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The Rememory Library: African Diaspora Literature Finder

The Rememory Library

 

Some things go. Pass on. Some things just stay. I used to think it was my rememory. You know. Some things you forget. Other things you never do. But it's not. Places, places are still there. If a house burns down, it's gone, but the place--the picture of it--stays, and not just in my rememory, but out there, in the world… Right in the place where it happened…And you think it's you thinking it up. A thought picture. But no. It's when you bump into a rememory that belongs to somebody else.       

- Toni Morrison, Beloved

The Rememory Library takes heed from Morrison to illuminate hidden narratives, genealogies, and cosmologies across a range of revolutionary materials to aid in our collective learning, living, and dreaming. It is a community conversation about the past that sits with us in the present; about the possibilities that will sustain us as we construct livable and just futures. The Rememory Library is a conversation between students, teachers, researchers, community members, ancestors, and the land about the truths and possibilities that exist in our collective rememory.

What happened here, in this place? And what are the things that refuse to pass on, rather staying out there, in the world? Toni Morrison describes rememory as repressed or forgotten hauntings, which resurface in perpetuity and demand to be re-experienced. Like radio signals transmitted for broadcasting, places resonate with the frequencies of entangled past upheavals and the permanence of episodic memory. Places tell stories when people can not, and by staying in place we remember what used to be here, not only by recognizing and acknowledging change, but also by attending to the narratives people choose to share and those that are kept silent. 

What space does this place occupy in our contemporary imagination? What hauntings do we witness daily as that which is no longer, but lingering? There are afterlives to each of our most traumatic experiences; ways in which what we wish to forget exceeds the past to take on new forms in the present. The violent expulsion of Black and Indigenous communities of color, for example, creates sites of rememory where places hold traces. We see this most clearly when community centers refuse to be re-centered, choosing instead to serve as an essential dissonance, a rememory that re-members those who were displaced; when affordable housing becomes the final, impervious pocket of poverty in a city of wealth, rememory impels us to recognize the essential disparity and acknowledge the violence of attempting to replace what was. 

Indeed, place has always served as a simultaneous tribute to the past and indictment of the present. The Rememory Library, then, is invested in the ways literature and history supply us with the registers to receive and translate these a-temporal signals, the traces of the past that linger as disarticulations; decoding the hauntings that refuse to pass on. These resources allow us to re-member, re-experience, and re-group our pieces of the past.

The Rememory Library invites you to join in this endeavor and to “bump into a rememory that belongs to someone else” somewhere along the way. 

 

        Curated by Jessica Rodriguez, Shacoya Kidwell, and Jasmine Jay