In the early 1800s, a young girl named Carlota was kidnaped from her Yoruba village in Nigeria and transported to Mantanzas, Cuba. While living in Cuba, she was sold to a sugarcane plantation in Triumvarato where the conditions were poor and inhumane. Carlota was strong-willed and vigilant, she refused to let her conditions break her. In 1843 Carlota met a fellow slave girl named Fermina who planned an uprising. Carlota was willing and able to help Fermina raid the plantation to gain their freedom. Unfortunately, the plantation owners learned of Fermina’s plans, she was beaten and locked in jail.
Carlota was not deterred by Fermia’s incarceration; she used the talking drum to communicate to the others about her plans. The slaves would often use their drums as a safe way to communicate with each other. Using the drums Carlota organized a raid on the plantation which helped to free Fermina and others from jail. November 5th, 1843, is said to be the date the slaves led by Carlota launched their yearlong raid against the whites and plantation owners. The slaves used guerilla tactics to attack the whites which helped them to gain victories for a short while. Ultimately, Carlota and her comrades were captured and executed by the Spanish plantation owners.
She would inspire future uprisings against slavery and oppression. Her ideas and passion did not die with her; they were continued by those who shared her vision. Even though Carlota was not successful in the end, she represents the spirit of freedom, the spirit of liberty. Humans were born to be free and she was not going to lie down and accept her conditions. She possessed brains, tact, skill, courage, leadership, and a love for her people. Ms. Carlota Lukumi, we proudly stand on your shoulders.
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