Liberia? Melvin Tolson

“Liberia?

No side-show barker’s bio-accident,

No corpse of a soul’s errand

To the Dark Continent:

You are

The lightning rod of Europe, Canaan’s key,

The rope across the abyss,

Mehr licht for the Africa-To-be!”-Melvin Tolson, “Do”

 

Liberia and Africa as a whole from the western perspective is often seen as impoverished a and dying land. Tolson uses a different perspective when talking about Liberia. In his poem “Do” he starts each stanza with “Liberia?” and he starts off with the negative connotations of Liberia then as a rebuttal says what he sees Liberia as. To him, Liberia is what lights up Europe, in a way Liberia is what makes Europe Europe. Without Africa how would Europe be now in today’s society? This stanza reminds me a lot about activism. To me, activism is about going against something or defending your belief. Tolson throughout this poem defends his beliefs about Liberia. In a way, this can also connect back to Afrofuturism. Afrofuturism can deal will the progressive nature of African culture specifically Liberia’s culture. Afrofuturism can be about accepting and taking pride in your culture. Especially since African people are usually forced to assimilate into European culture.

A poem of Tolson’s I had difficulty understanding was “Mi”. Throughout the poem he repeatedly uses the phrase “Future Afrique” I tried to research the term but nothing seemed to define what it meant. However, if you were to split future Afrique it kind of sounds like future Africa. Which can also relate to our topic of Afrofuturism.

 

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