I hardly ever heard about the Nagô, the Afro-Brazilians, and the Lukumí, the Afro-Cubans, who returned back to West Africa. The idea that the Yorùbá people share one identity is strongly related to the transatlantic experience of the slave trade and the returnees’ influence in the homeland. This story contributes a lot to the classical discussions of what is ‘Original-Yorùbá’ and what a diaspora invention - as not even the word ‘Yorùbá’ is of ‘Yorùbá’ origin itself. I summed up the basic facts.
Remaking 'Roots' In this version, accuracy is at the forefront, Mr. Wolper said one day last fall, in his production office in New Orleans, where the walls were covered with images of slave ships, plantation houses and African beads. “I’m not being modest here,” he said. “We have to make it better than the first ‘Roots.’ Otherwise, why bother?”
Interactive animation of the Atlantic slave trade. Pause and click on individuals ships for detailed data (not available for all ships).
Building the First Slavery Museum in America - David Amsden, The New York Times
"From their weathered cypress frames, a dusty path, lined with hulking iron kettles that were used by slaves to boil sugar cane, leads to a grassy clearing dominated by a slave jail — an approach designed so that a visitor’s most memorable glimpse of the white shutters and stately columns of the property’s 220-year-old 'Big House' will come through the rusted bars of the squat, rectangular cell. A number of memorials also dot the grounds, including a series of angled granite walls engraved with the names of the 107,000 slaves who spent their lives in Louisiana before 1820. Inspired by Maya Lin’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, the memorial lists the names nonalphabetically to mirror the confusion and chaos that defined a slave’s life."[more inside]
Sugar: the evolution of a forbidden fruit
Sweetness was meant to be irresistible. We are born with a sweet tooth. Babies drink in sugar with their mother’s milk. Sweetness represents an instant energy boost, a fuel that kept our ancestors going in a harsher world where taste buds evolved to distinguish health-giving ripeness and freshness from the dangers of bitter, sour, toxic foods. Sugar gives us drug-like pleasures – lab rats deprived of their sugar-water fix exhibit classic signs of withdrawal. When things are going well, we blissfully say, “Life is sweet.”[more inside]
Legacies of British Slave-ownership, which went live on February 27, 2013, tracks what became of the twenty million pounds set aside to compensate British slave owners in the Act for the Abolition of Slavery throughout the British Colonies (1833). Users have a variety of search options that can yield results according to individuals, businesses, countries, and so on. The site tracks compensated owners through their contributions to the arts, politics, entrepreneurship, and governance; some owners have extensive biographical notes. A number of the site's revelations about slave-owning families and the extent of their compensation have already attracted comment. [more inside]
Sidi or Siddi is a "community of the descendants of African slaves and seamen, the ancestors of the Sidis came to India and Pakistan through sea trade with East Africa and the Persian Gulf around the 12th century." The slave trade between India and Africa predates the more infamous transatlantic slave trade by at least six centuries. They have a rich history which included controlling the only fort never to fall against the efforts of the British, Dutch and the Mughals. They have now, however, fallen into hard times . [more inside]