Black Ancestors : Igbo Landing

Discussion in 'Honoring Black Ancestors' started by cherryblossom, Jun 19, 2009.

  1. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    Ebos Landing

    The story that gives Ebos Landing its name is one of the most colorful and enduring tales in Ebos Landing Georgia's rich literary history. Better known as the "Myth of the Flying Africans," this narrative has been told and embellished for 200 years in the form of local legends, children's stories, movies, novels, and television shows. Based on an actual historical event, this remarkable tale of an Ebo (or Igbo) slave rebellion on St. Simons Island has become a powerful metaphor of African American courage, longing, and conviction.

    The historical roots of the flying Africans legend can be traced back to the spring of 1803, when a group of Igbo slaves arrived in Savannah after enduring the nightmare of the Middle Passage. The Igbo (from what is now the nation of Nigeria, in central West Africa) were renowned throughout the American South for being fiercely independent and unwilling to tolerate the humiliations of chattel slavery. The Igbo who became known as the flying Africans were purchased at the slave market in Savannah by agents working on behalf of John Couper and Thomas Spalding. Loaded aboard a small vessel, the Igbo were confined below deck for the trip down the coast to St. Simons. During the course of the journey, however, the Igbo rose up in rebellion against the white agents, who jumped overboard and were drowned.

    What happened next is a striking example of the ways in which African American slaves and white slave masters interpreted "history" in starkly different terms. One of the only contemporary written accounts of the event was by Roswell King, a white overseer on the nearby plantation of Pierce Butler. King recounted that as soon as the Igbo landed on St. Simons Island, they "took to the swamp"—committing suicide by walking into Dunbar Creek. From King's perspective the salient feature of the story was the loss of a substantial financial investment for Couper and Spalding.

    African American oral tradition, on the other hand, has preserved a very different account of the events that transpired that day. As with all oral histories, the facts of the story have evolved as storytellers elaborated the tale over the years, such that there are now dozens of variations on the original episode. In the late 1930s, more than 100 years after the Igbo uprising on St. Simons, members of the Federal Writers Project collected oral histories in the Sea Islands (many of which can now be found in Drums and Shadows: Survival Studies among the Georgia Coastal Negroes)......"

    http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/nge/Article.jsp?id=h-2895
     
  2. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    "..Although the myth of the flying Africans will undoubtedly be told for many decades to come, a fitting coda to this particular version of the tale might be found in the consecration of Ebos Landing in the summer of 2002. The St. Simons African-American Heritage Coalition invited Chukwuemeka Onyesoh from Nigeria to designate Ebos Landing as holy ground and to put the souls of the enslaved to rest. "I came here to evoke their spirits," Onyesoh explained," to take them back to Igboland." Participants in the memorial traveled from Haiti, Belize, Canada, New York, and Mississippi, among other places to watch and pray as elder Igbo tribesman danced and sang under the aging cypress trees hung with moss.

    Sadly, no historical marker commemorates the site of Ebos Landing, which is adjacent to a sewage treatment plant built in the 1940s. The African American community, however, continues to mark the sacred site in their own, more private ways. Some local fishermen on St. Simons, for example, will not cast fishing lines or crab nets in the fecund waters of Dunbar Creek for fear of disturbing the ghosts of the Igbo. Despite the fact that the state has not yet recognized Ebos Landing as a landmark, the many stories ranging from folktales to Nobel Prize–winning novels surely constitute a kind of literary memorial worthy of the remarkable story of the flying Africans."


    http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/nge/Article.jsp?id=h-2895
     
  3. Ikoro

    Ikoro Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Being of Igbo heritage myself, I know the story from before.

    It's a beautiful story that should be more known. And somehow, I can't understand why it isn't more popular. As tragic as it is, it makes us proud and lifts higher than any Oscar, grammy, or what have you ever could.

    We should adopt a similar mindset to protect ourselves and our future: Death before dishonor.

    One.

    - Ikoro
     
  4. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    I am glad to know others are aware of it.

    My mother's family is from that area. I grew up with the story and I've been to the landing.

    Yes, we have to preserve and spread OUR history.
     
  5. Akobundu

    Akobundu Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Being a Igbo, I am very proud of our strength and ongoing resistance to oppression to the imperial West...we fight to we die...
     
  6. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    You're very welcomed, Onyemobi. :toast:


    This is just a small part of our history that our children will not get in school.
     
  7. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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  8. Kadijah

    Kadijah Banned MEMBER

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    The film, "Daughters of the Dust." I recommend it highly.
     
  9. Omowale Jabali

    Omowale Jabali The Cosmic Journeyman PREMIUM MEMBER

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    http://igbocybershrine.com
     
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