VOICE FOR AN INDEPENDENT MONTSERRAT
THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE CARIBBEAN PAN-AFRICAN MOVEMENT
(1) Whereas by an act of the 3rd and 4th, William the Fourth entitled-: An Act for the Abolition of Slavery Throughout the British Colonies, for Promoting the Industry of the Manumitted Slaves and for Compensating the Persons Hitherto Entitled to the Services of Such Slaves" it has been rendered incumbent on us, in order to effectuate the views and intentions of His Majesty's Government to pass an Act of this island with similar Enactments to confirm as far as we can the said Act. We therefore, Your Majesty's dutiful and loyal subjects the President administering the Government and the Council and Assembly of this Your Majesty's Island of Montserrat, Do pray, Your Most Excellent Majesty, that it may be enacted, And be it, and it is hereby enacted by the authority aforesaid, That from and after the first day of August One Thousand Eight Hundred and Thirty-four all persons, who in conformity with the laws now in force in this Island respectively shall on or before the first day of August One Thousand Eight Hundred and thirty-four have been duly registered as slaves in the said Island; who on the said first day of August One Thousand Eight Hundred and Thirty-four shall be actually within the said Island; and who shall by such registries appear to be on the said first day of August One Thousand eight Hundred and thirty-four of the full age of six years or upwards, shall, by force and virtue of this Act and without the previous execution of any indenture of apprenticeship or other deed or instrument for that purpose, become and be apprenticed labourers, provided that for the purposes aforesaid every slave engaged in his ordinary occupation on the seas shall be deemed and taken to be within the said Island.
(2) And be it further enacted That during the continuance of the apprenticeship of any such apprenticed labourer, such person or persons shall be entitled to the services of such apprenticed Labourer as would for the time being have been entitled to his or her services as slave if this act had not been made.
The preceding are the first two clauses of a 21-clause document that legally brought an end to the physical ownership of man by man. The first eleven clauses in this document deal specifically with how the former owners of human beings were to be compensated for the loss of their property effective the first day of August 1834.
The European historian would have us believe that it was through the good graces of his humanitarian legislators that the slaves were finally freed.
Fortunately for us, Africentric scholars have been able to glean the truth, remove their distortions and bring the true history to light. From the inception of the institution of slavery:- (the buying and selling of human beings to be owned by the buyer as property), which was totally and solely a European invention, the Afrikan revolted.
In 1510 the first shipment of Afrikans to the so called New World began on the island of Hispaniola. In 1517 the first slave revolt was recorded. From this point on the entire Antilles, Greater and Lesser, was a continuous hotbed of revolution.
The Afrikan fought a continuous battle for three hundred and thirty four (334) years to take back what was rightfully his. On many of the larger islands and mainland colonies Afrikans never submitted to even one day of servitude to any master. Within hours of their forced exile from their Motherland they escaped into the forests to join their already free brethren.
On the island of Jamaica the government of Great Britain had to make two peace treaties with the Maroons: (free Afrikans living in the forests), in order to maintain their plantations.
From 1517 until 1834 there was continuous war or resistance between the slave masters and the Afrikan who was fighting to regain what was rightfully his.
It is interesting to note, that there is no mention of any of these revolts in the history books of the European. True facts reveal, however, that for 334 years constant resistance and revolutionary warfare went on in the Lesser and Greater Antilles or main land colonies between the Afrikan and his would-be master.
On the island of Hispaniola where it all started, the Afrikan demonstrated to all of Europe what the unified might of a people were capable of accomplishing.
After constant revolts from 1517-1791, the Afrikans in Hispaniola started their war for total liberation from their would be masters in 1792 .
For twelve years, these Afrikans sustained a military machine that would see them defeat all the armies of Europe one by one and all the combined forces of Europe.
Napoleon the so called military genius of France sent his troops into the fray in 1804 to take the final onslaught and to suffer a crushing defeat at the hands the great Afrikan General Jean Jacque Dessalines.
The Empire of Great Britain, incidentally, lost two hundred thousand soldiers and over twenty million pounds in their attempt to take Hispaniola by defeating the Afrikan army. This humiliating defeat was kept hidden from the British public for over one hundred years until the year 1909 when a military historian discovered it hidden away in the British archives.
In 1804, having defeated the best of the European armies and ridding the island of all the so-called masters General Dessalines declared the island "free, independent and Black. He also renamed the island Haiti as the former inhabitants had called it before they were annihilated by the Europeans.
There was no colony in the Greater and Lesser Antilles or the mainland that was not aware of the twelve year war that was waged by the Afrikans in Haiti and the drain that it had put on the entire European economy.
The inspiration that enslaved Afrikans received from this successful revolt gave the entire region the invigorating strength necessary to continue the struggle.
The revolts continued with renewed strength and vigour and the would-be master resisted with fear and violence. The enslaved Afrikan would not be put off. His goal was to attain his freedom.
Throughout the entire region the greatest fear of the would-be master was what his slave would do to him.
As the revolts became more intense, the would-be master's fear increased and he called on his mother country for protection.
The provision of that protection meant that Great Britain had to provide soldiers at a cost that was no longer profitable because the institution that they were being asked to protect and uphold:- (slavery and the plantation) was being systematically destroyed by the revolutionary Afrikan.
Our ForeMother's and ForeFather's paid the price in blood for our physical freedom.
They sustained and maintained a revolutionary war for three hundred and thirty four (334) years to attain that freedom. Had the economics of the matter continued to profit the would-be masters and the Empire of Great Britain, the pleas and cries of the abolitionists would have continued to fall on deaf ears.
The First day of August 1834 is the one of the greatest days in the history of the Afrikan in the Western Hemisphere.
Emancipation was not a gift given to us by benevolent owners. Emancipation was a God given right taken.
The physical freedom that was attained on that day came about through the strength and desire of our ForeMother's and Father's to sustain consistently in the minds of their children generation after generation the vision of freedom.
As we celebrate this momentous day this and every August Monday, as we honour and glorify the spirits of our Forbearers, we should make it known to the present and coming generations that the battle is not over.
Our Fore-Mother's and Father's destroyed forever the shackles of physical slavery. The task now left to us is to continue the battle to remove forever from our minds and the minds of our children the shackles of MENTAL SLAVERY that have us bound to our former would-be master's even tighter than the chains that once held us.
10,000 B.C. Rise of Nile Valley Civilizations.
3,000 B.C. The Great Pyramids built.
1500-300 B.C. The Kingdom of Kush.
600-150 B.C. Carthage.
350-650 A.D. Nubia.
400-1650 A.D. Ghana, Mali, Songhay.
712-1492 A.D. Africans Rule Spain.
Oldest skeletons of human beings found so far are about 5 million years old. Location the Oulduvai Gorge in Tanzania. About 12,000 years ago in the Nile Valley, settled, agricultural civilization began. The only remaining structure of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World the Great Pyramid of Giza is over 5,000 years old. The Egyptian civilization that built the pyramids lasted for 3,000 years. The great military genius Hannibal came from Carthage. He marched his army from Africa to Rome and fought the Romans for twenty years.
Afrikans in the western hemisphere won their freedom between 1834 and 1888. From that point onward a new battle-front was opened. Realizing that they could no longer physically enslave Afrikans, Europeans continued with greater emphasis what they created during the days of slavery.
At no point during the enslavement of the Afrikan was there any doubt in the minds of the slaves who they were and where they came from.
At no point after winning their freedom was there any doubt in the mind of the Afrikan who they were and where their Motherland was located.
During the same time period that the Afrikan was taking back his physical freedom from the European, scholars in the universities of Germany and England were rewriting the history and social sciences of the European people. The European at this time institutionalized, in all parts of his society, two false premises.
The first and most important to him was his supposed superiority based solely on the fact that his skin lacked pigmentation (melanin).
The second was that since he was superior, no other people had the ability to create or invent without his presence or domination. From the first premise we have the cancer that is rotting out all the institutions of the western hemisphere.
It is called racism.
From the second premise we have all the distortions of history as scholar after scholar spent endless hours of their time searching for Europeans in ancient civilizations. Of course, there were no Europeans to be found in ancient civilizations.
Except for the Greeks and the Romans who had brief moments on the scene, there were only Afrikans. As a result, five thousand (5000) years of the most brilliant and creative history of mankind was eliminated from their history books.
Afrikans won the right to mass education in the early 1900's. The European educational institution became the model. And so began the second battle: The enslaving of the Afrikan mind.
Each succeeding generation from then until now has graduated from the educational institutions with no doubt in their mind as to validity of the order and structure of society as defined by Europeans.
The objective of this publication is to counteract the mental slavery and genocide being perpetrated on Afrikans through the creation of an Africentric mindset. By an Africentric mindset we mean a consciousness that recognizes the legitimacy and validity of our interests, goals, objectives, values, history, culture and the develop of a world view that utilizes the research of our scholars to organize our frame of reference.
We welcome the contributions of all who would continue the struggle. Your letters, comments or other contributions are welcome. Please note that your letters and articles will NOT BE printed if you indicate that you wish to remain anonymous. Our mailing address is:
The Pan-Afrikan Liberator P.O. Box 197 Plymouth, Montserrat West Indies. If you are interested in overseas subscriptions please send inquiries to the address above.
The British Parliament, on 28 August 1833, passed an Act to Abolish Slavery in all British Colonies, to take effect 1st August 1834. Act No. 96 of the Montserrat Legislature (July 1834) incorporated the laws required to implement emancipation.
Generally, the Act provided that our fore- parents had to pay for the freedom granted to them by working as "apprenticed labourers no more than 45 hours a week, without pay, for their "former" masters for at least 4-6 more years.
Of course, each slave had the option of paying for her/his freedom at the appraised value of her/his services. Our fore-parents were legally free although they had to continue working without pay for their "former masters until at least 31st July 1838.
The Act also provided that the freed "slaves" could be exempted from certain civil and military services, disqualified from holding official positions in such services and be prohibited from voting.
In fact, it wasn't until 1952 that universal suffrage was granted to the British Colonies allowing all adults age 21 and over to vote. Subsequently, Montserratians elected 5 locals to the Legislative Council, who passed legislation on 31st May 1953, to release those who worked the soil from the plantations and estates to which we were legally bound by the said Act.
Furthermore, it was not until 1989 that we were granted a Constitution by Queen Elizabeth II which in effect makes the Governor of Montserrat, the ruler of this Colony. So, when did we really become free?
On 1st August 1834 or 31st May 1953? The author guesses that freedom changes meaning since we thought we were free on August 1, 1834 but we didn't achieve any real economic or political freedom until more than 100 years later. Indeed, are we yet free?
Some people think the whole subject of slavery is best forgotten. Yet we have to cope with its legacy daily. Let us consider the subject of slavery and how it impacts our lives today.
Here are some questions for thought. A few of them reflect some of the statements on the subject that the author has come across over the years. Share your responses by putting them in writing and forwarding them to the Editor of The Pan-Afrikan Liberator.
Do you think the subject of slavery is best forgotten? Why?
What is your definition of slavery? What does slavery mean to you?
Do you approve of slavery? Is slavery ever justifiable?
Are Afrikans savages?
How does one become a slave? How does one become a slavemaster?
Would you prefer to be a slavemaster or a slave? Why?
Do you believe slaves were responsible for their condition?
Are you an Afrikan?
Who benefits from slavery?
Is the `form of slavery that existed in Africa before contact with the European the same as that practiced by Europeans?
Do certain people deserve to be slaves? Does any person have the right to own another person?
Does slavery exist today? How does slavery manifest itself today?
Should we emulate (act like) our former masters?
Can you tell if a statement is a lie unless you know the truth?
How can one determine truth?
What are the benefits of being a slave?
Is freedom important?
Do you know any slaves?
When slavery was "abolished" legally, who deserved compensation, the slaves or their masters?
Which of the above parties in fact received compensation? Why?
What is the legacy of slavery in Montserrat? How does it affect you?
Marcus Garvey was born 17 August 1887 in Jamaica. He will be remembered internationally for his phenomenal contribution to they improvement of Afrikan people. He was a Pan-Afrikan Nationalist who motivated Afrikan people worldwide to know justice, history and integrity. He was a unionist, journalist, activist and a great speaker who drew large audiences in Jamaica, South America, England, and especially in the U.S.A. in the 1920s and 1930s. He opened the minds of Afrikan people. He knew that Afrika was our promised land. He was fully aware of the suffering of his people under the heavy weight of colonialism. His aim was to teach the meaning of emancipation: "Since emancipation, we have had full control of our own moral and social life and cannot, therefore, complain against anyone other than ourselves for any social or moral wrongs inflicted upon us." He wanted the people to unite. He said, "Up you mighty race, you can accomplish what you will." He knew, "We must reorganize ourselves as a people if we are to go forward." Marcus Garvey spent his entire life standing up for the justice of Afrikan people at home and abroad. He taught us that we were the handiwork of the Creator and had a right to an equal share in the Creator's plan. He was never afraid to say that Afrika was the Mother of civilization. As a Prophet and freedom-fighter, his words and name live on.
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