Merikin descendant Hazel Manning was among the persons interviewed for the film.
A film tracing the history of the Merikins was shown recently
in south Trinidad, and viewed by some of the descendants
of the ex-slaves who came from the United States
and settled in Trinidad more than 200 years ago.
The film, which was presented by the US Embassy, in collaboration
with the High Commissions of Canada and the United
Kingdom, drew a large audience on May 19 at Nia Valley Estate, Princes Town.
The 30 minute production premiered at the Digicel Imax Theatre, One Woodbrook
Place, Port of Spain back in March.
But it was an extra special event for the southern group as most people in the audience
had ties to those featured in the film, including the owner of Nia Valley Estate, Carl Hoi Pong.
Among the surprises in the film was an interview with Merikin descendant Hazel Manning,
the wife of former Prime Minister Patrick Manning.
The movie spoke of the former American slaves who joined the British during the 1812
war between the two countries.
At the end of the war, they were offered to settle in a colony owned by the British
and hundreds agreed.
They were brought to the forested area of Moruga and formed various "company" villages.
The film featured a 17 member cast and included interviews with several descendants
of the Merikins.
Speaking with the Express following the showing of the documentary, United States
Ambassador Beatrice Welters said through the film, the history of the Merikins would remain alive.
"The word was out but I think this (the film) crystallizes it ... This documentary can
go around to schools, it can go around to adult neighbourhoods as well to spread
the story about this very unique community connected to America," she said.
Lisa Atwater a descendant of the Merikins who formed part of the film, was also
optimistic. "Knowledge is power ... (This film) could only assist to give you a sense
of pride. A sense of belonging. It is an eye opener," she said.