The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales

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By Virginia Hamilton

Virginia Hamilton (American, 1934–2002) was an award-winning children's book author who described her work as "Liberation Literature." First published in 1985, The People Could Fly contains a collection of folktales retold by Hamilton, including the legend of the "Flying African," which celebrates imagination and creativity among enslaved peoples, and honors the significance of spirituality and mysticism to Black communities in the midst of great uncertainty. Hamilton's acclaimed retelling has inspired The Met's exhibition Before Yesterday We Could Fly: An Afrofuturist Period Room.

Furnished with objects in The Met collection, from Bamileke beadwork and 19th-century American ceramics to contemporary art and design that celebrates rich and diverse traditions, Before Yesterday We Could Fly: An Afrofuturist Period Room presents a speculative home for the residents of Seneca Village. This predominantly Black settlement flourished just a few hundred yards from the Museum's current site before it was destroyed by the City of New York in 1857 to make space for Central Park. Acknowledging that injustice, the exhibition asks: What if this community had the opportunity to thrive?

By Virginia Hamilton

Virginia Hamilton (American, 1934–2002) was an award-winning children's book author who described her work as "Liberation Literature." First published in 1985, The People Could Fly contains a collection of folktales retold by Hamilton, including the legend of the "Flying African," which celebrates imagination and creativity among enslaved peoples, and honors the significance of spirituality and mysticism to Black communities in the midst of great uncertainty. Hamilton's acclaimed retelling has inspired The Met's exhibition Before Yesterday We Could Fly: An Afrofuturist Period Room.

Furnished with objects in The Met collection, from Bamileke beadwork and 19th-century American ceramics to contemporary art and design that celebrates rich and diverse traditions,...See More

Details
  • Publisher: Random House
  • Author:
  • Ages: 10 and older
  • Pages: 192
  • Format: Paperback
  • Dimensions: 10" x 8"
  • ISBN: 9780679843368
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