“The runaways are the silent heroes who created opportunities for future generations of people of colour, and it is important that their existence is acknowledged and celebrated.”
Actor and screenwriter of 1745
Running. A free sport. An activity where you can lace up and run, not matter what the time, the season or the weather. For those of us who grew up watching the world’s fastest men and women taking part in 100 and 200m sprints, on the edge of our seats, wondering incredulously how Carl Lewis, Florence Griffiths Joyner (“Flo Jo”), Colin Jackson, Linford Christie, Michael Johnson, Usain Bolt, Mo Farah and Eliud Kipchoge ran the incredible times that they did.
Athletes like have these have inspired thousands of youngsters to themselves become the athletes of the future, some kids starting out just running races on the block, hoping to emulate their heroes.
But does running, that feeling of being free, of running away the troubles and doubts, have a deeper resonance for people of colour? And if it does, is this as a result of the invisible thread, from the millions of runaway slaves, stretching over the 400 year period since a ship first docked in the shores of America, starting the transatlantic slave trade, to our lives now?
Whatever the tenuousness of that link, one thing is for sure: without the bravery of the many men, women and children who escaped the brutal institutionalised evil of slavery and who as free people, worked tirelessly for its abolition, we as people of colour would not be living the lives we do today.
In this bonus episode for Black History Month, we celebrate them, we commemorate them and we reflect on what it means today to Run Free!
Special thanks to Simone S-B, @thisistrojan, @arayahfaithkids, @iamjackiornwilliams and @blackgirlsdorunuk for your messages - we are so grateful for your insights on what running free means to each of you!
And we have to mention Rick Holmes “Remember To Remember” - check it out - Black History captured in one song! (A Roy Ayers production).
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Theme music: Street Festival by Franco Eneiro. Used under licence.
Episode music: Whimsy Groove, Kumasi Groove and Kumasi Groove (plus flugelhorn) Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License