Healing from effects of slavery

Healing from effects of slavery

Deck of the Captured Slave-Ship Wildfire Brought into Key West




Deck of the Captured Slave-Ship Wildfire Brought into Key West


Buy This Allposters.com



"It's a time to focus on people who woke up one morning on a trip they didn't want, whose bitter pill was to never see home and family again, " said Carol Bebelle, a march organizer who also directs the Ashé Cultural Arts Center in the Central City neighborhood. "But Maafa is more than an occasion to honor the ancestors, it's also a call to help our contemporaries. Our slogan is, 'The past we inherit; the future we create.' "

Maafa is a Kiswahili word that means "great tragedy" and increasingly is used to describe the trade in human beings, mostly African, that lasted for half a millennium. Organizers expect several hundred marchers, dressed in white, to follow a route that includes stops at the historic St. Augustine Church in Treme, at French Quarter sites associated with the slave trade, and on to the Algiers Ferry for a West Bank encounter with the Mohawk Hunters Mardi Gras Indian Gang.

After the march disperses, participants are invited to Ashé for an afternoon of fellowship and music by drummers from the parade. The players include Seguenon Kone, a singer, drummer and balafon player from the Ivory Coast; Haitian master drummer Damas "FanFan" Louis, and Cuba's Danys "La Mora" Perez and Roman Diaz. The celebrations culminate with a 7 p.m. dance concert by Oyu Oro: Afro-Cuban Experimental Dance Ensemble. That New York troupe has performed in settings as varied as Lincoln Center Out of Doors, the Ailey Studio and the Houston International Festival.

The idea of a Maafa Commemoration has taken root in a number of communities, including New York and Washington, and each has a different flavor, Bebelle said. In Brooklyn, for example, organizers at a Baptist church present a historical drama and educational panels.

"To me, it makes sense that we parade in New Orleans, " Bebelle said. "New Orleans is more connected to ritual than any other place in America. It's natural and helpful for us -- so we're always creating new ways to come together.

Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Slavery News.