Story of Abaco, the Island in the Bahamas
From the Twitter post of Micheal Harriot / https://twitter.com/michaelharriot/
Today I learned the interesting story of Abaco, the island in the Bahamas hit hardest by hurricane Dorian.
After the Revolutionary War, many of the white people who were loyal to Britain moved to the Bahamas, which was largely empty. A lot of those people brought their enslaved Africans with them.
But harsh conditions made many of the white people leave. Then, in 1807, Britain abolished the slave trade. Many of those freed Africans who were liberated on the open seas went to the Bahamas as free people.
When the US basically bought Florida from Spain, thousands of enslaved Africans and Black Seminoles said “fuck this” and escaped to the Bahamas.
So many ran to freedom that the US government had to build a lighthouse in Cape Florida in 1825.
In 1834, Britain freed all the slaves in its territories and shit really got crazy.
See, the Bahamas were a regular stop in the Atlantic. Plus, shipwrecked US vessels also ended up there.
For years, when ships would pull up in the Bahamas (I think that’s the nautical term) Bahamians would tell the captains:
“Umm, I don’t know if you heard but we don’t play that slave shit over here. Y’all can ride out but you gotta leave the Africans here. They’re free now.
“Now we can handle this like gentlemen, or we can get into some Gangsta shit.”
Well this was a problem because slavery was legal in the US.
Despite what history whitewashers would have you believe about that freedom@and liberty bullshit, we were one of the last countries in North America to abolish the practice
So word started getting around plantations about the Bahamas.
Then, in 1840, the Hermosa, a US slave ship headed from Richmond going to New Orleans, wrecked in Abaco.
Well, the Captain tried to explain that slavery was legal in the US, so technically these enslaved people were cargo. But the Bahamians wasn’t having that shit. They FORCIBLY FREED the entire ship and was like:
Of course, these dumb white folks actually ran and told that. The US government got involved but something else happened.
Enslaved Africans on plantations started hearing about that shit, too!
(Yes, shit’s about to get good)
This is the part of our history that is rarely told:
In 1840, a black man named Madison Washington escaped slavery and made it to Canada. But Madison decided to return for his wife. (Of course he got caught) he was taken to Va, put on a ship and shipped to La.
So Madison was on this slave ship, the Creole, with 143 Africans and 17 white people who had ONE GUN!
Y’all know shit was about to pop off.
As soon as one of the crewmen lifted the grate to where they were holding Madison and his crew, they pounced.
They killed one of the slave traders immediately (you gotta show muhfuckas you mean business). The wypipo didn’t even get a chance to fire their lil’ gun
First they tried to force the Creole’s captain to take them back to Africa, but the captain was like:
“Y’all got some Africa gas money?” Plus, without Google Maps, they’d probably have to print out directions from Mapquest and the ship’s printer was out of ink or something.
Then one of the revolters said: “Aye Madison, did you hear that story about the Hermosa in the Bahamas? Maybe we should see what they’re talking about.”
*Not a literal translation
So Madison and the slave rebellers get to the Bahamas and a bunch of black soldiers come on board.
The captain tells the soldiers that the people were his property but the Bahamians attorney general was like: “y’all can go. You’re free now.”
And the enslaved Africans were like: “Go where? Man, we’re a thousand miles from home! We’re on the goddamned ocean! Aside from what’s on this ship, we ain’t even got no food.”
And the Bahamian attorney general was like: “Y’all straight. Just go look outside.”
So they go above deck and look out on the ocean and witness something astonishing:
The slave ship was surrounded by a “fleet” of tiny little boats manned by local Bahamians ready to take the revolters to freedom.
They would be free forever.
But the Bahamians atty. gen. held 17 of the men responsible for the white dude’s death on the boat. It became an international incident. The US even tried to organize an attack to REENSLAVE THE SLAVES, but a Bahamian was looking out and warned them that white people were coming.
When the people in the US heard about the revolt, they were OUTRAGED. They demanded a trial. The British agreed. But the Bahamians were like: “Well we don’t have an extradition treaty with those filthy slave traders, so the trial will have to be in the Bahamas.
Now they couldn’t be tried for murder because the British had already ruled that enslaved people could do whatever they deemed necessary to get free. So the Bahamians tried the Creole 17 for piracy.
The court ruled, in essence, this:
“How you gon’ charge them with pirating their own bodies? GTFOHWTBS Cased dismissed!”
*again, not a literal translation
Less than a year later, the Creole would sail no more after it wrecked again…
In a hurricane.
All told, 128 enslaved Africans aboard the Creole were freed
They will teach you about slave revolts by Denmark Vessey, Nat Turner and John Brown.
But this is the story of Abaco, The Bahamas and what is called: