St Mary students, citizens enjoy Tacky Day celebrations
Dozens of students, heritage fans, and local residents packed into the Claude Stuart Park in Port Maria, St Mary, yesterday, for the parish's 13th annual Tacky Day celebrations.
The event, hosted by the St Mary Parish Library under the theme 'The Chief Tacky Story and its Impact on Youths Today', was aimed at raising awareness of the legendary West African leader who organised and led the first major civil war in the Caribbean.
Tacky's War, which began in Port Maria on Easter Monday in 1760, rocked the unsuspecting British army to its core and is considered to be the catalyst to subsequent revolts by kidnapped Africans across Jamaica and throughout the Caribbean.
After a series of re-enactments and performances by local schoolchildren and an item by Kerlyn Brown from CVM's 'Inspire Jamaica' programme, the president of the Universal Negro Improvement Association, Steven Golding, concluded the event with a moving oration urging Jamaicans to reconnect with their African roots and calling on the Government to honour Tacky as a National Hero.
Still seeking liberation
He told The Gleaner: "It was my pleasure to deliver the annual Chief Tacky Day lecture here in Port Maria, and I certainly enjoyed seeing the performances from the different schools in St Mary and the remembrance that is given to those who should be declared a National Hero.
"Tacky is relevant today because he was seeking liberation of our people. What we have received since 1834 coming up to now is emancipation, but Jamaicans must not confuse emancipation with liberation because, as Marcus Garvey said, "... while others might free the body, none but ourselves can free the mind.
"My message today was one of remembrance, reclamation and redemption. To remember our African identity, reclaim it in empowering ourselves, and to redeem the spirit of our ancestors who stayed alive with only one hope, that of our return spiritually, physically, or otherwise to Africa and to remember and unite again the African family that was broken."
Tacky heritage advocate Derrick 'Black X' Robinson, who helped coordinate the event, said: "Today was very inspirational and touching. It is a wonderful platform because we want Tacky to represent the entire country in all its positive facets, and that's why we had the people from the 'Inspire Jamaica' programme, the Rural Agricultural Development Authority, and the National Heritage Trust here with us today."