Not the NWA you were looking for. But definitely Nwa.
“I saw on a magnificent pedestal a negro, his head bare, his arm outstretched, with pride in his eyes and a noble and imposing demeanor…At his feet were the words: To the Avenger of the New World!”
-Louis Sebastien Mercier in L'An deux mille cent quarante: Reve s'il en fut jamais (1771)
“I have avenged America.”
- Jean-Jacques Dessalines (1804)
Ever since we found the above quotes at the beginning of Avengers of the New World: The Story of the Haitian Revolution by Laurent DuBois, we’ve referred to the heroes of the Haitian Revolution as “New World Avengers.”
It wasn’t long before we started using “New World Avengers” for anyone who earned status as Ancestors by working for a “New World” through the freedom struggle. Our geekery is flush with Hip-Hop and comic books, but if you hear us going on about “NWA” or “the Avengers” context clues will be important.
Our shirts and art celebrate heritage and a wee bit of hate for the symbols and weaponized narratives of open enemies (e.g. neo-Confederate myth). We're the heirs of the New World Avengers and we honor them joyfully. But sometimes celebrating our shining ones requires civilized conflict with other folks and their myths.
After an experience challenging a family in Gettysburg who were dressed in bizarre Confederate flag shirts, we decided we wanted shirts of our own that were designed for taking red pens to neo-Confederate bunk. And since a brilliant cadre of writers, historians, and organizers have made challenging jokers with easily accessible primary sources a more popular pastime, we figured other people might want to join the fun.
But beyond the shirts, we're friends and family participating in events, sharing experiences, enjoying books, and honoring the Ancestors. While we're busy creating the New World, we regularly refresh ourselves in our informal Transatlantic Black history playgroup.
“I am America. I am the part you won’t recognize. But get used to me.”
- Muhammad Ali
Boukman, Sesil Fatima, Makandal, Sans-Souci, Macaya, Biassou, Jean-François, Jeannot, Sanité Bélair, Charles Belair, Moïse, Cangé, Gilles Bambara, Jean-Jacques Dessalines, Alexandre Petion, François Capois, Toussaint Louverture, Henri Christophe, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, David Walker, Maria Stewart, Robert F. Williams, Mabel Williams, Bayard Rustin, Viola Liuzzo, Martin Luther King, Jr, Fannie Lou Hamer, Malcolm X, Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, Ella Baker, Nat Turner, John Brown, and countless individuals, most of whose names we may never know...MESI ANPIL!