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‘Females of Abandoned Character?’

Women and Protest in Jamaica, 1838–65
  • Swithin Wilmot

Abstract

Woodville Marshall’s illuminating study of post-slavery protest emphasised the importance of viewing the ex-slaves as ‘historical agents, with clear perceptions of their world and striving to preserve or re-shape it.’ This approach has been developed in other studies of protest in the post-slavery period in Dominica, Tobago and Trinidad. They underline the involvement of women in street demonstrations and labour protests.1 This article expands the area of discussion to Jamaica, where women featured in various protests between 1838 and 1865, the period between full emancipation and the Morant Bay rebellion. None of these protests were exclusive to women, but it is hoped that this focus on them will deepen the understanding of the role of women in Jamaican history as they struggled as part of a disadvantaged people in a society emerging from slavery.2

Keywords

Black Woman Labour Relation Sugar Estate Black Carpenter Violent Confrontation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Endnotes

  1. 1.
    Woodville Marshall, “Vox Populi’: The St Vincent Riots and Disturbances of 1862’, in B. Higman (ed.), Trade, Government and Society in Caribbean History, 1700–1900 (Kingston, 1983), p. 85; Russell E. Chace, Jr, ‘Protest in Post-emancipation Dominica: The ‘Guerre Nègre’ of 1844’, Journal of Caribbean History, Vol. 23, No. 2, (1989), pp. 121–22; David Trotman, ‘Women and Crime in Late Nineteenth Century Trinidad’, and Bridget Brereton, ‘Post-Emancipation Protest in the Caribbean: The ‘Belmanna Riots’ in Tobago,’ in Caribbean Quarterly, Vol. 30, Nos. 3 and 4 (1983), pp. 60–72 and 110–23.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Raymond Smith, ‘Race, Class and Gender in the Transition to Freedom’, in Frank McGlynn and Seymour Drescher (eds), The Meaning of Freedom (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1992), pp. 267–68.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    Catherine Hall, ‘White Visions, Black Lives: The Free Villages of Jamaica’, History Workshop Journal, Vol. 36, (Autumn 1993), pp. 108–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 5.
    Woodville Marshall, “We be wise to many more tings’: Blacks’ Hopes and Expectations of Emancipation’, in H. Beckles and V. Shepherd (eds), Caribbean Freedom (Kingston: Ian Randle Publishers, 1993), p. 17; Rebecca Scott, Slave Emancipation in Cuba (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1985), pp. 242–44; Jacqueline Jones, Labor of Love, Labor of Sorrow (New York: Basic Books, 1985), pp. 44–46 and 58–61.Google Scholar
  5. 6.
    Verene Shepherd, ‘The Effects of The Abolition of Slavery on Jamaican Livestock Farms (Pens)’, Slavery And Abolition, Vol. 10, No. 2, (1989), p. 193; Woodville Marshall, ‘Apprenticeship and Labour Relations in Four Windward Islands’, in David Richardson (ed.), Abolition And Its Aftermath (London: Frank Cass and Co., 1985), p. 213.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 8.
    B.W. Higman, Slave Population and Economy in Jamaica, 1807–1834 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1976), p. 18.Google Scholar
  7. 13.
    Douglas Hall, Free Jamaica, (London: Caribbean Universities Press, 1969), pp. 50 and 173.Google Scholar
  8. 40.
    Joan Wallach Scott, ‘The Problem of Invisibility’ in S. Jay Kleinberg (ed.), Retrieving Women’s History (Berg/UNESCO, 1992), pp. 22–23.Google Scholar
  9. 55.
    For two examples of references to ‘Bogle and his men’, see Mavis Campbell, The Dynamics of Change in a Slave Society: A Sociopolitical History of the Free Coloreds of Jamaica, 1800–1865 (Rutherford, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1976), p. 336, and Don Robotham, ‘The Notorious Riot: The Socio-Economic and Political Bases of Paul Bogle’s Revolt (Kingston: Institute of Social and Economic Research, 1981), p. 89. For two examples of the women as stonethrowers and ‘on the side of the main body of the crowd’, see Sydney Olivier, The Myth of Governor Eyre (London 1933), pp. 214–21, and Thomas Holt, The Problem of Freedom (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992), pp. 459–60. For a work which includes a gender perspective in a discussion of the Morant Bay rebellion, see Clinton Hutton, “Colour for Colour’: The Ideological Foundation of Post-Slavery Society, 1838–1865, the Jamaican Case’, unpublished PhD. thesis, University of the West Indies, 1993.Google Scholar
  10. 56.
    Joan Wallach Scott, Gender and the Politics of History (New York: Columbia University Press, 1988), p. 31.Google Scholar
  11. 64.
    Hilary McD. Beckles, Natural Rebels: A Social History of Enslaved Black Women in Barbados (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1989), p. 152.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Department of History, U.W.I., Mona, Jamaica 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Swithin Wilmot

There are no affiliations available

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