Thursday, July 30, 2020

NAME OF FEATURE | THE GLEANER | THURSDAY, JULY 30, 2020 2 THE BEST OF ‘EMANCIPENDENCE’ – CULTURE, CUISINE, PEOPLE Mickella Anderson/Features Writer O UR58THyearasanindependentnation has not been without its challenges. The current COVID-19 pandemic has changed theway inwhichwe live, work, play and do business; but in spite of it all, our is- landhomehas stood the test of time, proving its resilience in the face of adversity. We have much tobegrateful for as a country andpeo- ple; our nation is recognised as the home of trendsetters inareas like sports,music, fashion and food, and this is simply no ordinary feat. Like other countries, we will never over- look that we have our difficulties. That is in- evitable. However, it must also be said that there is a spirit of nationhood that exists in all Jamaicans. This is the spirit that draws us to Half-Way Tree Square whenever our athletes are on show; the same spirit that had left every household with two fewer pot covers when songbird Tessanne Chin tugged at our heartstrings in 2013. We are proud of our little island home, truly ‘tallawah’ in its lush, green splen- dour and unending human resource. This Independence season calls for reflection; it is a time when we play Cherry Oh Baby until even the babies can sing along, and a time when we appreciate what it means to be Jamaican. Join us on these pages as we re- count thosemoments that made us all smile over the years, the ones that elevated us, as a people, to the next level, and the ones that will remain every grandma’s favourite ‘story time’memory. Turn the page and dive into our selection of recipes, the ones that make us smile around this time of year. This is The Gleaner ’s ‘Best of ‘Emancipendence’ – Culture, Cuisine, People.’ WE HAVE STOOD THE TEST OF TIME ‘EMANCIPENDENCE’ IS not an actual word, but that’s how we’re referring to two very significant dates on the Jamaican calendar – Emancipation Day, celebrated on August 1, and Independence Day, celebrated on August 6. August 1, 1834, marked a special day for Africans in British colonies as it was the day they received freedom from slavery. In Jamaica, the Emancipation Declaration was read from the steps of the Old King’s House in Spanish Town, St Catherine, the country’s capital at the time. The bill for the aboli- tion of slavery in the British colonies received the royal assent on August 28, 1838. It stated: “Be it enacted, that all and every one of the personswho on the first day of August one thousand eight hundred and thirty-four, shall be holden in slavery within such British colony as aforesaid, shall, upon and fromand after the said first day of August, one thousand eight hundred and thirty-four, become and be to all intents and purposes free and discharged from all manner of slavery, and shall be absolutely and forever manumitted.” The passage of this bill in the British Parliament in England enabled approximately 311,000 enslaved Africans in Jamaica, and hundreds of thousands more across the colo- nies, the freedom for whichmany of their pre- decessors had fought and died. However, the Africans did not receive full free- dom until four years later, as all slaves over six years old were subjected to a man- datory six-year period of apprenticeship. The ex-slaves would work – without pay – for their former masters for three-quarters of the week (40 hours), in exchange for lodging, food, clothing, medical attendance, and land on which they could grow their own provisions. They could also, if they chose, hire themselves out for additional wages during the remaining quarter of the week. With this money, an ex-slave could then buy his freedom. Emancipation Day was officially introduced as a public holiday in Jamaica in 1893. The ‘First of August’ celebrations, however, were discontinued in 1962, when Jamaica gained in- dependence. It was replaced by Independence Day, then observed on the first Monday in August. Emancipation Day was reinstituted in 1997 by then Prime Minister P.J. Patterson as a national holiday, celebrated on August 1. In February 1962, a new Constitution was approved by the Legislature and the premier, Norman Manley, called a general election. Alexander Bustamante was elected in April and became the first prime minister of Jamaica. On August 6, 1962, Jamaica became an independent nation and a member of the British Commonwealth. Jamaica becoming an independent nation nowmeant that Britain no longer controlled the affairs of the country. It was now the re- sponsibility of the newly elected prime min- ister and the locally elected Cabinet. Independence also meant that a Constitution, symbols, emblems, an army, Jamaican currency and passports had to be developed for the country. As an independent nation, Jamaica as- signs ambassadors overseas who represent the country. They sign treaties on behalf of Jamaica and become members of various international organisations. This is important, as it gives Jamaica equal rights on various issues relating to international trade, policies and treaties. Celebration of Emancipation on August 1, 1838, in the square of Spanish Town, the then capital of Jamaica. There was a procession of the Baptist Church and congregation of Spanish Town under Rev J.M. Phillips, with about 2,000 schoolchildren and their teachers to Government House. Amid tremendous rejoicing, Governor Sir Lionel Smith read the Proclamation of Freedom to the large crowd of about 8,000 people, who had gathered in the square. The governor’s carriage is seen in the foreground. ‘EMANCIPENDENCE’ THE BIRTH OF A NATION The story of We are proud of our little island home, truly ‘tallawah’ in its lush, green splendour and unending human resource.

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