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Papa Machete

Like a lot of things in Haiti’s rich culture, much is shrouded in secrecy. Sadly, the consequence of that is that many things have become lost.

Visit the country for any length of time, and you find out there is this whole other world beneath the surface.

Image result for Machete fighting history louisiana

While working there, a Haitian friend accused a politician of “getting out his vote” with “Machete Boys”. On the surface, an outsider would miss both the historical and cultural context of this. During the Haitian Revolution, the former slaves did not have many guns, or even access to gunpowder with which to make bullets. They fought the gun armed French Soldiers with one of the few tools they had, machetes. And won.

Now whether the art came with the former slaves from Africa (stick fighting), or was developed in  Haiti is shrouded in history. What we do know, is machete fighting is a Martial Arts style, perhaps not entirely unique to the Island Nation (there are also unique forms of this in Brazil using the Bolo, Colombia,  Cuba,  as well as in SE Asia). So when a Haitian uses the term “Machete Boys”, the meaning is rich with historical and cultural allusion.

One of the Masters of this form is beginning to talk about it. Papa Machete.

 
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Posted by on November 13, 2017 in Black History, Haiti

 

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New Database of Slave Cemeterys

Haven’t posted anything on the Blog in a while. A Heart Attack, lawsuit over $1 million the USTDA defaulted on paying my little company for post-earthquake  work done in Haiti (all the crooks in Haiti aren’t Haitian), and my Mother passing ate up much of my time in 2012. I am all back and better now – and hope to get a few Blog Posts in the rest of this year.

Met a guy a few years ago down in Accomack County Virginia who was wandering through the woods on a farm adjoining my property carrying a digital camera and some pretty fancy”sniffer”  detection gear. He was on a mission to discover abandoned graveyards in the region, many of which were slave graveyards. I see now Fordham University has taken up the call.

Fordham has launched a first-of-its kind national database designed to catalog places in the US where slaves are buried. The Burial Database Project of Enslaved African Americans is the brainchild of Fordham’s Sandra Arnold, whose ancestors were slaves, reports the New York Times. The site relies on visitors to submit information about the locations of cemeteries along with those buried there.

“Much of the material culturally associated with slave history has been lost for many reasons; therefore the study of slave cemeteries will provide tangible clues of African cultures and funeral practices. The most important aspect is digging for the slave’s humanity. The preservation of these sacred spaces is to remember the past so that our future contemporaries will have a better understanding of American policies that supported this system of cruelty, but most importantly to remember the resilience of the human spirit.” 

– National Trust for Historic Preservation

“The fact that they lie in these unmarked abandoned sites, it’s almost like that they are kind of vanishing from the American consciousness,” says Arnold. The intent is to build a “historical network of sorts,” says the Root, which interviews Arnold and others involved with the project. Had something like this been in place last year, it might havesaved Walmart some construction headaches in Alabama.

 

 
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Posted by on March 21, 2013 in American Genocide, Black History

 

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