NOVEMBER is African History Month, and the National Trust is providing free access to lectures, blogs and films that tell inspiring stories of the experiences of Africans in TT and their legacy as it relates to the built, cultural and natural heritage of the country.
Dr Winston Suite presented a review of Capitalism and Slavery by Dr Eric Williams on November 18. Williams' book is considered required reading to understand the role slavery played in funding the development of the industrialised countries and the influence of economic forces on abolition, said a media release. Dr Suite made the case for acknowledging a greater role by enslaved Africans themselves, in also influencing the abolition of slavery. His pre-recorded presentation can be viewed on the National Trust YouTube channel.
A video presentation and discussion exploring some of the history of Belmont and how it came to be referred to as Freetown will be facilitated by Valarie Taylor on November 26. The presentation will explore the people, architecture and culture that helped define Belmont as it has come to be known.
The documentary film City on a Hill by Dr Patricia Mohammed and Michael Mooleedhar will be aired on the National Trust Youtube channel on November 23. The documentary captures the built and cultural heritage of East Port of Spain, exploring how the contributions made by this urban settlement may be harnessed for economic growth. Through archival research, interviews with residents, and historical markings on the landscape, the film captures the proud identity of the people of the districts on the eastern fringe of the city, that are collectively called Laventille.
Along with the films, the National Trust will also publish a look at Trinidad’s lesser known history of Maroons and actual communities that they formed which exist to this day. A special online workbook will also be launched that targets students and provides them with a source of information about the African diaspora in TT over the centuries.
The month’s activities will conclude on November 27 with a special presentation on A Comparison of Music in Orisha and Rada by New York-based ethnomusicologist and musician Ryan Bazinet. His PhD dissertation was a study of Trinidad Orisha music, about which he has published three academic articles. More recently, he has been working with the Antoine family of Belmont while studying the music of the Trinidad Rada. This presentation combines those two research topics, comparing the music of Orisha and Rada in an international historical context from several angles: drum type, song language, drum rhythms, songs, and rhythmic complexity.
The public will be able to register for free participation in this online lecture discussion via the National Trust social media pages.