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Gran Bwa

About this listing

Venerated Haitian gathering site in Prospect Park

Place Details

Borough : Brooklyn
Neighborhood : Prospect Lefferts Gardens
Parks and Gardens, Folklife, Caribbean/ American, Gathering Place

Place Matters Profile

Located in the southeast corner of Prospect Park astride Prospect Park Lake, Gran Bwa has been a venerated gathering place for Haitians living in New York City since the site was established in the mid-1980s. For more than two decades, community members have gathered at Gran Bwa every Sunday from the beginning of May through mid-September to play Haitian music, dance, sing, tell stories and strengthen social and cultural connections.

Haitians have always felt deep pride in their revolution, which established the worlds first enduring black republic. On August, 14, 1791,Vodou priest Boukman Dutty presided over an important slave social gathering at Bwa Kay Iman, in the colony then known as Saint Domingue. According to legend, the ceremony, featuring drumming and sung prayer, invoked the gods of Africa to help the slaves win freedom. The Bwa Kay Iman gathering would mark the beginning of the largest and only successful slave...

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Interview with Makini Armand, Deenps Bazile, Erzuli Guillaume and Lois Wilcken. Molly Garfinkel for Place Matters, August 4, 2013.

McAlister, Elizabeth. Rara!: Vodou, Power, and Performance in Haiti and Its Diaspora. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002.


Makini Armand

Gran Bwa is a place to experience the healing power of nature and community, for us to restore ourselves through experiences that bond us with one another and with the natural community around us. Gathering at Gran Bwa allows you to get away from stress and noise, and it helps you to engage in activities that keep you healthier and happier. At Gran Bwa, we share artistic arts and rituals knowledge. Lakou Gran Bwa is a family compound, its an important part of our cultural background to keep families together, and preserve the Haitian heritage and keep the culture alive. (August 2013)

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