North American Slave Revolts
The 1811 German Coast uprising was a revolt of black slaves in parts of the Territory of Orleans on January 8–10, 1811. The uprising occurred on the east bank of the Mississippi River in what is now St. John the Baptist, St. Charlesand Jefferson Parishes, Louisiana. While the slave insurgency was the largest in US history, the rebels killed only two white men. Confrontations with militia and executions after trial killed 95 black people.
Between 64 and 125 enslaved men marched from sugar plantations in and near present-day LaPlace on the German Coast toward the city of New Orleans. They collected more men along the way. Some accounts claimed a total of 200 to 500 slaves participated. During their two-day, twenty-mile march, the men burned five plantation houses (three completely), several sugarhouses, and crops. They were armed mostly with hand tools.
White men led by officials of the territory formed militia companies, and in a battle on January 10 killed 40 to 45 of the escaped slaves while suffering no fatalities themselves, then hunted down and killed several others without trial. Over the next two weeks, white planters and officials interrogated, tried, executed and decapitated an additional 44 escaped slaves who had been captured. Executions were generally by hanging or firing squad. Heads were displayed on pikes to intimidate other slaves.
December 26 – January 1
Kwanzaa, or Nguzo Saba (originally Nguzu Saba. The Swahili phrase matunda ya kwanza, meaning “first fruits of the harvest”. A more conventional translation would simply be “first fruits”. Kwanzaa celebrates what its founder called the seven principles of Kwanzaa, or Nguzo Saba (originally Nguzu Saba – the seven principles of African Heritage). They were developed in 1965, a year before Kwanzaa itself. These seven principles comprise Kawaida, a Swahili word meaning “common”. Each of the seven days of Kwanzaa is dedicated to one principle, as follows:
Umoja (Unity): To strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.
Kujichagulia (Self-Determination): To define and name ourselves, as well as to create and speak for ourselves.
Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility): To build and maintain our community together and make our brothers’ and sisters’ problems our problems and to solve them together.
Ujamaa (Cooperative economics): To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.
Nia (Purpose): To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
Kuumba (Creativity): To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.
Imani (Faith): To believe with all our hearts in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.
Kwanzaa celebratory symbols include a mat (Mkeka) on which other symbols are placed: a Kinara (candle holder for seven candlesticks), Mishumaa Saba (seven candles), mazao (crops), Mahindi (corn), a Kikombe cha Umoja (unity cup) for commemorating and giving shukrani (thanks) to African Ancestors, and Zawadi (gifts).
Supplemental representations include a Nguzo Saba poster, the black, red, and green bendera (flag), and African books and artworks – all to represent values and concepts reflective of African culture and contribution to community building and reinforcement. Ears of corn represent the children celebrating and corn may be part of the holiday meal. In homes where Kwanzaa is celebrated, the kinara is placed on a mat known as a mkeka. A number of items are placed around it, including: Corn and crops to symbolize the harvest. A cup called the ikombe cha Umoja that honors one’s African ancestors. Gifts called Zawadi for friends and family.. Many families create elaborate displays that also include flags that represent their African roots and African works of art and handicrafts. Often, each night is marked with a special meal. Communities may stage productions of African dance, host African poetry readings or showcase African art during Kwanzaa.