Explain this quote:  “What’d be the point? . . . Not a house in the country ain’t packed to its rafters with some dead Negro’s grief.”



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Baby Suggs' quote brings out the deep seeded level of pain and suffering that was a part of the slave experience.  Baby Suggs' words help to bring out that there is an inescapable and almost indescribable condition of suffering that those who endured and survived slavery had to accept as part of being in the world:

Anybody Baby Suggs knew, let alone loved, who hadn't run off or been hanged, got rented out, loaned out, bought up, brought back, stored up, mortgaged, won, stolen or seized.

For Baby Suggs, the condition of slavery and being Black in America at the time was one where intense pain was an intrinsic part of consciousness.  When the subject of moving out of a home that was riddled with painful memories, Baby Suggs' words make the argument that physical movement cannot eliminate subjective suffering and psychological trauma.  Baby Suggs' words are almost a direct indictment on what it means to be "American."  The idea of physical ease of movement has long been a part of American culture.  American Westward Expansion, and the fluid nature of the frontier are representative of this idea.  Yet, in Baby Suggs' word, a quality of pain and agony is evident in an alternate conception of Amerca.  For those who are the children of slavery, their conception of America and what it means to live in America is far different than its traditional conception, and Baby Suggs' words are a reminder of this vision of "two Americas."


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