- County Library
“The Merikins” documentary film
The Burlington County Library in conjunction with the Burlington County Board of Chosen Freeholders hosts a special presentation of “The Merikins: documentary film The Forgotten Freedom Fighters”
The story behind the arrival of the Merikins in Trinidad goes back to the American War of Independence, 1775 – 1783 when runaway slaves were first encouraged to join the British fighting forces. A major enticement for their enlistment was the promise of freedom by Lord Dunmore, the then Colonial Governor of Virginia. At the end of the war these ex-soldiers were granted their freedom and taken to Nova Scotia in Canada, Sierra Leone, Jamaica and the Bahamas.
During the War of 1812-1814, known by some historians as “The War of Faulty Communication”, the British made similar promises of freedom to slaves who joined their naval or military forces. These black soldiers, were recruited mainly from Chesapeake Bay, shores of Virginia and Maryland, as well as from the coast of Georgia. These men were told that at the end of the war they would remain free men and earn 16 acres of land per head of family on the shores of South Trinidad, an island to the very South of the Caribbean archipelago. This documentary dislodges their story from the crevices of history and breathes new life amid the dust of time and its forgetting.
The documentary was the work of the British, Canadian and United States Embassies in Trinidad-Tobago together with JCD Associates.
Rated NR, 30 minutes.
- Registration Not Required