"There are those who believe Black people possess the secret of joy and that it is this that will sustain them through any spiritual or moral or physical devastation." – Alice Walker
I have loved Blackness my whole life. Black history. Black culture. Black people. Only over the last several years has history begun to come alive for me. Understanding Blackness has introduced me to myself. I see my place in time.
In my former position, as an Interpretive Aide at McLeod Plantation Historic Site in Charleston, SC, my job was to interpret the transition to freedom from the African American perspective. I spent over a year speaking for those whose names we forget or may never know. I spent a year speaking for my ancestors who were considered subhuman. I spent a year enunciating the pain, experience and perspective of those we’ve been taught to feel shame about. I spent the year speaking of the joy and genius, the indestructible love, perseverance and resistance that we were told did not exist. I breathed these stories—only to recognize the same stifling fog in my own backyard. Repackaged. Centuries old. The transition to freedom is ongoing.
“If you are silent about your pain, they’ll kill you and say you enjoyed It.” – Zora Neale Hurston
Intentional and intersectional interpretations of the past help us re-conceptualize both the present and future, non-monolithic Black existence. We are complex and whole existences imagined through our ancestors’ work and dreams for their futures.
As a Public Historian and Afrofuturist, I interpret history in ways that emphasize that we are living the futures our ancestors manifested.
Often described as a creative genre, Afrofuturism dares to imagine and articulate Black people thriving in the future. As a framework, it situates past, present and future Africana people as deserving and capable of love, compassion, innovation, evolution, and more.
My research and interests include Gullah Geechee women, both enslaved and free. Womanist theory--ways in which Africana women throughout time and space have loved and shown up for themselves. Epigenetics/Generational Trauma. Sexual freedom. Resistance. Black joy. Queerness. Visionary and Speculative Fiction and our power to imagine and manifest new and better worlds.
My passion is healing. Holistic liberation means freedom of the mind, body and soul. It means no one is free until all of us our free.
And for these reasons, I write. This is why I speak. This why I teach. This is why I sing. This is why I dance. This is a dream. This is why I conjure. This is why I love fiercely. I know there is freedom in the truth. The truth that feels ugly and fatal. The truth that is bigger than ourselves. The truth that We Are.
We cannot get free without the truth.
May we find healing through our stories. We are all gatekeepers. We are all griots.
As a Cultural History Interpreter, her presentations focus on the development of Gullah Geechee culture. A proud Gullah Geechee woman, she has been praised for her ability to tell stories that link history to current events in ways that are captivating, memorable and evocative. As one of the original Interpretive Aides at McLeod Plantation Historic Site, on James Island, SC, she was at the front lines of those committed to changing the narrative and presenting the African American experience and perspective as a worthy and necessary part of American History. Sara is also a cultural interpreter in Inalienable Rights: Living History through the Eyes of the Enslaved, a component of The Slave Dwelling Project directed by Joe McGill.
Sara is the Archivist for Real Black Grandmothers (RBGM), created and founded by Dr. LaShawnda Pittman. The project serves to shatter common, often damaging and limited stereotypes of Black grandmothers and highlight the diverse and colorful lived experiences of these women. Utilizing audio interviews and written submissions, the narratives are curated by Black grandmothers and the people who love them. RBGM recognizes the African tradition of Oral History, the reimagined and complex familial ties of Africana people, and the wonder and potency of Black women.
A native of Beaufort, SC, Sara received a Bachelors of Arts in Communication and a minor in African American Studies from the College of Charleston. While there, she served on the Black Student Union for four years, transitioning from roles as Community Co-Chair, to Vice-President, President and Senior Advisor. She tutored and mentored high school students in Upward Bound and Pre-college Programs and other community mentor programs. She was also an active member of the President’s Community Advisory Board.
Sara has a masters in Public History from Union Institute & University. Her creative thesis "Come on in The Room: Afrofuturism as a Path to Black Women's Retroactive Healing" was a recipient of the 2018 Brian Webb Award for Outstanding MA Thesis for History & Culture. It will be published and released in 2020.
She currently resides in the Lowcountry—where the magic is.
"How simple a thing it seems to me that to know ourselves as we are, we must know our mothers names. In search of my mother’s garden, I found my own." - Alice Walker