NY-based Anthropologist Keisha Wiel (currently visiting family in Aruba and Curaçao) posted this on Facebook today:
I love spending time with family! My 70-year old maternal aunt just told me the story about her grandmothers, my maternal great-grandmothers, and I’m completely floored… in awe of their awesomeness.
My maternal grandmother’s mother was born to a Jewish woman and a Black man in the late 1800s in Curaçao (you can ONLY imagine the type of hate they received as an inter-racial couple at that time). But what’s even cooler is that she was an independent woman who was never married, had four kids, ran a hotel in Curaçao, a restaurant in Aruba, ruled with a heavy hand that made men respect her and danced Tambú.
My maternal grandfather’s mother, another independent woman, was born in the late 1800s, never married, had two kids, and was an unofficial merchant. She would go on these trips by boat from Curaçao to Venezuela and Colombia and would sells goods in those countries and return with goods to sell in Curaçao.
My great-grandmothers are the true essence of independence, especially at a time when women were ostracized for these choices. I’m PROUD to call these women my ancestors.