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Message Icon Topic: MY CARRIBBEAN-AMERICAN HERITAGE. Post Reply Post New Topic
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Joined: 13 Jan 2008
Location: United States
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Posts: 103

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    Posted: 18 Jan 2008 at 12:18pm

 My great, great grandmother was a free slave, I do not know her name. Her husband's last name was Hamilton. Her daughter, whose name was Elizabeth, was my great grand mother. I do not know how many children this couple had, or whether my great grandmother was the first, middle, or last child. She was just seven years old when slavery was abolished in 1804. She would have been 211 years old, if she was still alive today. No one knows where any of these people were buried. My great grandfather came from Barbados with his two brothers, to Demerra, as Guyana was then called, to dig for gold. Although they were from the same mother and father, his two brothers were very fair, one of them even had straight hair. My great grandfather was quite the opposite. He was very dark with kinky hair. His two brothers changed the original plan. They both obtained good jobs and got married. They made little or no contact with their younger brother. The three separated, and soon lost sight of each other. My great grandfather claimed that they were ashamed of him.

 When my great grandmother, Elizabeth met him, his brothers had already deserted him.In those days, long ago, having a formal education was not mandatory. Mostly light-skinned people got the "desk jobs" or worked in banks. His brothers got jobs in some one of those categories, changed their names from Bostic to Boswic, and gradually disappeared. Now I am only acquainted with the section of family members who had not changed the original name. I cannot relate to a full African culture, because my fore parents on my mother's side hailed from the capital city of Georgetown.

 After the abolishion' of slavery, most freed slaves in the city left the plantations. They imitated the "way of life" of their previous owners, and were very much into fashion. Women wore gowns, fashionable hats, gloves, and "fancy" shoes. Men were never without a suit jacket. They "don" ties, hats and gloves and a stylish cane. These men and women were always well "decked" out for concerts, dinners, parties, weddings, and other gatherings. Sundays were always special. One had to prepare for the large meal from the day before. Church was very improtant. There was no loud speaking, laughing, singing, or whistling on the "Lord's day". In the afternoon, persons would put on their very "best" clothes and go for walks or bike rides.

 After Sunday School, children as well as adults would go for a stroll on the "seawalls"(actually walking on them). Children play in the sand when the water was further out. Walks were also taken to the Botanical Gardens, where persons look at all of the beautiful flowers and shrubs, or to the Zoo which was located at the front of the garden The Promenade Gardens, which is in the middle of the city, is the most picturesque. Besides inheriting customs from ancestors of African decent, I inherited customs from five other races. Each race brought over its own culture, which is now merged. Every race cook and eat the same foods.

 From the Amerindians we got cassava bread, pepper-pot and an alcoholic wine call Piwari. From the Portuguese we got Garlic Pork. Chinese food - Fried Rice, Chowmein/ lowmein etc. came from the Chinese. From the Africans we got Cook-up rice, Foo-foo with ockra and Metem-gee(similar to "oil down"). From the East Indians we got Roti and Curry, Douhl, Palourie, Doughl Puree, Gilabee, Fudge, Methai, Egg ball, and Potato ball. How did these people came together to give me this rich culture? I have inherited customs from these other races, because they too came over to "work" on the sugar plantations. When the colonies were first settled, the first people to be used as labor on plantations, were the local Amerindians, who soon died off like "flies". The next people to be brought over were Europeans who were in prison. they too could not stand the hot sun and strain. the Portuguese were brought next, then the Chinese. Then came the Africans who met all of the requirements for labor on the plantation. These were much stronger, they endured the harsh sun, there was less sickness among them, and they lasted for many years working out in the fields. Further, they did not need any special food in order to survive

.After slavery was abolished by Queen Victoria on Monday August 2nd1804, the East Indians were brought over as Indentured Servants and not as slaves, to work on the plantations. They signed a contract which stated, that each family will receive a piece of land after five years. This is why today, the East Indians own a lot of land. The land is handed down from generation to generation, and goes on up to this day. Since each race came over with its culture, all six races have a calendar date to celebrate an occasion. Those of African decent, celebrate Emancipation Day, which is a national holiday, every first Monday in August.The Hindu's celebrate Diwali or The Festival of Lights. This too is a national holiday. Other groups such as Muslims and Chinese, have events marked off on the calendar which depend on the moon. There is no fixed date.

 A second custom that I inherited, is the "mosaic of culture from the many ethnicities here in the U.S. Although all customs are not national holidays, one becomes exposed to these various arrays of culture through dining at restuarants - American, African, Caribbean, Chinese, Japanese, Pakistani, Thai, Vietnamese - visiting Art and Cultural shows, Museums, Parks, while shopping, reading books, and the most efictive is interaction with each other.
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Joined: 01 Sept 2003
Location: Texas
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Quote Scott Replybullet Posted: 18 Jan 2008 at 3:14pm
Thanks for the great article.

You can find it here:
Scott M. Stolz Inc. Staff
WisTex | Complete Hosting Guide
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