Category Archives: Race and Identity

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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A Luta Continua

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
June 29, 2021

“Nations seldom listen to advice from individuals, however reasonable. They are taught less by theories than by facts and events.”

Life and Times of Frederick Douglass

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeLast week I commended President Joseph Biden for signing into law a bill that made June 19 a national holiday to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States. It took two and a half years (that is, on June 19, 1865) to notify enslaved African Americans that “all slaves are free” and the 13th Amendment to free them officially on December 6, 1865.
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Getting world history right: real African history

By Dr. Kwame Nantambu
June 14, 2021

Dr. Kwame NantambuYears after the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 2011 as “The International Year for People of African Descent”, it must be realized that the European enslavement of African people or the “MAAFA” (“great disaster”) only represents .01 per cent of the history of African people on this planet. Put another way, for the 99.9 per cent of their history, Africans were a free people.

Furthermore, “there were a thousand years of independent state formation and state management in inner West Africa called the western Sudan before the (European) slave trade.”
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Germany recognises colonial ‘genocide’ in Namibia

Germany calls atrocities ‘genocide’ but omits the words ‘reparations’ or ‘compensation’ from a joint statement

By Philip Oltermann, in Berlin
May 28, 2021 – theguardian.com

The Forgotten Genocide: Herero and Nama, 1904Germany has to agreed to pay Namibia €1.1bn (£940m) as it officially recognised the Herero-Nama genocide at the start of the 20th century, in what Angela Merkel’s government says amounts to a gesture of reconciliation but not legally binding reparations.

Tens of thousands of men, women and children were shot, tortured or driven into the Kalahari desert to starve by German troops between 1904 and 1908 after the Herero and Nama tribes rebelled against colonial rule in what was then named German South West Africa and is now Namibia.
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Bernard Yawching defends book accusing UNC, Hindus of racist agenda

By Julien Neaves
March 17, 2021 – newsday.co.tt

Bernard YawchingPOLITICAL and social activist Bernard Yawching said he expects backlash over his book The Hidden Agenda of Race Relations in Trinidad and Tobago.

The new book accuses the United National Congress (UNC), the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha (SDMS), and some members of the Hindu community and the East Indian community of promoting a racist agenda. It tracks events from a 1913 speech by former Arima Mayor FEM Hosein about Africans not being as productive as Indians to more modern-day controversies such as Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar describing the Prime Minister as an “oreo.”
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