I don’t remember the first time I heard about my Maroon ancestry, Mother would talk about Jamaica often, stories about farming, school or just sitting on the veranda watching the sun set but the Maroon heritage heartened every story. Bump Grave, the blowing of the abeng, warriors disguised as trees; stories of real people, their customs and traditions passed down to me through my Mother. I do remember feeling the immense pride in belonging to a group of such resilient, resourceful and spirited people.
Their story made me feel tough; I belonged to a bloodline of freedom fighters.
I first went to the International Slavery Museum in 2008; with my Mother. As we made our way around the galleries we learned of the unsettling heritage slavery has in Liverpool. The famous streets and buildings named after slave traders and slave ports upset and tormented us on the day and long after our visit. Our hearts were heavy and we moved from each exhibition learning and mourning.
The vision and layout of the Museum was truly something to behold, not only does the space allow for commemoration but also the celebration of Black people, with walls dedicated to their accomplishments through adversity. Truly inspiring.
It didn’t take us long to find the area of the Museum dedicated to the Maroons and Queen Nanny. A very emotional moment for us both. Where my Mother comes from in Jamaica (Moore Town Portland) it is very rural and incredibly remote, the Maroon history is well known and revered amongst the inhabitants. The Maroons story had made it across the ocean and was there, in The International Slavery Museum for people to learn from.
The Maroon legacy is something I will pass onto my children; it is a reminder of our roots and history. We are fortunate we can trace our past but there are so many lost narratives that will never be accounted for because of the Slave Trade and I dedicate my blog to those people.