All Water Has a Perfect Memory

excerpts from Rebecca Hall and Hugo Martínez’s “Wake”

A.B. Godfreed
2 min readAug 22, 2022


photograph by A.B. Godfreed

I look for their testimony
I find this:
June 13: “died a girl Slave №9.”
June 14: “died a Woman №10.”
June 15: “died a Man Slave №11.”

[T]he decisions they made
and why they made them:
keep them in coffle
onboard a slave ship
keep a close eye on them
fetch a good price

But we are strong
Dahomey warriors
hard to contain
jump overboard
fight back all the time

This is ancestry in progress
it is our superpower
our way out of no way
so too is our resilience

We must use our haunting
and see how it could be


This piece is composed solely out of phrases taken randomly from “Wake: The Hidden History of Women-Led Slave Revolts”, a book written by Rebecca Hall (2021) and illustrated by Hugo Martínez. As a comic book buff, I picked up a copy of “Wake” from the LOATAD library, while attending the WAW Residency in June this year. “Wake” was such a good read that I had to buy myself a copy, to read all over again.

In “Wake”, Hall provides us with historic account as powerful testimony of Black women’s resilience and resistance during slavery, including their central roles in slave revolts carried out during the middle passage and in the Americas. Of key importance to this story of Black women’s leadership, is the renowned defiance and military skill of women warriors, from the Dahomey kingdom, who were also amongst the captives. The scope of these women’s fighting ability and fortitude is something we will hopefully get to learn much more about in the highly anticipated movie, The Woman King, directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood (2022) and starring Viola Davis.

If you can get a copy of “Wake”, read it; and then go watch “The Woman King”, upon its arrival on 16 September. It is most definitely on my watch list!


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A.B. Godfreed

Non-Entity with a clear purpose to transform self (& perhaps the world) through critical consciousness and Love.