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At the first anniversary of the July 12 Movement
At the first anniversary of the July 12 Movement

After the sounding of conch shells and the pealing of bells, the second National Maroon Day will open with a "moment of outrage" to mark an afternoon of commemoration and celebration at the Old Market Square in Roseau on Sunday 12th July 2015 at 4.00pm, the 12th of July Movement has announced. The "outrage" (rather than a minute's silence) will bear witness to those brave African men and women who took up arms against slavery and the capitalist system, and who were executed at the Old Market Square.

Organised by The 12th of July Movement, under Master of Ceremonies Dr Irving Pascal, the afternoon will get underway with poetry, power talks, drumming, chanting, libations and the production of a short play called Your Time Is Done Now. Directed by Alwin Bully and written by Polly Pattullo, the play presents the original evidence from the Maroon trials of 1814. Historians believe that these trials provide rare examples of the voices of the enslaved. The event will end with Nyabingi chants and drums and a libation ceremony at the well, which, it was said, was "tainted by the blood of the executed".

This is the 201st anniversary of the death of Jacko, the most famous of all our Maroon chiefs (the British - his enemy - called him "the governor of the woods"), who was killed at his camp above Belles on the 12 July after nearly 50 years of resistance.

Founded by, among others, Bernard Wiltshire, Alwin Bully, Dr Irving Pascal and Derick Rah Peters, the 12th of July Movement was created to raise public awareness about the Maroons of Dominica for on 12 July in 1814 Maroon Chief Jacko was killed at his camp above Belles. Jacko has been chosen as the Maroon hero to represent all those who fought to undermine and destroy the institution of slavery and to provide liberation and self-determination for our people.

Bernard Wiltshire says: "We think that the Maroons were a significant part of our history which has been suppressed or ignored as incompatible with the maintenance of the power of the slaving interests which has survived in various ways to this day. We believe that a true understanding of the Maroon part of our history can help us free ourselves from mental slavery and release new creative energies of our people." The main aims of the 12th of July Movement are:

  • To lobby for the recognition of the 12th July as a National Day - to be known as Maroon Day - and raise public awareness about the Maroons of Dominica especially among the younger generation

  • To campaign for the inclusion of Maroon history into the national curriculum to best free ourselves from mental slavery

  • To restore the Old Market Square into a national monument and Maroon information centre; and for its well to become a symbol of the Maroons' struggle and sacrifice

  • To develop Maroon sites, such as Jacko Steps, as prime heritage tourism sites