August 1 is Emancipation Day in Trinidad and Tobago. It celebrates the emancipation of slaves in the British Empire which occured on this date in 1834. According to Wikipedia, Trinidad and Tobago was the first nation to recognize this historic event with a public holiday.
Unfortunately, that first Emancipation Day was a mere technicality. The 'freed slaves' had conferred upon them the status of 'Apprentice' and were told they should not leave their masters but provide 6 more years of labor in order to learn a trade which would enable them to be self-supporting.
Angry apprentices marched on the capital, (say it with me class) Port of Spain. Protests went on for a week and there were violent confrontations with the police and militia groups. Many apprentices were arrested. The governor insisted since Trinidad was a Crown Colony he had no authority to reduce the years of service. The immediate violent protests ended but for four more years periodic uprisings and unrest continued. The island was brought to such tension that in 1838 the governor finally signed a decree that granted full emancipation 2 years before the apprenticeships were scheduled to be complete. The slaves/apprentices were, at last, free indeed.
Happy Emancipation Day!
Yesterday ttfootball requested 5 questions since she needed some blog topics. I am delighted to do so.
1. You are from Trinidad but studying in Connecticut. What made you decide to study in the USA and do you plan to return to Trinidad upon completion of school?
2. The Northeast USA is said to be a very 'cold' place, not just the climate but the people as well. I loved the warmth of Trinidad's culture when I lived there and found this a very difficult place to return to. Do you find 'cold' to be an accurate description and even if not, how do you cope with the cultural differences?
3. If you were taking a friend on tour of Trinidad, what spots would you be sure to visit? This may include but is not limited to obvious tourist places....(oooh, i feelin' fuh an Aptee's roti or some doubles from by de airport......)
4. What do you enjoy most about living in the USA? What cultural traits or opportunities/experiences will you miss if and when you return to Trinidad?
5. Now for the question I was always tickled to have asked when I lived in Trinidad....What yuh mix, gyal?
Happy Trini Tuesday!