Remembering and imagining slavery:

Postcolonial identities and the memorial landscape in the eastern caribbean

 

“Neg Mawon” memorial erected in Sainte-Anne, Guadeloupe in August 2002.

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From now on,

We, the great grandsons and daughters of slaves have decided:

To rehabilitate the memory of our slave parents,

To list them as our relatives,

to assert their full dignity,

to render a sacred homage:

Force to us!

(Charter of Slave Burial Ground, Guadeloupe, 2004)

Conjuring up the slave past, the poem serving as a charter for the slave burial ground of Sainte-Marguerite commands the people to remember their ancestors, their struggles and their liberation.  The process of destruction of the slave system went hand in hand with a deliberate silencing of the past.  The alternative histories summoned by memorials throughout the Caribbean are pivotal to the emergence of post-colonial communities. At the intersection of governmental agendas and public opinion, realms of memory reveal contested forms of historiographic representation and social, cultural and political practice.  Articulating these counter-memories from various islands as a web based collection of photographs, this project is continually created and expanded with my own new research and feedback from internet users.  Its purpose is to encourage the open exchange of testimonies, ideas, and theories, and of visual and written historical, cultural and artistic expression.

© 2008 Catherine A.  Reinhardt - Department of Languages - Chapman University - One University Drive - Orange, CA 92866

                      Phone: 714-997-6843 - FAX: 714-997-6823