Category Archives: Race and Identity

Doh mess with ma name

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
June 13, 2022

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeAkan people of Ghana, from which my lineage springs, have a naming ceremony eight or ten days after a child is born. It is called the Outdoor Ceremony, where the child is brought into the outdoors to see the light of day.

During that ceremony, the child is given a name that confers a specific identity upon him or her. Not a tear is shed if that child dies before the naming ceremony. It is as if that entity never existed, so precious is a person’s name in that society.
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Indian Arrival Day Celebrations Not Historically Driven

By Stephen Kangal
June 07, 2022

Stephen KangalIndians came here to increase sugar production reaching 200,000 tonnes in the 1960’s and not to decrease the cost of sugar production as their wages/conditions were set. They were deceived into believing that they were coming to “chalay chinee”. We cannot be misled by Cudjoe’s Afro-centric lenses because the jahajees were already versed in sugar cultivation in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. What did the Indians think or have in their minds as they embarked from Kidderpore Docks in Calcutta bent to Trinidad after enduring the Indian Famine of 1850’s? They survived the “Kala pani” and the “pagal samundar” en route to create a better life for us. They worked for a mere pittance that was superior to what they left in UP and Bihar and did not come on their own to compromise the high wage demands of the apprentices.
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Origin of Indian indentureship in Trinidad

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
June 06, 2022

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeOn the celebration of Indian Arrival Day, May 31, an Express editorial recounted: “On this day 177 years ago the Fatel Razack entered the Gulf of Paria with over 200 Indians aboard, the first of 143,939 citizens of India to be brought here under a British scheme to deal with a shortage of labour following the emancipation of enslaved Africans in 1834–38.”
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Letting goodness shine for Divali

By Angali Hosein
November 04, 2021 – newsday.co.tt

HindusSitaram and Shubh Divali to the Hindu community and to my beloved country, Trinidad and Tobago. Divali or Deepavali translates to a row of lights or festival of lights and bears a great significance in Hindu culture as it emphasises light over darkness as well as good over evil. Thus, the auspiciousness of this day brings me feelings of joy, happiness and love, which I try my best to share with those around me.
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The Passing of the Pointer Man

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
August 16, 2021

PART 1

“I maintain that art at its best reveals to us the fullness of what it means to be human.”

—Ben Okri, The Theatre Diaries

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeNo creative personality writes, paints or sculpts outside of his/her time and place. Necessarily a product of his history and his geography, s/he always tries to cast a light on the perils that confront his people. In so doing, s/he reflects on the truths and failings of humanity as well. LeRoy Clarke, our master-blaster, resided in that elevated region of greatness. He took on the persona “The Eye” to illuminate the perils that confronted his nation. In the words of our Orisha devotees, he was a Seer (he would have said Obeah) man, who strove assiduously to illumine the darkness that enveloped his people.
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GLORIOUS DAYS OF THE HAPPY AND THE FREE

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
August 09, 2021

PART II

“Pas de six ans, Point de six ans!” (“No to Six Years. No more six years!”)

—The chant of the ex-slaves on Emancipation Day

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeMore apprentices came to Government House on Saturday, August 2, to assert their freedom. There was “a visible increase of insolence in the behaviour of the Negroes. The muster around Government House continued, and His Excellency again attempted to persuade them to return to their work, but his efforts were fruitless. They first laughed at, and then hooted [we would say heckled] him” (PoS Gazette, August 5, 1834).
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Kamla Persad Bissessar’s Emancipation Day Statement

By Kamla Persad Bissessar
Opposition Leader and Leader of the UNC Party
August 01, 2021 – Facebook

Kamla Persad-BissessarToday our nation celebrates Emancipation Day, a day that marks the abolition of the vile practice of chattel slavery. It is a day for both celebration of the liberation of enslaved Africans and an opportunity to reflect on, and learn from, the lessons of this dark period in our history.

The enslavement of Africans throughout the Caribbean and the Americas, via the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, is perhaps the greatest crime against humanity in the history of mankind.
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Dr Keith Rowley’s Emancipation Day Statement

By Dr Keith Rowley
Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago
August 01, 2021 – Facebook

PM Dr Keith RowleyHappy Emancipation Day to all the people of Trinidad and Tobago, from the Government, my own family and myself on the occasion of Emancipation Day 2021.

Today, we recognise not just the horrific experience of our African ancestors – but the impact it continues to have on the lives of millions of their descendants.
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MSJ’s David Abdulah: Slavery continues today

By Clint Chan Tack
August 01, 2021 – newsday.co.tt

MSJ leader David AbdulahMOVEMENT for Social Justice (MSJ) political leader David Abdulah said slavery continues today in different forms.

He made the statement in his Emancipation Day message to the nation.

He said the MSJ “deplores the fact that our education system is so deficient in the teaching of our real history – the history of the struggle “out of slavery, through indenture and up to freedom.”
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Glorious day(s) of the happy and the free

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
August 01, 2021

PART 1

The masters were “dam tief”, the Governor an “old rogue”, and the King not such a fool as to buy them half free when he was rich enough to pay for them altogether.

—Port of Spain Gazette, August 5, 1834

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeToday is Emancipation Day. Ashton Ford, one of our respected elders, remembers the impetus that led former prime minister George Chambers to change the Discovery Day holiday (a day that recognised the misdeeds of our oppressors) to Emancipation Day that honours the achievements of our ancestors.

Chambers believed if you named your streets and monuments after local patriots, you encouraged a sense of nationhood and strengthened national identity among the population.
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