“EMANCIPATE yourself from mental slavery,” sang the late Bob Marley as he celebrated the struggles and achievements of a people torn about by slavery and colonialization. Centuries ago, our forefathers were beaten, stripped and seasoned in the quest for lands, wealth and power. Centuries later, we are forced to remember: the raping of their humanity on the barbaric Middle Passage, the eradication of their Africanism in numerous inhumane seasoning sessions and the slow mental breakdown which would follow.

Regardless of where you live in the Island Neighbours and, by extension, the Caribbean, slavery remains a sting. It reminds us today that our blood was once captive, our thoughts were once those imputed by others, our physical scars were those inscribed by the whip and our free will was nothing more than the will of those who seasoned us.

Each year, on August 1, we celebrate Emancipation Day in the Island Neighbours in memory of those who suffered before us. In Saint Lucia, this day is observed as a holiday. Activities hosted on this day are culturally-based and usually seek to include all members of the public. Dominica celebrates Emancipation Day on the first Monday in August each year.

What is your favourite Emancipation moment? What does Emancipation mean to you? Tell us on Facebook: Island Neighbours.

The Nature Isle celebrates Emancipation Day this year with a plethora of activities from July 28 to August 5:
On Tuesday, August 1, a grand Emancipation Showcase will be held at Pebbles Park.
On Thursday, August 3, an Emancipation Forum will be held at the UWI Auditorium under the theme, “Dominica’s Sennse (Sensay): Historical & Contemporary Perspectives”.
An Art Exhibition will be held on August 3 at the Old Mill Cultural Centre.
Emancipation events end on August 5 with the Golden Drum Awards at the Arawak House of Culture from 8:00 p.m.

Neighbourly GetAways
Dominica’s House of Arawak is located in Roseau, Dominica. It is a place known for hosting most cultural activities in Dominica. Take along your camera. It’s a good opportunity to add to your collection in your Island Neighbours scrapbook. To complete our historical trip, we propose a visit to The Banana Museum in Martinique. Hailed as one of Martinique’s intellectual escapes, the museum captures the biography of the banana — its birth, rise to stardom, battle with other forces and gradual fall from economic grace.

Let’s Go Shopping!
Calling all shopaholics! The cold is thinning out and we are getting ready to enjoy the dry, pollen-filled air. If you’re into hats, this is the perfect time to shop for one. Today’s trends dictate fedora hats, cloches and schoolboy caps for the casual look and fascinators for the chic, sophisticated look. Every woman should have one of these. Dominica’s Duty Free Emporium offers the visitor the highest quality items at reasonable prices. Leather goods and hats…lots of hats. So, shop for that great occasion or for the weekend lime with friends. Live a little, shop a little!

Historical note! Did you know that Emancipation Day is celebrated in most British colonies on August 1 each year? This date coincides with the date on which the Slavery Abolition Act ended slavery? Get to know your neighbours!

A bit of the French for the visitor
Emancipation Day – Journée de l’émancipation
Slavery – Esclavage
The Middle Passage – Le Passage du Milieu
Slaves – Esclave, servante
Plantation – Plantation, domaine de plantation
Abolition – Abolition
Apprenticeship – Apprentissage
Indentured Labourers — Les travailleurs sous contrat

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