We are excited to announce the next step in our fundraising efforts. The Warrior Queen T-Shirt Series is a limited-edition series honoring the legacies of four trailblazing warriors that represent freedom, the resilience of African Indigenous women and dedication to the land. All proceeds from the series will go directly towards the Black Woman Agricultural Freedom Fund.
We are humbled by the support we have received and would like to offer back to those who are willing to invest in this project and the future of Black food sovereignty.
We are sharing a CODE for the creators of BLACK CULTURE. The growers, the land defenders, the water observers, the cultivators, the seed savers, the over policed, the brilliance behind BLACK CURRENCY.
This code is also available to non-Black people who have supported the BWAFF and who see black economic autonomy as a space to support BECAUSE BLACK FREEDOM CANNOT WAIT.
Please use the CODE: blkculture at the check out. This is developed on an honour system, please share and use the code only if it applies to you.
Read more below about the Warrior Queens in our T-shirt series
Harriet Tubman was born Araminta Ross in Dorchester County, Maryland. She was raised in barbaric and harsh conditions as a black child living during enslavement. At the age of 12, she was seriously injured from a blow to the head for refusing to help tie up a black man who had attempted to escape.
When Harriet turned 25, she married John Tubman. During this time, she feared she would be sold in the south. She escaped and settled in Philadelphia where she met the station master of the Underground Railroad. With assistance from the Philadelphia Anti-Slavery Society she learned about the inner workings of the UGRR. After freeing herself from slavery, Harriet Tubman returned to Maryland to rescue other members of her family. As the conductor of the underground rail road, she led hundreds of black people to freedom. She was called “Moses” by many and was described as both kind hearted and fiercely militant.
On June 2, 1863, Harriet Tubman was responsible for the monumental civil war event known as “The Raid at Combahee”. She became the first woman to plan and execute an armed raid in the civil war against confederate forces, supply depots, and plantations along the Combahee river in coastal South Carolina. Harriet Tubman gained vital information on the locations of all the rebel torpedos, which allowed her to steer the Union ships away from danger and lead them to specific spots where her fellow black people were waiting to be rescued. Harriet and the African American regiment destroyed millions of dollars worth of confederate supplies and freed more than 800 people.
“If you hear the dogs, keep going. If you see the torches in the woods, keep going. If there’s shouting after you, keep going. If you want a taste of freedom, keep going.” – Harriet Tubman
Oromo people are the largest Kushitic indigenous nation in East Africa and their land is known as Oromia, which is currently known as Ethiopia.
Ateetee, also referred to as Marame, is their great goddess. Ateetee governs the fate of people on earth, she is “power of life, abundance, fortune, wealth,” and Fridays are sacred to her. Women carry strings of specially colored beads (cäle) as a rosary consecrated to this goddess. Groups of women adorn themselves with necklaces honoring Ateetee while holding a feast, and gathering herbs. She is the the Oromo Great Goddess, but even the Christian community known as Amhara have assimilated some aspects of her veneration.
Ateetee’s feast days are the first of the Oromo calendar, parallel with Isis or Auset in Kemet, ancient Egypt, to whom some modern Oromo indigenistas compare her. On the day of her festival every year, barley is steeped in preparations for the rituals and feast. On the evening of the festival, women of each household chant invocations over the feast: “Atete Hara, Atete Jinbi, Atete Dula, forget not my children, watch over my husband and my cattle.” or “My mother, my mistress, please look after me.” Then, they burst into the women’s shrilling triumphal cry “illi-li-li” as they pick up the coffee beans and begin to prepare the drink. The spirits advise the women on the coming year and feast on the food set before them.
The zar (spirit) is passed from mother to daughter and it continues to thrive from generation to generation.
Queen Nanny of the Maroons
Similar to much of our traditional African knowledge, much of what we know about Nanny of the Maroons is the product of historical memory and oral history. There is no documentation on Nanny’s birthplace or early life, that information is a phenomenon that only those who share the imprint of her DNA know very well. Nanny and the Maroon community successfully escaped barbaric British slave society and established their community in the mountains of Jamaica. The Maroons hailed from lineages of fierce Afro-indigenous warriors who held an intimate relationship with the land which gave them a huge advantage over their British counterparts. Unable to defeat the Maroons or survive the conditions of the mountains of Jamaica, the British had no choice but to admit defeat and leave the Maroons to establish their own sovereign Indigenous community.
In 1720, Nanny had become the leader of a Maroon settlement, Nanny Town, located in the Blue mountain region. Nanny trained her Maroon warriors in the art of guerilla warfare and led a powerful resistance of African indigenous against the British. She was a great leader and used Indigenous teachings to protect her warriors from their enemies. They fought the British between 1728 to 1734. While the British claim that they killed Nanny and the Maroons, it is well known throughout Jamaica and the Caribbean that the British did not have the necessary skills or relationship to the land to be successful. In 1734, the British were forced to sign a peace treaty with the Maroons which granted them ownership of five hundred acres of land. The settlement that merged on this land was dubbed New Nanny Town.
Wangari Maathai was born and raised in a small village in Nyeri, Kenya in East Africa. Her father supported his family as a tenant farmer to white settlers as Kenya was still under British Colonial rule. Her family worked hard to make sure they sent their daughter to school. Maathai was an excellent student and went on to receive many scholarships throughout her academic career. She completed her bachelor of science and her masters degree in biological science in the United States. When returning to Kenya, Maathai earned her doctorate and became the first black woman to do so in East Africa. As the senior lecturer at the University of Nairobi, she also became the chair of the Department of Veterinary Anatomy and her local branch’s Environment Liaison Center.
Maathai was inspired and politicized by the global pan-African movement and the movement against the war in Vietnam led by Africans in America who refused to defend a country entirely built on the backs of black people. She played a pivotal role in stopping the deforestation of their traditional territories. Maathai and the indigenous African woman in her nation started the “Save the Land Harambee” campaign which eventually became the Green Belt Movement. The primary goal was to reforest their beloved land and generate income for Kenyan women. They were responsible for the planting of more than 30 million trees in Kenya and providing roughly 30,000 women with economic opportunities.
Maathai was a fierce land defender and spoke out against the imprisonment of Indigenous land defenders and the government’s plan to sell African land to foreign investors. Consequently, she was arrested and beaten many times, but this did not stop her from protecting her ancestral land. Maathai went on to become the assistant Minister of Environment, Natural Resources and Wildlife.
“Nobody would have bothered me if all I did was to encourage women to plant trees.”