I didn't know that—I knew about the illustrious Benjamin Banneker who gave us our almanac and also laid out DC. I wonder what those conversations were like for him? I wonder what the pressure was like for him? I didn’t start learning black history until I was in my 20s because it's not taught in school outside of Rosa Parks sat down, Martin Luther King said “I have a dream” and Malcolm X was pictured as the devil. We don't even get a full picture of brother Malcolm, and his change of going to his El Hajj, and certainly we don't get the full picture of the Nation of Islam being involved in his murder. So this complexity, and because there's no space in schools to really learn layered history—our children don’t know deep details of who they are, because purposely, because of the way it's been constructed, to not know who they are. That also produces anger by the way, and it produces a vulnerability that if you don't know who you are, you will take these images of what people say you're supposed to be. So there's so much un-learning that we have to do before we learn ourselves. That can produce some rage as well.
That excavation of some of that self-loathing had to be replaced with the beauty of the historical literacy of my people. I did a lot of unlearning before I could learn. And that process is almost half my lifetime. Some people get to be in their 40s and 50s and they still have not done the unlearning process—the archaeology of the self.