Take charge of your own life! if Elisabeth could do it, you also can! 

By: Tania van Velthuizen

April  2019

Elisabeth Samson toke charge of her life in the 18th century, you can certainly do it in the 21st century! She was a great entrepreneur, black, a woman (freed slave), and very rich! Here house needs restoration so please help preserve black history!

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Who was Elisabeth Samson?

I was intrigued by the story of Elisabeth! My whole life I heard more bad than good stories about slavery. Elisabeth died in 1771, but her legacy will go on, thanks to Cynthia McLeod. Who wrote a book about Elisabeth her life titled: “De Vrije Negerin Elisabeth, Gevangene van kleur”. Where she points a personal and historical portrait of this self-liberated woman from Suriname. 

Elisabeth was the owner of multiple plantations and also owned her own ship that transported goods to Europe. She was in a constant battle with the Governors of Suriname and also with the colonial board situated in the Netherlands. In the future, you will not only read about Elisabeth in the book but also be able to visit Elisabeth’s former house!!

Elisabeth Samson colonial house

 

That we know about this story is made possible because of this remarkable woman Cynthia McLeod! After years of lobbying and begging the government of Suriname, Elisabeth Samson’s foundation became the owner of Elisabeth’s house. Since April 2019 they are the proud owner of the monumental house of Elisabeth on Wagenweg street 22  in Paramaribo. But a lot of problems lay ahead!

If you asked yourself the question of why is this house not on the Historic Inner-city list?

The answer is that Elisabeth’s house lays 150 meters outside the UNESCO triangle of historic buildings that are on the World UNESCO Heritage list! So more lobbying needs to be done to restore the house because the foundation can not seek money at UNESCO. The intention is to restore the house in the original state as when Elisabeth was living there and open it for the public/tourist. This will be a big contribution to the list of historic buildings in the city center but also the first monumental building with the history of the owner which will make the story come to life!

Help restore Elisabeth’s house and preserve black history!

I hereby ask from my chair in Budapest, the Surinamese people to support Cynthia McLeod’s dream to reopen  Elisabeth’s house! Help in any way you can!

This is our own Surinamese history, written by our own people!

While I was reading the article by E. Tjan A Way about this fantastic news that the government of Suriname approved the purchase of Elisabeth’s house by the Foundation (newspaper the De Ware Tijd 9 April 2019), I thought to myself both Elisabeth Samson and Cynthia McLeod are truly my role models! And can also be role models for young people, especially in this time where role models are scarce! So everybody that has been held back, bullied, discriminated against for their religion, race or color, stand up for yourself and stop being a victim! Take charge of your own life! Elisabeth did it, so can you! 

For more inspiration about the life of Elisabeth Samson see this Ted Talk done by Cynthia mac Leod!

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Tania van Velthuizen is the owner of Pejego Tours. She was born and raised in Suriname. She studied Surinamese law and loves to travel. Before going to Europe, she worked at the Ministry of Regional Development, so she visited every bit of the Amazon rainforest. At the time, she fell in love with everything it had to offer, including the Amerindians and the Maroons, the fauna and flora. She also wrote a book on the land rights of Indigenous people and the descendants of the Maroons.

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