Go to the bookstore or library, get a copy of “The Wake of the Wind” by J. California Cooper, read it immediately and then pass it on. Tell the members of your community organization, church, school or union to read it too.
Do it now. Don’t wait another moment.
“The Wake of the Wind” is a novel about slavery and its immediate aftermath, but fear not. You will absolutely soar to greater heights as a result of coming to know these characters. You will fall in love and viscerally experience all that being in love means. And, you will remember. You will remember all that should never be forgotten, and you will be stronger as a result.
You will remember who we are as a people and how we came to be. You will remember that slaves were skilled toilers who were torn from Africa knowing how to raise cattle, grow crops and do all sorts of things that placed them in demand in the South’s economy with its perverted system. You will remember the pain, but you will also remember the secret and private moments of joy that were hidden from general sight.
Remembering is always important for Black people, but it seems especially so today. We have to remember what we came through to understand that we have what it takes not to succumb today. We have to remember who we were to know who we are fully capable of being.
We have to remember so that we can become solidly grounded in the effort to continue to bring into being the individual and collective strength we need to maintain the struggle for complete access to the full rights of citizens for ourselves and to understand how our struggle links us to the struggles of others.
“The Wake of the Wind,” originally published in 1999, is a magnificent tribute to the gems of our past. We emerge from having read it renewed, restored, refreshed and revived. You will walk with an enhanced pride erected on the foundation of the historical experience of the African American in resisting degradation. You will develop a deeper compassion for all who have been oppressed and exploited.
Let us do ourselves a favor. Let us arouse a collective resurrection of that which must be remembered about why education and the fight for real democracy are so important to us. As we struggle to find our way, there are tools we can employ to help us. “The Wake of the Wind” is an outstanding tool: it is truly uplifting, inspiring and enriching. It is a superb read for teenagers through senior citizens.
The Wake of the Wind By J. California Cooper Anchor Books Softcover, 384 pp., $14.95