Archive for the 'Race and Identity' Category

Conrad Friedrich Stollmeyer – Pt 2

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
May 14, 2018

PART 1 — PART 2

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeTrinidad has always been seen as an exciting, exotic place. In 1498 after Columbus made his fourth and final voyage to the New World, he averred: “Gold is generated in sterile lands and wherever the sun is strong” (Hughes, Energy without Conscience). Around 1580 Sir Walter Raleigh left England to search for the fabled city of gold. V. S. Naipaul examined Raleigh’s obsession in The Loss of El Dorado.
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Conrad Friedrich Stollmeyer

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
May 07, 2018

PART 1 — PART 2

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeIt goes without saying that human beings are complex people; none more so than Conrad Stollmeyer who came to Trinidad in 1844 under strange circumstances. He arrived after apprenticeship ended (1838), at a time when the ex-slaves were desperately trying to find plots of land to house themselves and their families, to cultivate their crops and tend to their animals.
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W. E. B. Du Bois’s Legacy

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
Posted: April 27, 2018


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Contradictions & Counterfactuals – Pt 3

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
February 20, 2018

“…a state could never have been born without surplus.” —Yanis Varoufakis

PART 1PART 2 — PART 3

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeReading Ralph Maraj and Kamal Persad’s contributions, one would think that Eric Williams and the PNM were the worst things that ever happened to Trinidad and Tobago (T&T). They seem to suggest that if only Badase Sagan Maraj and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) had won the 1956 general election T&T would have been a paradise.
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Contradictions & Counterfactuals – Pt 2

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
February 13, 2018

“…a state could never have been born without surplus.” —Yanis Varoufakis

PART 1 — PART 2

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeIn the nineteenth century Trinidad saw the first massive giveaway of lands and bonuses to the Indians in lieu of their passages to India. Those options were never available to Africans. This was the first step in the systematic dispossession of Africans in the land to which they had been brought. Few of us seem to remember it.

Fast-forward to one hundred and thirty years (around the year 2003) when a PNM government engineered another massive giveaway of lands, which is taking place in front of our eyes under the faulty premise that Indians had the first preference because they farmed the lands. This was/is strange logic since these lands belong to all nationals.
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The Black Princess

By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
December 05, 2017

Princess we are happy
You came our way
But unfortunately
You could not stay.

This is a welcome
That has no end
Please pay us a visit
Now and then.

— The Mighty Sparrow

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeIn 1955 Princess Margaret came to Trinidad to visit. Most of Her Majesty’s subjects felt elated. I attended Tacarigua AC School at the time. All of my fellow students lined the Churchill Roosevelt Highway with our flags (the Union Jack) to pay tribute to our princess. Two days later we headed down to the Queen’s Park Oval to give her a royal welcome.
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Love a Donkey: Besson’s Independence Fables – Pt 3

By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
September 18, 2017

PART 1PART 2 – PART 3

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeBesson argues that Trinidad and Tobago’s independence venture failed because more than 30 percent of the African population left the country since1962. “These emigrants,” he says, “were mostly urban, secondary school educated, more or less middle class….At the same time, about the same amount of people or more than that of those who left, have come from the islands of the Caribbean.” He elaborates: “Those immigrants’ background were mostly rural and primary school educated. This unique demographic transformation has impacted on Trinidad and Tobago politically, socially and culturally, and has significantly diminished the identity of the AfroCreole [read black] sector.”
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Beautiful Are the Souls of My Black People

By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
August 06, 2017

Ara romi o
My body is in pain
Ara romi Shango
Shango, my body is in pain
Ojo romi e e
The rain is falling on me [I am experiencing hard times]
Ojo romi Shango
Shango, the rain is falling on me [I am experiencing hard times.]

— Ella Andall, “Ara romi o”

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeI want to modify the title of Jeanne Noble’s book (Beautiful, Also, Are the Souls of My Black Sisters) to describe the wondrous display of African couture (exquisitely designed African dresses, elaborately textured head wraps, and intricately woven male fashions) that graced Port of Spain streets on Tuesday as black people wound their way from the Treasury Building to the Queen’s Park Savannah to celebrate the 179th year of their emancipation from slavery.
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Britain’s Perfect Caribbean Crime: Ignored Genocide, Faked Emancipation…

7th Annual George Lamming Distinguished Lecture

Streamed live on Jun 13, 2017

On Tuesday, June 13, 2017, Vice-Chancellor of The University of the West Indies (The UWI) Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, delivered the seventh Annual George Lamming Distinguished Lecture at The UWI Cave Hill Campus’ Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination (EBCCI) in Barbados. Vice-Chancellor Beckles spoke on Britain’s Perfect Caribbean Crime: Ignored Genocide, Faked Emancipation, Insincere Independence, and No Reparations.
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Brek-UP, Brek-DOWN Society – Part 3

By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
June 05, 2017

PART 3

Jasmattie live in bruk-
Down hut big like Bata shoe-box,
Beat clothes, weed yard, chop wood, feed fowl
For this body and that body and every blasted body
Fetch water, all day like if the
Whole slow-flowing Canje river God create
Just for she one bucket.

David Dabydeen, “Coolie Mother”

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeAll of us in Trinidad and Tobago were nurtured in Bruk-UP, Bruk-DOWN huts, big like a Bata shoe-box as David Dabydeen’s Guyanese example suggests. Even Eusebio Atanasio Valerio, an exemplary Amerindian ancestor, who documented his life in Sieges and Fortunes of a Trinidadian, lived in a hut in forested Arima. In Tacarigua, up until the 1960s, an Indian barracks stood at the back of the Orange Grove Sugar Estates (OG). Twelve of the first batch of Indians who came to Trinidad in 1845 were sent to OG where they joined the 265 African workers who were employed there at the time.
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