Have you heard about the ‘Igbo Landing’ before? Well neither have I, and I finally got to read about it yesterday and it was simply inspiring. I felt proud of my Nigerian heritage, and decided to ‘famze’ the Igbos. That’s some major courage there, and its something that should be taught in History classes. Kudos to Beyonce for referencing the event in her Lemonade album, ‘Love Drought’ video.
Here’s the full story for those that don’t know via Wikipedia:
In May 1803 a shipload of captive West Africans, upon surviving the middle passage, were landed by U.S.-paid captors inSavannah by slave ship, to be auctioned off at one of the local slave markets. The ship’s enslaved passengers included a number of Igbo people from what is now Nigeria. The Igbo were known by planters and slavers of the American South for being fiercely independent and resistant to chattel slavery. The group of 75 Igbo slaves were bought by agents of John Couper and Thomas Spalding for forced labor on their plantations in St. Simons Island for $100 each.
The chained slaves were packed under the deck of a small vessel named the The Schooner York to be shipped to the island (other sources say the voyage took place aboard The Morovia). During this voyage the Igbo slaves rose up in rebellion, taking control of the ship and drowning their captors in the process causing the grounding of the Morovia in Dunbar Creek at the site now locally known as Ibo Landing.
The following sequence of events is unclear, as there are several versions concerning the revolt’s development, some of which are considered mythological. Apparently the Africans went ashore and subsequently, under the direction of a high Igbo chief among them, walked in unison into the creek singing in the Igbo language “The Water Spirit brought us, the Water Spirit will take us home”. They thereby accepted the protection of their god Chukwu and death over the alternative of slavery. Roswell King, a white overseer on the nearby Pierce Butler plantation, wrote one of the only contemporary accounts of the incident which states that as soon as the Igbo landed on St. Simons Island they took to the swamp, committing suicide by walking into Dunbar Creek. A 19th century account of the event written in identifies the captain by the surname Patterson, and names Roswell King as the person who recovered the bodies of the drowned. A letter describing the event written by Savannah slave dealer William Mein states that the Igbo walked into the marsh, where 10 to 12 drowned, while some were “salvaged” by bounty hunters who received $10 a head from Spalding and Couper. According to some sources, survivors of the Igbo rebellion were taken to Cannon’s Point on St. Simons Island and Sapelo Island