Before the Devil Breaks You

“We are a country built by immigrants, dreams, daring, and opportunity. We are a country built by the horrors of slavery and genocide, the injustice of racism and exclusion. These realities exist side by side. It is our past and our present. The future is unwritten. This is a book about ghosts. For we live in a haunted house.”

“The colonizer writes the history, winning twice: A theft of land. A theft of witness.”

“There was such fear in the world. But love was everywhere if you looked. It was the best thing about humans. That they could stare into the abyss and still open up their hearts. A spit in the eye to fear.”

“But how did you fight an enemy who never fought fair? Didn’t you have to break the rules to win against the Devil?”

“The land is old, the land is vast, he has no future, he has no past, his coat is sewn with many woes, he’ll bring the dead, the King of Crows.”

“He put a hand to the cool, painted stones bearing witness to so many names, so many histories. In the mural, there were painted lines for the Underground, like scars stretched across the skin of the infected nation. There were wounds and then there were wounds. Some were so great Memphis had no idea how they could ever be healed.”

“Rest. Then speak of what you know. Show them what you have seen. Witness until their comfort yields to questions. Till their eyes cry with truth. Till their ears would hear the voices of tomorrow. Till their hearts, heavy with knowledge, beat in understanding.”

“You must work always to understand your own heart so that it cannot be used against you.”

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