A rolling call and response between antebellum Black history and the present that mediates it.

Somewhere in the cut between Harriet Jacobs and surveillance, Southampton and sneaker game, Lake Providence and the supply chain, Bottom Rail on Top sets off a mediation between the complications of legacy and selfhood. In a kind of archives-powered unmooring of the linear progress story, award-winning poet D.M. Bradford fragments and recomposes American histories of antebellum Black life and emancipation, and stages the action in tandem with the matter of his own life. Amidst echoes and complicities, roots and flights, lineage and mastery, it’s a story of stories told in knots and asides, held together with paper trails, curiosities, and hooks — a study that doesn’t end.