Macaja Revels Camped at a Stream of Water
In Black Settlers in Rural Wisconsin
there is a notation that a Black man
Macaja Revels, born in 1800 on the Cherokee reservation
migrated to Dane county and camped at a stream of water
eighteen miles north of the village of Madison.
Macaja traveled on to buy land elsewhere.
There is no record of physical description; light, dark or medium
what he accomplished or who his parents were.
In 1800, a Black man was both an oddity and invisible
but the land welcomed him.
The land was cheap, fertile with plenty
there was schooling for children and protection for escaped slaves
so Macaja could rest briefly.
Who remembers Macaja Revels, Black settler in the 1800’s
Who camped at a refreshing stream
Eighteen miles north of the village of Madison
but moved on, maybe knowing there would be no welcome in Madison.
Who remembers that Black people came to Wisconsin
to be free?
from Echolocations, Poets Map Madison, Cowfeather Press, 2013