This is a Juneteenth special episode. The story, ‘The People Could Fly’ is taken from Virginia Hamilton’s The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales, an anthology of stories originally told by African slaves and retold by generations of black American storytellers. This story is rooted in one of the ugliest events of human history. I warn you, it’s not easy to hear.

 

It is a fantasy tale that tells of how some enslaved Africans had wings and could fly. In order for them to escape the abuses of slavery, they began to sing magic words and their bodies lift into the sky as they fly away to freedom. It is all about the dream of freedom. For the Africans who were captured into slavery and brought to America, there was little reason for hope, but through folk tales like this one, they were able to at least imagine a day when they could become free.

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