In response to the Libretto for the Republic of Liberia

“The Good Gray Bard in Timbuktu chanted:

‘Europe is an empty python in hiding grass!'”

This quote could be viewed as a warning. The fact that the crier of this quote is described by Tolson as “good” most likely means he is doing something helpful, or kind, for the community in Timbuktu as he describes Europe. Most importantly, the way the bard describes Europe as “an empty python” is a strong metaphor of Europe as a colonizing force as well as a threatening slave trader. Pythons are vicious and venomous and powerful, just as Europe was, colonizing Africa and forcing out native cultures, and then kidnapping millions of Africans to be enslaved. The adjective empty also goes to show that Europe is not satisfied, and is always hungry for more lands and people to conquer and make use of for themselves. The “hiding grass” paints a picture of the Europeans just waiting to pounce on other parts of Africa and make them their own.

That was one bit I analyzed, and I analyzed a few other parts of the Libretto as well, but in all honesty I found a lot of the reading pretty hard to read and understand. A lot of what I got from the passage was that one of Tolston’s main intents was documenting for current and future Africans and people of African descent, the histories and backgrounds of African culture as well as what the African people went through during the peak of the Transatlantic Slave Trade.


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