Today, August 1, 2010 is Emancipation, the day on which chattel slavery finally ended in Trinidad and Tobago, the English-speaking Caribbean and other countries under British rule, 172 years ago. That was four years after the Emancipation Proclamation was read on the site that is now known as the Treasury Building on August 1, 1834. Always a dramatic morning as we gather on the site on the Brian Lara promenade where the proclamation was read, the 2010 program takes the intensity of the moment to further heights with a new historical play from Eintou Pearl Springer, author of 'Kambule' the very successful street theatre production that is now a major feature event in our Carnival celebrations.
Freedom Morning Come, as the play is called, takes us into Port of Spain on the morning of August 1st 1834, just a few yards from the actual spot. The enslaved are gathered, awaiting the Governor, George Hill, who is going to read the Proclamation announcing what was expected to be the end of Slavery. It turned out to be the beginning of a period of what the British called, apprenticeship, an unsustainable system that demanded Africans remain enslaved for half of each week, and enjoy the freedom to work for wages the balance of the week, for another six years all told.
As the events of the day are recreated in the historical space, through dance, song and drama, the dialogue explores the thoughts, stories and feelings of the people gathered there. The production has a stellar cast including Eunice Alleyne, Camille Quamina, Noel Blandin, Sterling Kent, Dara Healy, Tishana Williams, Brendon Lacaille and Muhammad Muwakil. The play will be preceded by another first, as the first female Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Honourable Kamla Persad Bissessar, brings her first Emancipation Day greetings from the Government to the people of Trinidad & Tobago.
Kambule, the famous Emancipation Day street parade, now witnessed by many international cameras, begins immediately after the theatre production. Then it is the rest of the glorious day at the Lidj Yasu Omowale Emancipation Village, down at the National Stadium.
The public is invited to attend free of charge.