By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
[Celebration & Remembrance of Tony Martin, Wellesley College,
Wednesday, May 1, 2013.]
I met Tony Martin when I arrived at Harvard University in 1976. Although we were both born in Trinidad, we had not met each other prior to that time. Tony was born in Port of Spain, the capital of the country; I was born in Tacarigua, a village about twelve miles east of Port of Spain. Tony had studied at St. Mary’s College, one of the elite colleges of the country; I had remained at St. Mary’s Anglican Church School, as a pupil teacher or practicing teacher under supervision of other teachers. In the course of things, Tony went off to England “to further his studies” as we say at home. I went to the States. By then he had written Race First: The Ideological and Organizational Struggles of Marcus Garvey and the Universal Improvement Association, a book that came to define his scholarly career and which the late, great John Henrik Clarke described as being “close to a definitive study of Marcus Garvey as we have seen.” Other than our mutual national origins, my interest in Tony Martin grew because I was using Race First in my class and wanted to know more about Tony and what had gone into the writing of his book. In December of 1987, a year and a half after I arrived at Wellesley, Tony presented me with a copy of his book that was inscribed, “To a brother and a colleague, with Best wishes.” I still possess a copy of that book, but this is getting ahead of my story. Continue reading ‘Selwyn Cudjoe Speaks on the Life of Tony Martin’
In the 1950s when I was growing up in Tacarigua, Trinidad, West Indies, there existed a large, faded mansion in the Orange Grove Savannah that had seen the last of its glories. It stood there as a colossus on this magnificent expanse of land which, at that time, was one of the largest savannah in the country second only to the Queen’s Park Savannah in Port of Spain, the capital of Trinidad. It reminded one of the glorious days of a time long past. I was a young boy then and could not have known that in this residence there once lived one of the most important men in the West Indies during the first half of the nineteenth century. Continue reading ‘Ignorant Negroes/Tyrannical Masters: William Burnley and the Caribbean Slave Experience’
For a change, I don’t want to discuss politics. I don’t want to debate whether big bad Mugabe is actually an African national hero, as many on this continent believe, or some brutal dictator, as we are told relentlessly by the BBC, The Economist and virtually the entire Western establishment media.
‘Data’ about Zimbabwe is developed somewhere, to serve Western political interests, and then it is recycled, repeated by hundreds of websites all over the Internet. Old reports are not updated when the situation improves. Incorrect statistics are hardly challenged. Continue reading ‘Harare: Is It Really the Worst City on Earth?’
I was standing in my local mini-mart one day, waiting to be served and minding my own business, when this scruffy and questionable-looking black man who had walked into the mini mart began eyeing me. From the corner of my eyes I had noted that he was eyeing me, and had thought to myself, “Oh gosh, here we go!”. As I had anticipated, this “character” walked over to me and began hitting on me. I shot him a look intended to convey “Ugh! Please!” At that point, I looked away. And I must have succeeded in communicating the meaning that I had wanted because he persisted, “why you have to treat me like I is a beast?” Yep, green verbs and all! I responded “because you are acting like one,” and so aggravated was I, that I was about to spit out “and you look like one too,” but I thought to myself “Look, Akilah, hush, jus hush”. Continue reading ‘A Female’s Scorn’
The glamorization of Racism and Colorism makes these social plagues difficult to eradicate. The article linked below is another example of this stark reality.
“Rosetta Smith, Lady Governor of Trinidad“ By Angelo Bissessarsingh – Trinidad Guardian – Sunday, March 10, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt/columnist/2013-03-10/rosetta-smith-lady-governor-trinidad It is no secret that the immensely diverse ethnic potpourri of Trinidad’s history has produced the most beautiful women in the world. Almost every white man of substance had his coloured mistress in days of yore. The fabled attraction of the mulatto woman had its effect on the fearsome Sir Thomas Picton, who ruled with an iron hand as the first British governor from 1797-1803. Picton sent forth pimps to search out a mistress. Continue reading ‘Nothing glamourous about Racism, Colorism’
EDITOR: I have just viewed the Trinidad and Tobago Residential Telephone Directory 2013 for the first time. The image consists of 6 faces. I wonder what percentage of Africans and Indians are dark-skinned in Trinidad and Tobago? Continue reading ‘Unrepresented Black Faces in T&T Ads’
Commenting after Zoanette Johnson’s rendition of “Circle of Life”, Nicki Minaj said:
“I’m proud that this place right here gives people like you and me, that came from absolutely nothing, from a country that we didn’t probably think we’d make it out alive, it gives us a shot. Thank you, Thank you. …”