Stella Dadzie

Stella Dadzie

A Kick in the Belly: Women, Slavery and Resistance

Festival of Ideas Online/
Mon 19 October 2020

Crowdcast

Stella Dadzie

A Kick in the Belly: Women, Slavery and Resistance

Stella Dadzie
Mon 19 October 2020,

Crowdcast

This is a Festival of Ideas Online event and will take place on our Crowdcast platform. It will also be live-streamed to Facebook. You can find out more about how this works in our blog.

Aside from Mary Prince, enslaved women in the Caribbean had few opportunities to record their stories for posterity. Yet from their dusty footprints and the umpteen small clues they left for us to unravel, there’s no question that they earned their place in history. Pick any Caribbean island and you’ll find race, skin colour and rank interacting with gender in a unique and often volatile way. Moreover, the evidence points to a distinctly female role in the development of a culture of resistance by enslaved people — a role that was not just central, but dynamic.

Stella Dadzie was a founder member of OWAAD (Organisation of Women of African and Asian Descent) in the late 1970s as part of the British Civil Rights movement and was recently described as one of the ‘grandmothers’ of Black Feminism in the UK. She tells the story of how enslaved women struggled for freedom in the Caribbean. From the coffle-line to the Great House, women found ways of fighting back. Whether responding to the horrendous conditions of plantation life, the sadistic vagaries of their captors or the ‘peculiar burdens of their sex,’ their collective sanity relied on a highly subversive adaptation of the values and cultures they smuggled with them naked from different parts of Africa. By sustaining or adapting remembered cultural practices, they ensured that the lives of people considered as chattel slaves retained both meaning and purpose.

In conversation with Marie-Annick Gournet.

Cover of Stella Dadzie's book, A Kick In The Belly

A Kick in the Belly is published by Verso. Buy a copy from our bookseller partner Waterstones.

This event is part of our #BlackHistoryMonth season of events and discussions.

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