Omowale Jabali : Strange Fruit From The Family Tree

Omowale Jabali

The Cosmic Journeyman
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Omowale Jabali

The Cosmic Journeyman
MEMBER
Sep 29, 2005
21,130
9,465
Temple of Kali, Yubaland
Occupation
Creative Industrialist
I have spent over 20 years researching all sides of my family history. I know. Some of you have heard or read about this before. In the course of this research, I have had to accept some disturbing facts. Mostly related to the legacy of slavery. Yeah. Here we go again. Not really though. This post is a little different. Its about one slave master in particular who shows up in my family tree. After all these years, I can no longer ignore him or pretend he does not exist. I discovered him recently while digging through my Louisiana roots. As I was searching through the records for a branch of my family named "St.Martin", I was led to some Louisiana Slave Records, which opened the door that I was searching for. The path through Saint Dominique (prior to the Haitian Revolution) back to the Congo. The deeper I go into the path, the more that is revealed to me, so please excuse me if I seem "strange" to you.

It gets stranger. Researching my St.Martin lineage led me back to Mozambique, Mauritius and Trinidad as well.

The oldest blood ties on my tree of the Louisiana settlers goes back to the Rivards dit Lavigne.

Perhaps the most notorious is Antoine Rivard dit Lavigne who I recently found was a captain on a slave ship, Duc du Maine which carried what may be the first west Central Africans from St Helena to Martinique, arriving at Dauphine Island on Jan. 14, 1727. An earlier voyage on June 6, 1719 brought slaves to Louisiana (or Dauphine Is.)from Senegambia.


The enslavement of Indians was practiced among native groups, and from the beginning of the colonial period, Indian slaves became part of the European colonial economy. In 1708 about 80 Indian slaves labored in the few Mobile Bay settlements. By 1726 this number had increased to 110, but a few years later, it had declined to 37 Indian slaves. A few black slaves were in the French colony prior to the first slave ships arriving at Dauphin Island in June 1719 with 450 enslaved Africans. Over the next 15 years, approximately 7,000 African slaves were shipped to French Louisiana. Slaves were involved with most economic activities on colonial plantations, primarily agricultural and livestock tending, and skills such as blacksmithing and brickmaking.
http://trails.mdah.ms.gov/krebs_culture.htm


The third voyage (Voyage 33116) under Capt. A. de Lavigne carried slaves from West Central Africa and St. Helena to Martinique, arriving Jan. 14, 1727. Of 491 slaves, 431 were alive to disembark at Martinique. 42 out of 91 crew members died en route.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duc_du_Maine_(slave_ship)
 

Omowale Jabali

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More on the slave ship Duc du Maine.


The first documented slave voyage (Voyage 32884) was in 1719 under Capt. de Lauduoine.[3] began at Port Louis. Slaves were purchased at Whydah, and landed at Biloxi.[3] Other sources state that after three months at sea, the first landing occurred at Dauphin Island with 250 slaves.[1][2] The voyage ended in Lorient.[3]

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duc_du_Maine_(slave_ship)


The Kingdom of Whydah /ˈhwɪdə/, sometimes written Hueda, was a kingdom on the coast of West Africa in the boundaries of the modern nation of Benin. Between 1677 and 1681 it was conquered by the Akwamu a member of the Akan people.[1] It was a major slave trading post. Of 1700, it had a coastline of around 10 miles (16 km);[2] under King Haffon, this was expanded to 40 miles (64 km), and stretching 25 miles (40 km) inland.[3]

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingdom_of_Whydah
 

Omowale Jabali

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The Serpent Cult at Whydah


The destruction of Whydah as a Kingdom did not put an end to the veneration of the serpent there. According to William Davaynes, who was one of the directors of the East India Company and who had left the Coast of Africa in 1763 after having resided there twelve years, eleven years as Governor at Whydah and the other at Annamboe, "The snake was the peculiar worship of the ancient people of Whydah, and when this province was conquered by the King of Dahomey, the worship of the snake was continued upon motives of policy. Formerly a person who killed a snake was put to death; but now a goat is sacrificed as an atonement."[31] The last statement must apply to the case of Europeans alone, for as we shall see the death penalty against...
http://www.sacred-texts.com/afr/vao/vao04.htm
 

Omowale Jabali

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The Serpent Cult at Whydah


The destruction of Whydah as a Kingdom did not put an end to the veneration of the serpent there. According to William Davaynes, who was one of the directors of the East India Company and who had left the Coast of Africa in 1763 after having resided there twelve years, eleven years as Governor at Whydah and the other at Annamboe, "The snake was the peculiar worship of the ancient people of Whydah, and when this province was conquered by the King of Dahomey, the worship of the snake was continued upon motives of policy. Formerly a person who killed a snake was put to death; but now a goat is sacrificed as an atonement."[31] The last statement must apply to the case of Europeans alone, for as we shall see the death penalty against...
http://www.sacred-texts.com/afr/vao/vao04.htm
The chief centre of serpent worship was Dahomey in Africa, but the cult of the python appears to have been of exotic origin, dating back to the first quarter of the 17th century. By the conquest of Whydah, the Dahomeyans began adoption of serpent worship after contact with a people of serpent worshippers, which they first despised. Some 50 snakes reside at a serpent temple at the chief center Whydah. Each python of the danh-gbi kind must be treated with respect - penalty for killing one, even by accident is certain death.

http://66691177999.yuku.com/topic/1559#.Uj4G5WS9Kc0
 

Omowale Jabali

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The following is from the link above.


Some Native American tribes revere the rattlesnake as grandfather and king of snakes, able to give fair winds or cause gale and frightfully horrendous storm. The serpent plays a large part in one of the dances among the Hopi of Arizona. The rattlesnake was worshipped in the Natchez temple of the sun and the Aztec deity Quetzalcoatl was a feathered serpent-god. The serpent was regarded as a portal between 2 worlds in many MesoAmerican cultures. The tribes of Peru are said to have adored great snakes in the pre-Inca days and in Chile the Mapuche made a serpent figure in their deluge beliefs.
 

Omowale Jabali

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History of the Xweda


The Xwéda kingdom was located in the center of the “Slave Coast”, an area so designated by the European traders because it was the source of the majority of slaves exported to Europe and the New World . The Slave Coast encompassed the area from the River Volta in the west to the Lagos channel in the east, and is geographically distinguished by savannah type vegetation, as opposed to the tropical rain forest running to the east and west along the African coast. Though the area did not represent any one indigenous African political or ethnic unit, most of the inhabitants belonged to one ethno-linguistic entity, known as Aja-Ewe. The kingdoms of Allada, Xwéda, and Dahomey all spoke an Aja-Ewe language variants .

http://www.museeouidah.org/xweda/History.htm
 

Omowale Jabali

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Africans in French America

http://www.nps.gov/ethnography/aah/aaheritage/FrenchAmA.htm


Purchasing freedom, involvement in militias, and working through apprenticeships are just three examples of how people of African descent actively resisted being enslaved. Naming practices were another form of resistance among enslaved peoples of African descent. Through their use or non-use of names, African peoples asserted their identity. According to Hall, slaves in French Louisiana often times kept their names, many of which were Islamic in origin. Of those given French names, they often times had Islamic or African middle or second names. “Some of the names listed for slaves in the captiveries at Goree and Bissau were found throughout colonial documents in Louisiana. Furthermore, many slaves who were listed in documents under French names actually used African names, which were recorded as second names” (Hall 1992:166). It should be noted that in Louisiana “slave culture” was “early and thoroughly Africanized and the first generations of creole slaves grew up in stable, nuclear families composed of African mothers and fathers and creole siblings” (Hall 1992:159).[/S]
 

Omowale Jabali

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"One of the methods of keeping the races distinct, even after the abolition of slavery, was to require that African-descended women cover their hair in public. Leave it to black women to take a sign of legal and social subjugation and turn it into art. The turbans are still an expressive and vital part of Martinican women’s dress, especially for special occasions, as several websites attest. Bright materials are intricately woven around the head, employing an entire vocabulary of meanings that convey not only status and occupation, but also romantic availability."

Source: Color, Caste and Class in Martinique

http://sites.coloradocollege.edu/martinique/2011/07/21/79/
 

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