The Continental

An intergenerational blog and information sharing platform for people from all sectors in all countries to share their thoughts, ideas and experiences of progress, innovations, and challenges of Black places, spaces, and culture.

Part I: Free to Choose Africa: A Black Millennial Manifesto For Finding Freedom in Africa

I finally decided to move back to Africa...

I knew I was ready for change one cold Sunday evening in my Northeast DC apartment.  As I cleaned the small and overpriced space, I felt the familiar dread deep in my gut that many of us feel.  The bodily anxiety of a weekend too short and the weariness of a long week ahead.

That night, it occurred to me that I was no closer to the freedom I’d imagined for myself than when I’d first came to understand the concept of freedom.  I wondered, fully cloaked in my Black American female identity, if I truly had “the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.”  I wondered if I could ever really be free here.  

One thing was certain, my work to fight against social and environmental injustice and speak up for forgotten communities from Tallahassee, Florida to our nation’s capital, to Kinshasa, Congo, had made me painstakingly aware of the ceaselessness of global anti-blackness. Such anti-blackness that scares free thinking people of color and wills entire communities helpless to the ebbs of power and privilege in a world that criminalizes Black.  In many ways that night, I resolved to be the change and to never allow my freedom to be negotiable. I dared myself to embrace pro-blackness so loudly, so clearly and so unapologetically, that not only would I inspire others to do so, I would make my life and my business a manifesto for inching closer to the freedom we all seek.

For a while, my manifesto wouldn’t be easy to explain to friends and family.  By any measure I had an impressive academic and professional career, seemingly fueled by care and concern for the earth and its people.  My collection of worn passports filled with stamps, ever further evidence of my adventurous spirit and my need to take life by the collar and demand all its magic.  But, even with a Ph.D. behind my name and more validation that one little Black girl from South Central could want--I could recognize that I wasn’t free.

Continue to follow my journey to freedom via this manifesto of blog posts!

Dr. Ashley D. Milton

Amber McIntyre