Thursday, November 23, 2023

Phillis Wheatley and the barbershop

Yesterday, when I walked into my barbershop to get a cut, a guy was standing talking about various thises and thats concerning "our" history. I listened as he held court. 

My barber motioned for me to come over and have a seat in the chair, and then he started cutting. The man who was talking about Black history, culture, and literature apologized if he was interrupting. My barber and another one of the barbers assured him that we all enjoyed his points and encouraged him to continue.

So I was getting my hair cut, and we were all listening as the man continued speaking. He mentioned various historical figures, with my barber chiming in at times here and there. It was great.

At one point, the topic turned to Phillis Wheatley, as our keynote speaker mentioned what it meant that this enslaved girl became this great poet. "Just imagine that," we were told. Yes! 

I enjoyed listening, and there was no need to mention that I was a literature professor. Besides, my biggest roles at that moment were listener and student. 

When there was a lull on Wheatley, I did add one point, noting that this year marks 250 years since her debut publication in 1773. 

Everyone began shouting, "Whoa!!!" "Wow!" "Really?!?" "Look at that!" 

We had a good time. 

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