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Sunday, December 4, 2022

The Igbo (Eboe) Landing. 1800 AD.

The Igbo landing story is a story of mass suicide of enslaved Igbo people, who decided to die instead of living as slaves.

It is a historic site at Dunbar Creek on St. Simons Island, Glynn County, Georgia. It was the setting of a mass suicide in 1803 by captive Igbo people who had taken control of their slave ship and refused to submit to slavery in the United States. The event’s moral value as a story of resistance towards slavery has symbolic importance in African American folklore and literary history.

A shipload of captive West Africans, upon surviving the middle passage, were landed by U.S.-paid captors in Savannah by a slave ship, to be auctioned off at one of the local slave markets. The ship’s enslaved passengers included a number of Igbo people. The Igbo people were known by planters and slavers of the American South for being fiercely independent and resistant to chattel slavery.

The group of 75 enslaved Igbo people 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 enslaved people were packed under the deck of a small vessel named The Schooner York to be shipped to the island. During this journey, 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 Igbo Landing.

They 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 “ Mmụọ mmiri du anyi bịa, mmụọ mmiri ga-edu anyi laa” which means “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.

Beyonce Knowles have also depicted and paid homage to the Igbo Landing in her work “Love Drought”. The movie, Blank Panther refers to this event.

This has been referred to as the first “freedom march” in the history of America.

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