“Man and woman work like slave in dem cane field. An’ some o’ dem manager was wicked wicked people who na know slavery done. Tell the truth, plenty of us, neaga people, like we didn’t know slavery done neither. Slave wages, slave living, and bound to show up for work same way, whether you want to or not. Magistrate and jail cart, and de prison bull whip one side; bakkra and de cat-o-nine de other side. Free paper mighta did come but you still couldn’t leave massa work undone.” – Mama Vi to the Professor in Oh Gad!
Thought of Nikki’s mother and her defiant retort to Nikki’s father as she explained her world to him in the face of his judgment of it when reading this history by Dr. Susan Lowes just last night. As I read it, I couldn’t help thinking that as we make choices today we MUST consider the sacrifices made yesterday and honour the spirit of our ancestors. We are here to make those choices because they survived; honouring their lives by making honourable choices – choices that resist the effort to put us back in ‘our place’ – is the least we can do.
Below are some excerpts I lifted from the referenced document. But you can read the whole thing here.