Cassette Tape

My father was the last of 10 children. His parents were schoolteachers and his family lived comfortably in Goniaves, Haiti. In 1974, they were forced to leave their home country due to political persecution under the Baby Doc regime. My father, who was 6 at the time, along with his youngest siblings, were left behind as his parents tried to build a life in the U.S. Slowly, the eldest remaining siblings would be reunited with their parents in their new home in East New York, Brooklyn. It would be another 3 years before my father would be reunited with his family. Forty years later, my grandparents are no longer here with us, but in the time that they were, they stood as the pillars of my large family. I am just old enough to remember the parties they would host in their small Brooklyn apartment. They would move the furniture to make room for dancing and leave the long dining table for the feasts they would prepare. My object is the cassette tape of an old Haitian band (to which I happen to know all the words) that they would play at each family gathering. For the time that they lost paving the way for their children, they made up for it in the time that they spent holding the family together. This cassette is representative of that hold, where my family came from, and their journey to this point.

Year: 1974

– Jasmine Sajous

Relationship:  Grandchild of im/migrant Grandchild of im/migrant