This is a video about a Rusty-margined flycatcher (Myiozetetes cayanensis).
Suriname, 4 February.
The bus to Paramaribo passes Clevia. In the eighteenth century, Clevia used to be one of the plantations owned by Ms Elisabeth Samson. She was the first Black woman in Surinamese history allowed, after a long legal fight, to marry a white husband. Before that, in another long legal fight, she had been exiled from Suriname to the Netherlands “forever”. The background to that: Governor Raye tried to introduce some minor reforms, like allowing African slaves as witnesses in trials against their masters. There was much anger against those proposals among white slave owners. When Governor Raye asked her, Elisabeth Samson reported to him a seditious remark about the governor by a slave owner. This caused much anger against this free African-Surinamese woman among the slavocracy. Governor Raye shamefully betrayed her. Defamed as a “whore”, she had to board a ship to the Netherlands.
There, she got much insight into the trade networks between Suriname and the Netherlands. After her appeal against the exile verdict was granted and she was allowed to return to Paramaribo, this knowledge helped her to become a successful trader and plantation owner. Surinamese author Cynthia Mc Leod wrote about her.
South of Clevia, there used to be Geyersvlijt coffee plantation, owned by a German in the eighteenth century. The old manager’s mansion can still be seen from the road. It stands empty today. In front of it, an old well, with a rusty-margined flycatcher and a female silver-beaked tanager sitting on top of it.
Germans in Surinamese history: here.
A bit further, an osprey flying over the Suriname river.
Tri-colored herons. A juvenile little blue heron; still white, not blue yet. A snowy egret. Black vultures.
Later, in the numismatic museum in Paramaribo, another bird. Not alive, but on the paper of a banknote: the Guianan cock-of-the-rock.
- Murdered Surinamese workers remembered musically (dearkitty1.wordpress.com)
- Government still awaiting IDB funding for study on Corentyne River Bridge – Ramotar (kaieteurnewsonline.com)
Celebrate Black History Month
On Black History Month we remember the contributions of African people in advancing humanity’s knowledge of science, medicine and philosophy. Also, we get a rich history filled with inspiring and courageous struggles against colonialism, imperialism, slavery and repression around the world and here in the U.S. Following are some selections from leftbooks honoring this legacy.
And remember – you’ll get FREE SHIPPING!!* for all orders of at least $45! (see bottom of email for details) AND feel good knowing your money goes toward the movement for social and economic justice and against war. All proceeds go directly towards the work of activists and organizations working to end war, racism, poverty and oppression. Leftbooks especially supports the work of the Troops Out Now Coalition, Bail Out the People Campaign and the International Action Center (www.TroopsOutNow.org, http://www.BailOutPeople.org, http://www.iacenter.org).
We Want Freedom: A Life in the Black Panther Party
By Mumia Abu-Jamal
We Want Freedom: A Life in the Black Panther Party, by Mumia Abu-Jamal
Mumia Abu-Jamal provides the world with an important history of the founding of the Philadelphia Black Panther Party in his new book We Want Freedom: A Life in the Black Panther Party.
Mumia, known to the world as a wrongly convicted political prisoner held for 22 years in Pennsylvania’s death row, is exacting and luminous in his history and his analysis of the Black liberation struggle.
An important book for anyone learning about one of the most important groups in the on-going struggle for the liberation of African-Americans.
of W.E.B. Du Bois
As scholar, author, lecturer and organizer, Dr. Du Bois was a leader since the turn of the century in the movement for Black liberation. The story of his personal life is thus inseparable from the entire course of this struggle.
Among the first to grasp the worldwide aspects of Black liberation, he became a founder of the Pan-African movement, and soon joined the struggle against colonialism.
Already in his 70s, he threw himself into the fight for peace during the height of the Cold War. He died at the age of 95, on the eve of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, and was hailed by all as the founder of the movement which led to the March.
The Autobiography is not only the life story of one of the greatest minds of the 20th century. It is a panoramic view of the great social revolution of our time.
Edited by Herbert Aptheker. Includes a selected bibliography of Dr. Du Bois’ writings, a calendar of his life, reference notes, and 16 pages of photos.
The World and Africa –
An inquiry into the part which
Africa has played in world history
By W. E. Burghardt Du Bois
One of the many important books by W.E.B. Du Bois, one of the most important writers and thinkers of the century. Against a background of the vast contributions of ancient and modern Africa to world culture, peace and industry, Dr. Du Bois documents the historic injustices of the rape of Africa from the slave trade to its partition by the colonial powers.
The articles and essays on the emerging new nations and personalities of Africa, written by Dr. Du Bois from 1955-1963, have been added to the original manuscript.
At leftbooks.com it’s only $8.95
International Publishers, W.E.B. Du Bois, ISBN 0-7178-0221-3, Soft Cover, 352 p.p., Index.
DVD: The Great Debaters
“The Great Debaters is based on the true story of the Wiley College debate team, and the events in the film take place in 1935 at the small historical Black college in Marshall, Texas. When the main character in the film, Melvin B. Tolson, played by Denzel Washington, first appears on screen he is dressed as a sharecropper running through what looks like a swamp, with a pulsating blues rhythm in the background to the words ‘Soul is a witness.’
“Tolson is next seen bursting into a classroom, standing atop a chair—where he recites the Langston Hughes poem which begins with: ‘I too sing America. I am the darker brother.’
Tolson writes ‘Revolution’ across the chalkboard, walks around the room and recites different parts of the Gwendolyn Bennett poem, ‘Hatred,’ then parts of Countee Cullen’s ‘Saturday’s Child.’
“The parts of the three poems taken together firmly ground the movie.
“While the movie is about Tolson’s debaters and the history of the Wiley College debate team, it is equally about the struggle against national oppression, for Black liberation, and it is absolutely about class solidarity—such is the great debate, of the oppressed against the oppressor, the identity of each and the struggle of one against the other. …
—Excerpted from a WW movie review by Larry Hales.
DVD, special features, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen, 124 minutes
Frederick Douglass: The Last Day of Slavery
By William Miller, Illustrated by Cedric Lucas
A beautifully rendered and true account from the life of the famous writer and activist Frederick Douglass. This book is a timeless reminder that freedom is something never to be taken for granted.
Lee & Low, Hardcover
Stories and Songs of Slave Resistance
By Doreen Rappaport. Illustrated by Shane W. Evans
Ever since the first boatload of human cargo sailed to the New World, people of African descent have waged a courageous struggle for dignity and freedom from slavery. Using true accounts, author Doreen Rappaport puts readers in the shoes of eleven extraordinary individuals, and documents many forms of slave resistance: subversion, uprisings, escape, poetry, religion and song
Using poems, songs, narrative and illustration, No More! tells the stories of individuals, from Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass and Nat Turner to lesser known resisters, Peppel, and Suzy King Taylor, a child who learned to read.
Candlewick, Hardcover, Important Dates appendix, Bibliography & Notes, Index, 60pp
Allow me a remark about this: “There, she got much insight into the trade networks between Suriname and the Netherlands. After her appeal against the exile verdict was granted and she was allowed to return to Paramaribo, this knowledge helped her to become a successful trader and plantation owner. Surinamese author Cynthia Mc Leod wrote about her.”
It is not right to say that Elisabeth got her insight into the trade networks between Suriname and the Netherlands during her period of exile and that that knowledge helped her to become a successful trader and plantation owner.
Cynthia Mc Leod’s study about this remarkable woman clearly states that Elisabeth was born free; she has never been a slave and was homeschooled by private teachers, could read and write perfectly and play the piano remarkably. She even amazed the church leaders with her thoroughly knowledge of the bible at the very young age of 10 years old.
Before her exile, Elisabeth worked for her brother in law and did most of his correspondence with different European traders. Besides that, she also owned her own business that imported a diversity of products from Europe, which she sold in Suriname. When this woman went to Holland (the Netherlands) she already was a very educated and rich woman. Before she arrived in the Netherlands she already employed a lawyer in that country to take care of her legal business in Holland.
Hi Maria, thanks for your comment. In itself, you are right. However, I wanted to point out the paradox that the exile, intended as a punishment, in the long run helped Elisabeth’s business career. Indeed, she did already have her own business in Paramaribo before her exile, when she was in her early twenties. During her exile, she met traders in Holland face to face, at first hand: usually more effective for establishing commercial relationships than if one is dependent on mail by a ship which takes months to arrive. Also, in Holland she could see with her own eyes, not from some description in a letter from Amsterdam arriving in Paramaribo after months, goods not yet available in Suriname; but which people in Suriname might be interested in buying. Cynthia Mc Leod also describes how Elisabeth bought law books to study Dutch law in The Hague; that will also have helped her after she went back to Suriname.
That she had been vindicated in the Netherlands by the highest authorities who had annulled her punishment will also probably have contributed to her standing in society.
I wrote in the blog entry that paradoxically, in the long run, the exile “helped” Elisabeth’s business career; implying that it was not the only factor in her success, but one of a number of factors.
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