October 31, 2023
by Uzi Baram, UBHeritage LLC
A colorful, musical, energetic festival, organized by Oaktree Community Outreach Inc., celebrated maroon heritage on land that archaeological excavations revealed was where freedom-seeking people found a haven of liberty in the early 19th century during International Archaeology Day. Community-based archaeology led to the cultural heritage festival celebrating the survivors of the 1821 slave raid that destroyed Angola who fled from Manatee Mineral Springs to Red Bays, The Bahamas; the descendants returned for the fourth Back to Angola Festival. The Festival included presentations by descendants, food, music, dancing, museum exhibits at Reflections of Manatee, Inc., and a scholars panel including community scholar Vickie Oldham, historian Dr. Canter Brown Jr., archaeologist Dr. Uzi Baram, and maroon descendants who shared their appreciation of the archaeological excavations and offered insights from their ancestors that animated the public presentation.