June is #ReadCaribbean Month – Post 15

I am at the point in my #readCaribbean #CaribAThon reading journalling that I’m feeling a little disappointed that I haven’t finished not one book, not one (not counting the DNF mentioned in Post 13). I am, however, enjoying treating myself to a little reading time every day though – it infuses each day with a little burst of joy and I have to find a way to keep reading in my daily routine past Caribbean Heritage Month.

Before I get in to Sunday’s very little reading progress – thanks to an emotionally chaotic but in the end satisfying Father’s day (in spite of not one of my plans working out) – I mostly wanted to hop on here to say Happy Juneteenth to my African-American family, collectively speaking, from folks like myself in the Afro-Caribbean. As books like To Shoot Hard Labour and the existence of slave dungeons and other detritus of chattel slavery and the whole sugar-plantation economy on my island attest, there are some painful commonalities and intersections in our journey notwithstanding the differences and the uniqueness of each experience. So, while I am reading only #Caribbeanwriters this month, I thought I’d give over some of my blog real estate to a couple of books that speak to the African-American pre-Emancipation experience and what makes Juneteenth (the day, June 19th 1865 in which enslaved people in Texas were informed of their freedom, marking the official end of slavery, enshrined as of 2021 as a federal holiday) meaningful.

Books like Alex Haley’s Roots – before it was one of the best mini-series of all time, it was one of the best books of all time, a family saga intertwined with the horrors of the slave trade and slavery itself; one of my takeaways on seeing the mini-series as a child and reading the book as a college student was how much of their humanity our ancestors (Black people kidnapped or sold off in to the unique and particular horror of chattel slavery) managed to hold on to inspite of every effort to separate them from themselves and each other. Like Fiddler said to Kunta when they made him change his name to Toby under the whip, (from memory, so possibly paraphrasing) “what you care what they call you, you know who you is”. This is a powerful work that started and ended in Africa, a reminder that we were never slaves, but rather enslaved PEOPLE who did not start and end in slavery – though it was a long night that transformed us in ways we are still trying to unpack. I use we because this is my backstory as well as a descendant of Africans enslaved in the Caribbean but Alex Haley’s Roots is in many ways a uniquely American saga and a must-read, I believe, and must-watch for anyone truly desirious of understanding the African-American experience.

Books like Edward P. Jones’ The Known World – which is a powerful and unsettling read about the experiences of free and enslaved people of various types but especially Black people. I’ll say less here as you can read my review in Blogger on Books.

And now back to my regularly scheduled June reading goals and specifically my very little reading progress on a very chaotic but ultimately satisfying Father’s Day (technically the morning after)… I read another chapter of M. Nourbese Philip’s Harriet’s Daughter and my #lastline #whereIpause is “I just lay there playing dead.” (p. 35)

ETA: Though I received no new books this week as I started a ‘new’ book last week, I’m adding this to Mailbox Monday.

4 thoughts on “June is #ReadCaribbean Month – Post 15

  1. What a nice sharing. I think I saw The Known World on your blog before. Now I made sure to write it on my wish list. Hope you have a good week and get in some reading!

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