DBM Episode 47: Black Mamas Leaving America, Belonging & Liberation Beyond Borders w/ Parthenia Luke




Dear Mama,

Where do we belong? Where can we be safe? Where can we be brave? Where can our children thrive? Where can we be? These are questions that more and more Black mothers are searching beyond the borders of America for answers to. Today, we explore these questions with daughter of the diaspora, Parthenia Luke. A descendant of formerly enslaved Black folks who left America in the late 1800s for Liberia, we have a raw, honest, and real conversation about what it means for Black Americans to leave America, and what it means for our children and us to stay. 


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Mac & Cheese:

For today’s mac and cheese, we are speaking to Parthenia Luke. Parthenia is a social worker by passion and profession. She’s passionate about social justice as it pertains to the human right to be and to belong. As an emerging scholar working towards a PhD in social work, she aims to shed light on the long-term implications of gentrification, especially for individual residents and for entire communities. Her passions carry into her work as an instructor in higher education, where she advises administrators and leads efforts to promote a more inclusive, diverse, and equitable experience for graduate and undergraduate students. We dig in deep into our mac and cheese today as we discuss her challenges in social justice work, balancing all her passions and obligations, Liberia, her family’s history, and what Black mamas can learn about liberation beyond borders.

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  • Segment Highlights:
    • 20:42 My family’s history in connection to Liberia goes all the way back to 1869. So we’re talking after the civil war, after the 13th amendment. – Parthenia Luke
    • 26:12 The connection to west Africa is over 50% of the black people living in the United States. – Crystal Irby
    • 35:51 I’m entitled to go and explore this entire planet as a citizen of the world. And with that comes certain responsibilities and certain abilities to navigate spaces. – Thea Monyee
    • 40:33 I think that there is something to being birthed in that place and having lineage in that place even. – Crystal Irby
    • 50:58 If we dig a little deeper and go a little further back, we see how varied our ancestors’ experiences were. – NeKisha
    • 58:02  the mindset is always about security and safety, not about risk and chance and evolving and what could happen and what we could make.- Thea Monyee
    • 1:04:27 Liberia has a lot of different tribes. But as far as coming together as one nation, it was a colony of the US. – Parthenia Luke
    • 1:11:11 It made me realize how I had allowed this country to displace me within my own land. – Crystal Irby
    • 1:19:31 Once we get through this white supremacy thing, I think we’re gonna get around to that family meeting, and that’s gonna be a hell of a family meeting. – Thea Monyee
    • 1:24:57 We’re just starting to recognize that the things that we do, the ways that we build community, the ways that we connect to one another, the ways that we create our society with one another, it’s so beneficial to your body and to your mental self. – Parthenia Luke
    • 1:30:56 part of the point of building outside of here is to build the Afro future. – Thea Monyee

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