African diaspora people have a strong inner impulse toward liberation and freedom which has been accompanied generationally by the Divine. This untamable spirit was present with the maroon people from Accompong. As we journeyed up the rugged, meandering mountain, we met kindred people who have lived a life on a road not easily paved or traveled. Once at the highest point, our pilgrimage revealed the freedom that only came from a struggle to stay above and not beneath.
Queen Nanny and her brothers fled enslavement for these unpolished mountains. For 50 years they resisted the British who attempted to lay siege and return them to an existence in bondage. For 50 years they strategized on how to protect their children and grandchildren from a caste system which demanded their subjugation. 50 years of being under duress at the threat of captivity. All this maneuvering while worshiping, tilling the land and caring for the community.
I asked myself if my dreams and convictions were worth a 50-year fight. When the “name it and claim it” had a 50-year span in between, would I still rejoice within the sacred alter of my soul? We as a people have risen to cultivate our power within to combat external forces. In the context of Christianity, when Mary Magdalene and the other Mary looked for Jesus after his crucifixion, the angel told them, “He is not here, he is risen.” Queen Nanny is no longer here on the plantation, she is risen. In the midst of death dealing circumstances, there is an awakening of the divine within which shifts us from inactivity towards dynamic power to thrive on our communal mountaintop.