Frazier: Awed by 47 writers in new book on racial truths

When I met Horace Mungin a decade ago on the beach at Sullivan’s Island, a kente cloth scarf draped his shoulders and a matching kufi cap adorned his head. I also wore our ancestors’ clothing, a waist-length garment made of coarse country cloth from Sierra Leone.

Frazier

Horace was in the audience at Fort Moultrie Visitors’ Center during the annual Middle Passage Remembrance Program. I participated with a talk about  my reporting trips to West African sites where our captured ancestors were held before they were shipped across the Atlantic.

Horace liked my talk. When he greeted me on the beach, he said, “You the man!” I responded quickly, “No, brother. You the man!” My words could not be compared with the volumes of his edgy poems and essays on the Black experience in America.

When Horace was about 5 years old his family left Hollywood, S.C., for New York City. While in the Bronx during the mid-1960s, he started writing poetry at the birth of the Black Arts Movement. In 2017, the National Museum for African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., included a video of Black Forum Magazine, which Horace founded in 1970. His magazine is a permanent part of the museum’s statement of the Black Arts Movement.

Horace returned to the Charleston area in 1989 with his wife, Gussie, who’s also a South Carolinian. Horace continued to write. In 2020, Evening Post Books published his Notes from 1619: A Poetic 400-year Reflection.  In this collection of poems, Horace pushed against the injustices imposed by the conscious erasure of African American history.

Mungin

Before Notes from 1619 was released, Horace emailed me and others in early November 2018 with an idea for a public event to address the harm done to people of African descent as a result of slavery’s legacy. He sought to pair his poems with essays written by others then hold conversations on topics that are uncomfortable for some.

He asked McLeod Plantation if it would stage the event. He called the presentation: “Black History for White People Only.”

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