“Nothing good ever happen to Black people yet.” She turned her head away. “All that happen to Black people is suffering and poverty and hatred. Nobody want to be Black. Don’t bother fill up this nice lady head with any Black nonsense like I hear them a-talk ’bout on the radio. Just make her stay white an’ pretty!”
We begin in what must be West Africa? You get the feeling of: Here is another Roots, another Alex Haley story, until, wham! You’re in Jamaica, not in America. Barbara Makeda Blake Hannah has done it again by producing another first in shedding more insight on the history of the African both on the Continent and in the Diaspora.
The horrific experiences of slavery must have been as though it would never end so the best thing to do was to accept and pray your children would be produced by the Slave maser and you would now have a Mulatto child, a favored slave. Watching your daughter being raped by the slave master who first raped you and then your granddaughter, his daughters, producing what appears on the surface to be a white girl child, who gets shipped out to England, where she lives with her slave masters family, must have potently been one of the worst experiences. Now she is a free person in a country whose hypocritical laws makes her a free person as slavery was not legally recognized in England.
The story takes you vividly through the battles by the Maroons against the British, the encouragement to keep fighting, to call upon the spirit world; the heroism of our women some playing the crucial role of High Priestesses and even more critical, Warrior women like our famous Nanny.
“So, we survived far up here in the mountains on our own for many years. When we needed things, we would send women down to the towns to exchange food for what we needed. We had friends on the plantations who would steal weapons and gunpowder for us and sometimes we would raid plantations and even burn them down and bring the slaves back to Nanny Town to live with us and increase our numbers.”
We learn about the craftsmen, some Muslim, who were a little better favored because of their skills. It makes you want to research about the possible legacy of Islam in the Islands. Did the Maroons agreement with the British to secure their freedom require them to capture and return runaway slaves for money?, or did they create a means to encourage slaves to run away to the mountains and live or die as a free people, recreating their African homeland as best they could?
We are taken through an intriguing story of Elizabeth an ancestor of the slaves and slave master who managed to get to England and now centuries later traces her lineage to find out what she always believed so she could now happily say, “I am black”. We learn of the early days of Rastafari, a continuation of that struggle for emancipation, again raising the question of whether the Maroons had any influence on Rastafari or were they really a sell out to the cause.
We learn a little about Leonard Howell:
“There was a man here once, not long ago,” Miss Nicey continued. “He tried to do something for Black people … make a new village and run it like in Africa … Black people living happy together … helping each other … not far from here … just up that hill … him call the place Pinnacle. They fight him hard … mash up the people houses, burn down their crops, run him off of him land …nearly kill him.” Miss Nicey’s voice was strong. “Mr. Howell him did name…. I remember him good-good. That was the last man tried to do something good for Black people. Where is he now? Madhouse, I hear. Don’t want to hear nothing about slavery times. Bad, bad.”
“So you believe in a Black man as God?” Elisabeth followed up.“Yes!” Rupert’s voice was strong. “Emperor Haile Selassie is God Almighty, with NO apology.” He stared at her, daring her to dispute his statement. “”It’s kinda hard to believe that God is on earth today, right now, in a man in Ethiopia,”
‘The Moon Has It”s Secrets’ is a fascinating and vividly written Novel seemingly transporting you to the very experience making the saying “different flesh, same spirit” have meaning and is a must read. Any easy and light novel packed with facts, with emotion and an eyeful of the beauty of the Island of Jamaica, leaving one with an inquisitive mind yearning to learn of one’s own individual roots. The book is affordable to most and should be a must for the library of all Pan Africanists and sympathizers of the African struggle for emancipation from slavery, colonialism to the present time.
Well respected Barbara Makeda Blake Hannah, an Elder of the International Rastafari Family and a devout Ethiopian Orthodox Christian, was the first Rastafari to serve in the Office of 3 Jamaica Prime Ministers: Michael Manley, Edward Seaga and Bruce Golding, and the first to be appointed a Senator in the Jamaican Parliament. She also made history in 1968 when she became the first Black TV journalist in Britain on the THAMES –TV‘s daily evening show.
Enjoy your read!
The Moon Has its Secrets.
Author: Barbara Makeda Blake-Hannah
Order online at Amazon.