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Eric Williams Memorial Collection Celebrates Fifth Anniversary
The Eric Williams Memorial Collection (EWMC) marked
its fifth anniversary on March 22, 2003. It was inaugurated by
current US Secretary of State Colin L. Powell. During the
1998 nationally-televised ceremony,
Secretary Powell heralded the contributions
of Eric Williams in the battle against
colonialism, among his many other
achievements as a scholar, politician and
international statesman. The historic event
was reported in both the Caribbean and
foreign media, including The New York
The Eric Williams Memorial Collection
consists of The Williams Library and
Archives, comprising some 7,000 volumes,
manuscripts, historical writings,
correspondence (official and personal),
speeches, research notes, conference documents and a miscellany
of reports. It is available for consultation by researchers.
A Museum, open periodically to the general public,
contains a wealth of emotive memorabilia and photographs of
the period; copies of the seven translations of Williams' seminal
work, Capitalism and Slavery (Russian, Chinese and Japanese
among them); Howard University's first social sciences textbook
that was compiled and edited by Williams; and numerous
personal effects that speak to Williams the man, rather than
The three-dimensional replica of the late Prime Minister's
private study that completes this comprehensive record is so
extraordinarily realistic, it imparts to the viewer a sense of
immediacy, almost of a life interrupted.
EWMC is 2003 APEX Award Recipient
A The EWMC newsletter won the 2003
15thAnnual APEX Award for Publication
Excellence in the Newsletter Printed Category.
APEX is an international competition
APEX that recognizes outstanding publications, from
AWARDS FOR newsletters and magazines to annual reports,
PUBLICATION EXCELLENCE brochures and websites. As the APEX judges
stated, "The awards were based on excellence in quality of editorial
content, graphic design, and the success in conveying the message
and achieving overall communication effectiveness."
APEX is sponsored by Communications Concept, Inc., of
Virginia, US. It attracts entries from international writers, editors,
publications staff and business communicators.
Dr. Colin Palmer, Dodge Professor of History at Princeton
University, who has conducted considerable research at the
EWMC, states that, "As a model for similar archival collections
in the Caribbean... I remain very impressed
by its breadth... [It] is a national treasure."
Along with some 65 high schools and
2,064 Trinidad and Tobago students who
visited the Museum in October 2003 alone,
five international schools also made the
journey- from St. Lucia, Guadeloupe,
Barbados, the US Virgin Islands and
Chicago, US. These numbers attest to the
growing renown of the EWMC and
underscore its importance to the heritage
ofTrinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean.
Student commentaries continue to
reaffirm Frantz Fanon's admonition that,
"Each generation must, out of relative obscurity, discover its
mission, fulfill it, or betray it..." They reflect also the
Collection's contemporary impact ranging from 2001
Trinidad and Tobago student Alana Laura Lalman's exuberant,
"One of the most insightful collections I've ever seen. Unique,
compelling, wonderful," to Orlando, Florida Joshua Kirven's
telling 2002 approbation, "Empowering, Riveting, Powerful"
Former Mayor of New York City, Rudolph Giuliani, during his visit to
The Eric Williams Memorial Collection Museum,
November 8, 2003.
Civil rights activist, Angela Davis,
delivered the Fifth Annual
Florida International University
Eric E. Williams Memorial Lecture.
See Page 7..
A UNESCO MEM7VOF PROJECT
HE WI PL1
EWMC's 5th Anniversary (March):
* Trinidad Express (March/June);
* H-Net: H-Latin America;
* Caribbean Life (South Florida April);
* Caribbean Contact (Miami April);
* Newsday (Trinidad and Tobago April);
* Power 102 Radio (Trinidad and Tobago May).
"University" of Woodford Square Stamp/lithograph/greeting card:
* Caribbean Contact (Miami July);
* Oliver Cromwell Cox Online Institute web list/home page
* Trinidad and Tobago Business Directory online web list (September);
* Trinidiary online news (Trinidad and Tobago September);
* Trinidad and Tobago Consulate Newsletter (New York September).
Trinidad and Tobago's 41" Anniversary of Independence (August):
* Newsday 2002 Eric Williams Memorial Collection
Newsletter excerpt (Trinidad and Tobago August).
Florida International University's (FIU)
Eric E. Williams Memorial Lecture (Miami September):
* H-Net: H-Atlantic, H-Caribbean, H-Latin America; Slavery
websites academic discussion lists (August);
* Newsday (Trinidad and Tobago August);
* Caribbean American Commentary (Miami August);
* Trinidad Express (August);
* Broward Times (Ft. Lauderdale September);
SEl Nuevo Herald (Miami September);
* Caribbean Contact (Miami September);
* CaribSeek online Caribbean website (Curacao September);
* FlU's Book Report Newsletter, Beacon Newspaper, E-Newsletter
(September 8/15/23), E-Calendar, internet home page,
intra-university E-lists (Miami September);
* Channel 10, ABC TV news (Miami September);
* Trinidad Guardian (September);
* Mystik Radio, WSRF interview (Miami September);
* WPFWRadio interview (Maryland September);
* WVCG Radio Public service announcements (Miami September):
* Hot 105 Radio Public service announcements (Miami September);
* WLRN Radio Public service announcements (Miami September);
* Radio Carnivale interview Haitian (Miami September);
* The Miami Herald- print and online editions
(Miami September 14/19/20);
* Progreso Weekly online Spanish news (Miami September);
* Haitian online web list (Miami September);
* Oliver Cromwell Cox Online Institute web list/home page
* Trinidiary online news (Trinidad and Tobago September);
* Tallahassee Newswire online edition (September);
* South Florida Sun-Sentinel- print and online editions
(Ft. Lauderdale/Palm Beach September);
* The Miami Times (September 10/17/24);
* Miami New Times (September);
* Saturday Edition (Miami September 13/27);
* Caribbean Today (Miami September/October);
* Urban American News online edition (Miami October);
* South Florida Gleaner Extra (Miami October);
* Insight News online edition (Minneapolis November).
* Newsday (Trinidad and Tobago September).
* Share News (Toronto, Canada October);
* WTOR Radio interview (Toronto, Canada October).
EWMC Online Links:
* FIUAfrican-New World Studies Department,
* City University of New York, IRADAC;
* Banwari Educational Tours.
A former political secretary to Eric
Williams, Ms. Dupres has deposited
material consisting of Williams' speeches,
governmental reports and copies of The
Nation the newspaper of Trinidad and
Tobago's first national political party
founded by Williams. Her contribution
constitutes an invaluable resource for
research scholars. It provides a window into
yesteryear, and reinforces Eric Williams'
History... to inform of [the] past as an
essential guide to.. .future action.
Neil Desmond Espinet
With a longtime career in the
petroleum industry under his belt, Mr.
Espinet is an historian by inclination, if not
by profession. His consistent donations of
memorabilia, of years-long standing, serve
not only to complement the holdings of
The Eric Williams Memorial Collection, but
they ensure also that future generations will
benefit from his largesse.
Since its inauguration in 1998, The Eric Williams Memorial Collection has been engaged in a range of
scholarly activities. A visit to the Collection's Museum has become an integral part of the itinerary of
official visitors to Trinidad and Tobago. It is a regular component of annual University 'Open Days', where
high-schoolers are encouraged to pursue tertiary education opportunities.
The fifth anniversary of the Collection was celebrated by the Library with a seminar, "Preserving Our
Cultural Heritage: The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus Libraries and The Eric Williams
Memorial Collection." Senior students from several secondary schools attended, including those from Queen's
Royal College, Dr. Williams' alma mater. A guided tour of the EWMC Museum and a primer on the
organisation and preservation of Special Collections was offered, but it was the video presentation on Dr.
Williams' private life that held the students spellbound. They were equally impressed with the efforts being
made to preserve the country's history and cultural heritage.
Also this year and for the first time the six outstanding performers in the 2003 Caribbean
Examination Council, Secondary Examination Certificate were treated to a personalised tour of the EWMC
During his life and quarter-century tenure as head of government, Dr. Williams placed special emphasis
on the young. As a vehicle of outreach to the community, the EWMC thus serves to inspire the nation's
youth and furthers the vision Dr. Williams had for their educational and personal development.
If the following Museum commentary is representative of one student's experience, Dr. Williams'
dream is very much alive even twenty-two years after his passing.
"Wow! Astonishing, man and example." Vaughn Biyan, student, Trinidad and Tobago
Dr. Margaret D. Rouse-Jones
'- ' D
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MP.~ L .
A Selection of Books
1. The Negro in the Caribbean by
Eric E. Williams (1942)
Presents a panoramic view of the Caribbean
and its population and gives meaningful
perspective to its historic past. The book
identifies the problems of the day and
challenges the people's interpretation of
2. Capitalism and Slavery by
Eric E. Williams (1944). With a new
Introduction by Dr. Colin Palmer.
Details the correlation between the slave
trade and the Industrial Revolution and
propounds that the former was abolished
for economic and not solely humanitarian
reasons. This landmark study is based on
Dr. Eric Williams' doctoral dissertation.
Japanese Edition (2004)
3. Education in the British West Indies by
Eric E. Williams (1951)
Represents the basic ideas outlined by Dr.
Eric Williams, for higher education in the
Colonies, to the sub-committee of the
commission appointed by the Secretary of
State for the Colonies in 1943.
4. History of the People of Trinidad and
Tobago by Eric E. Williams (1962)
Celebrates Trinidad and Tobago's
Declaration of Independence on August 31,
1962, and details in full its colonial history.
5. Documents of West Indian History:
From the Spanish Discovery to the
British Conquest of Jamaica by
Eric E. Williams (1963)
Corrects the deficiency where few colonials
wrote their own history. The book attempts
to forge the cultural integration of the
Caribbean with its "common heritage of
subordination to and dictation by outside
6. British Historians and the West Indies by
Eric E. Williams (1966)
Focuses on the Jamaican Rebellion of 1865.
This book examines British writers and
"British attitudes to West Indian history...
shows that many assumptions are false and
that much historical objectivity is no more
than barely disguised prejudice."
7. From Columbus to Castro: The History
of the Caribbean, 1492-1969 by
Eric E. Williams (1970)
Details the history of the entire Caribbean
and its peoples, separated by the language
and culture of their colonisers. The book
defines "a profoundly important but
neglected and misrepresented area of the
Japanese Edition (2000), Vols. I and II
8. The Economic Future of the Caribbean
Edited by Eric E. Williams and
E. Franklin Frazier (2004)
Papers from a 1943 Howard University
Conference organised by Williams, bringing
together an eclectic and influential group of
experts to debate its theme. Speakers
included advocates of independence,
movement leaders, scholars, diplomats and
high-level bureaucrats of the Anglo-
American Caribbean Commission.
9. British Capitalism and Caribbean
Slavery: The Legacy of Eric Williams
Edited by Barbara Solow and
Stanley Engerman (1987)
ISBN 0-5213-3478-0 (cloth)
ISBN 0-5215-3320-1 (paper)
Emanates from the 1984 Bellagio, Italy,
Conference on Eric Williams, co-sponsored
by Boston University and the Rockefeller
Conference and Study Center.
10. Eric E. Williams Speaks: Essays on
Colonialism and Independence
Edited by Selwyn R. Cudjoe (1993)
ISBN 0-8702-3888-4 (paper)
ISBN 0-8702-3887-6 (cloth)
Reproduces Dr. Eric Williams' most
important political writings and underscores
his use of language to add to the emotional
power of his political analyses and arguments.
11. Callaloo, Vol. 20, No. 4, University of
Virginia/Johns Hopkins Journal (1998)
Features for the first time ever an entire
issue on a political writer, Dr. Eric Williams.
This scholarly African American Journal of
arts and letters debuted in 1976.
12. Caribbean Issues, Vol. VIII, Nos. 1 & 2
UWI Journal (1998/1999)
Papers from the 1996 UWI/Harvard
University co-sponsored Conference on Eric
13. Capitalism & Slavery: Fifty Years Later -
Eric E. Williams A Reassessment of
The Man & His Work
Edited by Heather Cateau and
S. H. H. Carrington (2000)
Re-examines Dr. Williams' work, revisits his
magnum opus, Capitalism and Slavery and
embraces new developments and trends in the
14. The Elusive Eric Williams by
Ken Boodhoo (2002)
Based on interviews commissioned
exclusively for the purpose of establishing an
Eric Williams Memorial Collection Oral
History Project, the book purports to put a
private face on the public persona of
Williams, a man of great complexity in the
writer's view "obsessive secrecy" and baffling
bMP L & 4
They "Could Never Have Too Much of My Work":
Eric Williams and The Journal ofNegro History, 1940-1945
by Professor David Barry Gaspar
On 7th August 1939, Trinidad and Tobago-born Eric Eustace
Williams a man who would rise to great prominence as scholar,
politician and Caribbean leader was just a few days short of
his twenty-eighth birthday. Fresh from magnificent academic
triumphs at Oxford University where his doctoral dissertation,
"The Economic Aspect of the Abolition of the West Indian
Slave Trade and Slavery," would literally turn the historical
interpretation of British abolition on its head, he arrived in the
US to take up an appointment as Assistant Professor of Social
and Political Science at Howard University in Washington, DC
- referred to by some as the "Negro Oxford."
Howard University in 1939 was the leading Black
institution of higher learning in the US. As such, Williams
embraced the opportunity to work among an impressive group
of scholars such as Ralph J. Bunche and Alain Locke. One
eminent and influential black American who was not on
Howard's faculty, however, but whose work would serve
Williams well, was Carter Godwin Woodson, "the second black
American (after W.E.B. Du Bois) to receive a doctorate in
history" at Harvard University. In the fall and winter of 1915-
16, Woodson founded The Association for the Study of Negro
Life and History and launched The Journal of Negro History
(JNH), to build Black pride and to erode prejudice by working
toward the alleviation of the deplorable political, social and
economic circumstances of Africans and African Americans.
At Oxford University, Williams was already familiar with
the JNH and its promotion of the work of Black American
scholars and, therefore, recognized that there was a welcome
convergence between his overall intellectual, anti-racist, and
anti-imperialist outlook and that of Woodson's, which was
forcefully and purposefully represented in the objectives and
content of the Journal. Their approaches may have differed,
but in that sense, both Williams and Woodson were scholar
activists working toward similar goals. Williams quickly seized
the opportunity to make his work available for publication via
that medium, which was then considered to be the leading
Black scholarly journal in the US. Since two of his articles
appeared before the release of his 1944 seminal work, Capitalism
and Slavery an expansion of his university thesis he used
the first to emphasize the book's major themes about the decisive
role played by the slave trade in the development of the overall
slave system, the growth of British capitalism, and the evolution
of its brand of colonialism linked to Black slavery.
Adapted from The Journal ofAfrican American History,
Vol. 88, No. 3, Summer 2003
This paper, The Golden Age of the Slave System in Britain,
got Williams off to an auspicious start. He was awarded the
first prize of $100 for the most outstanding article contributed
that year. In general, many questions raised here are later
addressed in detail in Capitalism and Slavery. Williams' interest
in the slave trade was thus part of a larger intellectual concern
or agenda of macroeconomic and political significance. Much
work remains to be done to pursue his insights in several
contexts, in spite of all the illuminating scholarship that has
been published about the Atlantic Slave Trade in recent years.
It may be useful, therefore, to consult this article and Williams'
doctoral thesis before tackling Capitalism and Slavery, because
such an approach provides an opportunity to trace the
development of the ideas and the intellectual and conceptual
trajectory that shaped this famous book.
In his second JNH article that appeared in 1942, the same
year that his highly-regarded book The Negro in the Caribbean
was published, Williams returned to a discussion of slave
trading. The article dealt with The British West Indian Slave
Trade After Its Abolition in 1807. Covering the period 1807-
1833, from abolition to formal general emancipation of the
slaves in the British colonies, Williams showed that the abuse
of regulations after abolition that allowed the transfer of slaves
from one territory to another under certain conditions -
spawned what amounted to a renewed trade in slaves. His
discussion of these developments related to the 'inter-colonial
slave trade' emphasized the potency of economic forces in
support of slavery, in the face of a growing campaign in Britain
to reform, if not to abolish it, altogether.
The third article published by Williams in the JNH
appeared in 1945, The Historical Background ofBritish Guiana's
Problems. In this, he moved beyond a focused consideration of
predominantly historical issues to examine the highly
problematic prospects of one Caribbean territory (British
Guiana) whose legacy was a past shaped by slavery and
colonialism. His main objective was to use one colony to
represent the plight of the British Caribbean colonies and the
wider region as a whole. Williams combined perspectives about
the past, present, and future of those colonies as seen through
the difficulties of British Guiana. He concluded that, "It was
the addition of monopoly and not of slavery, it was free trade
and not free labour that 'ruined' British Guiana and the British
tM P L C4
The three JNH articles appeared during a period of
extraordinary scholarly productivity and other intellectual
activity in the early stages of-the-career of the young Williams,
who was stimulated by the intellectual and political climate in
and around Howard University in the pre-wartime US.
According to Williams, "I was living with the New Deal and
the appraisal of America's resources just before it became the
arsenal of democracy. I was at the very centre of dollar diplomacy
and intervention by the Marines before the inauguration of
the good neighbour policy... Garveyism had left its mark on
the American Negro. National Socialism and Fascism had their
votaries in America, as in Britain. The Third International, with
its collectivisation and five-year plans, its liquidation of'kulaks'
and its purges, its world revolution and its statistics on the class
front, was beginning to agitate American conservatism. Civil
war in Spain and civil disobedience in India, nationalisation in
Mexico and national resistance in Ethiopia the world was
headed for World War II, American supremacy and the
emergence of the colonial peoples." Such was the political and
intellectual climate in the US and internationally that helped
to galvanize Williams' sense of purpose.
Ultimately, the intellectual dynamism that Williams
brought to his work in the US is amply reflected in his
publication record, with the JNH being just one beneficiary of
his efforts. Between the period 1940-1947, Williams contributed
fifteen scholarly papers to prestigious publications, among
them: The Journal of Negro Education, Timehri, Harvard
Educational Review, Foreign Affairs, American Perspectives, Survey
Graphic, Political Science Quarterly, Phylon. He also compiled
and edited two books, including Howard University's first ever
social sciences textbook (three volumes), and published his own
polemic, The Negro in the Caribbean.
In all of Williams' work, his intellectual objectives were
more than purely academic. His cast of mind was more broadly
political, moving in an anti-imperialist and anti-racist direction.
His articles in the JNH were written with a clear sense of
academic and political purpose: to draw attention to the
Caribbean for a better understanding of the global plight of
people of African descent, whose historical roots in the Atlantic
Slave Trade, colonization, and slavery were of special interest
Although Williams did not publish anything else in the
Journal after 1945, when Capitalism and Slavery was finally
released in 1944, it was promptly reviewed in the JNH. "This
book marks," Woodson declared, "the beginning of the scientific
study of slavery from the international point of view and shows
the necessity for [its] definitive study in all parts of the New
World." Writing in 1945 about contemporary preeminent
historians of African descent, Woodson cites Williams who, he
noted proudly, "has come into prominence as one of the best
historians of his day without regard to race. His articles on the
British Empire in relation to the West Indies and his recent
work on capitalism and slavery," Woodson added, "advances
him to the front rank in modern historiography."
David Barry Gaspar is Professor of History,
Duke University, US
Visitors of Note
January Paul Greenough, University of Iowa, US
Jiangning Yang, student, China
February Lufs Cortes Riera, Universidad Central de Venezuela
Nan and George Leaney Javea, Spain
Maria Valarino Abreu, Embassy of Venezuela
Ari Rosenberg, Bates College, Maine, US
Yeongi Ginny Yang, South Korea
April Allan Lifusjue, Vice-Chairman, University of Suriname
May Sjoird Koopuran, International Federation of Library
Associations and Institutions (IFLA), Netherlands
Marcia Rosetto, IFLA, Brazil
Abdelaziz Abid, UNESCO, Memory of the World, France
Richard Blackett, President, Association of Caribbean
Historians, Vanderbilt University, US
June Joyce Williams-Green, Winston-Salem State University, US
Carlos Daniel Acosta, Universidad Nacional de Colombia
Maurice St. Pierre, Morgan State University, US
July Hector C. Butts, South Carolina State University, US
James Millette, Oberlin College, US
Mark L. Grover, Brigham Young University, US
October Virendra Gupta, High Commissioner of India
November Dr. Stephanie Davenport, Dusable Museum of African
American History, Chicago, US
Ambassador of Norway
Brenda Armstrong, Wesley College, Belize
Oscar Jaramillo, Universidad Javeriana, Colombia
December Jansie G. Webster, Anguilla
Humberto Garcfa-Mufifz, University of Puerto Rico
Daniel Ram, Guyana
Neville Jordan, Scotland
Eric Williams Websites
Researchers and individuals worldwide continue to make
active use of the Eric E. Williams website (http://
palmm.fcla.edu/eew/) maintained by the University of Florida.
Considering the relatively few number of items currently
available, this site attracts substantially more visitors even than
some of the University's larger collections. Work is on-going to
ensure greater access to both titles and citations; to digitise
newspaper articles relating to Eric Williams; and to institute
technology that will support image-related displays such as
stamps and photographs.
New titles available on this website, for a total of eight:
The British West Indies at Westminster, 1789-1823 -
Extracts from the debates in Parliament
Documents on British West Indian History, 1807-1833 -
'Massa' Day Done A masterpiece of political and
Utilising images from its Eric Williams home page as well
as that of its other digital collections, the University of Florida
distributed colour calendars to various of its supporters,
fundraising contacts and Florida university administrators.
The EWMC website (www.mainlib.uwi.tt/eric.html),
maintained by the University of the West Indies, continues to
feature current news and activities. Plans are underway to
include a virtual tour of the EWMC Museum.
News about The Eric Williams Memorial Collection and its
activities is disseminated to: a majority of US colleges and
universities with an African Studies programme; individuals
and corporations in Trinidad and Tobago, the Caribbean, US,
UK and Europe; international broadcast, print, cyber media
and online academic lists among these the Caribbean Cultural
Center, World Slave History, and H-Net; to the following
Associations/organisations: Caribbean Historians; French Black
Studies; Collegium for African American Research (Europe);
Third World Studies; Medgar Evers Caribbean Research Center;
Mexican Caribbean Studies; Caribbean Women Writers and
Scholars; African Diaspora (New York University); Groupe de
Recherches en Litteratures de L'Amerique Noire, French West
Indies; Japan Black Studies; Black and Asian Studies (UK);
Middle States; Yale University's Lehrman Center; and to the
Institute of Latin American Studies, Beijing, China.
Eric Williams has been included for the last several years
in the 365 Days of Black History Calendar sold at Barnes &
Noble, Dalton's, Borders, and other major US book store chains.
Williams' contributions to Trinidad and Tobago and to
African America have also been incorporated in the draft "Social
Studies Lesson Plans for Grades 3, 10 and 11" of the Miami-
Dade County Public Schools System. The material is currently
being reviewed and will be instituted for the 2005-2006 school
The Eric Williams Memorial Collection's fifth anniversary press
release was inserted in the annual newsletter mailing of the
Institute of Commonwealth Studies, Black and Asian Studies
Association (UK). It was sent to more than two hundred
individuals, organizations and universities in the UK, US,
Mexico, Japan, and the Caribbean. The Newsletter is also
available for sale in Black bookstores in the UK.
Capitalism and Slaver
Japanese Edition (2004)
Lectures on Eric Williams and The Eric Williams Memorial Collection -
Erica Williams Connell:
March Florida Memorial College (Honours) Class Faculty and Provost attending.
May Florida International University and the Broward County African-American
Research Library & Cultural Center's "State of Black Studies Conference."
Panel: Archiving Black Culture
September Florida International University Graduate Class.
Course: Caribbean Thought and Development
October PNM (People's National Movement)/UNC (United National Congress) group, Toronto, Canada.
FIU's Fifth Annual Eric E. Williams Memorial Lecture Attracts Huge Audience
Celebrated civil rights activist Angela Davis, Professor in
History of Consciousness and Chair of Women's Studies at the
University of California, Santa Cruz, was the keynote speaker at
the Fifth Annual Eric E. Williams Memorial Lecture held at Florida
International University (FIU, Miami) in September.
As part of the African-New World Studies Distinguished
Africana Scholars Lecture Series, Dr. Davis' lecture, Slavery and
the Prison Industrial Complex, was enthusiastically received by some
one thousand attendees. It is estimated that another one thousand-
strong were unable to be accommodated. This event was the largest
draw ever for the FIU Lecture Series.
Dr. Davis' down-to-earth and folksy tone was engaging as
she lambasted the US penal system, suggesting that, as an
exportable and now privatised industrial complex, it served to
ensure a form of present-day slavery. Citing the disproportionately
higher incarceration rate for people of colour, she recalled slavery's
history where there existed some sixty-six offenses for which a
black man could be put to death, as opposed to only one for
whites. Davis noted that poorly-performing schools in America
today provide a conduit to adult imprisonment, with a predictable
stop along the way in juvenile hall. Hence, effective education is
the key to reducing not only the ever-growing prison population,
but it also remains the only means whereby racism, still deeply
embedded in the system, can be uprooted and eradicated.
The Lecture concluded with a lively and informative
'Question and Answer' session where current and controversial
topics such as the USA Patriot Act, its limits on civil rights, and
its suspected target of minorities, were amplified. The war in Iraq
was also addressed. It drew spirited criticism for its exorbitant
cost both in human and financial terms and a discussion of
more appropriate utilisation of these monies, given domestic US
Following her speech, Dr. Davis was presented with two
Mayoral Proclamations by Commissioners Arthur Teele and Betty
Ferguson of the City of Miami and Miami-Dade County
respectively. She also accepted a Distinguished Visitor Certificate
from Florida Senator, Frederica
Congratulatory letters to
lecture organizers were also .... .,....
acknowledged from the
podium: from Florida
Governor Jeb Bush; US ,- ,,
Senators (Florida) Bob Graham
and Bill Nelson; and Miami-
Dade County Commissioner ......
The numerous faculty and
students present came from
Christopher Columbus High
School Honors Society; Florida
Memorial College; Miami-Dade College Honors Class; and FIU's
African-New World Studies and History Departments. Credit was
offered to those students attending from the University of Miami
(English Department) and from Florida Atlantic University
(Women's Studies Department). A "Who's Who" of international
guests and diplomatic corps members added to the lustre of this
* From Trinidad and Tobago the Hon. Ken Valley, Minister of
Trade; Miami Consul General, Dr. Harold Robertson; and
Professor and Mrs. Gurmohan Kochhar, Deputy Principal,
University of the West Indies (Trinidad and Tobago campus).
* From Jamaica Courtenay Rattray, Charge d'Affaires,
Washington, DC Embassy; Consul General Ricardo Allicock,
Marcia Coore-Laban, Deputy Consul General, and Vance
Carter, Vice Consul (Miami).
* From Barbados Hon. Dr. Jerome Walcott, Minister of Health;
Consul General Ben Martinez, Joyce Bourne, Deputy Consul
General, Urban Cumberbatch, Consul (Miami); Mr. Samuel
Chandler, Permanent Secretary, Ministry Foreign Affairs; Dr.
Joy St. John, Senior Medical Health Officer; Professor Hilary
Beckles, Principal/Pro-Vice Chancellor, University of the West
Indies, (Barbados campus).
The Lecture garnered significant local and international media
coverage, with journalists from New York and Minnesota attending
on behalf of Jamaica's Weekly Gleaner.
The 8t International and Interdisciplinary Conference of the
Society for Caribbean Research, University of Antwerp, Belgium,
hosted a meeting entitled, Injustice and Insubordination: The
Caribbean Writer as 'Warrior of the Imaginary'. Dr. Colin Palmer,
Princeton University, presented his paper on Eric Williams and
the Anti-Colonial Struggle, which is based on a study of Williams'
published works and speeches. Palmer's expose shows Williams
as unrelenting in his assault on the historical roots and systemic
expressions of colonialism. To Dr. Williams, these were primarily
responsible for the major problems confronted by the Caribbean.
The paper focuses on how Williams' anti-colonial stance shaped
his performance as Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, with
Palmer dwelling particularly on Williams' conflict with the United
States over Chaguaramas an area of the country leased to it by
Britain during World War II. His outright rejection of Britain's
initial paltry economic aid on the occasion of his nation's
Independence is also a theme, leading the then British authority
to question Williams' sanity as the only post-colonial leader to
b. lP L t
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The Journal of African American
History, Vol. 88, No. 3, edited by V.P.
Franklin, Columbia University, features
three papers on Dr. Eric Williams which
were presented at the October 2002
Association for the Study of African
American Life and History conference in
* Eric Williams and theAnglo-American Caribbean Commission:
Trinidad's Future Nationalist Leader as Imperial Bureaucrat,
1942-1944 (Tony Martin, Wellesley College);
* They 'Could Never Have Too Much ofMy Work- Eric Williams
and The Journal of Negro History, 1940-1945
(David Barry Gaspar, Duke University);
* Capitalism & Slavery and Caribbean Historiography: An
Evaluation (Selwyn H. H. Carrington, Howard University).
This trio of writings reflects Williams' scholarly output,
mindset, and activism. Complemented by an Introduction,
they offer compelling reading as they place Eric Williams
squarely within the pantheon of African American notables,
albeit hailing from the West Indies.
Martin's essay vividly captures the high-powered circles in
which Williams traveled in the 1940's. It paints a picture of
him as both scholar and activist who tenaciously clung to his
Caribbean roots, while being driven to advance his knowledge
and research in order to articulate the aspirations of his people.
David Barry Gaspar's work characterises Williams' relationship
in the 1940's with Dr. Carter G. Woodson, founder of The
Journal of Negro History (see Page 4), while Carrington's
monograph describes how, some sixty years later, it is still
Williams' ground-breaking work Capitalism and Slavery that
continues to inform the current debate on the Atlantic Slave
EWMC School Visits
"...you carry the future of Trinidad and Tobago in your school bags."
Eric Eustace Williams
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
Anjuman Sunnatul Jamaat Association Girls College,
Arima Government Secondary
Atlantic Education & Sports Institute
Belmont Junior Secondary
Bishop Anstey's High, East
Bishop's Centenary College
Butler Rienzi Labour College
Carapichaima Senior Comprehensive
Chaguanas Senior Composite
Cowen Hamilton Secondary
Diego Martin Government Secondary
El Dorado Secondary Comprehensive
Five Rivers Junior Secondary
Holy Cross College
Holy Faith Convent, Penal
Lakshmi Girls Hindu College
Malick Senior Comprehensive
Morvant-Laventille Senior Secondary
NIHERST Youth Group
Pleasantville Senior Comprehensive
Presentation College, Chaguanas
and San Fernando
Princes Town Senior Comprehensive
Queen's Royal College
Rio Claro College
San Juan Government Secondary
San Fernando Technical Institute
Sangre Grande Junior Secondary
Shiva Boys Hindu College
Signal Hill Comprehensive, Tobago
Siparia Junior Secondary
Southeast Port of Spain Government Secondary
Southern Community College
St. Augustine Senior Secondary
St. Dominic's Convent
St. Francois Girls College
St. George's Academy, San Fernando
St. Joseph's College
St. Joseph's Convent, San Fernando,
St. Joseph, Arima and San Juan
St. Martin's Girls High
St. Mary's College
Tranquillity Government Secondary
Trinity College, East
Tunapuna Government Secondary
Tunapuna Junior Secondary
UWI School of Continuing Studies
Chicago Trinity United Church of Christ
People's Cathedral School of Barbados
M P L
On the Horizon
* Policy, Politics and Promise in Calypso: The Eric Williams Era is the
title of a proposed panel at the Calypso and the Caribbean Literary
Imagination Conference, scheduled for March 2005 at the University
of Miami. It is likely that no single individual other than Eric
Williams has been so immortalised in the art form. More than
150 calypsoes feature trenchant social commentary on both his
policies and persona. This Symposium will provide an opportunity
not only to showcase the culture of Trinidad and Tobago, but also
to analyse the contribution calypso has made to the fabric of the
two-island nation. Panel Chair is BillAho, retired professor, Rhode
Island College. Presenters are Judge Ray Funk, sitting jurist and
calypsographer; Dr. Louis Regis, University of the West Indies,
Trinidad and Tobago campus; and Dr. Hollis Liverpool, University
of the Virgin Islands. Dr. Liverpool, known to many as "Chalkdust,"
is a famous calypsonian who enjoyed an uneasy relationship with
Eric Williams when several of his renditions were deemed to be
critical of the administration.
* Eric Williams' From Columbus to Castro: The History of the
Caribbean, 1492-1969 will be reprinted in the UK by Andre
Deutsch/Carlton Books Publishers. The previous edition was issued
in 1997. The first Spanish version is being translated and will be
published in 2005 by ElInstituto Mora and the Mexican Association
of Caribbean Studies. It will feature a new Introduction by Professor
Humberto Garcia-Munfiz of the Institute of Caribbean Studies at
the University of Puerto Rico.
* Dr. Colin Palmer, Princeton University, has completed his
biography of Eric Williams up to the year 1970, entitled Eric
Williams and the Making of the Modern Caribbean. It is based
on a substantial number of manuscript sources in The Eric Williams
Memorial Collection, the US National Archives, and the UK Public
Dr. Palmer's book, in part biography, intellectual history, and
political history, examines Williams' central role in the construction
of the modern Caribbean. Detailing previously unexplored topics
and insights, it analyses his vision for the political and economic
integration of the region, the Chaguaramas struggle, his attempts
to mediate the internecine racial disputes in British Guiana, the
imbroglio with the United Kingdom over the "Golden Handshake"
(the parting independence gift), and unitary statehood with
The book will be published by the University of North Carolina
Press in 2005. It is no coincidence that this is the same Press that
afforded Williams his own opportunity in 1944 with the
publication of his landmark study, Capitalism and Slavery. At that
time, the leading British publisher of revolutionary works (who
would later go on to publish all of Trotsky's and Stalin's) refused,
citing its "too radical nature." A promotional lecture tour is planned
with New York, Miami, Toronto and London as possible venues.
* The Eric Williams
has continued its sale
of The "University" of
Woodford Square -
cards and 16"x24"
prints to benefit the
Collection, thanks to
the generosity of
(Trinidad & Tobago)
which made available The "Universiy" ofWoodfordSquare
its extensive database for solicitation purposes. The card was also
highlighted on the Oliver Cromwell Cox Online Institute's web page,
generating more site visits than any other incorporated links. These
two items are reproductions of a painting by distinguished local
artist, Adrian Camps-Campins.
To purchase, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or call (305)
* Efforts are underway to reprint or republish the following book
titles by or about Eric Williams:
Eric E. Williams Speaks Selwyn Cudjoe,
University of Massachusetts Press.
Callaloo: Eric Williams and the Postcolonial Caribbean,
Vol. 20, No. 4 Johns Hopkins University Press/
Texas A & M University.
Capitalism and Slavery Spanish. Prior two editions were
published in Argentina (1973) and in Cuba (1975).
Capitalism and Slavery German. Never before translated.
Capitalism and Slavery Chinese. Prior edition 1972.
Capitalism and Slavery- Portuguese. Prior edition 1975.
Capitalism and Slavery Russian. Prior edition 1950.
From Columbus to Castro: The History of the Caribbean,
1492-1969 Chinese. Prior edition 1976.
Associated Brands, Ltd.
British Petroleum,Trinidad & Tobago, Ltd.
BWIA West Indies Airways
Caribbean Steel Mill
Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago
Emile Elias &Co., Ltd.
First Citizens Bank
AmCar Freight, Inc.
Florida International University
IT. McLeod Partnership
Lensyl Products, Ltd.
Errol and Yvonne Mahabir
Trinidad Cement, Ltd.
Trinidad & Tobago Trans Cable
Unit Trust Corporation
Yorke Structures, Ltd.
Jamalco (ALCOA, Jamaica)
M. P L
Hitoyevsite I -1
Back in Time...
The Late Prime Minister Dr. Eric Williams and SERVOL
by Fr. Gerard Pantin, Chairman, SERVOL Adapted from the SERVOL News, May 1981
"...build the nation of Trinidad and Tobago, bringing in all the races, acknowledging all their contributions; elevating lowly castes, dignifying despised colours,
achieving a syncretism here and a new autonomy there, raising up the poor and the lowly and giving them a positive stake in our society...
The humblest antecedents are not inconsistent with greatness of soul."
Eric Eustace Williams
I heard the news in London, UK,
on Monday, March 30, 1981 at 3:00
p.m. "...Eric Williams is dead!" I sat
there trying to marshal my thoughts and
a flood of memories swept through my
mind. I was back in East Dry River,
Trinidad and Tobago, in November 1970
- six months after a national crisis had
erupted combining three essential forces:
months of thousands of marching angry
black youth, disenchanted with the pace
of change and identifying with their
metropolitan compatriots in their
demand for "Black Power"; a political
cadre of disparate groups taking
advantage of the deteriorating situation;
and an attempted military coup to
overthrow the democratically-elected
government of Eric Williams.
I had approached a group of young
men loitering on a street corner in what
was one of the most depressed areas in
the capital and was trying, futilely, to
convince this hostile audience that I
wanted to help them. One of them
laughed sarcastically, challenging, "You
say you want to help? Then get us an
appointment with the Prime Minister."
I turned away in despair. What
chance did I have of fulfilling their wish?
I had never even met the man! Then
came one of those extraordinary
happenings, coincidences, gifts from
God, call it what you will as I returned
to the office of our newly-formed
SERVOL organisation, an associate said,
"We just got a call from Whitehall. The
Prime Minister wants to see us tomorrow
The following day saw SERVOL
members and myself explaining to Dr.
Williams what we were attempting to
accomplish in the area, and the problems
we faced in teaching youngsters skills
that would not only enable them to gain
employment, but would also literally
rebuild their characters, would repair the
environmental damage life had wrought
in their hearts, souls and minds.
Dr. Williams spoke to us in words I
can remember clearly even after all these
years. "I think what you are doing is
good. I do not want to associate myself
with your work, as people would
interpret it as a political scheme.
However, if at any time you have any
reasonable request to make of the
Government, do not hesitate to do so
through the normal channels." I
summoned up my courage, it was now
or never. "Dr. Williams, there is a group
from the Quarry Street area that wants
to see you." He turned to his secretary,
"Make an appointment for them at
10:00 a.m. tomorrow," and we were
When I hurried back with my
success, the boys couldn't believe it! The
following morning eight of us piled into
an ancient Vauxhall 101 and drove to
Whitehall. When the military guard saw
us approaching, they cocked their
subloading rifles it could well have been
the start of another "Black Power"
march, for we did appear formidable.
We were shown into a conference
room and soon Dr. Williams entered,
shaking hands with everyone. The group
explained that they wanted to start a
bakery and had even identified a
location. The Prime Minister surveyed
them grimly: "I understand the site you
have in mind was the former PNM Party
(the political organisation founded by
Williams) headquarters that you burnt
down during the rioting." Consternation
sweeps over the group: it wasn't them, it
was another group from Observatory
Street lower down, or maybe the gang
from St. John's Road, but definitely not
them. A flicker of a smile, and Dr.
Williams speaks again. "That is past
history now. I am prepared to
recommend to the Industrial
Development Corporation that you be
granted a loan of $50,000 to build and
equip your bakery, provided you raise
$5,000 of your own to start the project.
Good day gentlemen, and good luck."
I met him twice after that once
when the group returned to inform him
that they had raised the $5,000 and again
when he formally opened the bakery in
As SERVOL grew by leaps and
bounds over the years, I had ample time
to analyse and reflect on the Prime
Minister's attitude to it and to
community development in general, and
as I compared notes with colleagues in
Malaysia, India, Australia, Singapore,
Zimbabwe and Latin America, I realized
that the theory he had propounded in
an existential situation could not be
First, Government should never take
active part in the work of a voluntary
organisation involved in community
development. Its function is to create the
proper climate, the appropriate
atmosphere in which an organisation
such as SERVOL can flourish. But how
does a Government, from the thousands
Hitr eviite 'I
of requests it receives for financial
assistance, distinguish between genuine
practitioners and fly-by-night operators?
Simply, it demands that the people
concerned demonstrate their initiative,
their courage and their ability by taking
the first step raising the first $5,000.
If they cannot do this, it is doubtful they
can sustain a larger project.
Concurrently, Government should
monitor the development of the
organisation in question, to decide
whether further help should be given: do
the goals of the group coincide with the
national development plans? Are they
performing a vital service? Is it engaged
in experimental and innovative work? Is
it raising most of its own funds, only
seeking Government support when the
need is greatest?
We were not to meet again, but
subsequent events proved that Dr.
Williams never wavered from this policy.
In December 1970, he was present at
SERVOL's first annual Poor Man's
Christmas Dinner through which we
have raised hundreds of thousands of
dollars over the years. In February 1971,
I requested that the Commander-in-
Chief of the Defence Force provide
SERVOL with both soldiers and sailors
to be trained specifically in community
work. Though I was told nothing of who
approved this appeal, there was no way
such a novel solicitation could have been
granted without the acquiescence of the
When, in 1977, funding for the
salaries of SERVOL's nursery school
teachers expired, the Government picked
up the tab. In 1978, our flagship Life
Skills Centre was built and equipped at
a total cost of $920,000 (TT dollars),
leaving SERVOL with a $300,000 debt.
Government paid it. In 1980, substantial
local and foreign donations allowed for
the construction of a similar industrial
training centre in another region of the
country. When runaway inflation
resulted in a significant shortfall, the
Government, once again, came through.
By 1981, Trinidad and Tobago's per
capital income had disqualified SERVOL
from receiving the foreign grants that
were its life support the Government
stepped in and afforded ongoing
assistance for operational expenses.
By that time, of course, Dr. Williams
was deceased but his legacy remained to
drive many of the policies of the
All these thoughts flashed through
my mind that cold Monday afternoon
in London. The following day, I asked
the distinguished international gathering
at a conference I was attending to stand
in silence as a mark of respect for our
late Prime Minister. And I was moved
to wonder: had anyone ever succeeded
in delving beneath the air of competence,
power and self-assurance of this
extraordinary man? Had anyone tried to
heal the scars that remained from a
childhood marred by the subtle violence
of racism, colonial arrogance and by the
despair and anger born from seeing
mediocre minds placed above his? How
does one explain this man's extraordinary
sensitivity and humanity in certain
conditions and his equally extraordinary
intransigence in others?
All we, in SERVOL, can do is pledge
ourselves to the task of healing the inner
selves of the boys and girls who come to
us. Who knows, among them there may
be a future prime minister. And if we
are faithful to this trust, then Eric Eustace
Williams can rest in peace.
SERVOL is a non-governmental
organisation headquartered in Trinidad and
Tobago. It aims to empower local communities
and works with disadvantaged children and
their parents in hundreds of centres
nationwide. Its educational model has been
adopted by projects in the Caribbean, South
Africa and the Republic of Ireland.
In 1994, Fr. Gerard Pantin and
SERVOL were the recipients of the Swedish
Right Livelihood Foundation's Alternative
Nobel Prize. The Award, presented at a
ceremony in the Swedish Parliament, exists to
strengthen the positive social forces that its
awardees represent, and to provide the support
and inspiration needed to make them a model
for the future.
Scholarships and Prizes
The Eric Williams Memorial Scholarship
2003: RADICA MAHASE
This scholarship is valid for two years (M.Phil.) or three (Ph.D.). Applicants must be
CARICOM nationals with university degrees (at least Upper Second Class or its equivalent)
in history, economics or political science. The candidate will be required to pursue full-
time studies for the M.Phil. or Ph.D. degree at UWI, Trinidad and Tobago.
Research topics: Caribbean History, Caribbean Economic Development, Caribbean
Politics. Scholarship value: US $6,000 (approx.). To apply, write: Assistant Registrar,
Postgraduate Section, University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Republic of Trinidad
and Tobago. Closing Date: May 1, 2005.
The Eric Williams Prize for History
Department of History, University of the West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago, annual award.
Course: Capitalism and Slavery
2003: NAETTE YOKO LEE
Courses: Imperialism, 1763-1918: Imperialism Since 1914
2003: JULIAN PHILLIPS
* Organization of American States Assistant Secretary General Luigi Einaudi publicly recalled Eric Williams' enduring legacy at a
week-long celebration in Washington, DC. It honoured Trinidad and Tobago's forty-first anniversary of Independence on August
31, 2003. Referring to Williams' vision for national unity, Caribbean integration, and the accomplishments to date, Mr. Einaudi
concluded, "If he could be with us, Dr. Williams would feel his work was not done in vain."
* An April 2003 Heroes Convention was held in Trinidad and Tobago to promote the values of community and public service to the
nation's youth. In the Pioneer category, the National Gas Company pointed to Eric Williams as the architect of the country's current
economic prosperity. Trinidad and Tobago is now the world's leading exporter of methanol and nitrogenous fertilizers. Thus, its
1997 New York Times economic moniker, "A Tiger In A Sea Of Pussy Cats," is still reflective of the country's global reach. Flyers that
reprised Williams' legendary exhortation to the children of Trinidad and Tobago were also distributed to the approximately 5,000
"Humbling & important." "An inspiring experience. Propels one to soar to highest high."
C. J. Leaver Sophia Almorales
Oxford University UK Student, Trinidad and Tobago
The National Gas Company
Poster of Eric Williams
Passing the Torch... Eric Williams' Capitalism and Slavery is required reading in many US academic institutions, among them:
Arizona State University, West
Bowling Green State University
Catholic University of America
College of Saint Rose
Columbia College, Chicago
Duke University New York University
Eastern Michigan University Ohio State University
Emory University Oregon State University
Florida International University Oswego State University, New York
Foothills College Pennsylvania State University
Georgetown University Philadelphia College
Harvard University Princeton University
Haverford College Rice University
Illinois Institute of Technology Rutgers University
Johns Hopkins University Skidmore College
Loyola Marymount University Southern Illinois University
Medgar Evers College Stanford University
Metropolitan State College, Denver State University of New York,
New School Binghampton/Brockport
University of Akron
University of California,
University of Georgia
University of Houston
University of Illinois,
University of Maine
University of Miami
University of Minnesota
University of Pennsylvania
University of Rochester
University of South Florida
University of Vermont
University of Virginia
University of Washington
University of Wisconsin
Virginia Commonwealth University
Wake Forest University
Western New England College
"Until the lions have their historians, tales of the hunt will continue to be about the hunter"
The Eric Williams Memorial Collection's annual Newsletter has been made possible through the generosity of the Unit Trust Corporation of Trinidad & Tobago
Edited by Helen Kitti Smith and Erica Williams Connell, it is intended to highlight the activities of the Collection, to promote intellectual research and investigation,
and to assist in fulfilling the EWMC's mission statement: Historia Exemplum Proponit (History Provides the Blueprint)
ERIC WILLIAMS MEMORIAL COLLECTION
THE UNIVERSITY OF THE WEST INDIES, ST. AUGUSTINE, REPUBLIC OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
TEL: (868) 662-2002 OR (868) 645-3232 FAX: (868) 662-9238 email@example.com
Dr. Margaret Rouse-Jones
mrouse-jones@library. uwi. tt
Dr. Glenroy Taitt
a00 Special Collections
gtaitt@library. uwi. tt
too Special Collections
spollard@library uwi. tt
General Public: Last two Saturdays monthly, 9:00a.m. 1:00p.m. Schools: Friday, 9:00a.m. Noon (Reservations necessary)
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Research scholars (Special Collections terms and conditions apply)
Monday to Friday, 8:30a.m. 4:00p.m.
www.mainlib.uwi.tt/eric.html (Maintained by UWI)
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Christine Cohn, M.A. American University, US Clare Newstead, Ph.D. Nottingham Trent University, UK
Daphne Delapenha Renee Butts Thara Bhangu
For prior issues of the EWMC Newsletter, contact:
Erica Williams Connell o, Tel: (305) 271-7246 P. 0. Box 561631
email@example.com Fax: (305) 271-4160 Miami, FL 33256-1631, US