[Program produced and aired 2016]
Image: Frontispiece to Walker’s Appeal, in Four Articles; Together with a Preamble….1829
Maroon derives from Spanish cimarrón. Cimarrón originally referred to domestic cattle that had taken to the hills in Hispaniola.
It was gradually expanded to be applied to enslaved Indigenous peoples who escaped from the Spaniards as they colonized South and Central America as well as the Caribbean.
By the end of the 1530s, the concept had taken on strong connotations of being "fierce," "wild" and "unbroken," and was transferred to be primarily applied to Africans and people of African descent---or the runaways as they were referred to.
For more than four centuries, the communities formed by escaped enslaved peoples dotted the fringes of plantations throughout the Americas, from Brazil to southeastern United States, from Peru to the American Southwest. Known variously as quilombos, mocambos, or mambeses, these new societies ranged from tiny bands that survived less than a year to powerful states the numbered thousands of members who survived for generations and even centuries.
Maroon communities consisted of escaped African/a peoples with origins from a wide range of societies in West and Central Africa...Their collective task was to create new communities and institutions, through various processes of integrating cultural elements drawn largely from a variety of African societies [never forget, home was their destination].
Kwame Gyekye work on the deep continuities of cultural elements that link African societies is important to note here.
For generations, historians believed that even the most remarkable of maroon settlements in the North America did not rival the achievements of maroon communities in South and Central America as well as the Caribbean.
However, according to a number of scholars such as Cedric Robinson; Gerald Mullin, as well as Hebert Aptheker, and most recently Sylviane A. Diouf, evidence of the existence of at least fifty such communities in various places and at various times, from 1672 to 1864, has been documented.
Herbert Aptheker’s points out that the 1st maroon communities pre-dated Jamestown settlements by 82 years. They were African insurrectionists who secured gained their freedom from abortive Spanish colonizing efforts in North and South Carolina. Maroon communities were a real presence in the U.S…as Aptheker documented their 19th century presence in VA; Georgia; Alabama; Louisiana; South Carolina as well as in Wake, Gates, Onslow, Bladen, Sampson, Jones, New Hanover, Dublin, Wilmington, Robeson, Nash counties, North Carolina.
Today, will listen to a conversation I had with Dr. Nubia Kia where we discussed her recent historical novel, titled I spread my Wings and I Fly. Dr. Kia is a cultural worker, artist, activist, scholar, retired professor from Howard University.
Her work has been published in Black Scholar, Black American Literature Forum, and Journal of the African Literature Association. As historian and poet, Dr. Kai has also won numerous honors, which include the Michigan Council Arts Awards, D.C. Commission of the Arts Awards, and National Endowment for the Arts Awards, just to name a few.
Her work is an important meditation and contribution on previous and current work that is being done to explore the connections between culture, resistance, the science of metaphysics [spiritwork] as a source liberatory practice as a historical and cultural product of the Maroons. All of which were cultivated within conditions that African peoples were thrust into. This process and its elements are found within every corner of African Diasporic sociopolitical thought and cultural practices from Brazil, to Colombia, to the Black Church to hip hop. Africa as more than a geographical landmass, lives. It lives in the mind, bodies, spirits, intelligence of African/a peoples.
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