"It is a complicated question. Home right now is Oakland, California. But again I think I have known for many years that home, for me, can never really be a place. It is this thing that you carry inside of you, similar to these characters, particularly the Afro-American ones who have been ripped away from their original homes and yet have this connection to the land. Home is this little light that you carry inside you wherever you go."
Blacks in Baltimore before the Civil War, talks about life as a black American in Baltimore.
Big Man Asare: Esi’s father, skilled and brave Asante warrior who foolishly rushed into conflict, but realized his folly after he was rescued and earned nickname, “It takes a big man to admit his folly.”
Eli: poet of sorts who is transient in Willie's life
Amani Zulema: singer and drug addict
Approximate Time Periods
Quotes for Reflection
Belief and Religion
History and Stories
“Now that she had a plan, a hope for a way out, she felt emboldened.”
“Eat or be eater. Capture of be captured. Marry for protection.”
“’But if we do not like the person we have learned to be, should we just sit in front of our fufu, doing nothing? I think, James, that maybe it is possible to make a new way.”
“No one forgets that they were once captive, even if they are now free.”
“Not the being lost, but the being found.”
"There should be no room in your life for regret. If in the moment of doing you felt clarity, you felt certainty, then why feel regret later?"
“playing his strange game of student/teacher, heathen/savior, but with Assamoah she saw that maybe her life could be something different from what she had always imagined it would be.”
“How can I tell you the story of your scar without first telling you the story of my dreams? And how do I talk about my dreams without talking about my family? Our family?”
“‘People think they are coming to me for advice,’ Mampanyin said, ‘but really, they come to me for permission. If you want to do something, do it.”
“Willie smiled at Robert, and it wasn’t until that smile that she realized she forgave him. She felt like the smile had opened a valve, like the pressure of anger and sadness and confusion and loss was shooting out of her, in the sky and away.”