CUBA 2015: Slave Museum


HAVANA, CUBA —Over 300 slaves participated in a rebellion that begin in the slave barracks of a sugar mill plantation.

Slaves were rallied from five other neighboring sugar mills. A female slave, Carlota, was a prominent leader in the rebellion. Carlota secured machetes for the slaves, as they were the only weapons they were allowed to use. Carlota also set up a path that guided slaves to the site of the uprising.

This is the only rebellion where all slaves except the children and the sick participated. The tour guides described this as,

it looks like lioness fighting for her cubs.

However, the rebellion only lasted until the evening of November 6th, as the slaves were met by Spanish troops near the sugar mill. Over 250 slaves were massacred just two and a half miles away from the beginning of the uprising. Once caught, Carlota was mutilated.

Although the story of the rebellion was short and cruel, slaves had a major impact on the cultural development of Matanzas.

Paula Madison shared her thoughts on the slavery museum,

the monument to the uprising. One of the slave leaders was drawn and courted and the other was mutilated and beheaded and these are all supposed to warn and train people of the diaspora to behave, but we don’t behave. We should not behave. We must not behave. We have to be who we are, so that’s what this museum says to me.

After over 30 years of planning, the slavery museum finally opened November 3, 2015. Fidel Castro first introduced the idea in the 1970’s to build a monument and create a museum to pay tribute to slave wealth and cultural contributions in Cuba.

Project Details

Client : Synclaire Cruel
Date : 12/06/2015
Skills : Stories

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