cruel ways. Nothing could keep me safe from this place but the memory of the healing magic of herbs stayed with me….in my hands. The memory of being carried on my mother’s back; bending when she’d bend; seeing her stained brown hands pull and dig secrets from the ground. This stayed with me.

In this land, they called me “Sally”, then “Old Mammy” when I couldn’t work the field no mo’, but they ain’t my name. 

The closer I got to the grave, I ‘membered home.


I ain’t “Sally” and I ain’t “Old Mammy.”  

I…am…(beat) ABENYAGA! ABENYAGA! ABENYAGA! (to audience) I peel away slave. I peel away colored. I peel away nigger. I ‘membered I IS AFRICAN! (beat) But, I still can’t get home. Can’t fly away home. This ain’t my home. THIS AIN’T MY HOME.