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'The House on CoCo Road': From Oakland to Revolutionary Grenada

  • Damani Baker (R) along with his sister (L) and a neighborhood friend (C) in Grenada during the early 1980s.

    Damani Baker (R) along with his sister (L) and a neighborhood friend (C) in Grenada during the early 1980s. | Photo: Twitter / @damanibaker

Published 6 July 2017

A new film chronicles a Black family's experience moving from Oakland, California to Grenada after the New Jewel Movement.

Netflix has premiered a new film titled “The House on CoCo Road,” which tells the story of a Black family's move from Oakland, California to socialist-run Grenada during the early 1980s.

Remembering Maurice Bishop and Grenada's Revolution

The documentary, produced by filmmaker Damani Baker, recounts his family's journey to the Caribbean island in 1982, when it was under the leadership of the Marxist-Leninist New Jewel Movement.

The protagonist of the film is Baker's mother, Fannie Haughton, an early childhood educator who worked alongside activist Angela Davis and her sister, Fania Davis.

In 1979, while Black communities across the United States were being infiltrated and decimated by the Counterintelligence Program, COINTELPRO, to stem Black liberation movements, the people of Grenada brought about a revolutionary government in the English-speaking Caribbean.

Led by Maurice Bishop and the New Jewel Movement, Grenada “attracted workers from around the world, including my mother,” Baker told the Los Angeles Sentinel. He added that only a year after his mother visited the island in 1982, she was offered a position in the Ministry of Education.

“I'd never seen her happier.”

What the Grenada Revolution Can Teach Us About People's Power

Less than a year after moving to Grenada, however, the U.S. military invaded the country. The pretense for the unprovoked, violent incursion was that an airport under construction would allegedly serve as a military landing strip for Cuban and Soviet Union forces.

“We hid under the bed for three days as bombs shook our new paradise and changed its course forever,” Baker also told the Los Angeles Sentinel.

Speaking about the decision to make the film, Baker told the African American Intellectual History Society, AAIHS, that his great-grandmother was from rural Louisiana. Over time, his mother eventually migrated to Southern California and then to Oakland.

“In 'The House on CoCo Road,' I want her to tell me why we left our home in Oakland to join the Grenada Revolution, why we returned, and why we don't talk about it,” he said.

AAIHS describes the documentary film as being a medium to inspire a younger generation to dream, to take risks and to be brave in their conviction of imagining a better world.

WATCH: The Global African - Grenada: What Went Wrong?

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