Resistance, rebellion, and civil disobedience have been synonymous with black people since time immemorial. Ever since white people met black people the latter have been forced to fight for their most basic human rights. Black people have been resilient in their fight against oppression since the beginning.
The Igbo landing, a story about how African slaves rose against their captors, took control of their ship and docked it at Dunbar Creek before committing mass suicide. This was a display of the resilience of black people and how far they are willing to go in the fight for their freedom and rights. The Igbo landing showed that black people would not sit around for a savior in the face of injustice, instead, they would take up arms and fight themselves for rights they deserved.
The Igbo landing was about a group of Igbo slaves in 1803 who had made it past the middle passage which was the place in between Africa and the slaves’ destination. During the voyage, approximately 75 Igbo slaves rose in rebellion, took control of the ship, drowned their captors. The slaves grounded the ship in Dunbar Creek on St Simons Island, Glynn County, Georgia.
Upon grounding the ship noticing that they were on foreign land the slaves marched ashore, singing led by their high priest/chief. They walked into the marshy waters of Dunbar Creek, committing mass suicide. The first account of this occurrence was written by Roswell King, a white man who at the time was an overseer at the nearby Pierce Butler plantation. Roswell and another man known as Captain Patterson recovered 13 of the bodies. The bodies they recovered bring into contention the actual number of people who died at Igbo landing because it is suggested others might have not died and wandered off after the suicide attempt.
There have been various accounts with regard to what transpired at Igbo landing. Floyd White in his interview in the 1930s gave a story of water walking Africans who decided to walk back to Africa but did not make it there and died. Wallace Quarterman, an African American born in 1844, was interviewed about the Igbo landing in 1930. Wallace brought forth the story of flying Africans who rose into the sky turned into birds and flew back to Africa.
There might be differing accounts regarding the actual sequence of events or what is fact and what is fiction, but one cannot take away the strong symbolism embodied in the Igbo landing resistance. It set forth a culture of black people who will not shy away in the face of oppression. It has been cited as the first black march in American history. The Igbo landing is now part of the curriculum for coastal Georgia schools. In 2002 St Simons African American Heritage Coalition organized a two-day commemoration of the event and a procession to the site. Toni Morrison won a Nobel Laureate for her novel Song of Solomon, which used the flying Africans as its basis.
The culture of marches against oppression was set at the Igbo landing and persists to this day. It shows resilience in the face of adversity and people who are in control of their own fate. The Igbo slaves chose death over a life as slaves. It shows the depths of self-respect and pride that they had. There have been marches by black people countless times against oppression, systematic racism, and the unlawful killing of black people by policemen.
The seeds of resistance being seen across the world by black people can be traced back to the Igbo landing. Black people have always had pride and self-respect and never compromised even in the face of the toughest challenges. If anything can be taken from the Igbo landing, it is that black people will march until the death than to live silently in oppression.
The Igbo landing is of great value as a morale boost and a reminder of the strength that has been shown since time immemorial by black people and a clear rejection of oppression by white people.