Divided Family: Through Music, Cubans Trace Their Roots To Sierra Leone
It is often said that music has the power to bring people together. That sentiment is definitely an understatement when it comes to the Afro-Cubans community Ganga-Longoba of Perico.
Cuba’s Ganga people have been singing the same African chants for generations, but it wasn’t until an Australian researcher took interest in the songs, that they were able to trace their chants to a remote village in Sierra Leone, 170 years after the slave trade.
“When I first filmed the Ganga-Longoba, I believed their ceremonies were a mixture of many different ethnic groups,” says historian Emma Christopher, of Sydney University. “I had no idea that a large number of Ganga songs would come from just one village. I think that’s extremely unusual,” she says.
After tracing their roots back to Sierra Leone, four Cubans made the trip to the African country to delve more into their history. Christopher captured the moment for the documentary They Are We.
"Cuba was cut off at a time when other nations in the Americas were going through black pride and fighting for some justice for what happened to their ancestors," says Dr. Christopher, who points out that the island’s 1959 revolution declared racism ‘solved’. That left a lot of Afro-Cubans adrift, not knowing how to celebrate where they came from and be proud of it," she says.
Whilst many Cubans of Spanish descent have rushed to seek out their ancestry—and passports—Afro-Cubans have been far less anxious to do the same. Organizing a reunion for the divided “family” wasn’t easy given restrictions on traveling from Cuba at the time, and limited resources. But eventually, four Cubans did make their ancestors’ voyage in reverse - to Sierra Leone.
“When I opened my mouth to sing, they just stood there staring,” Elvira Fumero recalls of her arrival in Mokpangumba. “Then it was like an explosion. They started to sing the responses, and dance with me. And I knew then that this was where the Ganga came from,” she says, smiling.
For Alfredo Duquesne, visiting Sierra Leone changed everything.
"It was as if I’d just left the previous weekend. I touched the soil and thought: ‘This is it. I’ve come back,’" he says, describing himself now as ‘at peace’. "At last I know where I come from," Alfredo says. "I’m not a stranger anymore."
Today In History
‘Granville T. Woods, inventor of over 50 products, was born in Columbus, OH, on this date April 23, 1856. The steam-boiler furnace, the telegraph system for trains, and automatic air brakes were some of his inventions.’
(picture: Granville T. Woods)
- CARTER Magazine
"Brown eyed people are responsible for the fact that you have electricity. Many of the components for generating and transmitting electricity were invented by brown eyed people.
Brown eyed people gave us our alphabet. Brown eyed people gave us our numeration system. Brown eyed people gave us the paper on which we write these anonymous letters to me that tell me that brown eyed people are inferior.
Brown eyed people are the originators, the ones who founded every major religion on Earth. No white people have ever founded a major religion.
Now you need to realize the contributions that have been made to society, to civilization by brown eyed people, by PEOPLE OF COLOR.
I’m talking about people of color here folks. And most of us are not aware of those things because we live in a racist society.
And because we are educated by a racist school system that only teaches us about white contributions.”
Jon Stewart and Matt Taibbi discuss the different treatment afforded to ‘street’ based drug users and white-collar criminals profiting from the drug trade.
DINNER IS COMING. (Part 2)
Afua Richardson Illustrates the Negro Speaks of Rivers by Langston Hughes for NPR
↳ C → cuban-american
"I was on a plane watching a documentary about Diana Vreeland, who was the editor of Vogue for years, who is incredible […] They asked her ‘How do you get to be Diana Vreeland?’ and her response was ‘Well, darling, first you have to arrange to be born in Paris!’ And that worked for her, and that’s great, but if someone were to ask me, I’d say: First, you’d have to arrange to be born in the Bronx, to two brilliant, fantastic, Cuban immigrants who taught me grace under fire…sometimes quite literally, ‘cause it was the Bronx…who taught me that work was a blessing and not a chore, who taught me that you determine your self worth and that you tell people who you are…they don’t get to tell you." - Gina Torres
also an addendum to the hunger games slide, when they put out a casting call for the role of Katniss, they specifically asked for only caucasian actors to audition, which left out any possibility for any amazing PoC actors to have been discovered.
i hope this was informational and i didnt leave anything major out. if anything is wrong or needs to be updated, message me and i’l fix any fallacies!
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