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Resistance to the institution of slavery was very widespread, persistent, and to be found in almost every aspect of the Enslaved life. All groups of Enslaved Africans , regardless of sex,  or work had an anti-slavery mentality. Women were among leaders of resistance movements. Women’s leadership roles, however, have been minimized in writings about slave resistance

Here are a selection of Caribbean rebellions led by women, cutlass in hand and bravery in heart; this is how they did it:

 

Mary, Agnes & Matilda

In 1878, one of the most violent rebellions took place in the Danish Caribbean islands. Locally known as the Fireburn rebellion, this labor riot sent a loud and clear message to plantation owners.

These three rebel women, Queen Mary, Queen Agnes and Queen Matilda, along with a whole host of other enslaved Africans traveled around to 50 plantations and burnt down houses, sugar mills, fields and stores. It is said that over half the city of Frederiksted burned down.

To this day Queen Mary, Queen Agnes and Queen Matilda are considered heroines. The local population erected statues of the three women and one of the main roads on St. Croix is named Queen Mary Highway.

Flore Bois Gaillard

Flore Bois Gaillard is known to have been a biracial enslaved St. Lucian woman who was detrimental in the Battle of Rabot.

Flore Bois Gaillard, growing tired of the harshness of both the French and immediately after the English who occupied the land, escaped the plantation in 1793. After running away and taking refuge in the woods, she came across other escaped Africans who had formed an army. The army planned a rebellion to rid the country of the British for good and declare St. Lucia a free country.

Flore Bois Gaillard rose in the ranks and quickly became a military leader, her planned counter-attack at Soufriere being pivotal in the success of wiping out many British slave owners, burning down plantations and freeing several slaves who later joined the army. Some say that Flore killed her former master and burned down his plantation.

While there is not a huge amount of knowledge about the details of Flore Bois Gaillard, she remains as a significant national treasure in St. Lucian history. The natural monument made to honour her, Piton Flore, is named after this St. Lucian iconic figure.

Marie Sainte Dédée Bazile

 

Marie Sainte Dédée Bazile was absolutely key in part of the Haitian Revolution, and in the legacies of honouring it.

Often callously considered to be a ‘mad woman’, Marie Sainte Dédée Bazile’s story is saturated with traumatic incidents which may have contributed to mental illness. Being a survivor of rape by her slave master as well as witnessing the death of her family, this Haitian revolutionary carried a lot with her into the rebellion.

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Marie Sainte Dédée Bazile, who was also known as Défilée, Défilée-La-Folle, escaped her slave master to join the fight for Haiti’s liberation.

Marie Sainte Dédée Bazile is most known for retrieving, transporting and burying the mutilated body of Jean-Jacques Dessalines, the first Governor-General and later Emperor of an independent Haiti, in a cemetery in Port-au-Prince. This defiant act allowed for his body to be respectfully put to rest.

Carlota Lucumí

Carlota Lucumí (La Negra Carlota) was brought to Cuba as an African woman of Yoruba origin. Today Carlota is known for the rebellions in the Triunvirato plantation in Matanzas, Cuba during 1843 -1844.

As conditions intensified on the plantations in Cuba, many revolts happened between 1830 to the late 1840s. In 1843, Lucumí and another enslaved woman, Firmina, began to plot a rebellion alongside the other enslaved on the plantation.

The plot was uncovered by the slave masters and Fermina was beaten and imprisoned. Carlota Lucumí continued with the rebellion, coordinating with her talking drum to lead a raid on November 3 1843 to free Firmina and the other enslaved people. Under Carlota’s genius and bravery, they burned down the torture house, killed the overseer’s daughter, Maria de Regla, and then forced Julian Luis Alfonso, the owner of the Triumvirato plantation, to flee for good.

In the ongoing two-day rebellion, Carlota and her army destroyed five sugar plantations. They fought until the very end and on the last day that the last plantation was destroyed, Lucumí and Firmina were both captured and executed. Carlota’s body was tied to a horse and dragged until she died.

Her memory is still honoured today amidst the ruins of the sugar mills of Matanzas, Cuba.

Nanny of the Maroons

Queen Nanny of the Maroons is a key figure in Jamaican liberation history and is widely known across the Caribbean. Details of her origins cannot be confirmed entirely, but it is said that she was born in Ghana,  to the Ashanti tribe before setting up her rebel base in the surrounding mountains of Portland, Jamaica.

Queen Nanny established her own Maroon community and engaged in Guerrilla warfare tactics and was an outstanding military leader.

Throughout Nanny’s developing Maroon community and various successful raids and riots, the British tried but could not capture her or her highly-trained army.

Details of Nanny’s existence, while wildly accepted to be true, have become mystified over time. Due to the extent of her success in her battles against the British, many believed that she practiced magic to aid her and her armies and was an Obeah woman.

The British tried and failed multiple times throughout 1728 to 1734 to capture the Maroons. In 1739, Cudjoe, another Maroon leader, signed a treaty with the British which granted the Maroons land to settle on, New Nanny Town.

Nanny’s legacy is strong and she remains as a symbol of resistance and power in Jamaica until today.

Thousands of Cubans took to the streets on Sunday to protest a lack of food and medicine as the country undergoes a grave economic crisis aggravated by the Covid-19 pandemic and US sanctions.

According to one Cuban, who spoke to the BBC on the condition of anonymity, “there is no food, no medicine, there is no freedom. They do not let us live.”

The outlet further reports that at the crux of the Cuba protests lies the issues that have arisen from American economic sanctions, the Cuban government’s mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic, and food and medicine shortages. The perfect storm of these three issues has collapsed the country’s economy.

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The issues were exacerbated by the Trump administration, according to CNN. During the Trump era, tourists — which power the economy — were limited from visiting, and some even canceled their travel altogether. This further contributed to the failing economy — and it was all but toppled when the pandemic hit.

That’s why Bernie Sanders blamed the American sanctions on the island for the current Cuba protests.

“It’s also long pastime to end the unilateral U.S. embargo on Cuba, which has only hurt, not helped, the Cuban people,” he said.

But the real answer isn’t that simple. While protests are common in the United States  and enshrined in the Constitution. They’re forbidden in places like Cuba, where protesting against the government will result in arrest and incarceration. That’s what’s happening to these protestors — and according to the BBC, the only reason we know about it is that the Internet is shining a light on all of it.

For Sanders, though, the Cuba protests speak to a larger need of the people that’s no longer being met by their government.

While this is not to say that American-style democracy is the correct choice for Cuba — the Batista administration was just as corrupt and murderous as the Castro regime — it is to say that anything’s better than what they have now.

For his part, President Biden is supportive of the Cuba protests.

“We stand with the Cuban people and their clarion call for freedom and relief from the tragic grip of the pandemic and from the decades of repression and economic suffering to which they have been subjected by Cuba’s authoritarian regime,” Biden said in a statement.

Davido, a Nigerian singer, songwriter, and record producer dropped his vibrant new music video for his track #1Milli. He is giving us major Yoruba and Afro-Caribbean moreover Brazilian vibes. Also, with the show off of Afro-descendant  Religion, which was taken to the New World by Yoruba slaves from Africa.

One year after the release of “Assurance” visuals, where Davido proudly showed us his girlfriend and current fiancée in a music video that had 53 million views, he returns with “1 milli” visual, the second track of his album A Good Time. This one also features his soon-to-be bride Chioma Rowland. This is a song where he expresses his love for her and talks about the bride price he is willing to pay for his beloved.

This clip is a vibrant tribute to the Afro-Caribbean community descending from Africa. Most of all, in this carnival period, the release of this clip is not insignificant. The traditional getup, the landscapes, the atmosphere delivers homage to the Afro-Brazilian community which is instantly recognizable. Indeed, this community is renowned for having the second-largest black community where African influences are still very present through. For example, the candomblé religion which is one of the Afro-Brazilian religions practiced in Brazil, but also in neighboring countries such as Uruguay, Cuba, Paraguay, Argentina, and Venezuela.

A mixture of catholicism, indigenous rites, and African beliefs, this religion consists of a cult of orixás (pronounced “oricha”), the candomblé gods of totemic and family origin, each associated with a natural element (water, forest, fire, lightning, etc.)
In Brazil, especially in Salvador de Bahia, Osun is an orisha goddess who is truly praised. She is a goddess found in Yoruba mythology.

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Davido who is of Yoruba heritage, commemorate the end of Black History Month by promoting black unity but also by celebrating the Afro-Caribbean culture, knowing that the carnival culture was initiated by Afro-descendants.

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As with all great migrations, the Africans that arrived in the carribean not only brought over their strength and beauty but also their music and cultural traditions.