Black history has been portrayed in many art forms whether that be through spoken word, cuisine, dance, music, poems and sculptures. Across the world, sculptures were erected to serve as a testament of not only the suffering that enslaved black people have endured but also their ability to overcome their oppression. These well sculpted, beautiful monuments are cultural and historical landmarks that can serve as a fun teaching moment for the entire family. Here are five historically significant black monuments to visit on your next family trip will be outlined.
● Redemption Song, Jamaica
Marcus Mosiah Garvey stated, “None but ourselves can free our mind”. It was on these famous words that Bob Marley based his world-renowned reggae song, Redemption Song. Taking inspiration from these legendary icons, the sculptor, Laura Facey, crafted two large nude models of a black man and woman, looking up towards the sky. This was to represent the enslaved men and women triumphing over slavery and looking towards a brighter future.
● House of Slaves, Senegal
This monument stands today as evidence of the tragedy of the slave trade. This house was the place where the enslaved were bought and sold and placed on to slave ships for the Atlantic Slave Trade. In fact, within the house, there is an open door leading out to the sea, which is dubbed The Door of No Return. Worldwide, many people of African ancestry travel to this place on a pilgrimage to reconnect with their history. In contrast to the origins of this monument, there is a freedom statue placed outside of the house. The House of Slaves is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
● Swing Low: A Memorial to Harriet Tubman, New York City
Harriet Tubman was celebrated as a powerful black woman who played a vital role as an abolitionist, Union spy, and a fighter for human rights. Unveiled in 2008, this statue serves as a tribute to this influential woman. It is in Harlem, New York City, one of the historical pilgrimage sights for many black Americans.
● La Nègre Marron (The Unknown Slave), Haiti
Haiti is the first Caribbean island to gain emancipation from slavery. This statue was erected to honor the accomplishments of the enslaved. It depicts a runaway enslaved person celebrating and announcing the end of their oppression by blowing a conch shell. This sculpture was designed and created by Albert Mangonès, a Haitian sculptor, and first presented in Port-au-Prince in 1967.
● Thomas Alexandre Dumas Slavery Memorial, France
This large bronze sculpture, in the form of open shackles and chains, was devoted to Thomas Alexandre Dumas. Born as a son of a Haitian enslaved person, Dumas served France as an army general in the French Revolutionary Wars. This statue was unveiled in 2008 and is situated at Place du Général Catroux in Paris. All creative credit goes to the sculptor, Driss Sans-Arcidet.
There are more than 100 historically black monuments worldwide. Each has its own historical and cultural background and carries a strong and powerful message. When you visit dive into the culture and history of these landmarks and the country they are situated in and try to understand the important significance of these important sites. Not only will this be fun for the whole family but also educational.
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