Prince Klaas (also known as King Court) is one of Antigua and Barbuda’s National Heroes. The African Slavery Memorial Society circulated the information below on October 20th 2017, the anniversary of his execution as a slave rebellion leader.
THE LEGACY OF THE PRINCE KLAAS 88
An Educational Digital Presentation
by Edith Oladele,
TOSTEM Project Coordinator
Today, October 20th 2017, marks the 281st anniversary of the execution of Prince Klaas – King Court or Tackey as he was also known, for conspiring to execute a rebellion in which all of the English officials and planters and their wives were to be killed and the island of Antigua made an independent African nation ruled by African leaders. Had it happened as planned it would have made Antigua the first African ruled independent nation outside Africa and before Haiti which gained its freedom in 1804.
The plan, which was quietly in the making for over a period of 8 years since 1728, was betrayed and Prince Klass and 87 valued slaves who held important and responsible positions on over 70 plantations across the island, were horribly tortured and executed by being torn to pieces on the wheel, hung by the neck and when that proved too quick, were burnt slowly at the stake. Prince Klaas, the leader and the first to be executed was torn on the wheel on Market Street.
This terrifying historic event in the lives of the slave society carried on until Christmas of 1736 when a respite was taken and killings began again on January 1, 1737 until March 8th of that year. The entire population, black, white and mulatto and all the sugar plantations on the island were thrown into disarray. Fear gripped everyone; the economy plummeted and lives on the plantations and Antigua were changed forever.
The African Slavery Memorial Society and the Museum of Antigua & Barbuda are collaborating to present this story with an exhibition titled “MASTERS OF THEIR OWN ISLAND” The Prince Klaas 88 Legacy. The exhibition chronicles the story of Prince Klaas and the 88 men from Africa to the plantations and their vision which led them to plan the resistance and how their vision and Ashanti culture has impacted Antiguan ‘Africanity’ up to the present. This particular exhibition forms a part of the Resistances, Theme 5 of the up-coming African Slavery Museum and is a ‘must-see’ of what the museum will offer. A date when the exhibition will be open for viewing by students at the Museum on Long Street, will be announced shortly.
The Digital Exhibition will be held at the Museum of Antigua & Barbuda on Thursday October 26th from 7pm to 9.30pm. There will be a book-table pertaining to slavery on Antigua and you may apply to become a member of the ASMS.
Donations towards the Slavery museum would be welcomed.
Of additional and vital interest to all Antigua African slave descendants; on that evening there will be the opportunity to apply to do your DNA test to know your African ancestral origins. With Africanancestry.com, the society is engaging in a special bulk application and a ‘never-to-be-forgotten’ “Reveal” evening is planned in February 2018 to announce the origins of the applicants and their families. The applications and the payments for the DNA kits must be made before December 5th. You can learn how to get it done and know your African origins..
Please contact Ms. Joy Lawrence at 774-2550 or Ms. Clara Newton at 775-5160 of the ASMS or Edith Oladele 773 1959 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org for further information. Other days and venues will be announced where persons may make their applications during the coming weeks. Don’t miss out on this very exciting and historic development in the lives of the Africans and their descendants on Antigua & Barbuda.