“They carry life in their hair”

Domestication and the African diaspora

Authored by: Judith A. Carney

The Routledge Companion to the Environmental Humanities

Print publication date:  January  2017
Online publication date:  January  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138786745
eBook ISBN: 9781315766355
Adobe ISBN: 9781317660194


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For all the blacks that get crucified or hung from iron hooks stuck through their ribs, escapes from Surinam’s four hundred coastal plantations never stop. Deep in the jungle a black lion adorns the yellow flag of the runaways. For lack of bullets, their guns fire little stones or bone buttons; but the impenetrable thickets are their best ally against the Dutch colonists. Before escaping, the female slaves steal grains of rice, corn, and wheat, seeds of bean and squash. Their enormous hairdos serve as granaries. When they reach the refuges in the jungle, the women shake their heads and thus fertilize the free land.

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