AFRICAN CEMETERY

There is a goodness to Key West people. Unique.

Key Westers are caring. Be down on your luck and the locals rise to help.

Such is not a recent thing. The year 1860 an example.

The US Navy captured three American owned slave ships. Transported more than 1,400 of the Africans on board to Key West. These were not slaves. They had been captured in Africa and were on their way for sale in Cuba and central America. At which time they would become slaves.

They were refugees at the time of their salvation. African refugees.

Key West immediately pitched in. Constructed housing and a hospital. All in what today is the Higgs Beach area. The hospital needed to care for Africans made sick or injured during the trip from Africa to where the vessels were captured.

More than 100 died. Some believe the figure to be 245. Whatever, the dead refugees were buried at Higgs Beach.

Forgotten by time. Till 2002. Some repair/maintenance work was being done int he Higgs Beach area. A few bodies were discovered. Bones that is. Experts called in. Utilizing ground penetrating radar, the remains of more African refugees were discovered.

Certain locals got together to make sure the graves would never be disturbed. The area was determined to be an African Refugee Cemetery. The area fenced off. A series of pedestals and other items erected explaining and commemorating what lie below.

A Day of Remembrance is held once a year. Today that day. From 6-8 this evening, a ceremony will be held. African dignitaries attend from various parts of Africa. Including a King. The King has become an annual visitor.

Spent three hours late yesterday afternoon sipping, enjoying the view and chatting with others at Louie’s Backyard. The Outside Deck.

Then home. I craved the sauce and meat Fran Dixon from Buffalo had recently brought me. The food was frozen solid. I could not wait for it to thaw. Ergo, microwave required. A problem existed. The sauce and meat were frozen in a plastic container.

I telephoned Fran in Buffalo. She and Tom were in the car on their way to dinner.

Explained my plight to Fran. She said micro 2-3 minutes. The frozen block will slip out. Plastic container will not melt.

I performed as directed. No problem. Transferred the food to a large microwavable bowl. Twenty minutes later, hot sauce, meatballs and pork.

Dinner simple. Dunked bread in the sauce. Ate the meatballs and veal. Nothing left at the end. Magnifique!

I live and learn. This time via Diana Millikan.

Diana is renting an apartment on a canal running along side Hilton Haven Road. Boats are parked on the canal. The boat in front of Diana’s place is named the Head Honcho.

The toilet on a boat is referred to as the head. Perry Chaing’s business is cleaning out the heads. A big business. Name of boat derived therefrom. Head Honcho.

What I learned. Years ago, toilets/receptacles were placed at the bow or base of the bow. The head of the vessel. The splashing waters would clean the toilets/receptacles.

Today, boat owners and boats world wide are sophisticated. Head Honcho’s hired!

Head Honcho’s business in Key West is known as Marine Sanitation Solutions Inc.

Tomorrow the eclipse. The moon will block out most of the sun. A shadow will be cast over the Earth. Around 3 in the afternoon. Wear the special glasses!

St. Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Church is located on Truman Ave. The Church was dedicated this date in 1904. Still stands more than 100 years later.

I attend Church infrequently. However when I do stop into St. Mary’s, I am subjected to the warmth of a small island Caribbean house of worship. Sun shining in. A touch of warmth. A flavor not experienced elsewhere.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

3 comments on “AFRICAN CEMETERY

  1. I’ve wondered over the years whether those Africans can really be called refugees. They were still captured, stolen, sold prior to the forced illegal transportation.

  2. ‘ unfortunate’. Yep,

    African tribes were waring tribes. Unfortunate were those captured or kidnapped and then sold to the slave traders for transport and resale in Europe and the New World.

    I’ve found it curious that when offered the opportunity to be returned to Africa that most refused and preferred to remain here.

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