Front Cover
 Table of Contents
 Back Cover

Title: Jamaica journal
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00090030/00031
 Material Information
Title: Jamaica journal
Series Title: Jamaica journal.
Abbreviated Title: Jam. j.
Physical Description: v. : ill. (part col.) ; 31 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Institute of Jamaica
Publisher: Institute of Jamaica.
Place of Publication: Kingston
Publication Date: August 1977
Frequency: semiannual
Subject: Periodicals -- Jamaica   ( lcsh )
Genre: periodical   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: Jamaica
Dates or Sequential Designation: Began with Dec. 1967 issue.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00090030
Volume ID: VID00031
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 01797964
lccn - 75027862
issn - 0021-4124

Table of Contents
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Full Text


Jamaica Journal Is published Quarterly by The
Institute of Jamaica, 12-16 East Street,
Kingston, Jamaica West Indies.
Rex Nettleford, Chairman. Dahlia Mills-Repole,
Vice-Chairman; Neville Dawes, Manager and
Secretary to the Board of Governors.
Jean D'Costa, Chairman, Dahlia Mills-Repole;
W. A. Thwaites; Raphael D. Shearer. J. A.
Specialist academic, scientific, technical and
research staff of the Institute of Jamaica and re-
lated organizations.
Huntley Burgher Ltd.
Lithographic Printers Ltd.
A Contents page Is produced with each Issue.
Full Index not available.
Articles appearing in JAMAICA JOURNAL are
abstracted and indexed in Historical Abstracts
and A merica History & Life.
Volumes 4 10 available from the Bookshop
of the Institute of Jamaica. The entire series
is available on microfilm from the West In-
dian Reference Library (WIRL) of the Institute
of Jamaica, and from University Microfilms,
Ann Arbor. Michigan 48106, USA.
Subscription rates overseas are quoted for sur-
face mail. Air Mall available at special rates.
Address labels carry account number and ex:
Spiry date. A new computer system will carry
further reference coding.
Commission to distributors negotiable, subject
to services offered.
A 50% discount rate is available to all teaching
and research Institutions in Jamaica and the
Caribbean area; also (to schools only) in UK,
' Canada & USA where JAMAICA JOURNAL is
required as cultural material for children of
West Indian I origin. fulk rates are given on
orders of 35 or more copies. All student issue
stamped as such.

SPublished by the Institute
of Jamaica, August 1977

:% .i ,.

VOL. 11 NOS. 1, 2



Rastafarian Music. .......................... Verena Reckord 3
Interview with Cedric Brooks ............................ 14
Master Drummer . . . . . . . . . . . . .... Garth White 17
M usgrave M edallists . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .... 18
Poetry ................................. Anthony McNeill20
Zombi to Synthesis. . . . . . . .... . Roberto Marquez 22
Art in Primary Schools .................................. 32
Ballad . . . . . . .... . . . . . . .. ... . Olive Senior 35
New Plant Discoveries Pilostyles & Portlandia .. George R. Proctor 44
Fiddler Beetles. . . . . . . . . . . . Thomas H. Farr 45
Periwinkle. ............................... Henry I.C. Lowe 46
Soap Syndet & Soapberry . . . . . . .... . . . S.C. Sinha 49
Interview with Robert Hill . . . . . . ..... ... ......... . 52
Review Henry Sylvester Williams . . . . ..... ...Rupert Lewis 56
Robert Love . . . . . . ..... .. ............. Rupert Lewis 58
Review Race First. ........... . . . ...John Henrik Clark 64
Marcus Garvey & the Negro World . . . . . . .... W.F. Elkins 66
Unrest Among the Negroes. ................... .. W.F. Elkins 70
Robert Osborn Brown Power Leader ........... .Gad J. Heuman 76
John Dunkley. ................... ..................... 82

1 year.................. J$ 5.00)
3 years................. J$12.50) postage free
5 years.................. J$22.50)

1 year................... EC$20.00)
3 years................. EC$50.00) including postage
5 years................. EC$90.00)

Payable in all currencies to the equivalent of
the following as expressed in US (or Canadian)
$to facilitate conversion.
1 year.................. $15.00)
3 years........ ......... $40.00) inludng all postage
5 years.................. $65.00) and handling charges.

COVER PICTURE: "Banana Plantation". . Dunkley

JAMAICA JOURNAL wishes to announce that we have appointed as our sole
129 Snowshoe Crescent,
Thornhill, Ont., L3T 4N1
To facilitate prompt and efficient service.

PLEASANT IT IS for Brethren to
dwell together in Unity. It is like the
preciOLIS ointment that ran down
L11)011 the heard".

A.. In July 1976 1his StUdy Was
initiated by JAMAICA JOURNAL,
prompted by the concern that in
t -tiatioiial POPUlarity of Reggae
WoUld inevitably lead to the rnUtd-
tion of incligC110LIS 11I forms.
Count Ossie was the obvious
SUbject choice as the leading expo-
F. nent of the art/religiOLIS form.
Verena Reckord and Cedric Brooks,
along Witt) OL[r photographer Tony
RUSSell, visited him at the head
i.'z V" carter of the Mystic Revelations
of the Rastafari, to take the PiCtUrCS
-3. appearing on these pages, and which
may be the last ever taken. COLInt
0 sie died tragically on National
Heroes Day, October 1 8th, 1976.
Count Ossic was a 'son of Africa'
whose inimitable contribUtiOn to
111LISiC in the western hemisphere
reflected his pt-C-OCCLI pat ion with lik
African roots. He excelled on the
drUrn, the heartbeat of African
music. He inspired all his comrades
to excellence. His 111HSiC Was his life,
and his life Was dedicated to the
Glory of his Faith.
His drums spoke a Universal
message of Love, Peace & Together-
ness. He preached the gospel of
Ujarna and UhurU. As a master of
his art form he awakened the love
and longing for Mother Africa, and
tUrned the eyes of Jamaicans to-
wards their rich CUItUral heritage,
and its UniClUe Jamaican form.



By Verena Reckord

Among the first things that a Ja-
maican thinks of at the mention of Rasta
Music are drums and ridims', because of
the infectious popular patterns (ridims)
and the unique family of three Rasta
drums which identify the music.
Used in the Rastafarian community
for 'eartical2 or churchical purposes, the
drums are three in number: the bass drum,
the Fundeh and the Repeater. (peta).
TheBass-Drum is fashioned somewhat
like a regular military band bass drum, but
with the heads protruding slightly over the
rims. The heads are ideally, made out of
ram goat skin. According to Count Ossie
(Oswald Williams) master Rasta drummer,
the skin of the ram is used because the ram
goat is less vociferous than the ewe by
nature, and its bleat is of a lower tone.
Hence the sound of the skin when hit is of
a desirable low pitch. In many cases, how-
ever, both cow skin and sheep skin are used
on Bass drums becuase of their low tonal
The diameter of the bass drum varies
from about 22 inches ordinarily, to nearly
three feet, as is the case of the "Royal
Drums" at Prince Emmanuel's Rasta
commune overlooking Bull Bay3. About
22 inches deep, the body of the Bass drum
is made of barrel staves held together by
metal bands and pegs.

The Fundeh is a longish narrow drum.
It has one head made of ram goat skin
which is about nine inches across. The
body is made usually of barrel staves or
strips of other wood and in rare cases,of
hollowed tree trunk. The Fundeh is also
held together by metal pegs and braces.
The pegs extend over the open end of the
drum so that the body is raised while it is
being played.
The Repeater (peta) is of about the
same structure of the Fundeh except that
the Repeater is shorter. The skin of the
female goat is chiefly used for the Repeater
heads. Count Ossie explains that the ewe
bleats more and in more strident tones
than the ram. Hence her skin is ideal for
the soprano pitch of the repeater. Some
Rasta musicians claim that whenavailable,
stretched pelican crop (stomach) is even
better than ewe skin for the repeater head.
Rasta drums are tuned by means of
tension in the metal brace at the head of
the drums. The fundeh is tuned to a repre-
sentative alto pitch somewhere on the line
between the bass and the repeater.
Most Rasta drums are painted in the
identifying red, green and gold colours of
the Rasta movement. These are the colours
of the Ethiopian flag, and are an identify-
ing badge of the movement.
While the three drums represent the

vital core of Rasta Music, it is not unusual
to see Rasta bands augmented by other in-
struments like horns, guitars, harmonicas,
graters, and other percussive pieces. In
keeping with Old Testament teachings, the
Rastafarians believe in praising the Lord
with musical instruments-"with harps and
Playing the drums
The bass drum is held on the lap and
hit with a heavily padded stick. The head
of sticks I have seen vary from thick wads
of fabric to tennis balls. The Fundeh
standing on the floor is played with the
fingers of both hands in closed position...
The repeater is played usually with the
finger tips in open position and the outer
edges of the hands. These two drums are
usually held cradled on or between the
knees of the seated player. With the ex-
ception of the repeater the centre of the
drums are hit at all times. There is no
buoyance after contact. Rather the stick
and fingers are plunged into the drum head
and disengaged only long enough for the
next tone.
Rasta Musical meter is fairly straight-
forward but there are occasions when exact
notation is impossible, especially in the
case of repeater work. (All musical il-
lustrations here should be regarded as

Count Ossie & The Mystic Revelations of the Rastafari (l-r): Bro. Samuel Clayton. Tambourine; Bro. Roy Smith, Bass Drum; Bro. Moses Nelson, Second
Fundeh; Bro. George Clarke, First Fundeh; Count Oswald Williams, First Repeater; Bro. Time' Williams, Second Repeater; Bro. Locksley, Third
Fundeh;'Bro. Errol, Bro. Eric, Maracas; Bro. Keith, Sticks; Bro. George Dudley, Grater.

Ine outer side or tne two-neaaea arum. Note me tennis oau sncK-neaa


btrlKing positions

Strlang rosmtons

'BAP' on the Fundeh

Striking Positions


Count Ossie's hands in raised and striking positions.


approximations only.)
In the playing of Rasta music, the
Fundeh holds (plays) the steady ridim or
"life-line" with a pattern like this:

The life-line ridim is played either on the
first and third beats of the bar:

Wl 2. 1I 4
Or on the second and fourth:

Sometimes in chants, depending on the
pitch of the spirit (of Jah being shared by
the brethen) the placing of the beat in any
particular order becomes irrelevant. How-
ever in most chants and churchical songs
the accent is on the first and third, and
songs of more secular social commentary
have the accent on the second and fourth
and are usually played up tempo.
The bass drum plays much the same
pattern as the Fundeh except that it varies
in both tone and ridim.

o + + +

; Ij J I I


ii ,

4, C

The 1st. beat is with the flat of the stick,
the 2nd beat is with the point stopping the
skin and producing a note approximately a
tone or tone & half higher. The tone varia-
tion is also produced by the technique of
drawing the non-playing hand across the
head as a mutant stop.
It takes great skill and a keen sense of
rhythm to be able to play the repeater. As
one Rasta brother said, "A man really have
to have music in him to really play that
repeater well. As a matter of fact him mus'
really learn fi play the fundeh well good
before him touch the repeater so him can
know how fi work in the repeater on the
other ridim them."
The repeater is the colour instrument
of the group. It supplies the 'melody line'
as it were, and the embellishments. The
repeater is responsible for a great deal of
excitement in Rasta Music. Although he is
at liberty to do anything he feels like, the
repeater the technical acrobat of the
family must keep within the ridimic
tempo set by the Fundeh. As a result
many repeater players, chief of them
Count Ossie, hold the Fundeh ridim with
the left hand even at the height of im-
What the repeater does is 'cut' against
the ridim set by the other two drums. Nu-
merous complex counter patterns are
played on the repeater-many of them im-
possible to illustrate. Here are a few simple

examples of repeater execution:


repr r

t r .1

I ur firsIr I u r Lr r
In the first bar the repeater fills in the
second beat with four sixteenth notes. On
the fourth beat he changes, playing an
eighth and two half-notes. In the second
bar he varies again by playing an eighth rest
and two sixteenth notes on the second
beat. He varies again on the last beat by
playing an eighth note and an eighth rest.
This behaviour heightens the tension.
The repeater player may play this:

r.I .._ r,
Now he is playing triplets on the second
beat with an eighth note followed by an
eighth rest on the last beat. He could even
do this:

j: rI r r rLr r r r

Notice that he has completely changed the
musical pattern of the bar. So far the
player has shown a tendency to follow the
pattern of the fundeh on the first and third
beats. However, this does not say that he
will. stick to this behaviour. He might just
go ahead and do this:

Sr rr r f r

r rr r >

or this:

SW:LL^w .- .IJ.m
Local Origins:
Is Rasta Music Burru Music?
Many Rastafarians, who do not seem
to think about it until they are asked, insist
that the music of their cult is originally
theirs. However, some Rasta musicians
with whom I have spoken willingly admit
that their music, the vital drums and
ridims, is an adoption, and that they were
first the drums and ridims of Burru music.
Early Rasta music had no drumming;
rhythmic impulse was provided by shakkas,
rattles, handclapping and at times rhumba
box. As late as the 1950's, rhythmic play-
ing, singing or dancing of any kind was
referred to as 'Burru'.
I have found no written account of
Burru music but have heard from several
informants in and out of the Rasta ele-
ment, that Burru was a music popular dur-
ing slavery. According to them, it was one
of the few forms of African music allowed
by slave masters because of its function as
a 'work metronome for the slaves' (if one
can visualise that). Burru bands were
allowed in the fields to play the music

which buoyed up the spirits of the slaves
and made them work faster and so speeded
up production.
After slavery, Burru drummers were
without work. They had little experience
as field hands. Hence it is understandable
that there must have been very little they
could do with their post-slavery plots of
ground in the hinterlands. As a result they
flocked the townships, gathering mostly in
the slum areas of Kingston and Spanish
Town. During the first nine months of each
year Burru players eked out some sort of
existence. Then from September on they
met in groups and practiced songs and
music for performance at Christmas time
(somewhat akin to the Jonkonnu practice).
There is an interesting aspect of Burru
Music after slavery. It had a specific
community function. (Burru songs closely
parallel the praise songs of original African
tradition. These songs exposed the good or
evil aspects of a person or a village). The
Burru people sang topical songs about
current events and songs about individuals
in the community who during the year
may have been guilty of some misconduct.
This also reflects another African
custom found among Gold Coast tribes. It
is a custom whereby at the end of the old
year an ordained sect of the community
would go from house to house singing
derogatory songs (without calling names)
about persons who had committed wrongs
during the year. The accused were not
allowed to retailate directly, but were free
after the musicians were through to sing
songs in their own defence. It was a sort of
purification rite which absolved the village
of its "sins" before they entered the new
year. It could be more than a coincidence
that Burru musicians in Jamaica went
around singing on people during Christmas
I remember as a child, in the late
forties, when I lived in Spanish Town, my
grandmother would send me to buy bread
every evening. There was a short cut
through a slum lane called Silverwood
Alley. All year round my grandmother
never objected to my going through the
Alley to save time. But come September
there would be a constant warning from
"Don't yuh go t'ru Silverwood Alley.
Ah doan able fi dem damn Burru man."
It meant the Burru men had come
together for the last quarter of the year to
play their drums and compose their songs,
night and day. And the town, especially at
nights, throbbed with the earthy ridims of
Burru. I never went the long way to the
Breadshop, especially not during the last
quarter of the year. The time I was
supposed to spend avoiding Silverwood
Alley, was spent peeping through nail holes
in the dirty zinc fence, at the Burru men
playing their drums around a fire singing
and cursing badwords all the time.
To my child's soul Burru music was
the sweetest music ever heard. I could not
resist it. If when I was passing the drums
were momentarily silent I would dally
hoping for them to start again, so I could
watch the animated faces and bodies, the
nimble hands of those unkept Burru men.
At home, when my grandmother
rocked my baby brother to sleep, it was
not to the strains of a European lullaby,
but to Burru ridims, and I couldn't under-

stand why. I know now that in trying to
keep me from Burru she was denying me
that part of herself that colonization had
stamped evil, primitive, wrong.
The Burru men of earlier times, were
regarded by the rest of the community
even in their own social strata as ne'er-do-
wells and criminals. Over the years Burru
men have lost that stigma. The few
remaining groups are now being sought out
and encouraged to keep the music alive.
The following account concerning
"Burru Drums" is based on notes and
drawings by Folk Reasearch Officer
Marjorie Whylie on her first contact with a
Burru group at Spring Village, St.
Catherine, earlier this year.
A session specially arranged for Ms
Whylie and her party took place at the
Spring Village schoolroom, about one mile
from Gutters on the main road between
Spanish Town and Old Harbour. Leader/
Manager of the band is a Mr. Raphael.
Musical director, lead singer and rhumba
box player is Mr. Coburn.
These players have no idea as to the
origin of Burru. Their only account is that
as children they were taught the music by
older men. They however confirmed the
story of the group's activities near Christ-
mastime. The Spring Village group, seven

players in all rehearse for three months
before Christmas, topical songs about
popular characters, village gossip and other
"At about 5 o' clock on Christmas
morning the fun begins. They walk for
miles singing and dancing. They have been
known to improvise and extemporise on
anything amusing that they may encounter
along the way."
The Bamboo Scraper, Shakka and
Rhumba Box are used for purely rhythmic
effect. Most songs are carried by the voice
alone, but sometimes the Saxa comes into
play. The sound is reminiscent of the paper
and comb and the principle is much the
same. Saran wrap or cellophane is stretched
over the mouth of the bottle. The actual
notes are produced with the voice. The
bottle is held firmly with both hands,
allowing the last three fingers of each hand
to extend beyond the broken edge. These
are then used to produce legato and vibrato

The Fusion
In the beginning of the Rastafarian
Movement (about 1930) there was the
doctrine that "Haile Selassie is God", but
there was no Rasta music. When Leonard
Howell (acknowledged as the first person

to preach the divinity of the Ethiopian
King) began his tours of Jamaica with the
word of Ras Tafari, hymns were sung to
the music of the established churches
taken from the Sankey and hymnals. Other
preachers-Joseph Hibbert and Archibald
Dunkley followed Howell's wake, still us-
ing borrowed religious tunes to supply the
musical needs of the audiences.
At the time existing cult music of
Revivalist and Pukkimina (Pocomania)
was an Afro-European mixture. The voices
usually carried the melody while the bass
and rattle drums played patterns that were
basically European. Rastafarians anti-
European ideology, because of their reli-
gious beliefs and their burning need to
identify with Africa, could not accept the
dominantly European influence in Revi-
valism and Pukkimina. As time passed the
search for an original Rasta music intensi-
fied. The later thirties saw a natural merger
with the Burru people of West Kingston-
then the heart of cultism and musical
change-and poverty-in Jamaica.
The Rastas and the Burru people were
social parallels in the early days of Rasta-
farianism, and it is understandable that the
similarities they shared fostered a com-
patible relationship between the two


The body of this drum is of an old paint tin.
Goat skin head is held in place by five metal
pegs bolted on. Drum is played with bands
tuned by tightening bolts along the grooves.

The smallest drum. Made from hollowed trunk.
of coconut tree. It is reinforced inside by two
wooden rings nailed to the body. The rest is
constructed the same way as the Fundeh.

Constructed from a barrel. Head about twelve
inches in diameter, made of goat skin. Head held
in place by six beads held over a metal rim.
It's a two headed drum and, both sets of
hooks are laced together with a rope. Tension
in the rope tunes the drum. Drum rested on
knees or carried hung from neck and beaten
with cloth padded stick.









groups in the slums of West Kingston. The
Rastas were ,anti-establishment
believed in self-help. (For many miscreants
who went under the guise of Rasta, self-
help meant helping themselves to other
people's property). The Burru people were
similarly inclined. Rastas believed in stick-
ing to their African roots as did the Burru
people, especially in the preservation of
their music. Also, the communal life style
of the Rastas appealed to Burru people
who more or less lived like that ever since
slavery. The sympatico between the two
groups can easily be understood.
Both groups shunned the Pukkumina
(Pocomania, Poco), Revivalist and Kumina
groups which operated in the same social
niche of West Kingston. Count Ossie says
that these three religious groups were non-
theless respected "because they are of
African tradition. Their roots can be traced
to the practices of some tribes in Africa.
They have their rightful function still, but
through(because) they deal in the dead, and
spirits and things like that, which really is
contrary to Rastafarianism and the con-
sciousness we're trying to develop, we just
didn't find their music appealing enough".
(As years went by several Jamaicans of
pocco and revivalist faith turned to rasta-
A certain popularity enjoyed by the
two groups also created rather than
hindred a natural attraction. The Burru
people had no religion of their own so to
speak. Rastas had no music. The Burru
people comprised a slowly disappearing
group by the beginning of the forties, while
the Rasta group was growing in numbers.
The exchange of music for doctrine in the
later 40's resulted in a merger of the two
groups and the almost total extinction of
Burru people as a social group.
The following is a partial account of
the movement from Burru and other
groups to Rastafarianism in West Kingston,
in the early days of the Rasta movement.
"In Kingston the Burra drums were
used for secular dances on holidays
but they also had a more speciali-
zed function. It was the custom of
slum dwellers in the early 30's to
welcome discharged prisoners back
to their communities by burra drums
and dances on the night of their re-
turn. Only those who know the
purpose of such a dance would nor-
mally join. Throughout this period
no drums were used at Ras Tafari
meetings, although Ras Tafari mem-
bers would often attend these Burra
dances. With the collapse of Re-
vival in Kingston and the dispersal of
Howell's following from Pinnacle,
the increase of booklet prosecutions
and the police action against locks-
men especially, a new development
took place.
"Many criminals professed the cult
and adopted the beard for pro-
fessional purposes. Many Ras Tafari
brethren became habituated to crime
through association with hardened
criminals after long sentences in gaol
on ganja charges. Those brethen
whose avoidance of ganja and locks
kept them clear of the police, pro-
gressively disassociated themselves
from the locksmen among whom the
criminals moved more freely. The

old burra dance by which discharged
prisoners were integrated with their
slum communities was taken over
;into the Ras Tafari movement by
locksmen. The burra became known
as 'akete' drums and the old burra
dance was replaced by the Niyabingi
Dance. The criminal commitment to
violence and disorder reinforced the
Niyabingi doctrine of "death to
white oppressors and their black
allies." Antisocial behaviour became
a positive goal for some and the
mark of pride of race for others as
more people including old revival
shepherds, left Pukkumina for Ras
Tafari, emphasis on drumming in-
creased and with it the Niyabingi
subcult of violence. Thus criminality
got a foothold within the Ras Tafari
movement. The more obvious this
seemed to the police, the greater was
their 'persecution' and the greater
the number of convictions the more
rapid the growth of this element...
Its expansion took place at the ex-
pense of the more reasonable and
orderly section of the Ras Tafari
"Today some criminal elements still
hide behind the beard of Rasta-
farianism, but such negative aspects
of the movement are in the
minority. Rastafarians on the whole
have brought themselves from the
dismal days of the 40's to be a
positive, creative contributing force
in the Jamaican society. Their doc-
trine of 'Peace and Love' is a way
of Life for most members".4

Kumina Influence?

One area of contemporary research
sees Rasta music as a decelerated Kumina,
and a direct offshoot of Kumina music.
There is a popular report that Count Ossie
himself was born in St. Thomas and that he
and his teachers were steeped in Kumina
The similarities between Rasta,
Kumina and Burru Music, cannot be
denied. In the case of Kumina* however,
only two drums played the Kbandu and
the Playing Cast. However the basic idea of
three drums is effected by Katta ridims of
sticks played on the open end of one of the
drums. Incidental instrumentation includes
the grater, shakkas, and sometimes claves.
Kumina drums are fairly large, deep
single-headed drums which are played with
hands and heel while the player sits astride
the drums, the Kbandu performs much in
the same way as the Bass drums of the
Burru and the Fundeh of the Rasta drums.
Yet there is a difference in accent which
is best illustrated in the pattern below:-

in the patterns below:

Rasta: Bass:
0 R:

9 I r r I r r

r i ri

Burru Bass:
0 +l


9" U Lf LCt

(approximate values)
Note the variation of tone affected on the
third beat in eacn case. The Playing Cast of
Kumina and the Repeater of Rasta and
Burru Music are characteristically the same;
however the Playing Cast has a far quicker
tempo, the rhythms are very complex and
almost impossible to notate. However
Burru Repeater rhythms can be transcribed
with comparative ease:-

r I 1 rrr rI rcr

(Burru transcription M. Whylie).
Count Ossie explains and others who
live closely to him attest, that he, Ossie,
was the originator of our relatively young,
but already traditional Rasta Music.
Ossie says that it all began in the late
forties down in the Salt Lane area of what
was known as the Dungle. He says that he
was living at the bottom of Slip Dock Road
at the time, but visited Dungle often to
"reason" with a group of brethen there.
Their chief topics, says Ossie, were
Garveyism, Rastafarianism and the whole
question of Black awareness.
"'Yuh know," says he, "man was
anxious them time to know the answers to
puzzles 'bout himself and his race. Is dur-
ing that time, down there at Salt Lane,
under a tree, where we generally meet and
reason, that the idea of the music come to
me and I work at it, until we have what
people call today Rasta Music.
"From a child I was always interested
in music, especially drums, percussions. I
used to play rattle drums in a Boys'
Brigade band every Sunday evening at Nine
As Count Ossie matured his journeys
took him to the Salt Lane area where he
lead the "reasoning sessions" which lasted
late into the night. Among those gathered
was master Burru drummer Bro. Job. who.
sometimes played a drum at Dungle meet-
ings held by a Rastaman called "Skipper."
It was during those sessions that
Count Ossie put forward the "reasoning"
to the brethren that in the same way that
the white and other races had originated
and developed their own culture the black
race, whether in exile or at home, had the
historical and cultural background and the
ability to develop its own unique culture.
Further reasoning focused on the
*For photographs of Kumina drums and
Kattas, see JAMAICA JOURNAL Vol. 10 No.
1. Kumina music can also be heard on the re-
cord included in that issue.

African retentions in Jamaica and the
significance of the drum as a medium of
expression in African culture.
Burru drumming was reasoned as one
of the few undiluted African forms still
alive during the late forties. So Burru was
adopted. Almost every night, for several
months, Count Ossie says he sat at the feet
of Bro. Job. so to speak, learning to play
the Fundeh to Job's Burru ridims on
Repeater. (During the days Ossie, who had
no drums of his own practiced avidly on an
empty up-ended paint tin at Slip Dock
Count Ossie and the group at Salt
Lane discovered that after long periods of
serious drumming their reasoning became
more intense and insight to many answers
crystal clear. So more and more emphasis
was placed on drumming at meetings. After
a while Count Ossie mastered the Fundeh
and was soon becoming an expert on the
Repeater. When he could afford it he
ordered Watto King the Burru Drummer
who taught Bro. Job. to play, and himself
master drum maker, to make a set of
drums. Ossie had the drums made to his
specifications, but styled like the family of
three Burru drums featuring Bass, Fundeh,
Ossie was then freer to work out at
home his own ridims based on the original
Burru ridims. These he introduced to the
brethren. And that is how Rasta music was
born says Count Ossie.


In those times (late forties, early
fifties) the system of Rasta Camps and
communal living had become quite the
thing for many of Jamaica's social outcasts
(those forced to be and those who chose to
be). There were camps in Back-O-Wall, or
Dungle. There were Bro. Issie Boat's camp
in the reaches of Wareika Hill, and Ossie's
small meeting place at Slip Dock Road,
among others.
The Rasta camp was (is) a very mobile
community. Brethren came and went as
the spirit or occasion moved them. There
was a great deal of dialogue and the ex-
change and transportation of ideas was
very strong. This was one of the means by
which Rasta music spread from camp to
camp, parish to parish, in Jamaica.
Christmas of 1949 saw the first really
big congregation of Rastafarians at Issie
Boat's camp at Wareika. Singing, drumming
and dancing by Ossie's group and some
Burru players, chanting and herb smoking,
feasting went on for days literally. At that
time Count Ossie, Brother Philmore
Alvaranga and "Big Bra" Gaynair, saxo-
phone virtuoso, were known as the "Big
Three" of the Rasta world. They, along
with a then famous Rasta preacher called
Bro. Love from the Mountain View Area,
led the brethen in music and scripture
reading and exhortations.
Count Ossie moved to East Kingston

after being displaced in 1951 by "Charlie"
the killer hurricane. Ossie says that he be-
came a watchman on the building site of
the Rennock Lodge Housing scheme. There
he used to beat his drums day and night
with a Bro. Nyah. Later Count Ossie set up
his famous camp at 32 Adastra Road. This
remained Count Ossie's camp site until
1974 when along with the Mystic Revela-
tions and the aid of well wishers, he built a
Community centre on Glasspole Avenue.
This centre is now the business address of
Count Ossie's group drummers and
From Salt Lane to Wareika Hill,
Count Ossie's music was followed and ob-
served by other Rasta brethen, potential
drummers, from other groups.
"Man would come and listen", says
Count Ossie, "until they could memorise a
ridim. Then they would go back to their
group or them yard and practice on drums
or whatever, until they have that ridim
under control. Then they would come back
to the camp to learn something else.
It was not only in this way that Count
Ossie's music spread. He and Bro. Phil
Alvaranga used to go street-preaching the
word of Rastafari. Ossie and his group
supplied music for the meetings. They also
visited out-of-town camp sites, spreading
the message and the music.
In the early days, among those who
accompanied Count Ossie (repeater) were
Eric Tingling, Bass; John "Beck" Dale,

Ihe drumming can heighten to tremendous speeds
-this picture taken at one-sixtieth of a se-
cond, shows the drummers hands fading into a blur.

Fundeh, Leighton "Worms" Lawrence sang
and danced sometimes
As the Count Ossie Drummers became
popular in the field of Rasta and popular
music his steady drummers who still play
with him today, were George "Little Bap"
Clarke, first Fundeh; Winston "Peanut"
Smith, second Fundeh; Bunny Bass. Later
Ossie's son, Time (now 17 years old) be-
came second Repeater player, displaying
something of the virtuosity of his famous
Count Ossie has been acclaimed by
many of Jamaica's top musicians as having
an extremely keen sense of ridim and
timing-one of the most creative musicians
The dispersal of Rasta Music
continues to occur chiefly by oral tradition
with the grounation (groundation) acting
as the chief medium of distribution.

We have seen something of the nature
and the local origin of Rasta Music. This
section deals with the function of the
music as it affects the individual Rasta-
farian, the brethren collectively and the
man in the street. -I have been told by
several Brethren that no real Rastafarian
lives far from a drum because Rasta Music
is a vital part of the life of the devotee.
Not every Rasta- owns a set of drums
but in many homes, single drums-repeaters
or fundehs mostly-are to be found. The
'true' Rastafarian of today attaches great
religious importance to the drums. To him
the drum is a reminder of his doctrinal
values. It reestablishes for him is Black
identity. More than that the ridims com-
fort as a maternal pulse would a foetus.
The Rastafarian seeks refuge in his music
against frustration and oppression and in it
finds satisfaction without neurosis. The
music gives him hope because of the
spiritual upliftment it provides.
This is the feeling among many of the
Brethren. One man said. "Suppose for
argument sake, I come home one evening
and I really feel downpressed. Like I don't
make no scufflings all day. I come home
and instead of beating I wife or roughing up
I children I tek out I drum and start a little
ridim, yuh know. Before yuh know what
happen the whole yard is wid I. Yuh no see
it? Next thing you know the man mind
come off him worries so much so some-
times I get a little insight into how fi tackle
me problems next day..."
Another Brethren confirmed the
statement: "The drum can work like that,
yes. Yuh just get you self lif outa down-
Some Rastafarians suggest there are
healing powers in the music. They claim
that after sessions of drumming and
chanting they have been rid of lesser dis-
comforture like headaches, fever and
"fresh colds."
Rasta Music is sometimes played for
what the Brethren term 'heartical' reasons
(strictly for pleasure). Most of the time
though, for the individual and the group,
the music serves a highly religious purpose.
The music is regarded as the most appro-
priate way of giving "thanks and praises to
Jah, Ras Tafari, Haile Selassie I, Lion of
The Rastafarian is basically a zealot in

his beliefs, so you will find that he takes
every opportunity to give thanks and
praises. Hence the frequent small gather-
ings to show gratitude for things like the
birth of a child, the acquisition of a house
and even lesser fortunes.
However the most important religious
activity of the brethren on the whole is the
Groundation5 ritual which involves very
large gatherings. Groundation is the same
as Niyabingi... On the recent celebration of
the Ethiopian Christmas, Dreadlocks6 from
all over Jamaica met in the far reaches of
the Bull Head Mountains in Clarendon for
a Bingi.
I attended on the third night with a
group of Brethren from Kingston. Dread-
locks of all ages with their masses of long,
thick, chunky hair swarmed the grounds. A
circular booth erected on a patch of bare
earth7 housed four sets of drums, the lead
singers, priests and dancers. The midnight
canopy of stars was obscured by thick
layers of Colly (ganja) smoke. Every
dreadlock was "puffing the holy herb".
It was then that I learned that the
meaning of Niyabingi had evolved from the
negative interpretation of the 30's-"Death
to the white- oppressors and their black
allies." Niyabingi now has a strong, positive
meaning among the "true" Rastafarians.
The origin of this word is uncertain, it is
believed to have originally referred to those
committed to violence. The popular deri-
vative 'Bingi, now refers to a symbolic
death death to evil forces. The Rasta or
Nyabingi dance is regarded as a distinctive
and original dance form. A Rasta priest
who calls himself the Patriach Bongo
Burru said:
"The real meaning, the real 'over-
standing' of the Kete drums is 'death to
"deckman." That is, "Death to black and
white oppression". When we use the
Nyabingi any part of the earth the wicked
is, him have to move." He said that "death
to oppression of any sort" was the singular
thought in the minds of the Brethren dur-
ing the Groundation.
A Brother Edward explained what
takes place at a Groundation.
"We meet and chant for days some-
times. The Ethiopian Christmas, like now,
lasts for seven days. Ethiopian tradition is
not as flimsy as western tradition...
Groundation means the nature of man
rising...That is what we call the Irix. Like
Ital, A high spiritual feeling. You get that
from the dancing and the drumming and
the chanting. And the smoking of the herb,
now free you mind...Groundation is not
just for Rasta, but to help everybody to
recogmise them true self."
It is believed among the Brethren that
during this state of spiritual upliftment and
heightened consciousness that they are in
direct communion with Haile Selassie. This
fosters a sense of togetherness, love and
spiritual bonding among those present.
An interesting function of Rasta
Music was pointed out by the leader of the
Nameless Ones, Bro. Mortimer Planno. He
said that Rasta Music was also -a weapon.
He said that there were those in the com-
munity who regarded the music as designed
to overcome all resistance to Rasta philo-
sophy and progress, and that it was no co-
incidence that Rasta Music was so in-
fluential He said that the lyrics, ridims of
Reggae and even some pop artistes were

being calculatedly fed into the pop scene.
The move, he said, was a means of spread-
ing the words of Jah and of capturing the
interest of others outside the group.
This Brother sees Rasta Music in this
light as a positive, non-violent force which
will gain power for Rastafarianism here and
abroad and freedom and supremacy for the
black man.

Vox Populi

The following are answers selected at
random from various individuals when
asked what they thought of Rasta Music.
"'I think Rasta Music bring out the
basic music in the black man, because it is
a natural ridim."
"When yuh hear it yuh have to move,
whether yuh want to or not. I don't think
of it as Rasta Music. I jus' move."
'Rasta noh play Music. Dem just beat.
drum. Dat noh music."
"Roots, sister. Roots. Nuttin' else."
"It's much too repetitious. It doesn't
develop. It'll die, eventually, unless there is
some drastic change..."
"Look what it do fi Reggae. Rasta
Music, as you call it, put Reggae on top of
the world."
"Rasta Music is the King's Music.
Reggae is an offshoot of Rasta Music. You
see Reggae is a derivative of the Latin Rex
meaning king. It is the music of the King,
for the King by the King."


Another aspect of Rasta Music is the
business of borrowing. Plagiarism does not
exist for the Rastafarians who are prone to
'capture' the music of western writers and
call these their own. For instance the
Brethren will use the melody of a western
hymn and put their own words to it and
call it their own. This Rasta song is sung to
the tune of the hymn which follows it.

Rasta Song:

Peace is based on love and justice
Europeans shall find no peace
They despised Haile Selassie warning
Now they're crying out for peace.

Roll King Alfa, Roll King David.
Roll with Babylon away
Come to give the wicked payment
of great Babylon reward.

The Hymn:

Lord and Master who has called us
All our days to follow thee,
We have heard thy great command-
Bring the children unto me.

In the singing, syllables are lengthened or
contracted to fit the musical phrasings of
the original hymn.
Again the words of a hymn might be
given a new melody. In other cases the
same words and melody may be used but
with the melody somewhat altered, as is
done with "The Church is One Found-
ation". In the Rasta Church at Bull Bay the
alteration of this hymn in words and
phrasing sounded something like this:

Jah Church is one founda-a-a-a-a-a-ati-
As only I Is Negus Christ our Lo-o-o-rd
As only I He is our new crea-a-a-a-a-a-a-
As only I By water and by word
As only I from Zion he came and Sou-ou-
As only I To be Jah's holy Bride
As only I With Jah's own Blood he brou-
I only I And for I life he died.

The Hymn:

The Church's one foundation
Is Jesus Christ her Lord;
She is his new creation
By water and by word:
From Heaven he came and sought her
To be His holy bride;
With his own blood he bought her,
And for her life he died.

Sung with the phrasing as in the first
example, the hymn drags with a dirgelike
meter with dominant monodic tones. Still
it manages to retain identifying phrases be-
cause the first five notes of each of the ori-
ginal lines are retained. Notice the "As
only I" line introductions.
There is a regular pattern of word
substitution in religious songs and utter
ances: In Rasta lyrics the Western words
"God" and "King" become "Jah" or "I an
I". "Jesus" becomes "Negus". Sometimes
female pronouns are changed to male pro-
nouns or to collective pronouns. The
Western religious benediction, in Rasta
Music goes like this:

Unto the son unto the holy wise
Jah of creation
As Ja was in the beginning
Jah is now and ever mus' be
I an'I
Jah Ras Tafari


Let the words of I an' I mout'
And the meditation of I an' I heart
Be acceptable to thy sight O Jah
Jah is I an' I strength and I an' I
Who live up and reign up
For I for I, I for I
Jah, Ras Tafari.

The changing of words and phrases,
the swapping of melody in Rasta Music is
not limited to borrowed material only.
Original Rasta pieces suffer the same fate.
This is the first verse of a Rasta song:

Come down white bwoy, come
Come down offa blackman shoulder


For the unity of blackman a go
t'row dem down
T'row dem offa blackman shoulder.'

As the verse is repeated, "blackman"
is substituted by "I an' I", "Rasta Man" or
"African". "T'row" becomes "dash",

"splash", or "mash"... The penultimate
line could read. "For I for I a go fling dem
down." It all depends on the mood of the
The rationale behind borrowing in
Rasta Music varies. Some of the brethren
argue that they see nothing wrong in al-
tering or otherwise using the melody or
lyrics of other writers and claiming
authoriship. As they see it, the new
product is no longer the product of the
original writer in form or function.
Some Rastafararians feel that many
western hymns for instance were written
by men who were truly inspired and for
that reason they'll use the hymns, but first
they will alter the hymns to suit their in-
dividuality. Another argument is that many
of the Brethren were conditioned as child-
ren in western religion and it was under-
standable and acceptable to them that
some of the old culturization would show
itself in their music even after years in
Rastafarianism. Although there are several
original chants like Holy Mount Zion
written by the Rastafarians, the organised
Rasta Churches still use the Sankey and
Hymnal at service.
The Ethiopian Orthodox Church
which is developing in Jamaica is not an
outgrowth of the Rastafarian movement,
although it manifests itself predominantly
in that area, but does not exclude non-
Rastafarians. An attempt is being made to
have Ethiopian Church music translated for
use here. Band leader Cedric Brooks who is
composing certain works for use in the
church, advises that Ethiopian Church
music will have to be introduced gradually
because the language is not fully enough
understood, and because some of the
liturgy is in Ge'ez.8 and some of the cus-
toms can only with very great difficulty be
translated outside of the language.

Total Expression
A great percentage of the Rasta-
farians' creative output goes into music.
This is the only medium9 so far which
gives the Brethren scope for total expres-
sion. There is the expression of the sect's
professed African identity in the red, green
and gold colours of the Ethiopian flag
which are invariably painted on the drums.
These colours immediately point to the
cultists' desire to go back to Africa which
they regard as their homeland, their
heaven. The colours express the Rasta-
farians' faith in their god-king Haile
Selassie Emperor of Ethiopia. Red, green
and gold are the badge of identity which
sets the drums apart from other drums as
it sets the Brethren apart from the rest of
the Jamaican society.
When the drums speak it is the pulsing
thump of the bass that dominates. The
heavily padded drumstick effects a caress
on the first beat of the bar as the stick lies
horizontally to the centre of the drum
head. On the third beat it is an accented
stab with the point of the stick, again into
the most vulnerable centre of the drum.
This is the drum that really symbolises the
beating down of oppression, a principal
objective of the Rastafarians. The method
of playing the drum suggests a certain
ambivalence which reflects the love-hate
attitude of the cultists to the rest of the
community. It also suggests a sexual

connotation in the caress-and-stab action
of the drumstick which could be seen as
symbolic of the Rastafarian male's
reassertion of lost manhood and dignity.
The repeater drum if nothing else
protests. It continually defies the rigid
bass and fundeh patterns. This defiance
could be regarded as symbolic of the hope
to move out of and above oppression
through creative application. The fundeh
could be regarded as the "peace and love"
drum. With its balanced, regular one-two,
one-two pattern it is the rational 'head'
that keeps the peace, that holds the life-
Without changing its form at any-
time Rasta Music is at once a music of
peace-and-love, protest and hope. It is also
a music of attack. These aspects of Rasta
Music are even more clearly stated in the
lyrics of the idiom. Although there is
the frequency of borrowing in Rasta Music
the Brethren do create lyrics and melodies
of their own. These are up to now cir-
culated among the community via oral
tradition. The Groundation is the chief
vehicle for issuing new material. Individ-
ual groups compose songs or chants then
on the occasion of a Groundation9 when
they come together new pieces are done
over and over until the assemblage learns
Rastafarians regard everything they
do as done in honour of Haile Selassie
hence, whether the music be churchical
or 'artical ,'whether it be of peace and love
protest, hope or attack, it is the music of
the King...
Peace-and-love songs are chiefly songs
of faith, chants and exhortatipn. They in-
clude the following:

Peace is based on love and justice
Eu-rope-eans shall find no peace
They despised Haile Selassie's warn-
Now they arecrying out for peace.

Roll King Alfa Roll King David
Roll with Babylon away
Gone to give the wicked payment
Of great Babylon reward.
In Rastafarian lingo the word 'Babylon' is
associated with ancient Babylon where the
Israelites of old suffered under great
oppression. Rastafarians regard themselves,
as descendants of the ancient Israelites. In
the Rasta idiom the word 'Babylon' sym-
bolises any form of oppression to Rasta-
farians in particular and to the blackman in

Peace and love
Peace and love
Peace and love
J give to you
Peace and love

The above chant has long made its way to
the top of the Jamaican pop music field.
Along with Mount Zion it is one of the
Rasta tunes that have become the property
of the general public. The chant has been
used in religious ceremonies of established

Little Samuel, O
Little Samuel, Yeah
Little Samuel O
Speak Lord, they servant heareth.


Beg yuh tek we outa dis barren lan'
We tired fi live inna sardine pan
Tek us outa dis barren lan'
Seh we hear Selassie voice calling.

Dry bones come outa de valley
So-so bone come outa de valley


There was a weddin' in Caanan
Haile Selassie and im mother was there

Dry bones come outa de valley
So-so bone come outa de valley


Little Tela, 0
Little Tela, Yeah
Little Tela, 0
Speak, Lord. Thy servant heareth.


Tek us outa dis Babylon
We tired fi live pon capture lan.
Beg yuh tek us outa dis barren lan
We hear Selassie voice calling.
Ho ** **

Holy Mount Zion
Holy Mount Zion
Ho-ly, Holy, Ho-ly
Holy, ho-ly, holy
Mount Zion.

I want to go to
Mount Zion
I want to go to
Mount Zion, I
Singing, Ho-ly, holy, ho-ly
Holy, ho-ly, holy, Ho-ly
Mount Zion
(and so on)

Songs of protest and attack

Come down, white bwoy, come down
Come down offa blackman shoulder


For de unity of blackman a go t'row
dem down
T'row dem offa blackman shoulder
Watch the Chiney man make him
Chiney move,
Watch the Coolie man mek him
Coolie move
Why can't de blackman rise
And mek a black move
And dash whiteman outa A-fri-caa
** *** **

Babylon yuh holding' me
An' yuh won' let go
Babylon yuh holding' me
This is all I know

I need a hammer, a hammer,
To hammer dem down.
I need a rammer, a rammer,
To rammer dem down.


Wid a hammer and a rammer
I will rammer dem down
Wid a hammer and a rammer
I will rammer dem down

Babylon yuh holding' me

Influence on local pop music

During the mid-fifties the Count Ossie
drummers became popular performers at
ghetto blues dances and at Coney Island
scenes. The pattern usually was that, come
midnight, all recorded music stopped at
these places. Count Ossie and his drummers
were then brought on stage and patrons
would "grounds" to their chanting and
drumming into the wee hours. They were
the people's choice.
The group got its first legitimate stage
break in the late fifties. It was an occasion
when the late, famous rhumba queen
Marguerita (Mahfood) insisted that she
would not appear on a Vere Johns variety
show (Opportunity Knocks) at the Ward
Theatre, unless Ossie's group was on the
bill. Johns was wary then, about using
Rastas on his show, but Marguerita was his
star attraction. He had no choice. Count
Ossie and his drummers were hired. They
were a hit. They soon became the regulars
on Vere Johns show and other functions.
In the early sixties, three youngsters
calling themselves the "Folkes Brothers"
asked Count Ossie's aid and advice on a
song they were making. The maestro will-
ingly gave the boys instructions in the
arranging and performance of the song.
Then his group backed the Folkes Brothers
for the recording of this song. It was O
Carolina famous classic of the Ska era in
Jamaican popular music.
Following that Count Ossie and his
group did try to do further recordings but,
according to him certain misunderstandings
and frustrations involving a certain record
producer made the group drop out of the
Ever since Carolina Rasta ridims have
been used by other local musicians to
create on. Rasta music continued as a
creative force through the Rock Steady
period and into the Reggae period where it
now flourishes.
The camp site on Adastra Road was
the ideal place for struggling young musi-
cians in the popular field in those days.
The communal life-the all for one, one for
all sharing of possessions-appealed to them.
So too did lengthy "reasoning" with Count
Ossie whom they regarded as a man of
peace. The total freedom of expression
which pervaded the camp and the almost
continuous drumming sessions gave rise to
a fantastic output of original music says
Count Ossie. None that music was recorded
but the Jamaica School of Music has a
tape. "At that time," says Count Ossie,
"we wasn't really checking for recording.
We were only into the music letting it go
free as it come to us". The sessions were
usually spontaneous motivation, and ex-
change of musical ideas between the drums
and the voice instruments of visiting musi-
cians. Among them were 'Bra' and Bunny
Gaynair, Little G. McNair, Tommy
McCook, Roland Alphonso, CedricBrooks-
all saxophone players. Then there were
people like Viv Hall, trumpet, Ernie

Ranglin, guitar, Donald Drummond,
Count Ossie and those brethren still
around who shared with him, still speak
with fondness of the early days when uni-
versity intellectuals and handcart pushers,
musical novices and virtuosos, holy men
and charlatans, men of professions and
men of questionable employment, met and
interacted under a banner of mutual res-
pect and peace. This was the way Count
Ossie ran his camp.
It was not only music and reasoning
that provided the activity and excitement
at 32 Adastra Road. Count Ossie says that
the camp was the scene of numerous raids
by police looking for ganja and stolen
goods. (One woman was reportedly arrest-
ed and charged with the unlawful
possession of her kitchen knife).
In time the compatibility of Rasta
drums and voice instruments brought
about the development of the group call-
ed Count Ossie and the Mystics. Later the
aggregation of about 20 became known as
Court Ossie and the Mystic Revelations of
Rastafari. Instrumentalists who joined with
Ossie's drummers to form MRR were
Cedric Brooks, sax; sometimes Jenny
Terroade, sax, flute; Joe Ruglass, bass; Les
Samuel, baritone sax, Namob, trombone.
The group not only played beautiful
music they dressed colourfully in flashes of
Rasta red, gold and green. It was the audio-
visual impact of Count Ossie and the MRR
that gave the vibrant Rasta Music its
second most impressive showing to the
people of Jamaica in the early seventies.
This same group took Rasta music to the
people of the United States on an invited
tour of the American College circuit. The
tour featured concerts as well as lecture
demonstrations about the music, art,
religion of Rastafarianism and its role in
the Jamaican life style.
Although the star of Count Ossie and
the MRR has waned somewhat since, Rasta
Ridims developed by Count Ossie have re-
mained the property of the general public,
unlike the days when Rasta Music was just
for Rastafarians.
Big Youth, a popular Rasta artiste,
noted for his D-jay style of vocalising on
top of a Reggae ridim; in many instances
his voice takes on the personality of the
repeater drum syncopating and otherwise
exploiting the ridimic possibilities of the
driving fundeh pattern on the rhythm
guitar This treatment of the voice can be
traced directly to the Rastafarian
Groundation ceremony where the voice
of the priest or lead singer, backed by the
drums, exhorts the devotees with liturgical
passages or with precepts of the Rasta-
farian doctrine.
There are several Rasta-oriented
Reggae bands but the greatest of them at
the moment is Bob Marley and the Wailers.
The Marley group has been the leading
reggae exponents in Jamaica since the late
sixties. It could be said that Marley's
success is due to the insight of this gifted
musician into the value of his training in
Rasta Music.
According to Mortimer Planno,
Marley was trained specially by the Rastas
of Trench Town to be a pop hero who
would spread the message of Ras Tafari.
However, Marley became famous before

the end of his novitiate. The Brethren of
Trench Town say that they are proud of
his great achievement as an international
pop star. It has been through Marley and
his group that Jamaica largely owes its
present impact on the World pop scene.
From the early 70's Reggae bands be-
gan to show signs of the dominant influ-
ence of Rasta Music. The bass guitar line
and the traps imitated the patterns of the
Rasta bass drum. Later on the fundeh
ridim could be heard in "Skengay"
pattern of the rhythm guitar. It then left
the lead guitar to imitate the adventurous
repeater drum. This took some time com-
ing, but it did.
Nowadays not only the lead guitar,
but the electric organ, horns and piano
imitate the repeater. An interesting
development is that while the bass guitar
faithfully kept the Rasta bass ridims for
some time it has now begun to discover
a being of its own. There is a greater
freedom at present in the bass ridims of
Reggae. While this need not be directly
attributed to the Rasta bass drum it
brings to mind the fact that, on occasion
in the heat of playing, the sedate bass
drum takes off on its own, playing trip-
lets and other unprecedented patterns
according to the emotional dictates of
the bass player. On such occasions all the
weight of the life line are in the hands
of the fundeh player.
Count Ossie feels that the simula-
tion of Rasta ridims on the electronic
instruments merely serves to "drown
out the real sound of the Rasta drums.
Yuh know I'd like to sell-allreggae bands
carrying a full set of Rasta drums because
the drums are a vital part of the whole
make of Jamaican music today. But some
people jus' trying' to push the drums aside
by creating all kinds of substitute."
Not only have the instrumental and
vocal stylings of reggae by directly in-
fluenced by Rasta Music, but the lyrics of
most reggae songs and dance movement as
well. Most reggae lyrics reflect Rasta
philosophy and religion. They tell of de-
privation, the need for peace among breth-
ren at the same time too they call for the
beating down of oppression and they extol
Jah Rastafari (Haile Selassie). Songs like
Mount Zion made popular by The
Ethiopians and Cynthia Richards; and
Satta Massa Gana (Give thanks and praises)
done by people like Big Youth and The
Light of Saba, are purely religious chants
used at Rasta gatherings.
The earth-grinding, hip-swivelling
dance movements of the Rastafarians at
Bingis, along with certain shoulder thrusts
are what dominate reggae dancing.
Many of our jazz musicians have
learned from Rasta Music. The late Don
Drummond (who has almost been raised to
Sainthood by local musicians) is regarded
as the jazz composer and instrumentalist
most influenced by Rasta Music. Indeed his
fame as a composer ahead of his time came
about after his plunge into Rastafarianism.
Drummond's Schooling the Duke and
Addis Ababa during the Ska period are
among his works influenced by Rasta
Music. Rasta Music has always been of in-
terest to foreign jazzmen also, and it is not
unusual that visiting jazz exponents will
seek out Rasta musicians.
The largest jazz/folk/reggae group in

Passing the 'Chalice' -the controversial herb

Jamaica today is the Light of Saba led by
top saxophonist Cedric "Im" Brooks. Be-
sides the regular reggae personnel this
band carries one Rasta bass drum, two re-
peaters about four fundehs. According to
Brooks the objective is not only to play
basic Rasta Music but to develop its pre-
sent form, thus taking the music further.
Brooks has since left the band, and the
music of the group is somewhat changed
However, the Rasta ridim are still very
According to Mortimer Planno-
musician/philosopher and a voice of the
Rastafarians-there is more to Rasta Music
than is obvious at present to the general
public. He implied that the time had not
yet come for "new designs to be released
by Rasta". Other Rastafarians I have
interviewed do claim that it is within their
power to direct Jamaican pop music in
whichever way they desire. Whether this
is a fact is debatable.
It is reasonable to say however that:
"All through the history of Ska, Rock
Steady and Reggae, the Rastafarian voice
runs like a thread, weaving in and out,
introducing a new vocabulary in the lyrics,
a strong liturgical strain in the melodies...
superimposing the Rasta beat over the pop
beat. Rastafarians have brought the vocal
form (of our music) and a regenerated
Whatever is its true origin Rasta
Music, like the colours red, gold and green,
has remained a symbol of the cult's
identity. The basic ridims have not changed

over the years and this points to the psy-
chological need of the Brethren to have the
constant bass ridim drum home to them
the harsh realities of their life "in exile".
It is a reminder to "beat down oppres-
sion." More than that the music reflects
the Rastafarian's attitude to the establish-
ment which is a further reflection of the
Third World's growing contempt for the
West, the independent discarding of the
saddle of western values.
This study has only skimmed the sur-
face. It points to the need for deeper and
more deliberate investigation to answer
many questions it has aroused.

1. Ridim: Rastafarians are noted for creating
new words for use among themselves. Soon these
words (sometimes phrases) become common
slang usage for the general society. Ridim refers
to the coordinated relationship between the pat-
terns of the three drums in Rasta Music. It has
now come to describe the behaviour of the
rhythm in Reggae Music. What is popularly called
'dub' is also ridim-i.e. the melody is taken out
from popular music, leaving the percussion only.
2. 'artical'- that is "Heartical" meaning from
the heart; with fulness of one's self; an attune-
ment to the culture to the Rasta culture or any
aspect of it. Here the particular reference is to
3. Prince Immanuel is an aging holy man who
holds court over his small flock in Bull Bay where
he gives them spiritual guidance and is treated
like royalty. Diviner-kings are familiar in African
4. M.G. Smith, Roy Augier, Rex Nettleford-
The Rastafarian Movement in Kingston, Jamaica:
Institute of Social & Scientific Research 1960-
Reprint 1968.
For photographs of Kumina drums and
Kattas, see Jamaica Journal Vol. No.1. Kumina
music can also be heard on the record included
in that issue.
5. Throughout the year there are several days
of observation when Groundation is possible:
The Ethiopian Christmas and New Year, Halle
Selassie's birthday his coronation day, the anni-
versary of his visit to Jamaica and several
religious days of observation.
6. Rastafarians who wear their hair long,
matted and exposed. There are also turban-men
who keep their locks covered with turbans. And
there are comb-cuts who keep their hair combed.
7. Rastas dance on bare earth so as "not to
trample on anything."
8. Ge'ez is the language of the Ethiopian
Church, and is sometimes called Classical
Ethiopic. It developed from the ancient Sabaen
dialect of South Arabia.
Ge'ez was spoken up till about the 10th
century A. D. Since then it is used mainly for
scholarly and religious writing. One of the most
famous works in Ge'ez is the Kebra Nagast
("Glory of the Kings"). This was probably
written in about-the 13th century and shows how
the royal rulers of Ethiopia descended from King
Solomon and the Queen of Sheba.
9. Rastafarians on the whole are an artistic
group. Many are involved in the visual arts and
cottage industries mainly through which they eke
out a living.
10. Page 54; Jamaica Journal. Dec. 1972 Vol. 6

1. M.G. Smith, Rev. Augier, Rex Nettleford-
The Rastafarian Movement in Kingston, Jamaica:
Institute of Social and Scientific Researchl960-
reprint 1968.
2. Finnegan, Ruth H. -Oral Literature in
Africa-Oxford, At the Clarendon Press-1970.
3. The book of Common Prayer (of the
Church of England) -Eyre and Spottiswoode Ltd.
4. O'Gorman, Pamela-An Approach to the
Study of Jamaican Popular Music-JAMAICA
JOURNAL (Quarterly of the Institute of Jamaica)
December 1972. Vol. 6 No. 4.

Give thanks and praises-for the willing
assistance to numerous members of the Rasta-
farian Brethren especially you people like: Count
Ossie and members of MRR; Prince Emanuel;
Empress Ruth; Bros. Morti Planno; Historian,
Harry,. Bungo Burru. Sis. Sweeney, Aunt Mae.
Cedric Brooks and members of The Light of
Our gratitude also for the help of Miss
Majorie Whylie of the Jamaica School of Music.


With (edric Brooks

Cedric Brooks, noted Jamaican musician, member of
the Rastafarian faith, was interviewed by the Editor in August 1976.

Cedric Brooks

Ed: Where did it all begin what is the
root of this music we call Rasta Music?
CB: One of the strong influences in Rasta
music is the Burru tradition. Burru people
came to Kingston, mainly from Clarendon
and St. Catherine, and influenced Rastas;
the drums have the same names: Funde'
and Repeater.
Ed: I am told that Burru dances were sup-
posed to have been obscene. What is the
root of the word can it be traced back
to the Spanish Burro or is there a dis-
tinguishable African root? Why do the
dances have this reputation?
CB: Burru is said to resemble a Ghanaian
dance done about Christmas time. Just as
the dance is done here, there is also a dance
in Nigeria called Born possibly there is
some connection there. The origin of the
name is not yet clear one thing I do
know is that just in that period before the
advent of Rasta Music, almost any African
drumming would be styled 'Burru'
drumming. This then indicates that at least

the music itself is African. Most of these
dances were part of fertility or other
rituals,and while the religious significance
has been lost, the music and dance remain.
'Obscene' is a relative term the mission-
aries might definitely have regarded these
dances as 'obscene'.
Ed: Some of the early missionaries might
have been quite easily shocked again
their attitude might have been shaded by
the aversion to any form of African
"savagery". Certainly many of the socially
accepted western dance forms also had an
erotic base.
CB: Standards and attitudes change with
time. Before 1957, Rasta Music was under
wraps confined to camps at Wareika,
Dungle etc. Count Ossie was the pioneer in
bringing the Rasta Music into the open; he
used to play at Rastafarian public meet-
ings, "Coney Island" and at midnight
shows. There is an early recording done in
the 1950's and one taped in 1969 under
Olive Lewin's direction, with Cecil Watt
as the technician. From around this time
there has been an increasing popular
acceptance of the music form.
Ed: With the unveiling and popularity of
Rasta Music, is there any mutation of the
pure art form?
CB: There are a lot of young musicians
who are willing to develop musically and
make a positive input into Rasta music, but
many are not taking advantage of the
culture for the sake of the culture itself; in-
stead of this basis from which to operate,
they are listening to more North American
music, which tends to colour the local
music, and to some extent, Rasta music.
People and from the masses too are
band-waggoning; they use Rasta music as
an expression of suffering, but they stop at
the level of protest as if there were no
deeper philosophy. Perhaps .this develop-
ment has to take place now but there
can be no lasting cultural development
without the involvement of'those who have
retained the culture. Let us take the condi-
tioning of Bob Marley for example who is
one of the leading exponents of Reggae
music, into which he incorporates Rasta
music. Freedom from subjugation
(suffering) must automatically take on
some of the influences of the new society;
unless there was a strong basic influence
during the time of subjugation.
Marley was not an active Rasta man
up to a couple of years ago when he com-
mitted himself to Rastafari. Although he
had been making significant contribu-
tions to the general music of Jamaica using
influence coming out of his own life ex-
perience and inter-action with the Rasta
community. This is a very positive
approach, but there are dangers that

because of international exposure (and the
success of which he is so deserving) the
music will come in for a bit of dilution.
It would be difficult for him to look
back yet, at the position here. It is unlikely
that he could yet be secure enough psy-
chologically and financially to go back to
bring development to the area from which
he came. He could be very important
however in projecting other Rasta groups -
like Count Ossie and the Mystic Revelation
of Rastafari whose music is primarily Rasta
music, and he himself could be
strengthened by the basic Rasta influence.
1I would like to see other musicians like
Planno and Ossie and Ras Michael (and of
course myself) promoted. I keep going
back to Count Ossie, because he was the
pioneer, and never compromised the in-
tegrity of the art/religious form for
money considerations. His contribution to
Rasta music is formidable.
Ed: There is a powerful (and corrupting -
in the sense that it is financially North
American) influence of Black American
music. Do we still have a choice of accept-
ing what influences we want to deal with,
and what we really want to project.
CB: It is still a part of the Jamaican -
primarily Rasta experience to relate
more to Black American than to the
general Western projection. It is also
helpful to Black solidarity.
I read an article in the Sunday papers
about Reggae in the USA; they are
saying that the market they are trying to
get into is the Black American market -
and this is what is opening up for Reggae
there. It was mostly part of the popular
musical scene (primarily white)...it goes
on to the popular market but after it has
become acceptable there is a permanent
'Black American Market' that holds it and
sustains it.
Ed: I have been told in Canada (although I
have not heard the records myself) that the
Reggae records are sold with the heavier
bass beats filtered to suit North American
living conditions. This I understand is why
Jamaicans are anxious to buy the 'real'
thing when they come home to visit. This
may be a developing trend, and it raises the
whole question of mutation under condi-
tions of social acceptance and popularity.
CB: This is a real danger as was the case
with a number of our Caribbean and Latin
neighbours such as Cuba with cha-cha-cha,
Brasil with bossa-nova, Trinidad with
calypso and so on. This began as early as
the days of the Tango, the Congo, the
Samba . The music in each case was
watered down to suit the understanding
and acceptance of those who didn't share
the same experiences, particularly that of
the African in the New World. In each case
the music became a means of commercial
In the particular case of Rastafari,
under oppression the Religious/art form re-
mained pure, and if there is social
acceptance, there will be absorption into
the society, and the religious influence
will weaken with manipulation of the art.
The increasing acceptance of Rasta into
general society, discourages the idea of the
camps, which was the basis of the teaching
of the Rasta religion; now the camps are
almost non-existant, so the religious
aspect is weakened by social interaction.

People coming into the faith are not really
grounded in the hard-core religious philo-
sophy, and some tend to go only by the
paraphernalia and outward appearances of
the culture. These temporary adherents do
not necessarily weaken the faith but set
the stage for a greater thrust of the Rasta
message in the society at large. The danger
however to the force of teaching is that the'
outward appearances, the paraphernalia.
and the trappings, become the expression
of the faith rather than the deeper
philosophy and discipline.
A culture must find a new position in
society and re-organise its resources to
keep together its teachings. For example,
there is the Mystic Revelations Com-
munity Centre. This is a good thing, but
the establishment of a conventional com-
munity centre implies the absorption into
everyday practice; consequently we have to
deal with the situation in order to keep
alive the religious and the whole cultural
aspect. One of the African traditions pre-
served by this culture, is that music is an
integral part of the whole of community
life. It is a powerful means of communica-
tion at every level, and so we concentrate
on the development of that very important
aspect of our culture.
Ed: With regard to the African traditions:
Can the anxiety to preserve these, lead to
'false Africanisms'? For example the Rastas
say that Ethiopia is their ancestral home,
whereas historical fact teaches that West
Africa is our ancestral home.
CB: The Rastafarian regards Ethiopia, phy-
sically and spiritually as his ancestral home;
in that all other parts of Africa had been
colonised at some time, and therefore lost
the reality of "Africanness". Therefore
the true spirit of Africa can reside only in
Ethiopia. In addition, historically, the
slaves did not come from West Africa, the
British trade went on until very late and
this was a trade they bought the best
product where it could be found. One of
the main policies of the slave trade was to
try as far as possible to avoid taking a
bunch of one people to the same place.
So while they set up agencies and posts in
West Africa they shipped slaves from
several areas. This was a time when Muslim
Christian conflict was very strong. Slavery
existed in Ethiopia until the accession of
Haile Selassie who abolished it.
Ed: Is it true that Ethiopians do not regard
themselves as Blacks?
CD: No: Kings like Menelik II, Theodore
and Yohannes, fought actively to retain
black supremacy in Ethiopia and Africa
generally. When Menelik came to power,
he tried to bring about a greater unity.
This was in the nineteenth century at the
peak of Colonialsim. The colonials re-
garded the Ethiopians as a Semetic people,
and not authentically Black. At one
time Ethiopia was such a forceful empire
that it controlled much of not only Africa,
but Asia Minor right across to India.
The city of Axum (Aksum) was at one
time a world Mecca.
Ed: You are speaking of historical fact,
but many of the bretheren do not have
access to factual information, and have a
'purely emotional attachment to Ethiopia.
CB: Emotionally, as far as religion is con-
cerned, one is either born into a religion,

or 'born again' into a religion. Once you
are born again into the faith of Rastafari,
you become an Ethiopian and a true
African. Again this relates to the fact that
historically speaking, all of Africa was at
one time regarded as Ethiopia; even from
Biblical quotations; these show Ethiopia
to be the whole of Africa. Whether one
came from West Africa, or from any other
part of Africa he would still come from
"Ethiopia". There are old maps which
show the whole continent of Africa as
Ed: How do you reconcile religious philo-
sophy with the 'holy weed' which is con-
troversial, and which may be put to evil
CB: Even in the history of other religious
developments citing the East Indian as
an example some smoke, and some do
not smoke. Any unnatural intake con-
taminates the body, and excess damages
the body. One must have a very spiritual
attitude towards the herb, and prepare one-
self for its use.
Ed: But even using the East as an example
- the word 'assassin' comes from ,the
Arabic hashshashin (drinkers of hashish)
which is an extract of the same weed.
There is a long historical connotation of
violence associated with this herb. One can
have holy water, and one can have dirty
water, but it is the same water is this
the point you are making?
CB: Yes: People can use the herb in dif-
ferent ways. It induces a euphoric feeling
which in the religious connotation helps
meditation. But it should not be used in
excess the body can take so much and
no more. What the herb does is that it lifts
one to a different level of consciousness,
,and by freeing areas of the mind un-
restricted by the physical body or physi-
cal condition; it gives more play to the
'ethereal' or 'astral' plane or what-
ever you call this higher state of conscious-
ness. It induces concentration and limits:
the area of distraction.
People in a certain social strata can
shut themselves away in soundproof air-
conditioned rooms in order to limit the
area of distraction and concentrate fully;
in the ghetto, the limiting of distraction
is not physically possible.
Ed: This brings me back to the general
observation that in ghetto conditions, it
is the sensitive ones who cannot endure
the sordidness of their existence, and seem
to need escape. They may drop out
negatively, or blossom creatively often in
the Rasta faith. But under these same
stresses there are those whose minds
cannot cope; sometimes they profess
Rasta faith. How are they regarded by the
CB: For the mentally or emotionally ill,
there is a curative effect if he can relate to,
or become absorbed into a community
where he is treated with tolerance; some
of these are allowed to go back and forth
and to seek refuge in the Rasta commun-
ity, when the stresses become too great for
Even for the emotionally normal,
a camp should serve as a retreat from the
mundane; a place where he can meditate,
obtain philosophical training, and'
strengthen his faith from time to time in
unity with the bretheren.

The Mystic Revelations Community Centre in Wareika.

One of the African traditions preserved by our culture is that music is an integral part of the whole of community life.



Even within the faith, the brother-
hood of Rastafari, among'those who see
death as "the wages of sin" and would
thus logically have to relegate Ossie to an
historical dust-bin; many are given pause,
for the Count's accomplishments were
too numerous, his composure under varied
circumstances too assured, his humility
too generous, his love too broad for him
to be dismissed puritanically as a
"wicked". He truly was one of the greats
in Jamaican cultural life.
Ossie was, to most young people in
his community, a venerable father-figure.
To older folk, he was a "willing, help-
ful brother." As one of the spurs to com-
munity development in the city's eastern
foothills, he reflected his concerns in his
playing as a drummer in one of the earliest
Rasta bands. While the lyrics of a tune
from this period like "Another Moses"
may have shown Ossie as yearning for a
Messiah, in his playing on the "repeater"
as obvious leader in the leader-chorus
pattern of some of his group's playing, no
"leader complex" is evident. The whole
band of drummers and other percussion-
ists is strictly integrated. Every man has
his all-important role which must be main-
tained, on occasion even for hours, with-
out flagging.
Unassumingly, unpretentiously, Ossie
'in performance', would carefully "sit een"
and adapt to his situation. At the joyously
solemn "binghi" where 'man would chant
praises', swear allegiance to "Jah", Selassie
I, and relate spiritual experiences a set-
ting then encouraging 'solidarity' among
the brethren Ossie never intrudes. In the
songs and chants used in such a setting
at the precise moment that drum licks,
emphases and accents are necessary, the
Count would be there in time. Or catch
Ossie with his age-less patient manner on
stage at the "roots dance" in the seminal
late fifties' era of local music production.
While the other sources of popular musical
entertainment like the powerful radio
media at the time merely bend from their
penchant for sentimental balladry to rock
and roll, Ossie symbolised the under-
classes' insistence on "harder" stuff. The
sound system would blaze a hot trail till
about midnight when Ossie and his
drummers took up the running. Sounds
like "Oh Carolina" with the Ffolkes
Brothers or "Chubby" with Bunny and
Skitter, would see the Count in a role
somewhat different from the one he
played in a religious setting. While the
band as a whole would be providing
rhythmic underpinning, Ossie could now
be cast as part of an answering, energising

chorus with the singers in the role of
"cantor". In this context, even songs
which would probably ordinarily appear as
somewhat maudlin and little different
from the run of sentimental balladry, are
given added impact and meaning because
of Ossie's rhythmic and melodic approach.
Technically, Ossie's original style of
drumming reached such a point that he
would also regularly be placed in an 'art'
situation where his audience listened rather
than danced say at the recurring Festi-
val concerts or more recently in Carifesta
shows. The "nitty-gritty", 'neo-African'
foundation provided by Ossie and his
drummers still compelled varying degrees
of audience participation from simple
handclapping and timekeeping with the
feet to dance movement and chanting -
thus maintaining the unity of all these
forms, a feature that is particularly notice-
able in the African approach to the Arts.
The early jam-sessions in the Wareika Hills,
at various "camp sites" had paved the way
admirably for Ossie's later playing with
Jazz musicians and others like Cedric
Brooks and Neil Cadogan (e.g. "Grounda-
tion" LP and the 45 "Black-Up") and
for the tours to Guyana and the United
States. Brooks and the horns from his
'band the Mystics were to combine with
the Count and his drummers to form the
Mystic Revelation of Rastafari. The early
"mystical sessions" would have included
top-flight musicians like Don Drummond
Roland Alphonso, 'Dizzy' Johnny Moore
and Tommy McCook in fact the Skatal-
ites band as a whole could be described
as having gained inspiration from the
Count and these 'semi-religious' jam-
Although at first sections of the
middle classes and official 'society tried
to ridicule the "tin-pan" sound that Ossie
used at times, his great work was generally
recognized before his death. A number
of factors prevented early middle class
indifference from stunting the develop-
ment of this style of drumming. Firstly,
while Ossie played in his own unmistake-
able way, one could detect traces of earlier
forms of drumming in it, particularly
forms like Kumina, Pocomania and 'Jon-
kunu'; the ground had been prepared
among the masses, the middle class could
feel and do as it wished. In fact Ossie's
love of up-tempo rhythms could be dis-
tinguished from other early Rasta drumm-
ers like Bobo Shanti who showed a pre-
ference for slower, more reflective, in-
trospective tempos. This is not to say that
Ossie could not control his excitement
for he was capable also* of the slow,

haunting accompaniment one hears in
"Ethiopian Serenade" for example.
Secondly, vindicating Ossie's insistence on
the importance of the drum in Jamaica's
cultural history, it could be pointed out
that there were areas in Africa and at
least one existing, traditional group in
Jamaica that used tin pans for rhythmical
purposes. There was nothing 'artificial' in
the high pitch of the Count's drum.
Thirdly, one can also note that Ossie in-
fluenced most of the trap-drummers who
played in the road-bands of his time and
and those recording "session" performers
engaged in developing the contemporary
popular music form. The love of the trap-
drum's rim and the playing area im-
mediately adjacent, making a sound re-
miniscent of Ossie's repeater and some-
times referred to as the "kete" sound,
coupled with many of his rhythms, was
used to great effect by a drummer like
Knibbs of the Skatalites. One still hears
echoes of this in the playing of reggae
drummers of today. The Studio I "dub"
LP "Better Dub" has on a rare cut
featuring Ossie in this more current genre.
In all of this, Ossie, ever the quiet
man, would proselytize more by example
than by stern edict or arrogant insistence
that his view was the only correct one
or his calling the only one worthwhile.
As these brief notes show, Ossie worked
with persons from various classes who may
have supported a creed different from
his. He was one who even while insisting
that the African contribution to Jamaica's
cultural heritage be recognized and
furthered and on the pressing need for
the official administrators of 'Babylon'
to address themselves to the plight of the
masses, did much to foster unity and
understanding amongst the population as
a whole. What he said and how he
played and said it he meant. The spirit
of Ossie, even his image that fitting
one showing him seated with the drum
like an extension of himself, man and
instrument almost as one head, neck and
shoulders dramatically in time with his
playing, arms now in a flurry of action,
now with exquisite timing observing a
'rest or two, the fingers sure and firm,
feet deceptively relaxed will long be
remembered and revered in local music-
loving circles.
One of the few early tunes by Ossie:
Rock a man's soul in the bosom of
Abraham Selah Razac Blacka

Razac Blacka is the nom de guerre of Garth
White, who is now writing a book on the music
of Jamaica.

The Little Theatre Movement -
' 'll| For the LTM's contribution to the develop-
S/.ment of Theatre-Arts in Jamaica and particularly
p to the development of the National Pantomine as
an indigenous thearte-art form.

(a1 In r i as cie t

Mr. Wilson Chong -
In recognition of his outstanding achievements in the field
,of Architecture in Jamaica.

Mr. George Rodney -
In recognition of his outstanding achievements
in Painting.

Mr. Wycltte Uennett -
In recognition of his unique and outstanding contribution to the development
of Theatre-Arts in Jamaica over the years.

Mrs. Hazel Lawson-Street -
In recognition of her outstanding contribution Mr. Douglas Forrest -
to the development of Choral Music in Jamaica, In recognition of his contribution to Choral
and in particular, of her sustained achievement Training in Jamaica and, in particular, of his
as Conductor of the Diocesan Festival Choir work with the Kingston College Chapel Choir.
over the years.

Mr. Sydney McLaren -
In recognition of his unique and outstanding achievement
in Painting.

Mr. Wenty Bowen -
In recognition of his outstanding contribution
to Jamaica's culture in the field of Creative


Victor Stafford Reid
In recognition of his outstanding achievement as a
novelist and in particular, his international reputation
as.a writer of technical excellence with a passionate
concern for the dignity and humanity of all man.

.2.....~~~~~~ ~'~~ S -."1t:Z~~!0~7~i*






Mr. Kalph Campbell
In recognition of his outstanding
achievement in the field of Art in
Jamaica and, in particular, of the
sustained quality of painting over
the years.

Mr. Slade Hopkinson
In recognition of his outstanding
achievements as a Caribbean poet
and playwright.

Mr. Mervyn Morris Ms. Lilly Perkins
In recognition of his outstanding In recognition of her outstanding
achievement and international re- and sustained contribution in the
putation as a Caribbean poet. field of science study and research
in Jamaica.


Mr. Mapletoft Poulle
In recognition of his outstanding
contribution, over the years, to
music in Jamaica both as an execu-
tant and as a composer of Jamaican

Mr. George Richardson Proctor
In recognition of his achieve-
ments in the field of Natural
History over the years.

In recognition of the outstanding
contribution she has made to the
development of cultural con-
sciousness among Jamaican child-
ren, and especially her excellent
work in the Junior Centres over
a period of some thirty-two years.

L1. UUIlK uwul
In recognition of her outstanding achieve-
in Botanical Research in Jamaica.

Ms. Winnifred Ebanks
In recognition of her contribu-
tion in the field of music es-
pecially in respect of her work
with the St. Andrew Singers.





By Anthony McNeill

luminous under the eaves slept the rose -
dragon pr incss the black hole in the 0

universe of word word the one language
splitting in halves fours quadruples et-
cetera to echo the great one and racist
cummings of th e will I praise etcetera O
what an ear did he have O e.e. magic-writer
the name dead r ight for the project 0 the
dialect black white is echoic a miracle in
the transformations and risings the poet
sang sang lived slept then singing again
found his wide home at the floor of the
Under the ooze pulsed the stone-flower

irresmissibly heavy the sin he had done in
the rain came back with its cries o its
choric the voices out of the ocean endless
daimonic the ghost-mariner pushing my sys-
tem where are you leading me on went the echo
out of the american poet still
something was missing
fragmented, imperfect the legions
cried nothing the planet
filled up with such graves
until the bird came disguised a s quite
Remarkable poet diffuse-d in his work like a dye
till even eye ached from the towering vision
So the poe-t came down and kissed his
o lit are my children lovely my be-ll
as the poet re-learned the contours of hell
this time through the image music direct
life strict a-s the ranging
sea its immaculate flux and re -
As the tree lifted over the cry


the sunset o rose of the faintest texture
the heart bursts and o it is back to boy-
like responses to the
cold travelling up from the same
place of the thorn the beautiful bleeding
O lovely magdala o lovely flowers gross
magazines the critics will term them I say that
the woman are air -
fine and radiant
flower o ra-
the cry amputated hanging
and anarchy through
the terrible countr-y to
whic-h he was stranger
and stranger became the house that he lived in
the line miraculous climbing to where
Out of the bone came the halcyon answer

From: "The Air-Wife Sings on Chalk Mountain"

Anthony McNeill was born in Kingston, Jamaica, educated here and at Nassau Community College, Johns Hopkins University (M.A. 1971), University
of Massachusetts Amherst (M.A. 1976).
In 1971 he was the recipient of the only gold medal ever issued for poetry in the adult division of the Jamaica Festival Competition; and in 1972 he
was awarded the Institute of Jamaica Silver Musgrave Medal for Poetry. He has published two collection of poems, Hello Ungod and Reel from "The Life-
Movie". Three of his recent manuscripts ("Good News", "Choruses in The Summer of Clear" and "Altitudes from The City of Summer'), have been
accepted by publishers. His short stories and critical material have appeared in several publications, and his lyrics have been used in a Jamaican pantomime.
Anthony McNeill has been invited to perform public readings in Jamaica, and overseas at the 1971 Greater Baltimore Arts Festival, and several insti-
tutions including the Library of Congress. He is currently Assistant Director (Publications) at the Institute of Jamaica.

the water comes back from the river
the oxen are drift-
ing above it
the horns catch
like t.v. antennae

in the last

I fall on my hands
in the rose air

the names come back without lights
i throw one
away: my brother

goes off with a lit face
from the blue hill
of the church

the cathedral we enter
the back way
admonishes go

can you see it
from: The Cathedral of Names hawk with a right to the air

for years I was lonely
I say to the wind

come back without hands
just now

whatever I comet
any day now

has the light
falling in step

the dark and the light are kissing
like blues

good news

o sea i have given no

love me anyway


Roberto Marquez, a noted Caribbean writer, is
the Editor of the Quarterly CALIBAN. Puerto
Rican by birth, he is at present on the faculty
of Amherst University, Amherst Mass. U.S.A.
"...how they love us!
Gay and obscene, and to be rid of boredom
very hot on jazz."
Aime Cesaire'

"I make the revolution, therefore I am,
therefore we are. ...We cease to be
the zombies of world history. .."
The presence of Negroes in what Jose
Marti quite appropriately, referred to as
'Our America' can be traced back to its
earliest days as a colony. In the Caribbean,
particularly, that presence has been a signi-
ficant factor helping to shape a specifically
national ethos since the late nineteenth
century wars of independence. The origins
of the black presence in the literature of
Spanish America are equally remote. The
serious literary treatment of the Negro is
nonetheless comparatively recent, and
not surprisingly, has until even more re-
cently merely duplicated artistic and ideo-
logical canons originating in the 'mother
country', reflecting the alabaster vision of
renaissance or nineteenth century Europe,
and in hispanic America, the concern with
racial purity, noble lineage and religious
sectarianism of Golden Age Spain. The
'black theme' has moreover, been almost

exclusively the province of white European
or creole1 authors whose treatment of
their subject has, at best, been superficial,
condescendingly benign; at worst, trans-
parently racist and disparaging and, in
either case, mirrors the inevitably zombi-
fying2 vision of the colonizer's Manichean
conceptual universe.
The writers of Spain's Golden Age
(Lope de Rueda, Lope de Vega, Cervantes,
Gdngora, Quevedo), capitalizing on the
presence of black Africans among them3 as
slaves, domestics, pages, labourers, were
among the first to cultivate 'the black
theme' --with them it was more properly a
'motif' -- and to establish a number of
literary conventions which, particularly in
poetry, would predominate for at least
three centuries afterward. Whether in prose
or poetry, their approach was deprecating-
ly delittantish. They came to their material
as entertainers or comedians catering to
and, consequently, reinforcing prevailing
stereotypes. The Negro, marginalized,
thought to be congenitally inferior, was
considered a mere buffoon, and as such,
merited only their amusement or their
scorn. Appearing only peripherally in the
larger work of most, he becomes, with
Lope de Rueda (1510? 1565), a staple
figure of the comic genre par excellence:
the paso or interlude and, particularly be-
tween 1525-40, makes frequent comic-
grotesque appearances in the popular

theatre of the time. What poignancy one
does encounter is usually unintended,
the result of a (historically) later reader's
new perspective. A secondary scene in
Lope de Rueda's Comedia de Eufemia
(1542) is typical. Polo, a white lackey,
comes calling on Eulalia, a black domestic
servant, who adopting current but self-
denying standards of beauty, is dyeing her
hair blond when he arrives. Putting on airs,
and speaking in a rhythmic but much dis-
torted mock black Spanish, Eulalia
refuses his advances: he is, ironically, not
good enough for her. The lackey's only
real interest in her, though, is sexual; to
eventually achieve his purpose, he decides
it is prudent to play along for the time
being. He leaves, muttering to himself -
and us "I'm thinking of selling her first
chance I get, saying she's my slave, and
she's getting uppity on me." As the scene
ends, Eulalia is searching for some pomade,
"to make a transformation in these hands."
The maid's attempts to melt into the
surrounding white world, her rejection of
Polo as socially unsuitable, and the terse-
ness with which he reminds us of the total
insecurity of her actual status in that
society, all have elements of pathos preg-
nant with significance. But De Rueda
means only to provoke our laughter not
our compassion, sympathy, or moral in-
dignation. The scene is a vignette, comic
relief, inserted between moments in the


By Roberto Marquez


more important comedia. Eulalia a comic
figure, a type, holds no more interest for
the author than the guffaws she is meant
to provoke.

The comedies of Lope de Vega
(1562-1635), also feature the Negro-as-
caricature. In his work the black is a jester
who dances, sings, and, to establish his
basic ignorance, speaks in a colourful but
typical distorted Spanish. One can only
point to cameo but, again, characteris-
tically amusing appearances in the prose
of Cervantes (1547-1616). Despite the
ambiguous sympathy for the Moors with
which he returned to Spain after five years
imprisonment among 'the infidels', it is
apparent, from his mediocre drama in par-
ticular, that he was unable to countenance
racial or religious miscengenation. If, in
that body of drama, Moors have a ten-
dency to be smitten with love for (white)
christians of unparalleled beauty, to the
point indeed of flirting with conversion,
the latter are always sensible enough to
avoid the temptation of a liason that, in
addition to being socially unconscionable,
would jeopardize their mortal souls. Cer-
vantes' Moors, moreover, inevitably suc-
cumb to Christian ingenuity or, like the
Gran Cadi in La Gran sultana, are simple-
tons, puppet-victims of a Manichean
(radical and religious) nationalism.
The poets did not go much beyond the.

playwriters and novelists, though they
naturally placed more emphasis on strictly
linguistic virtuosity. In his poems"Al naci-
miento de nuestro Sejor" and "En la fiesta
del Santisimo Sacramento", for example,
the great poet of the age, Luis de Gongora
(1561-1627), accepting the conventional
view of the black as comic figure man-
aged to create a mock black speech whose
onomatopoeic and musical effects can be
said to have anticipated the rhythms and
jitanjaforas4 of the first negrista poets of
the twentieth century. His
Elamu, calambu, cambu,
Tu prima sera al moment
escravita de nacimiento
LE que'sara' primo, tu?
Sara bu, /
Se chora o menin Jesu.
Elamu', calambd, cambu,
immediately brings to mind Luis Pales
Matos' (Puerto Rico: 1898-1959) "Black
Dance' with its "Calabo y bambu, bambu
y calabo."
But along with the dance motif, the
comic speech, the rhythmic and musical
effects, there were the deprecating allu-
sions to Africa, to the Negro's native diet
and eating habits, the direct and indirect
insult and the insistent emphasis on his
sexuality. This racist distaste is especially

evident in the adjectives with which he is
usually described and, most especially, the
consistency with which he is referred to as
a 'dog"5 Francisco de Quevedo (1580-
1645), master of mordant humor, was par-
ticularly merciless when jesting at the
Negro's expense. His "Boda de negros", an
otherwise virtuoso performance, is "a
shady wedding/, for it was a wedding
entirely of blacks" who the ceremony
and reception over "washed themselves
and the water was enough/ to dirty an
entire kingdom."
This was Spain's Golden age and this
her 'Classical Image' of the black, a carica-
ture, a zombi, denied human dimension. It
could not of course be otherwise, for the
Negro, it was generally assumed, had not
been "gifted" with (a superior) conscious-
ness and, therefore, lacked any personal or
collective drama worthy of an artist's
serious consideration. This literary zombi-
fication was but a "reflection" of social
reality. The Negro did not have any real
personality, he had a role, a place; an in-
strument of labor, a metaphysical pariah
in the 'real world', he could hardly be ex-
pected to be more than a thing to be mani-
pulated in literature. Any recognition of
his humanity and legitimate right to an in-
tegral personality of his own, more than
constituting an ideological "negation of the
negation", was tantamount to justifying
the Blacks refusal to accept the established

hierarchy and so represented, implicitly, a
challenge to the prevailing social and eco-
nomic order in which this literature was be-
ing produced.
Though one is struck by her unusual
compassion, her hints at the Negro's con-
fusions and doubts regarding saints who
"don't want no dark skin peoples", it is
this thing, this onomatopoeic zombi, one
encounters in the "Villancicos" of the
Mexican poet-nun, Sor Juana Ines de la
Cruz (1651-95), and in what little else one
can point to in the literature of colonial
Spanish America.
It is not until the latter part of the
eighteen thirties and the advent of the
anti-slavery novel in Cuba that the Negro
appears as a protagonist in the writing of
the creole elite, but under the mentorship
of the liberal reformer and literary critic
Domingo del Monte (1804-53) the genre
did not venture far beyond the novel of
manners -costumbrismo and, with
respect to its treatment of the Negro,
quickly became lacrimose cliche. Felix
Tanco y Bosmeniel's (1797-1871) Petrona
y Rosalia (1838) and Anselmo Suarez y
Romero's (1818-78) Francisco (1839)
were both inspired by del Monte and, like
Cirilio Villaverde's (1812-94) better known
Cecilia Valdes (1838, 1882), established
a strict typology: master, se ora, black
mistress, slave, 'illicit' offspring, impossible
loves.6 Characterization and plot revolved
about the need to depict the morally debil-
itating influence of slavery upon whites.
The indignities to which he was daily sub-
ject were faithfully reproduced but, the-
frequency of slave uprising not withstand-
ing, the Negro was protrayed as a meek
adornment to the large urban residence or
plantation -a thing- who endured his lot
with stoic, if tragic, resignation. What
novelists followed in the genre Gertrudia
Gomez de Avellaneda (1814-73) with Sab
(1841),7 Antonio Zambrana (1846-1922)
with El negro Francisco (1875) generally
conforpied to the precedents thus
established. The otherwise poignant
Apuntes autobiograficos (1839, Autobio-
grafical Notes), of the ex-slave Francisco
Manzano (1797-1854) lent credence to
rather than contradicted this approach to
the 'problem' of the individual slave. His
writing as a whole reveals his acquiescence
to 'the tragic sense of life', an assimilation
of the world view and (literary) premises
of white creole society.8 His Negro, too, is
Some of these novels one thinks
immediately of Sab were frankly, even
classically romantic; pathetic fallacy and
all. Allowance made for the elements of
local color, they could hardly be distin-
guished from similar fiction elsewhere.
There was no real attempt made to explore
the specific personality of the slave, the
free black or mulatto, that did not amount
to a 'bleaching' of his physical and psycho-
logical integrity. Ebony Apollos, dark
Venuses abound. Indeed, Sab, the fated,
noble slave is culturally and psycho-
logically a creole white in blackface.
This was a literature entirely marked
by an aura of white paternalism and
cultural philanthropy. In the case of the
non-white writers there was, for the time
being, the struggle to 'blend in' and/or (eg.
Manzano) the search for final peace.
Francisco Calcagno's (1827-1903) Poetas

de color (1878), its very real merits as pro-
test and personal testimony aside, was con-
ceived by its editor as an apologia in vindi-
cation of Negro intelligence which did not
itself fundamentally challenge the prevail-
ing hierachy or ideology. And as for the
mulatto poet "placido" (b. Gabriel de la
Concepcion Valdes: 1809-44), there is
very little in his work to identify him as a
specifically Black poet among his equally
romantic creole contemporaries. His fame
as a 'Black poet' rests less on the form and
content of his verse than on his execution
by the Spanish authorities for alleged par-
ticipation in the slave "Conspiracy of the
Ladder.' /
Martin Morua Delgado's (1857-1910)
Sofia (1891), the first novel to be written
by a freeborn son of slaves, stands alone in
its attempt to reflect an authentically black
perspective, an unself-denying condemna-
tion of slavery and the social caste system
in Cuba but, modelled on Emile Zola's Les
Rougon-Macquart, it is flawed by the here-
ditary determinism typical of the French
experimental novel. Published considerably
later, in 1919,9 and demonstrating a
greater familiarity with some techniques of
the psychological novel, Alfonso Herna'n-
dez Cata"s (1885-1940) harsh novelette,
La piel (The Skin), seems, too an off-shoot
of the naturalist tradition. His approach
to the black, however, remains fundament-
ally racist and is, therefore, more closely
linked to that of the generation of 1830.
The tale centers on the schizophrenic
torment from which Eulogio Valdes, a
mulatto intellectual, suffers as a result of
the color of his skin. G. R. Coulthard sug-
gests that "The tragedy of the hero of The
Skin is that of a coloured man in a country
where coloured people are generally poor
and illiterate, and who has received an edu-
cation which has made him a man of cul-
ture, sensibility and honour."10 But for
Hernandez Cata the 'tragedy' is as much
biological as it is social. The second part of'
the story, "The Storm", is explicit in iden-
tifying the conflict between reason and
unreason which slowly takes possession of
Eulogio as a response to social rejection as
the struggle for ascendency of contending

(Eulogio) understood that, because of
his race, the part ... which would have
harmonized with his aspirations was
closed off to him, and that only the
harshness and brutality of a civiliza-
tion without tenderness presented it-
self before his wishes, humiliating him
with the two formidable weapons:
disdain and laughter. He was unable
to impose his will; he felt that little
by little, the notions acquired with
so much effort were falling away
from his spirit, as if they were badly
laid on layers of paint, and that they.
left him with a stripped, unexpected,
personality. It was the revenge of the.
maternal inheritance against the pa-
ternal influence, so long master of
his being. There was no doubt: his
will and his mind were less strong
than his blood and heart. It seemed
to him as if his thoughts were negri-
fying themselves ............Necessities
until then hardly demanding, wrench-
ed his organism. ... Conscious of the
risk of abandoning himself thus to

the depression of spirit ... he strug-
gled to think, and only three ideas
rose up from the center of his being
and became concentrated in his
mind; three primitive ideas, three
Negro ideas: food, women, and the
(pp. 138-139. My translation and my em-
Cast off by the elite to which he feels
himself allied by virtue of cultural outlook
and preparation, Eulogio's drive toward as-
similation, his increasing alienation from
the 'mass' of the black 'rabble' from his
own past is transformed into the necess-
ity of maintaining, against the force of
atavistic impulse, his 'civilized' facade.
'Culture' is consequently white and parti-
cian 'the baser instincts' exclusively Black
and proletarian or plebian.
Cata's identification with his prota-
gonist is minimal. The Skin is a scrupulous-
ly omniscient third person narrative: he
describes but does not participate in a
drama which, after all, he sees as not being
his own. He is writing about the Negro and
whatever compassion he shows for Eulogio
is more akin to pity than to empathy. He
sees him, needless to say, from a purely
white, proto-European perspective. Eulo-
gio, like Francisco, is condemned to
the passive acceptance of the futility of
anything but an attitude of resignation.
The earlier heroes tend to suicide; Eulogio
dies as the result of his own surrender to
the permanence of the caste system main-
tained by white authority.
Defending his own portrayal of the
Negro against the possible charge of in-
authenticity, Romero pointed out: "My
temperament... is partial to patiently toler-
ating the misfortunes of this valley of
tears..." The fact of the matter is that, with
the possible exception of Morua Delgado,
these writers were all unable to reject the
premise of white supremacy. Domingo del
Monte, his proteges and the class for which
they spoke were concerned lest their ad-
vocacy of change prove too subversive of
the social order. Their abolitionism was, in
large part, a response to the morbid fear
of revolt inspired by the success of the
Haitian Revolution and, over thirty years'
after the death of Toussaint L'Ouverture,
they were still seeking to prevent the 'afri-
canization' of Cuba.

The only disagreement among the
racist spokesmen for the hacendado
class was whether the Negro was to re-
main in Cuba as an inferior, enslaved
being, deprived of all natural human
rights, or to be eliminated entirely
from Cuban soil. The more conser-
vative ideologists of slavery adhered
to the first while some reformers (like
Domingo del Monte) advocated the
second. (The latter)...wrote: "The
task of all Cubans of hearts and of
noble and sacred patriotism ought
to be, first, to end the slave trade,
and then go on little by little to
the suppression of slavery without
convulsions and violence, and, in
the end, to clean Cuba of the African

The Negro, in short, had no place in Cuba:
"Cuban nationality," Jose Antonio Saco,
the liberal publicist and friend of del

Gertrudis de AveUaneda Title Page: "Poesias de la Senorita Gertrudis
Gomez de Avellaneda."

Cirilio Villaverde

Jose Antonio Saco AAlejo Carpentier

Domingo Delmonte

Regino Pedroso,

Fernando Ortiz

Miguel Hernandez

Monte echoed, "is formed by the white
race." 2 The First War of Independence
(1868-78) put a de facto end to slavery,
which was not legally abolished until 1886,
but it did not eliminate the caste system
nor the ethnic and class bias which was its
compliment. It is apparent from Hernandez
Cata's short novel that the conceptual and
social world of colonialism was to endure
yet a little longer.
What was true of Cuba was no less true
of the continent, where the Negro made
only occasional, stereotypical appearances
in the works of writers such as Jorge Isaacs
(Colombia: 1837-95) and Domingo
Faustino Sarmiento (Argentina: 1811-88)
or participated only peripherally in the
somewhat more sympathetic work of such
as Miguel Herna'ndez (1834-86). What
theatre there was, identified the Negro
with the folklore which he was, of
course, instrumental in creating- of popu-
lar song and dance, but limited him to his
classic roles as jester and buffoon.
Jose' Marti (1853-95), the martyred
apostle of Cuban independence and,
according to Fidel, the intellectual author
of the attack on the Moncada, was the first
Spanish American to seriously threaten the
ideology of racism characteristic of nine-
teenth century through, with a direct
assault upon the sophistry and pseudo-
science craniology, physiognomy,
phrenology upon which it depended. He
saw behind the camouflage all the conceits
and predatory motives which inspired it,
and reserved the name "local bookstore
races"13 for the vain classifications of
casuistic researchers and somatologists.
He refused to entertain any presumption
of pedigree not founded on the inalien-
able dignity of the human person, or ethi-
cal criteria. "In this world," he said, "there
is but one inferior race: that of those who,
before all else, consult their own interest,
whether it be of their vanity, their pride,
or their money: and there but one sup
erior race: that of those who, before all
else, consult the interest of humanity."
There were no other hierarchies, nor was
virtue the private property of any given
group. "There is no people on earth," he
emphasized, "with a monopoly of human
virtue." If any group could be counted
'less fortunate' this was the result of his-
torically specific and hence temporary
causes; none were born to subservience
of any kind or were congenitally incapable
of progress. "This is perhaps the key to the
sociological error (of the nineteenth cen-
tury): to consider a race inferior because
it is seen (because it is) in one of the in-
ferior stages of its development." Man was,
in the last analysis, a spiritual unity, a
synthesis, which formed part of the cosmic
harmony of Nature, and society -ideally-
merely the reflection of Nature's own con-

Each race brings its own mandate to
the world, and the way must be left
free for every race that it may use its
strength and realise its work, with all
the honor and fruit of its natural in-
dependence, if we are not to disturb
the harmony of the universe. And
who thinks that without risking a logi-
cal punishment one can interrupt the
spiritual harmony of the world, closing
off the way to one of its races, on the

pretext of a superiority that is no
more than a stage in time?

With respect specifically to the caste
system, he was careful to point out that

If by social equality we mean.., the
inequality, by all lights unjust, of
compelling a part of the population,
because it differs in color, to do with-
out in its mingling with the popula-
tion of another color the rights of
sympathy and convenience the latter
exercises...among its own members,
"social equality" would be unjust for
those forced to suffer from it and
indecorous for those wishing to im-
pose it. (But) ...if social equality'
means the respectful and equal treat-
ment of men, whatever their color,
who can do honor to the human
species, it is no more than the recog-
nition of the visible equity of Nature.

It was his fear of Yankee racism, no
less than his intentions of thwartingits
imperialist ambitions, that caused Marti to
be wary of the United States. He cham-
pioned a revolution that would be neither
neo-colonialist, rancorous nor racist and
countered Spanish attempts to capitalize
on the fear of 'africanization' with the
declaration that "This is not the century
of the struggle of races but the century
of the affirmation of rights." His revolu-
tionary dictum, "Cuban is more than
white, more than black, more than
mulattto" defied the divisive snobbery
of Saco and his generation and helped
forge the ethos of a nation, the unique
character of the mestizo continent.
Yet, despite his singular generosity of
spirit, his revolutionary convictions and
action, Marti's literary representation of
the Negro very often supposed a cultural
standard that was classically greco-latin,
and European. "He has narcissean, apollo-
nean forms" he notes approvingly of a
young black child. "He is nimble and beau-
tiful, robust and correct: the little one is a
black Cupid." There are also elements of
the bon sauvage. Marti, no less than his pre-
decessors, laid stress on Negro sensuality,
primitiveness, mystery, his spiritual inten-
sity, and homespun simplicity. Consider,
for example, this lengthy segment from
"The Charlestown Earthquake" (1886)14
in which the Negro appears as ingenuous
child, awestruck by the force of natural
phenomena, who, nonetheless, nurtures a
secret fire and is blessed with an innate
sense of rhythm, the gift of communion
with the universe. The reaction of the
black population to the earthquake was
the response of

Negroes in whom the primitive fear
which the phenomenon of nature in-
spire in their inflamed race has been
revived in lamenting hymns and
terrible dances ...from the secret mem-
ory of the poor Negroes a strangeness
began emerging on their face: it was
the repressed race, it was Africa of
their fathers and grandparents, it was
that mark of singularity which every
landscape gives-its man ... Their blood
is a fire; their passion biting; their
eyes flames; and everything in their
nature has the energy of their poisons
and the enduring potency of their


The Negro has a great innate good-
But, more than any other race, he has
such an intimate communion with
nature that he seems more capable
than other men of quivering and re-
joicing with its changes.
There is something of the supernatural
in his fright and his joy which does not
exist in other primitive races, and his
movements recall the majesty of the
lion; in his affection there is a loyalty
so sweet that it makes one think of
doves, not dogs; and in his passions
there is such clarity, tenacity, intensity
that they seem like rays of the sun.
... The prayers of the elders are not
made up of connected sentences, but
of the short phrase typical of genuine
emotions and simple races.
They have the contortions, the mono-
tony, the strength and the weariness of
their dances. The group ....invents a
rhythm at the end of a sentence that
seems to it musical and appropriate:
and without previous agreement they
all join in the event.

Emphasized by Cirilio Villaverde and
his contemporaries these features -- 'primi-
tive' simplicity, intense sensuality, etc.
were factors in a proof of Black inferi-
ority. For Marti they were, in some sense,
virtues to be praised. They were, however,
equally stereotypical. Predicated on the
same implicitly hierarchical cultural sup-
positions, they tended to mystification.
Marti was, in principle and as a revolution-
ary, on the side of the oppressed; but writ-
ing about the Negro his literary prespec-
tive, without racist intent, was that of the
outsider who evokes but fails to achieve
the authenticity16 of an absolute identifi-
The period between the great world
wars (1917-40's) saw a revival of interest

in 'the black theme' which, orginating in
Europe, swept through Spanish America
and the Caribbean. Wasted and demorali-
zed by its 'war to end all wars', warned
by Spengler of the imminent Decline of
The West, Europe searched about for so-
lace, and alternatives. An anti-rationalist,
neo-romantic mood fell upon the Old
World: the cult of the 'primitive' took new
hold of the arts. Leo Frobenius' Black
Decameron (1914) was followed by Blaise
Cendrar's Black Anthology and Picasso, no
less than Braque, Rene Maran and Gide,
'discovered' the Negro. This cultivation,
even exploitation, of things black won
great popularity as a palliative for the
alienation of a worn out civilization. But
it proved a temporary vogue, a kind of
intellectual tourism which permitted fra-
.ternization a momentary return to 'the
savage innocence' of the world's 'infancy'
- without identification. The false dicho-
tomies reason = white = civilization vs.
irrationally = non-white = primitive -
remained intact and, if jazz was the thing
in au courant circles in Paris, London, and
New York, the Negro was still a social out-
cast, poor, and oppressed.

The new craze found fertile soil in
Spanish America where, by the late twen-
ties, the creole poets Pales Matos, Ildefonso

Pereda Valdes (Uruguay: 1899- ), Jose
Zacaias Tallet (Cuba: 1893- ), and
Ramon Guirao (Cuba: 1908-49) inaugura-
ted the negrista movement. They were
joined by Alejo Carpentier (Cuba: 1904 ),
Emilio Ballagas (Cuba: 1908-54) Vicente
Gofmez Kemp (Cuba 1914 '), Hernan-
dez Cata' Manuel del Cabral (Dominican
Republic: 1907- ) and the mulatto
poets Marcelino Arozarena (1912-
Nicolas Guillen (1902- ) and Regino
Pedroso (1896- ).
The initial phase of this negrismo was
typified in style and content by the
lack of conceptual originality in its treat-
ment of the black: still seen in terms of
ancient stereotypes, he remained an exotic
literary puppet. The earlier poets Pereda
Valdes, Pales Matds, Tallet, Guirao and
a number of those who followed Carpen-
tier, Cata, Ballagas, Manuel del Cabral -,
all of whom were "white", saw the world
of the Negro from the point of view of the
inquisitive, even sympathetic, but ultimate-
ly uninvolved spectator. Their poetry, a
highly descriptive poetry, depicted the
black as a picturesque figure who lives prim
arily through his senses. He "invariably
appeared) in an atmosphere of violence,
heavy sensuality, frenetic dancing and
drumming and voodooesque possession.
In the case of the female dancers, the most
animal and sensuous aspects of her appear-
ance and movements are emphasized."17
The Negro was synonymous with tom-
toms, fetishism atavistic ritual and even,
as in Pale's Matos' "Nam-Ram", with a very
unintellectual cannibalism:

Asia dream her nirvana
America dances jazz.
Europe gambles and theorizes.
Africa grunts: nam-nam.1

It was, of course, a poetry rich in local
color, erotic and musical effects. Like the
earlier verse of Gongora, it was heavily de-
pendent on rhythmic inventiveness and
Equally affected, this negrismo differ-
ed from the European vogue in that, in
principle, it was simultaneously an attempt
to 'return to the roots' and, in the Antilles,
was evidence of a national awakening to a
comprehensive definition of a unique
entity. "I would say," said Pales Matos,
"that the Antillean is a Spaniard with a
mulatto's manner and the soul of a
black."19 In Cuba, where the scholarly re-
search of the ethnologist Fernando Ortiz
lent anthropological depth and intellectual
legitimacy to the new movement, Guirao
argued that "Afro-negrista (sic) poetry ... is
the most genuine manifestation of our in-
sular sensibility."20 What was involved was
an ethos not ethnicity per se. "It was not a
matter of living the problems and feelings
of the Negro, but of transmitting visionary
intuitions in whose depths 'Negro-ness'
stirred as one of the unifying elements of
the Antillean universe....1 These poets
were unable, however, to identify concrete-
ly with the Negro and their work failed,
consequently, to reflect this synthesizing
vision except en astracto. The Black, some-
what as in the Golden Age, remained a
zombi, the 'primitive' who "smells of
earth, of savagery, of sex."22 The daily
reality of blacks of flesh and blood was al-
most wholly neglected: the Negro remain-

ed no more than a 'theme'. Thus negrismo
suffered, at the outset, from an inherited
The non-white poets, however, struck
a different note. Adding the harsh note of
social protest to their recognition of a uni-
que Antillean ethos, they called for an eid
to the rhythmic exoticism of their con-
temporaries and the implicit de-humaniza-
tion of the black. "Are we no more than
blacks?" Regino Pedroso demanded in ex-
Are we no more than merriment?
Are we no more than rumbas, black
lust, carnivals?
Are we no more than grimace and
grimace and color? ..

The Negro became, more properly, one of
the oppressed; and if exploitation real or
literary was the norm, revolt became im-
perative: Pedroso went on:

Black man, brother black man,
brother more in longing than in race.
Black man in Haiti, Jamaica, New
York, black man in Havana
--sorrow peddled by exporters in
black show windows...
listen now, in Scottsboro, in Scotts-
boro, Alabama...
Strike the world with your rebellious
with your human voice...
and muffle your maracas!

Utilizing elements of rhythm and dance to
his own prupose, Marcelino Arozarena, rei-
terates the sentiment in his "Black song
without any color" and "Evohe". In the
first poem he writes:

For the pregnant eyelids of bourgeois
-a retina which fails to grasp the ele-
mental truth-
our Hunger is song,
our culture is song,
our laughter song, and our weeping,
song, song,
songs of chanting blacks,
songs of blacks like suffering oxen
dragging the musical cart of their op-
pressive lives.23

In "Evohe!" he shouts:

Let the bongo go,
,don't be laughter for the tourist in
rumba-like sequence:
your indigence ...
all your brothers..
think a little about Scottsboro and not
about Ochun.24

Negrismo became at once revolutionary
and more ecumenical. Nicolhs Guillen, the
national poet of Cuba; one of the great
poets of the Spanish language and still, at
74, the major figure of what (to emphasize
its Antillean and continental scope) he
would rename 'Afro-hispanism', is the em-
bodiment, the most consistent and authen-
tic representative of this new negritudee'.
Like Pedroso and Arozarena, Guille/n
speaks of the black man from within, as a
black man; the Negro is a living presence in
his verse. His originality lies precisely in the
fact that, combining racial affirmation and

a revolutionary vision with a technique of
poetic syncretism, he has achieved the
coveted synthesis of perspective, form and
content that, rooted in the national ex-
perience, opens on events in the wider
world and universality.

Based on the popular son, Guillen's
earliest poems Motivos de son (Son Motifs:
1930), offered, in brief poetic monologues
and in the argot peculiar to the melieu, a
glimpse of life inside Havana's slums from
the point of view of the black habaieros
as they went about their business: here
were "ordinary people just as they move
around us. Just as they speak, just as they
think,"25 The reader was introduced to
roguish small-time pimps, black men,
mulattas, who thought themselves 'better',
amusing attempts at speaking English,
the colonizer's language, and the general
lack of food to eat and money for the
rent. The mood was one of wholesome
racial pride:

Black as she is
I wouldn't trade
the woman I got
for no other woman.

If, mulatta, you only knew:
I have my black girl,
I don't need you!

The result was an entertaining, implicitly
critical, and profoundly authentic verse.
The poet "specifically chose the son, in
form and content, runs the gamut of every
aspect of....(the) national life."26 Songoro
consongo (1931), national in scope and
normative in language, was even more
obviously hybrid in technique. Blending
rhythmic evocations of Africa with classi-
cal Spanish meters, theme with composi-
tion, "these are mulatto verses (which)
share the same elements that enter into
the ethnic composition of Cuba......."27
and, like the "Song of the Bongo", boldly
proclaim the island's mestizo spirit:

In this mulatto country,
of African mix and Spaniard
(Saint Barbara on one side
and on the other, Chango)
a grandfather's always missing
when there's not a surplus Don,
and there are Castillian titles
with relatives from Bondo:
best be quiet, then, friends,
and not stir up the issue,
for we've all come a long way
and move forward two by two.
Whoever thinks himself purest here,
responds, when I call out!

A few years later he would note with

Jamaica says
she's happy being black,
and Cuba now knows she's mulatta!

This was, in large part, the result of his
own work, An ideological descendent of
Jose/ Marti, Guillen was more emphatic:
Cuban is black, and more, is white, and
more, is mulatto, and more.
With the appearance, in 1934, of West

Indies Ltd. Guille'n's poetry, already inex-
tricably identified with Cuba and with the
Negro, becomes increasingly more militant
and, moving beyond a specifically Cuban
context, encompasses the Caribbean as a
whole. The tone is anguished, angry,
elegiac; the attitude anti-imperialist, anti-
colonialist and, necessarily, anti-racist. The
books that follow -- Cantos-para soldados y
sones para turistas (1937), Espana: poema
en cuatro angustias y una esperanza (1937)
El son entero (1947), La paloma de vuelo
popular- Elegias (1958) further broaden
in scope to include Spain and Latin
America, embracing finally the idea of a
Third World of the oppressed already evi-
dent in the premises of his earliest verse.
With no alternative but revolution, the
poet now writes songs "of life and death/
with which to greet a future drenched in
blood,/red as the sheets, as the thighs,/ as
the bed/ of a woman who's just given
birth." The Dove of Popular Flight, in par-
ticular, is a call to arms against exploitation
and, as in "Little Rock", a world domin-
ated by Yankee racists. Recalling the
antics of Orval Faubus during his tenure as
governor of Arkansas, Guillen articulates
a universal warning:

Now then ladies,
gentlemen, girls, boys,
old men, rich men, poor men,
Indians, Mulattoes, Negroes, Zambos,
think what it would be:
a world all South,
a world all blood and lash,
a world of white schools for whites,
a world of all Rock and all Little,
a world all yanqui and all Faubus...
Consider that for a moment.
Imagine for just one instant.28
To this Cuba's answer was the Revolution:
Guillen greeted it with enthusiastically. His
most recent work -- Tengo (I Have: 1964),
El gran zoo, La rueda dentada (1972), El
diario que a diavio (1972) -- is a vigorous
tribute to the Revolution. It leaves no
doubt as to the significance of the event:
it has restored a nation to itself, dignity to
man, and self esteem to both. It is to this
that his verse has been tending, and Guillen
rejoices as a Cuban, as a Black, and as a
human being. "I have" he says with decep-
tive simplicity, speaking for a people; and
elsewhere in the same volume, speaking for
himself and all those who came on a slave
Oh Cuba! I give you my voice.
I believe in you.
The land I kiss is mine.
Mine the sky.
I am free, and came from far off.
I am a black man.

This new reality has a psychic parallel: The
mournful tone of Guillen's former verse -
"My country is sweet on the outside and
very bitter within..." is superseded by a
sense of personal and collective exhilara-

"I am like a tree in blossom
that was flowerless yesterday;
I am like a tree in blossom
that was flowerless yesterday
Guillen, like all Cuba, is in the Revolution:
the pre-revolutionary past, characterized
by colonialist oppression, predatory

capitalism, racism and the "generalized
zombification of man", is merely The
Great Zoo.
But the enemy has not been totally de-
feated. Though Cuba is at last free, the
world as a whole is not: expressing solid-
arity with liberation struggles everywhere,
and particularly in Latin America and the
black world, Guillen denounces and
exhorts: (He writes to those in the U.S.
who limit the struggle in scope and to
'legal' means

It is all well.
It is all very well.
Black brother of the crucified South,
But don't forget John Brown,
who was not Black and who defended
you fusil in hand
Fusil: a portable firearm
(it's what the dictionary says)
with which the soldiers shoot.
One has to add: Fusil (in English
a weapon also
with which the slaves respond.
But if it happens (that does. occur),
But if it happens, brother,
that you have no gun,
well then, in that case,
I say, I don't know,
find yourself something
--a sledgehammer, a stick,
a rock -- something
that will hurt,
something hard that will wound,
that will bruise,
which will draw blood,

He, in addition, pays tribute to the fallen
and the victimized: Che Guevara, Camilo
Cienfuegos, Jose Antonio Mella, Marti,
Lenin, Ho Chi Minh, Lumumba. His re-
very recent poem to Angela Davis merits
lengthy quotation;

I have come to tell you
you are beautiful (he says)
I believe you are beautiful
but that is not the issue.
The issue is they want you dead.
They need your skull
to decorate the tent of the Great
beside the skulls of Jackson and

And, Angela
we need your smile.

We are going to change the walls hate
has constructed,
for the transparent walls of air,
and the roof of your anguish,
for a roof of clouds and birds,
and the guard who conceals you,
for an archangel with his sword.

Angela, I am not before your name
to speak to you of love like some
nor to desire you like a satyr.
That, alas, is not the issue.
I merely say that you are strong and
enough to leap at (and fracture) the

of those who have want, still want,
and will always want
to see you burned alive bound to the
South of your country,
bound to a cindered post,
bound to a leafless oak,
bound to a burning cross alive bound
to the South.

The enemy is clumsy.
He wants to silence your voice with his
but we all know
your voice alone resounds,
that it ignites
high in the night like an exploding
an arrested lightening flash
a recurring thunderbolt beneath whose
light one is startled
by Blacks with fiery nails,
weakened and angry peoples.

Beneath the dream accomplished
where I live (...)

Angela, I say your name, vociferate. I
join my hands
not in pleas, entreaties, supplications,
to your jailers for your pardon
but in applause, hand meeting hand,
hard and strong, very strong,
hand meeting hand so you will know
I'm yours.

Always on the alert, Guillen is also quick
to expose questionable premises. Respond-
ing to a cable on the death of Martin
Luther King which, authored by the Rus-
sian poet Yvtuchenko, reads: "His skin
was black, but with the purest soul, white
as the snow..." Guillen noted:

(In short, a handsome find:
'The Black whose soul was white",
that curiosity).

And asks:

why couldn't that heroic pastor
have a soul that's black?

A soul as black as coal.
The challenge to racism conscious or un-
intended is complete and unequivocal.
With Guillen the Negro, identified and
breathing with a nation, ceases to be the
bon sauvage and, restored to his humanity,
his integrity secure, looks forward to the
liberation of his brothers, and of all man-
Only a handful of poets have appeared
on the continent in the last two decades
with any interest in the 'black theme':
Jorge Artel (Colombia: 1905 ) Adal-
berto Ortiz (Ecuador: 1914 ), and
Nicomedes Santa Cruz (Peru: 1925 ).
Like Guille'n, they are mulatto and, like
him too, they speak as Blacks, protest, and,
sharing the life of a nation, express a vision
that is afro-hispanic and, ultimately, uni-
versal in its premises. Their perspective,
however, is often nostalgic; their tone
melancholic and, in general, they lack the
poetic versatility, thematic range, the
subtlety and sustained emotional intensity
of the great poet. Their poetry is, none-
theless, quite moving. None of them have
yet lived through a socialist revolution.

Artel is "a black...(poet)/ drunk on
vagabond hornpipes/ and on demented
beats of the drum"29 His Tambores en la
noche (Drums in the Night: 1955) is "like
a human cry quivering With music ..../(and)
the anguish of an obscure memory'"
in which his Africa is the Colombian land-
scape. Ortiz' Tierra, son y tambor (Land,
song and drum: 1959), on the other hand,
evokes "his brothers from Esmeralda, in
their daily lives and profound being: with
machetesto clear the ground or to revolt,
with the weariness and the tagua, the
dance, the drum, the ancestral and
mysterious memory of the Trade, the
struggles of today, and the beating of a.
human heart beneath each darkened
skin"31 As in his novel Jujungo (1942)
Ortiz skirting the edge of the merely folk-
loric, writes a population whose "conflicts
and...human warmth transform them, not
into folklore or jazz to entertain, but into
the realization of a grave destiny."32 ( he
reminds his brothers)

We are no longer thousands
we are millions.
Millions with a brush and a machete,
who dream beneath every palm tree
that we are free men,
men, yes, free men.

We were thousands...
We are millions

Nicomedes Santa Cruz is, quite pos-
sibly, Guillen's closest analogue and heir.
An autodidact, Santa Cruz combines the
investigative skills of the amateur ethno-
grapher with his facility as a poet.33 His
poetry is part of a larger struggle to salvage
the folklore and traditions of coastal Peru's
Black slave culture which, long neglected,
are in danger of extinction except as in-
gredients, more or less unrecognized, in a
more general popular ethos. Like Guillen,
he re-incorporates the rhythmic and poetic
forms -- panalivios, decimas, cumananas --
most typical of the Spaniards, Peruvian
creoles and Negros: these were

Rhythms born in slavery
against bitterness and pain.
To the tempo of the chains
Blackfolk rhythms from Peru.

This afro-Peruvian's is a vital, transparent,
accessible, popular verse which, monitoring
local fiestas or exposing false pretension, is
equally self-assured. Assertive, it is, intrinsi-
cally, non-parochial.

The Negro in Peru...(writes Nicomedes
Santa Cruz)
wholly shares a common destiny with
his (primarily creole and
Indian) brothers from the Sierra and
jungle. And if he reaffirms his negri-
tude he does so,
without complexes or racial prejudice,
conscious of
the value of his ancestral character-
istics as a means
of projecting himself -- from Peru --
towards (Latin America
and) universal citizenship.34


To cultivate the land
with sweat and tears
and have another enjoy the fruit
is the same/as
planting a seed in a woman
to have another steal the child she

A voice of the desinherited, a poet in re-
.volt, Santa Cruz also calls out, universally,
for revolution:

Yo soy revolucionario
porque habinedo quien me escucha
pongo mi voz en la lucha
al lado del proletario.

No para mejor salario
ni coto a la cesantia.
Denuncio la plus valia
con cartas sobre la mesa
y ataco la libre empresa,
Hijos de la patria mia!...

(I'm a revolutionary
for while there's a person to listen
my voice's in the struggle,
on the proletarian side.
Not to get a higher salary
or to end my unemployment.
I denounce all surplus value
and attack free enterprise
with my cards all on the table,
sons of my motherland!)

Like Guillen, he belongs to the tradition of
the troubadours whose songs seek to arti-
culate and mould at the same time that
they reflect the ethos of a people.
Negrismo has inspired very few novels.
Among those that have appeared Alejo
Carpentier's The Kingdom of This World
(1949) is easily the most impressive. It is
neither .fashionably topical, primitivistt',
nor folkloric in intent. It is not even a
negrista novel, properly speaking. For Car-
pentier, the 'black theme' here is secondary
to broader philosophical purpose: explor-
ing the nature of man in history. The black
protagonist, the humble slave Ti Noel and
the class he represents, is a symbol, an
architype whose specific acts are, eventual-
ly, a repetition, the mirror of acts by other
men in similar circumstances. The Negro
here is, consequently, every-man.
The novel is the fictive portrayal of
events in Haiti between the second half
of the eighteenth century (circa 1760) and
1820. It depicts the lives of Haiti's slaves
under the island's different masters -
white, black, mulatto and, by suggesting
a dialectical continuum which confronts
oppressor and oppressed, underscores the
not specifically racial nature of the master-
slave relationship, the universal need. for
struggle in order to better the human con-
dition. History unfolds in successive cycles:
the expulsion of white colonists, and of
French expeditions dispatched to retake
the island from the slaves in revolution, in-
augurates the era of Henri Christophe and
forced labor camps, Christophe's demise -
and that of his europeanized 'nobility' -
brings the mulattoes, and another tyranny,
to power. Inevitably they, too, will fall,
the victim of revolt among the slaves. The
novel ends when that revolt begins. The
plot is "an endless return of chains"35 to
which the masses of slaves, united by

mutual oppression and a belief in voodou,
respond with an unceasing recurrence to
revolt. More than a link to the African cul-
tural past, the outlawed religion becomes
a response to subjugation and a unifying
force: a counter-culture, an ideology which
opposes the status quo: the symbolic re-
presentation of any revolutionary ideology.
Carpentier is obviously less interested in
character in individual lives than in the
continuous flow of anonymous forces:
the movement of masses in history. The
structural development of the novel is
pessimistic: Individuals Macandal,
Bouckman, LeClerc, Christophe enter
and drop from the historical scene, move-
ments are crushed or corrupted. It is not,
however, a question of personalities or
specific revolts. We merely bear witness
to a dialectic. "Revolutions are always
short-term failures but (they are also)
harbingers of greater things to come"
It is only when, at the end of the move,
Ti Noel finally realizes this that "The
old man hurled his declaration of war
against the new masters, ordering his (fel-
low slaves and co-religionists) to march in
battle array against the insolent works of
the mulattoes in power."37 The condition
of man, then, is struggle: specific and
individual but, more ineluctably, collective
and anonymous. More importantly, for
Carpentier, it is in struggle that man "finds
.......his fullest measure.
Now he understood (we are told of Ti
Noel) that a man never knows for
whom he suffers and hopes. He suffers
and hopes and toils for people he will
never know, and who, in turn, will not
be happy either, for man always seeks
a happiness far beyond that which is
meted out to him. But man's great-
ness consists in the very fact of want-
ing to be better than he is. In laying
duties upon himself. In the Kingdom
of Heaven (to which Ti Noel had been
wishing he could escape) there is no
grandeur to be won, inasmuch as there
all is an established hierarchy, the un-
known is revealed, existence is infinite,
there is no possibility of sacrifice, all
is rest and joy. For this reason, bowed
down by suffering and duties, beauti-
ful in the midst of his misery, capable
of loving in the face of afflictions and
trials, man finds his greatness, his full-
est measure only in the Kingdom of
This World.9

The decision to revolt gives Ti Noel moral
stature, identity, a human purpose: I make
the revolution, therefore I am; therefore
we are...In The Kingdom of This World,
we have an allegory of the persistent striv-
ing of humankind towards a more just uni-
verse, a novel in which the Black, no longer
a dancing zombi, is a synthesis of the en-
-tire social collectivity as it responds to the
demands of history and its own oppression.
The youngest generation of writers
with an interest in the black presence in
'Our America' Miguel Barnet (1940 ),
Nancy Morejon (1944), Pedro Perez
Sarduy (1943), Rogelio Fure ( ) are all
Cuban. As a group they combine scholar-
ship, 'fiction' and poetry. In addition to
books of poetry- La sagrada familiar
(1967), Isla de guijes (1964), La piedra final
y el pavorreal (1963) Barnet has so far

published two parts of his trilogy of 'anth-
ropological novels': "They are anthropo-
logical studies, historical testaments, and
fiction all at once. The first volume (Bio-
grafia de un cimarron) deals with colonial
Cuba (and the life of the slaves in the nine-
teenth century), the second (Cancion de
Rachel) with the republican period, and
the third will focus on revolutionary
Cuba. '40 The black man is part of an
historic past that culminates in the revolu-
tion. Fure's work Poesia anonima afri-
cana (1968), Poesia yoruba (1963) is an
attempt to rescue the anonymous cultural
heritage Africans have bequeath to the pre-
sent generation of Cubans: to reintroduce
and underscore the consciousness of it that
poets like Guillen made common coin.
Nancy Morejon and Perez Sarduy41 mingle
their sense of a black of an Afro-Cuban
- identity (which, no longer threatened,
they take for granted) with immersion in
the reality of the revolution, an awareness
of the world at large, and their dedication
to the creation of The New Man. Walking
through Havana's Central Park and noting
the people as "they look at each other and
talk of the Revolution and Fidel", Nancy
Morejon is unequivocal: one must say
"yes/ to all the men of the people who
died and to their blood/..and must sigh/
and walk slowly and breath/ and walk
lightly and sigh and breath and walk slow-
ly/ and give up his whole life/furiously/
comrades."42 At the same time, in "Free-
dom now", which she dedicates to SNCC
in the United States, she crys out against
the fact that

any southern cow (can) exclaim

"In these times of Coca-cola
nuclear power and international con-
my milk is worth much more
than the sperm of a Black student.43

Recalling Frantz Fanon, Perez Sarduy is
equally emphatic:

The music sleeps in the dawn
The bayonet with the century's name
The music sleeps in the continent
Its wounded body, which has the
name of a guerrilla, vibrates
Black skin
White masks

I am a sentry
sitting on the rinds of a continent
watching over the offended dreams of
a white dove.44

From what these artists have so far
produced, it is apparent that "The new
Black Orpheus will be a revolutionary... be-
cause he is a contemporary and an ally of
Ho Chi Minh, of Fidel Castro and of
Ernesto Che Guevara."45


1. The direct descendents and cultural heirs
of Spanish penisulares who, having ejected the
latter from the New World and transforming
themselves into a national bourgeoise, were un-
able to relinguish their dependence on Europe
for cultural and ideological models. With Spain
gone, they looked successively to England,
France and that other Europe the United
2. The zombi is "The man whose spirit
and reason have been stolen and who has been
left only with his labor. (...) According to this
myth, it was forbidden to put salt in the zombi's
food, for the condiment would awaken his
creative powers. The history of colonization
(Rend Depestre, the Haitian poet, notes) is like
a process of the generalized zombification of
man. It is also the history of the search for a
revitalizing salt, capable of restoring to men
the use of his imagination and his culture."
see "Los fundamentos socio-culturales de nu-
estra identidad", Casa de las Americas (Havana),
No. 58, 1970, p.27.
3. Spain was involved in the slave trade even
before the Portugese expeditions. The first
group of slaves arrived and were sold in Seville
in 1441. In 1475 blacks were so numerous in
that city that the Crown was compelled to
name a special (black) judge. Slaves were also
exported, from Seville, to Castile and Arag6n
and the number of black free and slave in
Valencia and Barcelona was sufficient to give
rise to black guilds and fraternities. Cf. Friday
Weber de Kurlat, "Sobre el negro como tipo
comico en el teatro espanol del siglo XVI",
Romance Philology, Vol. XVII, No. 2, Novem -
ber, 1963.
4. Words of no particular meaning of the'
artist's own invention and used for their evoca-
tive suggestiveness.
5. Friday Weber De Kurlat, ob. Cit., p. 389.
6. I understand that a similar phenomena
can be observed in the United States in "The
Tragic Octoroon" novels of the last century.
7. Sab does have moments in which he
Dreams of "setting against our oppressors the
chained arms of their victims" but he sees this
possible revolution in terms of self-immolation
and, in fact, does nothing.
8. His freedom brought (for $400) by del
Monte's group, it is instructive to compare
Manzano's reminiscences with those of his near
contemporary, the runaway slave Esteban
Montejo as set down in his Biographia de un
cimarrdn (ed. Miguel Barnet): Mexico, Siglo
XXI, 1968. Published here by Pantheon Press,
it has been translated as The Autobiography
of a Runaway Slave.
9. As part of the collection Los frutos
10. Race and Colour in Caribbean Literature
(New York: Oxford University Press, 1962), p.
11. Foner, Philip S. A History of Cuba and
its Relations with the United States. N.Y.: In-
national Publishers, 1962. Vol I, p. 198.
12. Foner, ob. cit., p. 198.
13. All quotes from the writings of Jose
Marti are from: -Obras Completas (Havana:
Editorial Lex, 1946) 2 indexed volumes: Trans-
lations are my own, unless otherwise noted.
14. The fact that Marti was not himself an
eyewitness to the quake, but rather recon-
structed the event impressionistically from
newspaper accounts only underscores the es-
sentially subjectivist character of the representa-
tion of the Negro as exotic primitive.
15. An example of the degree to which we
can internalize, and by affected by, the colon-
izer's categories.

16. The author is currently at work on a
more detailed examination of this aspect of
Marti's work entitled: "Idea & Image: The
Black Person and Jose Marti.
17. Coulthard, ob. cit., p. 94
18. Poesia: 1915-1956. (Rio PiedrasiUniversi-
dad de Puerto Rico, 1968), p. 218.
19. El Mundo, Nov., 13, 1932. Quoted in
Arcadio Diaz Quiiones "La Poesia negra de Luis
Pales Matdos: Realidad y concencia de su di-
mension colectiva" Sin Nombre auno 1, Vol. 1,,
No. 1 1970, San Juan, Puerto Rico. p. 23.
20. drbita de la poesia afro-cubana: 1928-37
(Havana, 1938), p. XII
21. Ricardo Gull6n as quoted in Wilfred
Cartey's Black Images (N.Y.: Colombia Teachers
College Press, 1970) p. 109 (my translation).
22. Pales Matos, ob. cit., p. 240.
23. Cancion negra sin color (Havana: Cuader-
nos Union, 1966, p. 12.
24. ob. cit. p. 19.
25. Quoted by Angel Augier. Nicola's Guillefi:
Notes para un studio biogrtafico-critico (Santa
Clara, Cuba: Universidad Central de las villas,
1965) Tomo I, p. 129.
26. Angel Augier, "The Cuban Poetry of
Nicholas Guillen", Phylon, XII (1951), p. 32.
27. Augier, Nicolad Guille'n: Notas ... Tomo
I, p. 168.
28. Translation by David Arthur McMurray.
29. Tambores en la noche (Guanajuato: Uni-
versidad de Guanajuato, 1955, p.75. Translated
by Wilfred Cartey, ob. cit., p.49.
30. Tambores ... p.26 translation by Wilfred
Cartey, ob. cit., pp. 48.
31. Joaquin Gallegos Lara, "Raza, poesia y
novel de Adalberto Ortiz" preface to El Animal
Nerido: antologia poetica (Quito: 1959 p.17.
32. ibid., p.17.
33. His published works to date are :
Decimas (Lima: Libreria Editorial Juan Mejia
Baca, 1960), Cumanana (Lima: Libreria Edi-
torial Juan Mejia Baca, 1964), and Canto a mi
Peru (I sing to my Peru), Lima: Libreria Stu-
dium, S.A., 1966.
34. "El negro en el Peru", preface to the
recorded version of Cumanana.
35. The Kingdom of This World (trans. by
Harriet de Onis), New York: Alfred A. Knopf,
1957, p.143.
36. Luis Harss and Barbara Dohmann, Into
the Mainstream: Conversations with Latin Ameri-
can Writers. N.Y., Harper & Row, 1967, p.48.
37. The Kingdom of This World, p. 149.
38. The Kingdom of This World, p. 149.
39. ibid, p. 148-149
40. Interview quoted in Roberta Salper "Li-
terature and Revolution in Cuba", Monthly Re-
view, VoL XXII, No. 5, Oct. 1970, p.25.
41. Their books so far include, respectively:
Richard trajo su flanta y otros arguments
(1966), Mutismos (1962), Amor, Cuidad Atri-
buida (1964); and Surrealidad (1967).
42. Richard trajo su flauta y otros argu-
43. Ibid.
44. Surrealidad (Cuadernos Union: Havana,
1967, p.63
45. Voices of National Liberation: The Re-
volutionary Ideology of the "Third World" as
Expressed by Intellectuals and Artists at the
Cultural Congress of Havana, January, 1968 (ed.
Irwin Silber). N.Y.: Central Book Company, Inc.,
1970, p.91.
Illustrations from:- Mapa de la Poesia Negra
Americana, by Emelio Ballagas. Proceso Historico
de las letras cubanas, by Juan Remos. Recurso
del metodo. Bosquejo historic de las letras cu-
banas by Jose Antonio Portuondo. Cuba In-
ternacional Marzo 1974. Retrato de Miguel by
Vallejo Buero.

Art in



Name Cliveland Shaw, Age 12, Grade 6, School -
Seaside Primary, Title My Classmate.

School Rennock Lodge All-Age School, Grade 1, Age 6 years, Title -

Name Mark Mcintosh, Age 10 years, Grade 4, School Dunrobin Prim
ary, Title The story of Hansel and GretheL


, .-0-
i L.


at the
of Jamaica
Dorothy Henriques Wells Award

Farm with Father. Seaside Primary

use on the Hill, Yallahs Primary, Delroy Harris.

Title Mural Our surroundings, Age 6-7, Grade 1 (group work), School Dunrobin Primary.
:: IMM f --

Title Tie Dye, School Leonards Uovernment School.

Ronald (9 yrs.), Nigel
5. Title Shellscape.

-=r- ,ivlefl 33 e ,l .l ,s
b-ooloVv norw wde Z
2 n C Ty rn ScJbt'L'

Vivienne Duncan, Age 7 years, Grade 2, School Priory
ry School

yrs.). Rennock Lodge All-age. Grade Name Leighton Myrie, Age 9,
Title Playing.


By Olive Senior

Teacher ask me to write composition
about The Most Unforgettable Character
.I Ever Meet and I write three page about
Miss Rilla and Teacher tear it up and say
that Miss Rilla not fit person to write com-
position about and right away I feel bad
the same way I feel the day Miss Rilla go
and die on me.
When Miss Rilla die I wish I could
make up a ballad for her like they do for
famous people in the old days. Don't ask
me why only when we sing Ballad song
in school I get sad and think of Miss Rilla.
But I can't sing or play guitar and nobody
make music round here since that Blue Boy
gone away and beside this whole thing too
deep and wide for a little thing like a
Ballad. So I will just tell you the story of
Miss Rilla and Poppa D, Blue Boy and me'
though is really about Miss Rilla. And
when we come to the sad part we can have
something like a chorus because they have
that in all the ballad song they sing but I
don't think bout the chorus yet.
Miss Rilla die on truck that was
carrying her to market and they bring her
body down but I never see it before they
make it one with the Springville ground for
all day I down by the river crying and not
crying, laughing and not laughing.
O my Lord Miss Rilla don't laugh
round here anymore and it seem like all
the laughing in the world come to a stop
and everybody talking nice bout her.
Eh-eh, everybody talking like they never
once say any nastiness and like Blue Boy
would say if he was here, "It grieve me so
Lord". Is same way Blue Boy would say
only he don't talk much because all the
time he there playing music on one fife he
did make himself and this music tall and
pale and thin just like him and not like
anything you ever hear over Mass Curly
To show you how Blue Boy never talk
much: the night Joe Amos come from
town with news that Miss Rilla drop dead
on truck every jack man in Springville
have something to say. Except Blue Boy.
He never say nothing at all. Blue Boy
just stick him fife in him pocket and he
leave only I don't know is gone he gone
forever till him mother come from over
Laplands the Sunday and say nobody see
him anywhere and where he is? And when
I say I don't know she give me bad eye for
me and Blue Boy always keeping company
but it wasn't what anybody think at all so
I don't pay her no mind. And nobody see
him to this day although I have strong
feeling he gone Kingston to get on Talent
Show on radio and if he ever come back to
this place at all he will change.
So now Blue Boy sort of walk through
my mind but not Miss Rilla. Blue Boy pass

through my mind because I don't remember
music in my mind. But every now and then
when something really sweet me I will
break into a loud loud laugh and sometime
when I listen back to this laugh is just like
Miss Rilla herself laughing.
Even MeMa notice it for the other day
she say to me, "Lenora, cut out that nasty
piece of laughing for you beginning to
sound just like Rilla Dunvil" only 'by the
time she say it I not laughing any more I
crying but not so she can see.
MeMa never cry for Miss Rilla. MeMa
never cry for nobody. And she did have
some harsh word to say about Miss Rilla
and Blue Boy the only people in the
world that I love.
Bwoy, hear what she say bout Blue
Boy when she see him passing on roadside:
"Look at that wuthless good-fe-nutten
a gwan there nuh. Whoever hear bout a
big man a-play on a half-ass piece of bam-
boo all day long, tell me nuh? But what
you expect no Lapland he come from?
An' let me tell you that nutten good ever
come out of that backward place and that
is the Lord own truth. Is pure Coromantee
nigger live over there like that bwoy
Zackie that did tief Mass Curly goat yu no
see how the lot of them redibo and have
puss eye? Just like that musicman friend of
yours there. He might be yu cousin out of
wedlock that yu father brother Rennis did
have on the side with that Coromantee
woman and blood thicker than water but I
still don't see why you have to mix yu-
self up with that trash because everybody
trying hard to bring yu up in a good
Christian home with decent people
children. Anyway bird of a feather flock
together and everybody know your pedi-
gree not so hot if is that class of people
yu want to mix up wid dog nyam yu
supper. Yu can gwan yu is yu father
pickney and he will have to deal with yu
I not goin worry myself no more."
When MeMa go on so I just sit quiet
quiet till she forget what she talking bout
because if I make any sound she quick to
fire me a box hot-hot. I call her MeMa
though she not really my mother at all.
She is the mother of Elsie and George
and Rainey and Marshall and Petey and
Dulcie and Gabriel but their Pa Mass
George is my Pa too only he did have me
with a lady friend he was keeping one
time over at Morningside. But she did have
other children from before I born and
MeMa did take me from I small and raise
me up in her house because she say she
couldn't stand the embarrassment that
it cause with her church sister and all to
see me as a Barstard round the place.
And generally she not so bad though she
say some word that really hurt sometime

and 1 know that she don't love me like her
own children but that Miss Rilla love me
because she done have no other children
to love.
So whenever MeMa done quarrel and
gone round the back I wait till her
attention distracted and I run down to
Miss Rilla yard where I know Blue Boy
waiting under the jacaranda tree and Miss
Rilla sitting in her rocking chair eating her
own sweet things she bake in the oven
that Poppa D make for her round the back
and I so happy my two people in the world
waiting for me.
O God but sometime MeMa go on bad
about people so, especially about Miss
Rilla. Miss Rilla will walk past in her pretty
red dress and her new head tie and some
big gold earring hanging down and Poppa
D new boots and I think she looking like a
million pound and like Missis Queen
"Aie there Miss Grett, w'appen" she
call out smiling and waving her hankie at
MeMa who there hanging out clothes on
the line.
"Holdin steady me darling, holding
steady me chile", MeMa call out in her
sweet-sweet voice and the clothes pin she
holding drop from her mouth. "Stop! is
how yu looking so blooming today me
"Aie, a not feeling so well all the same
yu know but I cant complain", Miss Rilla
say and she fanning and wiping her face for
the day really hot.
I a-listen from round the side of the
house and I know them two set of eye
make one and then the two. of them look
way quick-quick and is only silence I hear.
Then Miss Rilla say slow-like, "Well, a
just a run a Mass Curly shop to get a little
oil before dark for Poppa D never
remember to bring me a drop from town".
"Eh-eh, then nuh so life stay me dear.
Anyway some of we not even so lucky
have people bring we things from town
ha-ha", MeMa say. "But walk good me
All this time she talking in her sweet-
sweet voice and she watch Miss Rilla walk
slow-like up the road because Miss Rilla
carry plenty weight on her body and the
rockstone them really hard.
As soon as Miss Rilla outa earshot and
MeMa take her in she run inside quick time
and bawl out for me big sister Dulcie and
Estrella that does wash for us sometime.
"Ai, Dulcie Estrella come look at this
poppyshow no mi chile". And the whole
lot of them run outside to crane them
neck up the road
"Eh-eh, Mother-young-gal brucking
style today papa", say the Dulcie she.
"She really looking blooming me dear

I tell her though I would look blooming to
if I was brazen enough to put all that rouge
thing on my face", MeMa say.
"An her earring look just like cart-
wheel. Is who she trying fool say is gold?"
"An is poor Poppa D good boot she a-
wear out" Estrella say as if is her boot.
"Lord, Jackass say world no level and is
true because look how that man work him
finger to the bone and all the woman do is
wear out him good boot on the rockstone
just because she wan' bus' style".
And then they say plenty more thing
and they go on like that.every time Miss
Rilla even step out of her yard.
O Lord. No more laughing. No more
big gold earring. No more Miss Rilla
gizada to cool down me temper when
MeMa. beat me. All the sweetness done.
"Hi you little crying chile with the
red head. Come here", Miss Rilla call out
the day I pass her house just after she move
down from Red Ground. "Come here, you
is a Gayle without a doubt. What yu crying
O Lord Miss Rilla larger than my
whole life sitting in a rocking chair Poppa
D make for her but it splintering now and I
learn when she ask question she don't want
answer for she using her apron to wipe my
eye and when she done I get a good look
at her. I did think Miss Rilla was a gypsy
woman though I never in my life see no
gypsy but is so she look. To gawd! And me
eye water done quick quick for she gone
inside the house and I studying how a big
woman can move so light and she come
back out with a plateful of gizada that big
and juicy and hot, and quick, I forget
about beating and eye water.
"Little sweetness always cure bad
temper. Never mind though chile yu
forget the hurt by the time yu marry. But
take care you don't marry already for when
eventime come I see you with that boy
that play the music so sweet the two of
you nice-up past here eveningtime yu
think I don't see you".
By this time Miss Rilla laughing and
laughing the way she laugh when she
teasing people and didn't have in her false
teeth the first time I see her and her mouth
wide open in a 0 in her big big laugh.
Before Miss Rilla laughing I never hear
woman really laugh before, think only man
know how to give deep belly laugh.
Miss Rilla used to bake things and
keep in a glass case and sell them to school
children and big people that pass. But most
of the time she take her sweet things to
Kingston to sell on sidewalk. She would
travel up to Kingston with the rest of the
higgler on Mass Curly truck that Poppa
D use to drive. People did say that is
not that she really need the money but
that she don't trust Poppa D out of her
sight and some people say that is the other
way round but I don't business with that.
Anyway is same truck that Miss Rilla
die on. Her heart just give way 'cording
to Big Mout Doris. Is Big Mout Doris did
tell the whole story to MeMa and MeMa
just interrupting interrupting all the time
and is bout Miss Rilla I want to hear.
"We jus have to wait in the middle of
the sunhot you know Miss Grett, yes
mam", Big Mout Doris say. "Cephas had
was to get ride to May Pen to get
Strongman and Strongman get ride to

where we all was and drive we to town.
Poppa D did want the truck was to turn
back and go straight home but by this time
all we food spoiling in the sunhot and
not that people hard you understand but is
we livelihood that and pickney still a yard
fe keep alive so we had was to reach town.
"So when Poppa D introduce this
argument tho we all grieve we couldn't do
nutten bout it. Him there a cry and a say
how police a town goin take him wife
body weh and not give him back and how
him did promise bury her under jacaranda
tree in garden so when she dead she can
still hear tree branch a su-su. Some people
extra yu know maam.....
"To tell yu truth we nevva like the
dead body on the truck but she didn't look
so bad you know she just look like seh
she sleeping and how we did fine out that
is dead she dead is that she did lean over on
Jennie on the bench and Jennie say 'Hi
Miss Rilla allow me to breath no man
you heavy to support yu know and we
all want catch we little sleep before we
leave town'.
"Then Jennie did try ease her back on
her side of the bench and all the try she try
she couldn't budge her and then Jennie
touch her and notice that she cold cold so
she try wake her and she calling and shoutin
so hard she wake up everybody else in the
truck but not Miss Rilla and then Jennie
give out 'Lord Jesus I think is dead Miss
Rilla dead on me' and everybody start bawl
out fe Jesus and we finally come to a real
understanding that is dead she dead in
truth so we knock on the window to get
Poppa D to stop the truck and at last he
must study that something wrong for he
stop the truck and he come round the back
and he shout out:
'Is what happen to the whole lot of
you eh?'
"An we didn't have heart to tell him
that Miss Rilla dead so we say;
'We don't think Miss Rilla feeling so
well Poppa D' and he say 'eh-eh' and climb
in the truck and start feel her hand and her
face and then he feel her heart and he
saying 'Miss Rill Miss'Rill' quiet-like and
when he feel her heart he find out that it
not beating at all so now he turn round and
look at all of we standing outside round
the back of the truck a look up at him and
we all quiet and when he look at we all he
did say was 'Why you all didn't tell me she
dead eh' and none of we did know what to
say to that.
"So he just sit there a hold her hand
and everything quiet like it quiet unto
death and we never even notice that day
breaking round we and everybody cough-
ing and slapping the mosquito them and
not saying nothing and we shifting we foot
because we don't know what to do till
finally Cephas clear him throat and Cephas
say, 'Poppa D we know is hard and we is all
grieving with you but we cant stay here all
day and sunhot coming up'.
"This was to get Poppa D to do some-
thing but he never say nothing and by this
time we all by the roadside and a start
argue so finally you know how Cephas
have a word for every occasion finally
Cephas say 'Listen now Poppa D is in no
fit state to drive we and since none of we
can drive this truck we have to find some-
body else to drive. Is not that I cant drive
you know I can drive good good but like

how that tiefing bwoy up May Pen fail me
when I go take Test because I never give
him more than four shilling the ol 'dawg
I don't want get in no trouble with the
"So we there arguing again and by this
time Poppa D crying and say how we have
to go back to Springville and we say we
cant do that for our livelihood on that
truck so Cephas go get Strongman and
Strongman come back and drive we. And
we telling Poppa D he better off siddown
in front with Strongman because he would
have to direct him when he reach town
seeing as how Strongman don't know town
so good. So we manage to get him to the
truck front because all the time he like
a man in a dream and Miss Rilla look
like she still a sleep though nobody
sitting beside her now. And Cephas say
'Look here this is a time of sadness and
the Bible say that we must respect the
dead, amen. But I think we doing the right
thing and God would smile on we because
he understand we is all poor people and
we must look after we living and if we
don't sell we things we living don't eat. But
I don't think that we should tell anybody in
town there is a dead on this truck with this
food for them Kingston people is very
foolish and suspicious and they would
never buy food from Springville people
again. So we better take the food off quick
as we reach and leave Miss Rilla with Poppa
D and Strongman to look after'.
"So Strongman tell we afterward that
Poppa D still confuse up when we reach
and he didn't know what to do but
Strongman see a Special that he did know
from long time is Jane Southwell from
Red Grown pickney that she did have with
the Adams bwoy from Montego Bay
and him turn out good-good and get job
with Police so Strongman call him one
side and tell him that we have a dead body
on the truck and the Special don't believe
but he look inside and he see the body
in truth so him study for a while and then
him say that as cording to how things stay
Strongman better take the body to morgue
for if police find out is plenty trouble. So
after one piece of argument with Poppa D
that is what they do.
"Anyway I hear that they will have
plenty confusion with police and Poppa D
did have to pay plenty money to have the
body embalm and they bring it back down
in a special big black car pretty cant done.
I didn't see it but Jeanie tell me that them
embalmer man in Kingston did fix her up
real nice and she did have a lovely funeral
but I couldn't go because the youngest
Eda sick bad again and coughing the whole
night . . I tell you one thing though
Miss Grett, that Poppa D not himself at
all from it happen. I never see a man take
death so hard in all me born days and when
you consider what she is . Anyway,
they say you mustnt say bad bout the dead
and I don't have a thing personal against her
you understand because plenty time she
really kind to the pickney them. But since
the funeral Poppa D just sit on the same
rocking chair she herself use to siddown
on and is like him don't see nothing that
a go on in front of him eye. Is like he look-
ing down inside himself all the time. But
maam, if I was him I wouldn't look down
inside my soul at all for I would fraid what
I see. They say what is past is past and is

water under bridge nuh, but the Lord say
that retribution for your sin will catch
up with you. Is not everybody die on truck
that going to town Miss Grett, is not a
Christian death that at all at all...While I
never say nutten bad bout the dead and
nothing personal bout Miss Rilla none of
the two of them can really expect to have a
good death after all they have on their con-
science and I wouldn't surprise if she not
resting easy herself. In fact I hope they
planning a good burydown with plenty
rum and praying for if her duppy come
back is sure to turn rolling calf because she
did even look like coolie sometime and
everybody know how coolie duppy bad.
"Anyway I cant linger with you at all
today for the baby still have the gripe bad
but I hear say Mass Curly having a hard
time getting somebody to drive thattruck
and to tell you truth if another truck did
pass by I would prefer to take it. Poppa D
burn out just good fe nutten me dear
maam . Anyway I sorry I cant stay for
a good labrish but is gone me gone now
and as they say cockroach no business inna
fowl roost but is really a hard thing that
happen to Poppa D".
Ai, no more laughing. No more Miss
Rilla come back from market bringing me
a pocket comb or a hair ribbon. Only
Poppa D and I hurry past the house and
don't say a word. It don't matter. Poppa D
don't see nobody don't see me.
Now it look like I gone and spoil this
ballad story for this is not the way I want
to tell it at all. The part about Miss Rilla.
dying is the end part and it really should
start at the beginning. Only to tell you
the truth I don't know the beginning or end
of nothing right now for I still grieve over
my lovely friend Miss Rilla that gone and
die on me. And I suppose to sit exam this
year for scholarship to high school but
Teacher go and tell MeMa I not learning at
all and he say is a sin because I am a bright
girl especially at the english language he
say and could become teacher or nurse or
something like that. So MeMa beat me for I
not learning and she say she don't under-
stand how I turn worthless in school nowa-
days considering that my two distraction
Miss Rilla and Blue Boy not here anymore
to turn me fool.
To tell you the truth I don't think
MeMa mind if I don't pass exam because I
don't think she like how I come bright in
school and Teacher always praising me and
none of her own children so bright. And I
think she vex because I am me father
outside child and I come bright. And
although she listen to Teacher and beat me
when I don't study hard and tell Teacher
she want to do her best for me even though
I not her child, at the yard she say when
she vex.
"Dont bother get no idea into your
head bout pass exam and go high school
and that sort of impertinence for none of
my rightful children them reach high
school yet and I don't know what make
you think you better than them and I
know is that teacher there putting idea into
your head that you so bright that make
you carrying on this extraness. But
teacher only like you because you darker
than my children and is only that you red
and not so black like him and everybody

saying how black man time come now and
they all sticking together and my children
come out too good colour to suit him.
Thats why he never encouragement them
and make them fail they exam all the time
because they come out with good colour
and straight hair better than Chiney hair
and everybody know this country going to
dog these days for is pure black people
children they pushing to send high
school. Anybody ever hear you can
educate monkey? Well in that case I don't
care if my children don't go because
nobody of consequence going to them old
high school anymore. Anyway that teacher
man forming fool though. Dont bother
make him put no more idea into your
head for I take you from you was a baby
and raise you up in good Christian home
and spend money clothe and feed you and
give you book and slate and pencil for
school just like I give my own children and
I never once treat you different from them
in any way at all and I do this from the
bottom of my heart because the Bible say
'Suffer little children to come onto me' so
don't bother make teacher turn you fool

Is so she go on and she slap the iron on
the coal pot and grab a new one and when
she wipe it done on the banana trash she
slamming it down on the clothes the same
way. Sometime for so long she wouldn't
say a word that I try walk way slow-like
but she would see me and start up again.
"Where you think you going when I
talking to you you unmannersable little
wretch you? Wait! You think say is you
friends them you with?"
And then she slam down the iron again
and make up her face over the ironing and
every move she make jerky and fast like
she vex. Not like Miss Rilla who do every-
thing slow-like,-the same way she walk.
But as MeMa talking she.slamming down
the iron like comma.
"I cant afford to send my own
children to high school so I don't know
who you think have money to send you
and you should be thinking now that your
place is here in this yard to care for your
father and me in our old age because my
rightful children not staying round here
forever. No sir, They all going to town to
get good job in store because their colora-
tion is good and everybody know that
them big office and store in Kingston don't
want no natty head pickney work with
them. So my advice to you is learn some
sewing and things like that so you can stay
right here and take care of we and help pay
for you keep and is a pity your head so
natty and red for your coloration not so
bad but you wont find no nice man
married to you for they don't want no
natty head pickney. They looking for wife
with good colouration so they can raise the
colour so just learn sewing and forget the
books them".
But MeMa wasn't so bad even when she
say words that really hot me is like she not
talking to me at all is like she talking to the
clothes she ironing or the pot she stirring
or whatever she doing at the time. And
even though she not me own ma she did
take me in from I small and raise me and I
am grateful only she make me feel very
small sometime when she start talking bout
me and now between she and Teacher she
really have me confuse because Teacher

and Teacher Wife say:
"Lenora you are a good girl and if
you only put head to the books you can
get a scholarship and go to high school and
even teacher college and be a credit to all
of us but this last year you haven't even
tried . Lenora don't you want to be a
teacher don't you want to be a nurse ...?"
And I confuse because one mind in
me say that I should study and pass exam
so that I can go to high school and speak
good and wear pretty dress and high heel
shoes like Miss Martin the other teacher
and Teacher Wife who is also a teacher and
I think it would really grieve Dulcie to see
me succeed like that because she always
fas'ing with me head and I have to wear
her old dress and she tell everybody is ol'
bruck I wear but is only because she stupid
and cant pass anything at all and even
though she older than me Teacher put us in
the same class and if I turn Teacher I could
get me hair straighten just like Teacher
Wife. And I confuse because another voice
say that MeMa will vex and she wont give
me any encouragement even if I pass
scholarship and Pa say he don't business.
And she might send me back to my mother
who I don't even know and who I hear have
more children since she have me and she
never once send me a Paradise Plum or
come see how I grow. So maybe I should
learn sewing or how to be postmistress and
stay round here so I can take care of MeMa
and Pa in their old age because even if I go
high school and study all the people at the
bank still have fair skin with good hair and
suppose I don't want teach I don't know if
I could get work anywhere else.
O Lord I confuse confuse. No Miss
Rilla to tell me what to do. No Blue Boy
playing music. Nobody to tell me nothing.
Like the time when I was little and I
ask MeMa where baby come from and
MeMa lick me on me head same time with
the coconut brush she cleaning floor with
and me on my knees beside her polishing
and she lick me such a blow I drop and she
"But what in Jesus name is the matter
with this pickney eh? Is force-ripe woman
this? What you want to fas' in big people
business for? Baby is big people business
chile so don't form fool of yourself and ask
impertinent question. Is who put idea into
your head eh? Well Jehosiphat! I never see
or hear such a thing. I have big daughter
and them never have the face so come and
ask me bout them thing so you just wait
your turn pickney for if you so force-ripe
to be asking them things at your age next
thing I know you go try out what you
know and braps we have another bastard
in this house".
But I did know a girl who wasn't much
older than me and she did start to make
baby even though it die and a girl at school
tell me things that I don't believe and I
don't know why MeMa so confuse when I
ask her a little thing like that. So I decide
to go ask Miss Rilla but I don't know if she
know anything because she don't have no
children and Poppa D don't have none
neither and I don't know if you have to
have children first before you know
anything bout them.
So I ask Miss Rilla because I know she
wont vex and lick me but bredda! She

there in her rocking chair shelling peas and
I helping her and her eyes look far far away
like she considering and she consider a
long time till her hands stop shell the peas
and she sort of give a little sigh and she
"Well Lenora child I cant tell you in
nice word because I don't know none and
I not sure that you not too young to know
bout them things but since you ask
is man put seed in the woman belly and it
ripen and nine month afterward you con-
conceive and have baby.
"But listen child this is all I going to
tell you because I don't want give you any
idea bout baby now, you is to go and do
your studies and train and turn Teacher
and when you grow up big you will meet a
nice teacher man or a agricultural man with
good government job and you will marry
and he can do it to you so you can make
baby. But don't worry about them things
finish you education and don't bother in-
terest yourself in man at all they is pure
trouble... "
She continue to shell peas and when
she didn't laugh her eyes big and shiny like
ackee seed only them sad sad like picture I
see all the time of Mary Jesus Mother. Her
face strong, stronger than any face I ever
see and we shell peas till it quiet like
"Miss Rilla then how come you and
Poppa D living together all this while and
you don't have children?"
More silence and I watch her hand
"Ai child, some things you just can't
explain .... God decide that some people
not to have children because there is too
much suffering children in the world
already and they don't have enough food to
feed them but is not you decide though is
God decide and you just have to accept
what he say... "
I want to ask her more but I fraid for
Miss Rilla looking sad on me and I never
see her so sad before.
But I hear them talking, I hear the
women talking when they over at MeMa
house or down by river washing, talking
say she is mule because she barren and that
the Lord ordain all woman to have children
and if woman don't have children she no
better than mule because God curse is on
her and then they talk about the wicked
thing that Miss Rilla do and how she is
So when Miss Rilla tell me why she
don't have children I still confuse but I
believe is God say that she not to have
children for too many sad children in
world already and I know my rightful
mother did have a whole heap of children
before she have me and she didn't have
enough food to feed them so she give them
away and maybe God say that she should
have me so I can be a blessing to MeMa and
Pa in their old age I don't know.
But I know this wicked thing they
talking about that Miss Rilla do, I listen
bout the yard and I been hearing it from I
was a child. Not until about two years
ago when I really old that I get to know
Miss Rilla for she living in another district
all this time with Poppa D until Poppa D
decide to build the house near us so we
turn neighbour. But this thing that happen
did happen long before I ever born and I
hear so much about it that even now I

don't believe that it happen around here
and is like the Miss Rilla they all talking
about is another Miss Rilla and is not the
lady I really know because I never see Miss
Rilla do anything bad and everybody say
that the other Miss Rilla do a wicked
wicked thing and the Bible say anybody
who do a thing like that will perish in
everlasting hell fire. So they say.
But even though she dead I don't
believe my Miss Rilla is any hell fire. I
know she is in Heaven though MeMa say
she is the main sinner in Jamaica and look
how she don't even go to church. But if you
ask me Miss Rilla fly straight up to heaven
and she up there with Saint Peter and living
in a little house with a rocking chair on the
verandah just like her house on earth
because it was so pretty and she did love it
so. And she still making gizada and grater
cake, wangla and drops and all the little
children in heaven round her and she teas-
ing them and telling them stories and they
laughing all the time. Up there even the big
people are her friends because nobody talk
nasty about nobody in Heaven. So Miss
Rilla just keeping everybody up in Heaven
laughing and because she look so pretty
and like Missis Queen when she dress up
they ask her to wear her red dress to
brighten up Heaven even though everybody
suppose to wear white. And when Saint
Peter see Miss Rilla in her red dress and her
glass case full of bake things he say this is
just what Heaven need and he get the
mason up there to build her a brick oven
just like the one Poppa D did make for her
and she there baking gizada and grater
cake, wangla and drops and all sort of
sweet things in heaven.
So I don't see why they did have to go
on bout keep up no big Nine Night for
her when she die and everybody drinking
up the rum and them all talking bout plant-
ing her down real deep or else her duppy
come back like rolling calf which is bad
duppy to haunt you. Cho! Miss Rilla have
better things to do with her time in
Heaven than think about this District
where all they do is backbite her and they
not even worth haunting anyhow.
That is how I think sometime but to
tell you the truth I not sure because I feel
kind of jealous now that Miss Rilla have a
whole lot of other children to joke with
and sometime I want to die too so that I
can be with her. And sometime I not so
sure that she really gone to Heaven at all
since from the time I know her she never
even go to church. I only know no more
bake things, no more Miss Rilla, all the
laughing done.
Is the same way she disappear the day
after the murder and nobody can find her,
nobody at all, and everybody looking all
over the place. And the police all round a-
take statement and a-measure and a-write
things down in book and they couldn't find
her neither and they did want to ask her all
sort of question and everybody round the
place a excite up themself because nothing
like this ever happen before and everybody
saying that it give the district a bad name
and even people in Kingston get to hear
bout it for it Gleaner, and they say round
here that from she born she causing
And everybody arguing say what they

would do if it was them and some people
saying that they cant blame her if she run
away for they would shame and run way
too if it was them and some people say
that the best thing that she could ever do is
hang herself or drop into sinkhole. And
they say that if she ever show herself in the
district again they would stone her to
death because that is what they do in the
Bible to people like that. And MeMa say no
matter where Miss Rilla flee whether to
hills or valleys God's justice will find her
and punish hpr because God is a Just God
and he is everywhere and he find all sinners
and punish them no matter where they
hide even if they quick or dead, fast or
slow. And they search and search and no
Miss Rilla till the excitement almost die
down. Pa say that after a time Springville
people never care if they find Miss Rilla be-
cause people used to drive down there in
motor car so see the place where all the ex-
citement was happening and such a thing
never happen before and they never see so
much motor car in their life and all the boy
them half the time so busy looking at mo-
tor car they forget about Miss Rilla. And
that Agnes Dawson who was a child that
time did run away with one of the men
that did drive down in motorcar but after
the motorcar did gone just a mile it start to
heat up and plenty steam coming out of
the engine and she so frighten that she
jump out and run back home for she never
go inside motorcar before in her whole
life and she think it was going to explode.
And Pa say.that especially the shopkeeper
them was glad because all like Mass Curly
him never sell so much rum in him life and
the whole heap of them get rich out of
Miss Rilla misfortune.
Anyway after two weeks done Miss
Rilla just appear sudden one day and give
herself up to Corpie down the square. And
Corpie was a Special and the most case he
ever handle before is when people tief goat
and is only one person, Big Head Jim that
ever tief people goat. So anytime anybody
ever miss goat all Corpie do is wait till Big
Head come down to Springville square and
he hold him and lead him off.
So when Miss Rilla give herself up to
him him never know what to do. Then him
suddenly remember who she is so him rush
her inside the house and shut the door and
he say have some lemonade Miss Rilla and
treating her like Royalty. Then he confuse
some more so he rush into the bedroom
and put on him Sam Browne belt that hang
on the bed post. Then he fraid she leave
so he rush into the hall and when he see
her sitting so quiet he rush back inside and
take off the belt and put on his blue serge
pants with the blue seam at the side.Then
he rush back outside to check that she still
there then he run inside and put on his
belt and black boot. Then he take the
boots off and polish and shine them. All
this time he studying that plenty trouble
will cause if people find her there so he
decide to hire vehicle quick and take her
out of the district. So he tiptoe past Miss
Lou and put him finger to him mouth to
tell her to keep quiet then he creep down
to Mass Curly shop to hire car and tell Mass
Curly that his wife sick and he taking her
to doctor. All this time the wife over at her
ground big and hearty same way but Mass
Curly don't know that. So he get the car
and as he drive up to the house he run

inside and hustle Miss Rilla into the back
seat and they take off. And when he take
her to the police station they take state-
ment from her and warn her not to run
away again for she important witness in
the case.
By this time news spread quick quick
in Springville that she give herself up and
Corpie take her gone to big police station.
And every jack man woman and pickney
for miles round gather in the square and
they jeering and shouting and calling out
and waiting for Miss Rilla to come back.
And Pa who I hear all these things from say
that the funny thing is that when the car
finally draw up and the door open, not a
living soul in the crowd move or say a
word for she have a look on her face that
frighten every one of them and as she get
out the car they all just craning them neck
and looking and holding up baby and
mashing one another toe but not one make
a move. Is like they all behind an invisible
line and Corpie take her and lead her into
his house without even thinking what he
doing and he shut the door and not a soul
move or say a word for about five minute
afterward and everyone just move off
quiet-like as if they was never there. Pa
say he was there and he feel that she did
get a scienceman work a fet for her so
nobody could touch her and nobody dare
lift a finger against her.
And she stay in her house quiet from
the day she come back till the trial and
Bigger gone to Penitentiary for life and he
didn't hang because it was a crime of
passion Pa say and nobody ever see her
come out of that house during that time
though everybody watching all the time.
And only Poppa D did visit her and carry
food which really surprise everybody
and cause plenty talking and upset because
Poppa D was a big man and a decent man
in the district and nobody even know that
he know Miss Rilla no less and everybody
say that Poppa D don't have a right mixing
himself up with a scarlet woman like that
even though other people say that is all
the travel in foreign part make him head
not so righted. But like how Poppa D did
have money and was a very independent
soul and people use to whisper how him
connect up with the strongest Scienceman
in Jamaica everybody carry on treat him
with respect same way when they see
him and never say a word about him or
Miss Rilla to him face.
Poor poor Miss Rilla. Ai my child,
Poor Poppa D. I don't need all them pot
with flowers at all at all. Love bloom on
my doorstep, Miss Rilla used to tell me.
And it was true because I never in
my life see a thing like how Miss Rilla and
Poppa D live nice to one another. No
sir. MeMa and Pa wasn't like that at
all at all. I never once see Pa bring MeMa
any little sweet thing from town no
matter how much goat him sell and I
never see MeMa laugh the way Miss Rilla
laugh soft sometime when Poppa D
tease her. Sometime MeMa and Pa
used to frighten me till my heart drop clear
to my footbottom because, although I
shouldn't be talking these things, the two
of them could bruck some big fight and
lick one another no fool.
Pa wasn't afraid of MeMa and she
wasn't afraid of him neither because she

was a big strapping woman compare to him
and one time Pa did throw a vase her niece
did send Ma from America and break
a glass window and if you look you can
see is still cardboard in the window be-
cause MeMa say she not fixing it and we
all can drown when rain come and the
cardboard soak and any time she mention'
the window and Pa is there he get mad and
is another fight start again.
And another time Pa did sell some
goat at May Pen and when he coming back
home and reach Mass Curly shop he stop
and take up a few waters and next thing
we know he staggering up the road and
we could hear him clear down Mister
Ramsay corner the way he shouting. And
from MeMa hear him she start to carry on
and pray and quarrel at the same time and
make plenty noise too. And what MeMa
didn't know was that Pa did have him shot-
gun that he did leave down at Mass Curly
and he just pick up the shotgun and Mass
Curly sell him cheap cheap a whole heap of
cartridge he did buy off a Special.
And I don't know what did vex Pa
from the beginning but so he near the
house so he start load the gun and as he
reach up to the house he start firing.
Eh-eh! Dulcie so frighten she drop a whole
pan of white clothes she was hanging out
right on the ground and run a-bawl inside
the house. This time MeMa so confuse she
don't even notice the clothes for she calling
out to the two of we to come inside and
she run shut the door and put the sofa and
all the chair behind it like barricade and it
was just the three of us inside the house
and I frighten so till! And I did know that
MeMa frighten to for I could see her face
red and she sweating like mule and her tie
head dropping of and she don't even notice
and while piling up the chair she saying
"Holy Jesus look down on your innocent
little children Dulcie and Lenora your
precious little lambs that don't old enough
to bring any sin into your world yet and
I your servant who always serve you well
and pay her tithe and see how this drunken
son of a bitch is about to kill all of we and
please God don't let him shoot we for I am
your good and faithful servant Gretta
Gayle amen".
And then she gather up the two of we
and drag us into the back room and Dulcie
and me so frighten we hugging one another
and crying and burying our head in MeMa
skirt and MeMa not paying us no mind for
she too busy praying and bawling out. I tell
tell you I nver so frighten in my life for all
this time Pa shooting at the house for we
hear when he clip a shingle now and then
but mostly he just hitting banana leaf
round the house and it sounding like old
cloth tearing and another time he hit the
zinc roof over the tank. But I don't
really think that Pa did mean to shoot we
for when he go bird shooting he bring
home more bird than anybody else and
everybody know he is the greatest bird
shooter in the whole parish.
So MeMa still down on her knees
praying for God to come down and rescue
his poor innocent children and make tri-
bulation and pestilence strike the drunken
outside for the Lord hateth drunkeness
which is a vile sin and he is an abomination
to his sight (that is Pa she talking about).
And is a lucky thing Paso drunk he cant
shoot straight or else I wouldn't be living to
tell you this now. All this time Pa cursing

like mad and making a whole heap of noise
and saying how he going to kill off the
whole lot of we for we is a millstone round
his neck and a bunch of parasite and whole
lot of other things.
This time Dulcie and me still hugging
one another and holding on to MeMa and
she still praying loud as if she want drown
out Pa and him cursing and shooting. And
this go on for a long time and everytime
Pa get quiet we know he setting up for
another shot and this take a long long
time and then we hear "BLAM" and
bullet tear into banana leaf and this cause
-MeMa to pray louder as if God couldn't
hear unless she shout.
By this time we hear other people
shouting at Pa but we know how these
people round here stay and it sound like
they all staying far away but we hear
Cousin Dolphie there trying to get Pa stop
shooting and go with him for another
drink and Pa still cursing and shooting at
the house.
Then all of a sudden it just get quiet
outside and even MeMa shut up and then
we hear a whole heap of people outside
beating on the door and calling us to come
out for Pa gone and leave the gun. So
MeMa move the barricade and we go out-
side and see the crowd of people and no
Pa and they say he gone with Cousin
Dolphie who promise him a drink. So
MeMa get vex again and start curse Cousin
Dolphie say is people like him leading her
husband astray and causing him to spend
money on rum while his children starving
and cause him to do wicked deeds and
make his wife a nervous wreck and a
laughing stock in the district. But by this
time everybody round here use to how
MeMa can carry on so they don't pay her
no mind and finally she quiet down and
start hang out the clothes again.
Pa didn't come home till late late and
he so drunk they had to carry him home
and MeMa wouldn't let him in the house so
they just leave him under the mango tree
with crocus bag under him head like pillow
and dew fall on him and he get a bad head
cold and MeMa never speak to him for one
whole month and every time she hear
him coughing she start sing one of her
church hymn and smile a little smile and
she didn't pay him no mind at all for a long
long time till they start talk again and
quarrel again like usual.
But it wasn't only MeMa and Pa who
live like that but everybody for plenty
time one of MeMa church sister would
come to the house with her clothes and
everything and cry and say how her
husband beat her and she not going live
with him again and she and MeMa lock
up in the room and pray and read
Bible and by the next day she would start
look out of place and then she would go
back to her own yard or else her husband
would come and get her but you could see
they not living in peace.
And is so everybody I know in the
world stay, quarrel all the time. Or else two
girl catch fight over man and they tear off
one another clothes what a disgrace or the
boys at school catch fight over marble or
the big men would fight over woman. Lord
but that is a wicked thing though . .
Only Teacher and Teacher Wife
of all the people I know did live good and
never fight so I could see but they kind of
starchy and not nice nice to one another,

The Road Workers by Gaston Tabois (National Gallery).


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like Miss Rilla and Poppa D.
Lord, Miss Rilla did love to tease
Poppa D so! Like when Poppa D not work-
ing he there in the hall sitting in him under-
pants and merino reading Gleaner and Miss
Rilla cleaning house.
She would say, "Cho Poppa D come
out of my nice clean hall in you dirty old
clothes yu black and ugly sinting yu".
The first time I hear her talk like that
to Poppa D my heart drop clear to me
footbottom because everybody know that
Poppa D quiet but he not a easy man and I
expect war to bruclK out right away but is
only talking Miss Rilla talking for she quick
and flick him with her duster cloth and he
raise his head from the paper and grab her
but she jump way quick time and laugh
and he grab a gerbera from the vase beside
him and throw at her and it don't catch her
for she dance to the other side of the room
and quick before she grab anything else to
throw Poppa D run into the room and
the door. And Miss Rilla knocking on the
door with her two fist and laughing till she
see me and she say quick time:
"Hey Lenora run down to Mass Curly
and get some oil for me no man".
And I take the money and I go outside
but I know she don't need none for she
have two big lamp full and she always
doing that to me when she and Poppa D
start romping as if she don't want me
around and I only like to watch them for
they look so happy they make me feel
happy. And sometime I stay away for days
because I feel when Poppa D around Miss
Rilla don't want me.
But when she see me passing she will
call out "Hey little redhead gal what wrong
with mi gizada eh? Cockroach inna it or
you find another Miss Rilla?" and I
know I happy again for I cant stay vex
with Miss Rilla.
I tell you that Miss Rilla was like a
slave driver to Poppa D sometime, the same
Poppa D that so frighten everybody
else. She would sit there on her rocking
chair rocking and laughing and she have
Poppa D out in the sunhot planting
flowers for her or laying out rockstone to
make flower bed. Eh-eh. And all this time
she cracking joke and all the people passing
hurrying by because they don't want Poppa
D to see that they see him doing woman
work. And Poppa D is a quiet man hardly
say more than two word at a time but
you can see that he don't mind at all for
when he working he humming and so he
work done so he come inside the house
and Miss Rilla have a big pitcher of
lemonade await for him and a big slice of
pone and when he eat and drink done he
put his head in her lap and she there rub-
binghis head and singing "Kitch" and teas-
ing him and laughing some more. Bwoy, go
see MeMa do that to Pa. Eh-eh you want
fight bruck! And beside MeMa there telling
us how Kitch is a dirty song and we not to
sing it and she don't even like it when we
hum it though how she learn that song I
don't know.
And I really love to see Miss Rilla and
Poppa D together for the two of them so
happy and everything is nice at their house
and Poppa D buy Miss Rilla plenty
crockery and glasses and a pretty bed-
spread that she say cost whole heap of
money and he also buy her a stove and a
sewing machine though she cant sew and a
radio just like Mass Curly own but it old

now and only work sometime.
And Miss Rilla house was the prettiest
house in the district though MeMa used to
say how the floor never shine good. But
that is not true for I used to help Miss
Rilla shine her floor plenty time because
she had a bad heart and doctor say she not
to do heavy work.
And plenty people in the district vex
how Miss Rilla have all these nice things
and one time she did wash her bedspread
and hang it out on the front line and
everybody that go past slow down to look
and some even bold enough to come in and
single the bedspread and say they admiring
it and then as soon as they leave they go
pass remark about how Miss Rilla extra and
And about that same time MeMa was
trying to convert Big Mout Doris and was
telling her how the Lord provide only for
his children and make the wicked to suffer
and Big Mout Doris say "Eh, then Miss
Rilla no mus be the Lawd biggest child in
this district for look how she a prosper".
And MeMa did get so vex that she just
shut her Bible and tell Big Mout Doris how
she just say a wicked thing and was just a
tough head naygah and would never find
redemption she so blasphemous and fill
up with evil thought.
And Big Mout Doris say "Cho is
because I talk truth and you don't like it"
and MeMa say that is that she would not
try with this sinner again as God is her
judge. And Big Mout Doris say that alright
for she never hold with no religion that say
you cant press yu hair and you must wear
long frock because all that happen is that
them Kingston girl that does wear short
frock just come down to Springville and
take way all the man them. Anyway to
cut long story short, MeMa get vex and
stop talk to Doris and the two of them
keep up malice long time and is all because
of Miss Rilla things.
I used to wonder if Poppa D and Miss
Rilla so happy because Poppa D buy plenty
pretty things for her. And I don't really
know for plenty time MeMa and Pa quarrel
because MeMa want Pa to buy something
pretty for the house and Pa say he don't
have that class of money and if she want
him make blood out of stone. And MeMa
vex all the time because she don't have
sewing machine and radio and all them
thing. And sometime again I wonder if
Poppa D only buy those things for Miss
Rilla because he love her and want to give
her nice things.
But Miss Rilla did tell me that she only
encourage Poppa D at first because he did
promise to build her a pretty concrete
house for the house she was living in at the
time leaking bad and practically falling
down over her head. She say that when he
start to court her at first if he was not a
man of substance in the district she
wouldn't bother with him because God
know Poppa D black and ugly as sin. But
anyway she say that he wasn't no hothead
little fly-be-night bwoy, he was an esta-
blish man and he travel to foreign and he
know how to talk good and treat woman
nice and bring her a whole heap of little
things from town. So though at first she
didn't encourage him she didn't turn him
away because even though he wasn't pretty
he wasn't no little nobody and he did know
how to dress nice.
And he did say to her at one time:

"Miss Rilla I travel all over the seven seas
and is time I settle down because I want to
die where I born and I want to have a
son to carry on my name. But these little
girls round here too flighty. I want a real
woman in my yard that does know
how to take care of a man. Miss Rilla I
know that you are no angel but I am a man
of the world for I travel and see plenty
things and the foolishness that frighten the
idlers round here don't frighten me. And
even though you don't have the ex-
perience that travel can give a man you still
understand the ways of the world Miss
Rilla and the two of us have the same kind
of free spirit and it don't break easy".
And Miss Rilla say that at first she did
just like to hear him talk for he could
talk real nice when he ready even though
he wasn't a schoolmaster or parson who is
the only people she ever hear talk nice
so. And he did give her a pretty gold
earring he bring from Panama and she still
used to wear it sometime.
She say that at the time Poppa D
did start courting her she was very tired
of man because all they ever do is cause
worries. She say that at that time in her
life it was like the world of worries was
down on her head.
"Lenora", she tell me, "The Lord did
cast me down bad bad. 0 God is when yu
in trouble that you really know who your
friend is. Because at that time every jack
man that I did think was my friend desert
me not a soul to call on, not a one to talk
to, them same people in the district that
nowadays come single up my bedspread
on the line. And the only friend I had in
the world at the time was Poppa D. The
same Poppa D you see here now. He did
look after me like I was his own child and
he did give me words of comfort when my
heart was fit to burst from sorrow and
from this heartache I did have I learn that
this man is the only true friend I have in
this world. And is so love bloom for me
Lenora, love bloom on my dororstep just
like so. Poppa D ugly like sin eh? but
he have a heart of gold and he so brave!
He brave just like Daniel in the lion den for
he never care at all how them ignorant
people badmouthing him. No sah. Poppa
D would just use them up like blotting
paper if they bother him. He don't afraid of
no man. So chile is fifteen year now I
living with Poppa D and that man never lift
lift a hand to me or give me a harsh word.
A tell you child, that day Poppa D come
to me in my sorrow I feel just like love
light up the whole world".
All the same people did have some
terrible thing to say about Miss Rilla and
even how when she living with Poppa D
and he make her a nice house and buy her
a whole set of false teeth and spend money
on plenty doctor bill for her she was still a
carry on her slack ways. Well I don't know
because I never see it. I believe that is just
because sometime Miss Rilla free and easy
and happy and like to laugh and tease
people plenty and everybody else round
here hard and miserable and that's why
they hate her so.
Take Miss Rilla and Blue Boy who
used to be my friend when he was still
living around here, people did even spread
talk in the district bout the two of them
which was a scandalous lie. That Blue Boy!


He was my friend because he never tease
me about my redhead and he used to play
music so sweet that I would follow him
anywhere. Blue Boy never talk much at all
at all and he is the only person I know that
you could walk all the way from Spring-
ville to Charlestown with, five mile, and he
wouldn't say a word for the whole time.
Sometime I think he just fall dumb. Blue
Boy so tall and quiet-like I love him like
he was my very brother.
Miss Rilla did get to know Blue Boy
through me because from I small I used to
follow Blue Boy all over the place when he
play the fife. And when Miss Rilla move
down to Springville and I used to run
down to her house and visit her if Blue Boy
wks passing he would stop too and sit
in the shade under the jacaranda tree and
play his music.
The first time he stop she run inside
quick quick and put in her top plate which
she didn't wear all the time because she say
it bur her. And every time Blue Boy come
by after that she put on pretty dress. And
one time she tell Blue Boy that doctor say
that she have bad heart and don't have long
to live but her heart still going boops-
boops at the same old rate and she tell
Blue Boy to feel her heart how it
beating strong though doctor say it bad
and Blue Boy look like he confuse and
like he never want to feel her heart and
Miss Rilla just grab him hand and place it
on her heart so he could feel it and then
she pop her big laugh to let him know is
only joke she running with him and so Blue
Boy stop looking so serious and we all
And she would do plenty things like
that and at first Blue Boy didn't under-
stand that Miss Rilla is a jokify lady so he
used to confuse but after a time he under-
stand her better and he would start teas-
ing her first and say, "Hi Miss Rilla how
you heart today mek me feel it going
boops-a-boops" and she would make him
feel her heart and the three of us would
And another time Poppa D was away
drawing cane at sugar estate down in West-
moreland and Miss Rilla tell Blue Boy that
she have a shelf in her bedroom that break
down and she want him to fix it as Poppa
D don't have time and she tell him to come
And I start to follow the two of them
and Miss Rilla say "Lenora sweetheart see I
put my cassava out to dry and I don't want
fowl come and root it out and I also expect
Mr. Basil to pass today and I want to give
him a message to take to town so stay
there please darling and watch my cassava
and flag down Mr. Basil if he pass. And
Lenora, if you see anybody look as if they
coming in here run come and shout me
first for I don't want anybody come inside
the house it too untidy but with my bad
heart I just cant fix it up today".
And even though I don't like stay alone
I will do anything for Miss Rilla so I sit
under the tree and run fowl from the
cassava all day. But Mr. Basil never pass in
his truck and nobody pass except some
little children and I tired because I don't
have nobody to talk to and I don't know
that taking Miss Rilla and Blue Boy in
there so long and I wonder how he can fix
shelf and I don't hear no hammer going.
Anyway it getting dark and MeMa will
bus me head if I stay out after dark and I

cant stand it no longer so I go up to
the verandah post and I call out to Miss
Rilla and the house dark and I cant see a
thing and Miss Rilla call out from the
bedroom "I am coming darling".
She come out after a while and I
notice that she not wearing her head tie
which is very strange for I never see her
without her head tie yet and right away
I wonder if Miss Rilla and Blue Boy
deceive me and in there doing it. But then I
think no because it still broad daylight
and everybody wait until dark to go with
man except for Dorinda that go with man
in canepiece in broad daylight but she
don't count.
So I there feeling kind of wicked
because I shouldn't be thinking them things
and then Miss Rilla say "Come Lenora
and see how Blue Boy fix the shelf up
nice". And I go in the room and look and
the shelf look the same to me though I
never did see it when it mash down but all
her little nick-nacks off the shelf and on
the bed and I say yes, Blue Boy fix it nice.
And then I say "Where Blue Boy?" and she
say "Soon come" and I don't know what to
say for when I going outside I see Blue Boy
sitting on the back step and something tell
me not to ask question and not say a word
so I take the big ripe mango that Miss Rilla
give me and I walk home eating the mango
and trying to understand it.
And after that day I never see Blue
Boy for about a week until one evening I
sitting with Miss Rilla and she very quiet
and I hear Blue Boy fife coming down
the hill and I think Miss Rilla hear it too
for she rush inside and put in her teeth and
she come back out and go on like she just
hearing Blue Boy and I notice that she
looking please.
But all this wasn't so long before Miss
Rilla die on truck, is her bad heart kill her
and so she was telling truth and that is why
I take it so hard because things between us
wasn't so free and easy like of old and even
Blue Boy seem as if he was growing
away from me.
One time I did find out that when
Poppa D not there plenty time people see
Blue Boy going there without me and when
I ask Blue Boy about it he say "Lenora,
you just too fas' for a child your age you
know, you just love interfere in big people
I ask Blue Boy since when he is big
people and he tell me to hush up so I cry
because Blue Boy never speak to me that
way before. Then he say that I not to mind
is only that Miss Rilla like him to come and
play some special kind of music that only
she would like and when he go down there
he got plenty food to eat so I not to mind.
And he tell me how Miss Rilla encourage
him with his music for she say he should be
on Talent Show on radio he better than
anybody she ever hear and she say she
will lend him the money to get to
But I still vex and say "You was my
friend first before you meet Miss Rilla
and now you love she more than me".
And he say "But Miss Rilla is your
friend too".
And I say "Yes and now the two of
you is better friend to one another than
you are to me".
He get vex again and start to play his
fife and don't pay me no mind. And is
little after that that Miss Rilla die and from

that night she die I don't see Blue Boy
Teacher used to tell me, "Lenora
you interfere in people business too much
and that is why you cant pay attention
to your books. Why you have to know
everything and ask question about people
business so? After you not Gleaner
But big people have a habit of not
telling children anything and if they su-
suing together as soon as you get near they
stop and change the subject or else they
send you down to spring for water or to
shop to get something they don't need
and all of it is to get rid of you. But I
learn from long time that what big
people talking is sweeter than any other
talking and though I never used to under-
stand plenty of what they say I learn
plenty so what I do now is I don't let
them see me when they talking so they
cant send me away and I hide under house
and listen. And that is how I come to learn
so much about Miss Rilla though nobody
know I know.
So this is how I come to the real sad
part of the story and what happen is this.
One time Miss Rilla was living with a
fellow they dall Jiveman and is so they call
him for he did love to do plenty jive. He
did go America one time as farm worker
and he come back with whole heap of
dance move and clothes and bop talk and
he jiving all the time.
This Jiveman did go away but he didn't
like farmworking so he come back and
plenty people say that he don't like any
kind of working at all and he only used to
catch a little work round Christmas time
when he want plenty money.
So Jiveman take up to live with Miss
Rilla and this was after her previous fellow
Chin who was a chiney-royal did go back
to him wife and children after one time
Miss Rilla did bur him with a fire stick
and he lick her and she get so vex she grab
an axe and was going to chop him up
but he run faster than she because he
smaller and he also know that Miss Rilla
not so easy when she vex.
Chin so frighten that he run back to
his wife who was a weak little woman that
would never dear raise her voice to him
much less a finger. So as soon as Chin
leave Jiveman go live with Miss Rilla in the
house that her mother did leave her at Red
Ground and people say that she did start
carry on with Jiveman long before Chin did
even leave but I don't know if is true for I
don't born those days.
And everybody vex how Miss Rilla
take up with this Jiveman because they say
how he was young and all this time Miss
Rilla was a hardback woman and she didn't
have a good reputation for from she small
she always flirting with married men. I
don't know if is true but I hear Big Mout
Doris say that plenty of the girls in the
district did vex because Jiveman was so
handsome and did dress so well and could
dance so good and the whole lot of them
was after him when he take up with Miss
Jiveman was a real sweetman because
he didn't work and all the time he down
Mass Curly shop playing domino and
dancing and giving out with him jive talk.
Some people say when he drunk he have a

mean temper and other people say that he
didn't have to have even one drink to mean.
And he quick quick to pull knife on
anybody who bother him. One time after
he drink plenty whites he get rough and
nearly mash up the whole of Mass Curly
shop and is only because Miss Rilla offer
to pay for damage that they don't prison
him. And everybody say how Miss Rilla
just forming fool of herself over young
This Jiveman live with Miss Rilla for
about two year and Miss Rilla is the one
who have to sell coffee and chocolate to
make money to buy things for them. But
all the time he there wearing pretty ganzie
and serge pant and shiny shiny boot and
him just walking the road all day rolling
dice in him pocket or waiting for evening
come to lick domino.
So now there was another man living
in the district name Bigger. Bigger used to
help Pa in him ground and MeMa always
did say that Bigger did help Pa build the
very house we living in with his own two
hand and how Bigger was a good Christian
boy and couldn't hurt cockroach and didn't
drink and play domino like that other
worthless lot that hang out at Mass Curly
shop piazza and is only because he get into
the clutches of that Jezebel that he come
down and fall into the Pit of Sin.
MeMa always say "the laws of man is a
one eye law for the innocent is made to
punish while the wicked go scot free as
God is me judge that woman walking about
on government good road, breathing God
free air without shame is the biggest
criminal in the whole wide world and she
should be behind bars instead of Bigger and
Bigger should be out here free as a bird".
"God is a just god", MeMa always say-
ing "And what man foul up on this earth
God will set right when the Great Revival
come again or if not when God himself
come back down to the wicked earth to
judge both the quick and the dead, the
fast and the slow. And when the trumpet
sound Bigger poor boy who has suffered
all these years will be redeemed and asked
to take his rightful place in the Heavenly
Host after God has purified him of his
sins and that Rilla and Jiveman will burn in
God fire everlasting".
This was MeMa favourite saying and
everytime the subject ever come up she
let forth with these words.
But the thing is that until this thing
happen that day not a soul did even know
that Bigger was fooling round Miss Rilla
though how it is possible in this district
for people even to cough without the
whole world hear I don't know.
The thing was that everybody did have
Bigger like little boy round the place and
not paying him no serious mind for they
all believe that he such a quiet decent
fellow that he could never get into no

He used to live near Miss Rilla and
sometime he would stop to chop wood for
her and run to shop and so forth and
nobody ever suspect anything at all
between them so nobody know how long
anything going on. All the same everybody
did know that Jiveman didn't like Bigger
and Bigger take care to stay way from Jive-
man but they all say that Jiveman have
red eye and worthless and that is why he
don't like Bigger who is a clean living
Christian boy.
So that year everybody did get a little
Christmas. work from Government to
widen the road. To tell you the truth if
is like the Christmas work these days is
more joking and laughing than working
for they used to sing some song as they go
along and the woman would cook some
big pot of food under the nearest tree and
when sun get too hot everybody break for
more eating and joking.
Bigger and Jiveman was both working
on the road gang and every time Bigger
come near Jiveman would get mean though
Bigger never say anything. And every day
Jiveman would pass word for Bigger and
every day Bigger would just cut him eye
and say nothing. So everything go on like
that until one day when Jiveman and Miss
Rilla must be have quarrel for Jiveman
come to work and he not jiving at all he
there look meaner than ever.
Next thing everybody know Miss
Rilla come fast down the road and her faced
look like hell to pay and she cursing Jive-
man all the way. So right away everybody
stop work to watch the spree. And Miss
Rilla cursing Jiveman how he worthless for
he take some money that she did hide
under her mattress and Jiveman cursing
her all kind of name and big kas-kas
going on between them. In the middle
of the argument, Jiveman must be say
something bout how it better him take the
money than she give it to her sweetman
Bigger? See here, everybody nearly
drop dead.
So everybody turn to look at Bigger
and he standing there not saying one word
so nobody know if they should believe it
or not till Miss Rilla say "Yes, better give it
to Bigger for he better man than you".
See here Lord! Jiveman turn wild same
time and jump on Bigger and start wave
him finger in Bigger face. Next thing every-
body know Bigger no turn bad and start
trace Jiveman good as he getting. By
this time everybody start get frighten and
don't know what to do and Jiveman sud-
denly push Bigger.
Well, nobody who was there that day
can give a full account of what happen
next for all they see is Bigger come up
fast with a machete flashing in his hand,

flashing and flashing at Jiveman. The
woman start scream and the men they
try to get at Bigger but is like the boy gone
mad for he slashing away at Jiveman even
after he drop to the ground and the blood
just flowing away from him into the
sunhot. 0 God. Never before such a thing
happen in this district.
Everybody fall into confusion and one
of the boys run to call Corpie. By the time
Corpie run up there they finally cool down
Bigger and someone tie him up with a
rope and when they examine Jiveman he
dead in truth.
And Pa say that Bigger just stand there
with the rope round him not moving or
saying no word like he struck dumb and so
he stay till they finally get one Black Maria
come from May Pen and the police take
him away. And that is when everybody get
over the shock and they move Jiveman and
throw water over the road to wash away
the blood and nobody can find Miss Rilla
all somebody remember is that as Bigger
kill Jiveman she running and running up
the road by herself, all alone.
Well, that was a time of great sadness
and confusion for everybody did like
Bigger and while the trial last practically
everybody from Red Ground and Spring-
ville travel to courthouse to watch the
whole thing or give evidence. And they
didn't send Bigger to hang but they give
him life and hard labour. And when they
hear the sentence the women bawl out
in courthouse and they had was to carry
Miss Rilla away under police escort for
they ready to tear her limb from limb.
And that is why MeMa hate Miss Rilla so
and never cry at her funeral. Poor Miss
I don't understand about murder
and things like that and when they talk
is so long ago that is not like the Miss Rilla
I really know. And I don't see why people
have to suffer for sin all their life but
is so MeMa say. There is no forgiveness
without repentance and Miss Rilla die so
quick on truck I sure she never have time
to talk to no God. And if there is no
forgiveness it mean that Miss Rilla is down
there burning in hell fire. But I tell you
already that I don't believe that at all, I
believe that Miss Rilla laughing so much
that Saint Peter take her in just to brighten
up Heaven.
And I tell you sometime when MeMa
go on so and Teacher there nagging me and
all the verb and things mix up in my head
I feel I cant go through with it. I don't care
if I don't turn teacher with press hair and
new dress. I believe is better to be someone
that can laugh and make other people
laugh and be happy too. And sometime
I get down on my knee and pray for the
Lord to come and take me so I can see for
myself where Miss Rilla gone to.



The great majority of flowering plants
obviously possess clearly demarked roots,
stems, and leaves, and nourish themselves
through the process called photosynthesis;
by which chemical nutrients are combined
inside the tissues df green leaves using
energy from sunlight. A few:, however,
have lost the power of independent nutri-
tion for one reason or another, and are
forced to survive either as saprophytess",
which live on decaying organic materials,
or as "parasites", which absorb nutrients
from the living tissues of other (usually
unrelated) plants.
In Jamaica, a number of parasitic
flowering plants have long been known to
occur. Some of these are all too common,
such as the unsightly "Love-bush"
(Cuscuta). The finding of a new species of
parasite would not ordinarily, therefore,
excite much interest.
Recently, a University of Chicago
student namedGlenn A. Goodfriend has be-
gun an intensive study of biology and life-
history of certain kinds of Jamaican land-
snails. Based in the region of Cave Valley,
St. Ann, he has established study-plots at
several locations: Since it is necessary to
know exactly what his shails are eating, he
has been collecting samples of all the plants
(including large trees) growing on or adja-
cent to each plot, and has brought these in
to the Botany Section of the Institute from
time to time for identification. Several
more or less unusual species have turned up
in this way.
On Monday, December 13, 1976 Mr.
Goodfriend brought in some material to
be identified, among which was a sprig of
Bauhinia divaricata, the common "Bull-
hoof" tree. Along its stem were a number
of dark blackish-purple warty protrusions,
and a few small open flowers of the same
colour. After a close examination of these,
I was astonished to recognize them as be-
longing to the family Rafflesiaceae, a group
never before found in the West Indies. Fur-
ther study showed affinity with the genus
Pilostyles, whose closest known represen-
tatives are found in Guatemala and Mexico.
This was such an exciting find that
6 a.m. the following morning found me on
the road to Cave Valley to see if I could
find more material of this strange little
plant. I am glad to report that my trip was
successful. Further, a return trip on Janu-
ary 8 produced a fine series of fruiting
specimens, always growing on the
Bauhinia. It seems clear that our species of
Pilostyles follows the pattern of its rela-
tives in being restricted to a single host-
The Rafflesia family is best known in
the Indonesian region, where Rafflesia
amoldii produces the world's largest


By George R. Proctor



This new discovery has not yet been officially named. It was discovered about two years ago by
G.R. Proctor, the Botanist of the Institute of Jamaica.
PORTLANDIA as a group (a small number of species of shrubs), is found in the Antilles and
Mexico; the greatest number are to be found in Jamaica, most having white flowers. There is one
other red-flowered species in Jamaica but the leaves are of quite a different shape and the flower is
smaller and not the same shade of red; this is found chiefly in the Cockpit Country, but the new
red-flowered species is known only in the low dry limestone hills north of Old Harbour, parish of
St. Catherine.
The genus PORTLANDIA consists of shrubs belonging to the coffee family (Rubiaceae) but unlike
the true coffee plant, the fruit is a dry capsule instead of a berry. The flower is of firm texture
and probably lasts for several days. The white-flowered Portlandias are very fragrant at nights; but
no fragrance has been noted in the new species.

flower. These monstrous parasites have a
single flower the size of a washtub about
3 feet across! This is in fantastic contrast
with our plant with its tiny 3-millimeter
flower. Nevertheless, the structure of the
two is essentially similar. Rafflesias are far
more degenerate in their negative structure
than our other parasitic forms, as nearly
the whole plant body is reduced to small
filaments of absortive cells penetrating the
bark of its host. In due course this little
fragment of tissue gives rise to a single
flower subtended by a few small scales.
The precise method of pollination and the
mechanism of seed-dispersal of these
strange plants seems to be unknown. An in-
teresting feature is that Rafflesias usually
seem to be host-specific, each species para-

sitizing only one kind of plant, unlike our
other Jamaican types of plant parasites,
which seem to thrive on many unrelated
Two points can be noted with regard
to this discovery. The first is the effective
demonstration that the primary botanical
exploration of Jamaica is still far from
complete; in fact, at least 75 species of
flowering plants not previously known to
occur in Jamaica have been revealed since
1972, when Adams' "Flowering plants of
Jamaica" was published. The second is that
really meticulous examination bf our com-
plex vegetation can often reveal plants pre-
viously overlooked. For this reason,
quadrat and transect studies should be en-
couraged in as many habitats as possible.



The name Fiddler Beetle has been
applied to five species of beetles in Jamaica
because the outline of the body rather re-
sembles that of a bass fiddle. Three of the
species are relatively large and brightly
coloured and there is considerable varia-
tion of colour within a single species.
Those illustrated are known only from
Jamaica and two of them are pests of
citrus. However, they must have been here
ages before citrus was introduced, and
actually, Fiddler Beetles feed on a wide
variety of trees and shrubs both native and
They vary from a little less to more
than an inch in length and have relatively
long legs. Their ground colour is jet black;
the bright colours are due mostly to pig-
mented scales and there are coloured hairs
Exophthalmus vittatus was described
over 200 years ago by the famous natural-
ist Linnaeus and must be one of the first
Jamaican insects to have been given an
official or scientific name. Its wings covers
elytraa) are striped in either pink, yellow or
white and their inner margins are edged in
white or metallic blue-green forming a
mid-stripe. One variety wears Jamaica's
national colours: green, yellow and black.
The colours vary in shade and intensity and
there are specimens which are completely
black except for the mid-stripe. This spe-
cies when present in large numbers does
considerable damage to citrus; the adults
feed on the leaves but the grubs or larvae
feed on the roots. It is the root feeding
which is most detrimental to the trees. E.
vittatus is wide spread and at times abund-
Exophthalmus similis is another 'tax-

onomic "oldie" for it was given its scienti-
fic name in 1773 only six years after
vittatus. This species is said to be a citrus
pest also. It greatly resembles.vittatus and,
to tell the truth, it takes an expert to
identify some specimens as to exactly
which is which. One specialist has pointed
out that in similis none of the individuals
are marked with yellow and the mid-stripe
is never white as in most vittatus.
Green-striped individuals are common in
similis but rare in vittatus. The anterior,
outer corners of the wing covers are pro-
jecting in similis and not vittatus, but
apparently this isn't always so. There are
some rather discrete, differences in certain
structures at the tip of the abdomen in
both males and females which, together
with the other differences already men-
tioned, are useful in distinguishing these
two species. Actually, there doesn't seem
to be any, single obvious characteristic
which can always be relied upon for telling
similis from vittatus and it is possible that
we are dealing with some kind of genetic
mix-up. Similis is more common in the
eastern parts of the island but specimens
have been found as far west as Hanover.
Exophthalmus impressus.' has a series
of orange-pink blotches on the wing
covers instead of stripes but sometimes the
blotches are fused into stripes. You can tell
this species from other pink striped
Fiddlers, though, because there are spots
on the region just behind the head (thorax)
and these aren't present on the other two
species. This does not seem to be a citrus
pest. It is widely distributed throughout
the island and though it may be numerous
where it occurs, it exists in small, widely
separated areas.

From left to right: Exopthalmus similis, Exopthalmus impressus, Exopthalmus vittatus, Exopthalmus vittatus.

Artist: Audrey Wiles (Institute of Jamaica)

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EtC12 Solubles (B1)

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for the Alkaloids in C. roseus

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(in the centre) (b) those which are white
the rural folk in distinguishing the three
different flower types of periwinkle which
are found locally. These are (a) those with
rose pink petals and reddish-purple "eyes"
with reddish-purple "eyes" (c) those which
are white with greenish-yellow "eyes".
These flowers are solitary or found in
groups of twos or threes.
Much of this information has been do-
cumented since the beginning of the nine-
teenth century in Lunan's "Hortus Jamai-
censis" 2:60, (1814) which states in part
that (the various forms) are being cultiva-
ted in Jamaica and "were introduced from
the East Indies and thrive very well in Ja-
maica. The red kind, indeed, may be found
wild about the streets of Kingston and
Spanish Town and in many other parts of
the island."
In the course of its distribution and
naturalization over the tropics, "Catharan-
thus" roseus .has acquired a variety of ver-
nacular names: In most English-speaking
countries it is called Madagascar Periwinkle
in the Caribbean, Old Maid, Ram Goat
Rose, Cayenne Jasmine, Magdalena,
Vicaria; in India it is called Cape Peri-
winkle, Churchyard Blossom, Deadman's
Flower, Ainskati, Billa Ganneru, Rattanjot,
Sadaphul; In Indonesia it is called Indische
Maagdepalm, Soldatenbloem, Kembang
Sari tijna, Kembang Tembaga; In the Philli-
pines it is called Chichirica; and in Japan,

From Folk Medicine to Modern Drug
The periwinkle plant has had a long history
of folk medicinal applications in various
parts of the world. For example, it has
been used as an astringent, abortifacient,
carminative as a decoction to treat diabetes
In Jamaica, the historical folk medical
role of the plant has been also to treat dia-
betes mellitus and hypertension by drink-
ing a decoction made from the leaves of
those plants bearing the white flowers. It
was observed by local physicians that many
of these patients who used this folk
remedy seem to recover from diabetes.
This prompted Dr. C.D. Johnson of
Black River to send samples of the plant to
Canada for scientific examination with a
view of identifying the active anti-diabetic
principle. In 1958 samples of the plant
were examined by researchers, Beer, Cutts
and Noble at Ontario University in Canada.
There, detailed pharmacological studies on
the plant were done. However, instead of
confirming the hypogylcaemic observa-
tions, the researchers were more interested
in the unexpected observation of granylo-
cytopenia and bone marrow depression
which developed in experimental labora-
tory animals and caused them to die. As a
result of this, chemical analyses were un-
undertaken to specifically identify the
chemical agents which were the causative
agents. This work was done essentially by
a chemist Gordon Svoboda who isolated
more than 60 different alkaloids. (Table i)
Of these, six exhibited oncolytic activity
and the two most active ones have been

International Research Data
Following the isolation of alkaloids
from the Jamaican periwinkle plant (alka-
loids are distributed in all parts of the
plant, with the greatest concentration in
the root bark) which indicated encouraging
anti-carcinogenic activity, international in-
terest and extensive investigations rapidly
developed. However, most initial of the in-
national work was centred around the
Genus Vincas rather than Catharanthus
the Genus to which the periwrinkle really
belongs. Due to an error of identity it was
later discovered that whereas the Catharan-
thus species (the species to which peri-
winkle belongs) are found in tropical
regions, the Vincas are found in the north-
ern temperate regions of the world.

Discussion and Conclusion
The research work on the Catharanthus
species has now contributed two new na-
turally occurring drugs to the pharmaceu-
tical literature which are of vital import-
ance to modern medicine. These are Vin-
blastins and Vincristine, which are the alka-
loids vinca leukoblastine (VLB) and leuro-
cristine (LC) (Figure 1) Drugs -Struc-

Pink Periwinkle

ture (Vinblastine, Vincristine).
Vinblastine is an important thera-
peutic agent for treating Hodgkins Disease
and other lymphomas, while Vincristine is
now called the "miracle drug" and is
generally accepted as the drug of choice for
treating acute leukaemias in children.
Although the original assessment based
on the observations of the local physicians
was not confirmed, but rather lead to the
development of even more vital drugs, it
may be interesting to note that two of the
alkaloids which have been isolated, leuro-
sine and vindolinine among others of the
alkaloids have demonstrated hypoglycae-
mic properties.
One of the most crucial problems is
the availability of the leurocristine, 'the
miracle drug'. It is present in only minute
quantities and therefore precious little can
be available. Several modern techniques

have been tried to increase the yield of
this drug, however, the most promising de-
velopment seems to be the breeding of
varieties which will produce large amounts
of vincaleukoblastine which can be easily
converted chemically to leurocristine.
The research and development of the
two wonder drugs from folklore to modern
clinical medicine has taken just over 11
years, and demonstrated that folk medi-
cine have and still can be an important
source of modern drugs for treatment of
many serious diseases, provided there is
the will to do the necessary R & D (re-
search and development) work.
Although the anti-diabetic activity has
been confirmed in two of the alkaloids -
leurosine and vindolinine from the plant,
thus confirming that there is some validity
in the medical folklore, little has been done
to develop this aspect of the work any fur-
ther. Nevertheless, because other alkaloids
that are hyperglycaemic are present, this
demonstrates the complexity of the irra-
tional use of herbal remedies.
Scientists including chemists, phar-
macologists,: pharmacists and even botan-
ists have a chance of becoming involved
in exciting research which is not only scien-
tifically useful, but has tremendous cul-
tural fulfillment. One of the immediate
challenges now arising from this very story,
is that of trying to- breed varieties of peri-
winkle which will produce adequate quan-
tities of the appropriate drug so desperate-
ly needed. This work is now being done in
Hungary. Since the work started here in
Jamaica among the people, why should it
be completed in Hungary, as it is pro-
posed? This is an appropriate area of re:
search which we in Jamaica should be
proud to research and develop because of
its cultural basis and financial and thera-
peutic potential.

1. Swain, T., Plants in the development of Mo-
dern Medicine (1972) Howard University Press.
1. Farnsworth, N. R, Lloydia, 24; (3) (196i),
2. Johnson, I.S, Armstrong, M. and Burett, J.P.,
Jr., "The Vinca alkaloids. A new class of onco-
lytic agents". Cancer Res., 23; (1963), 1390-
3. Svoboda, G, H.,Johnson, I.S; Gorman, M.,and
Neuss "The Current Status of Research on the
Alkaloids of Vinca rosea Linn (Catharanthus
roseus G. Don)."J. Pharm. Sci. 51; (1962), 707-
4. Steam, W.T. "Catharanthus roseus. The cor-
rect name for the Madagascar Periwinkle" -
Lloydia 29; (1966), 196-200.
5. Svoboda, G.H.,"The Current Status of Re-
search on the Alkaloids of Vinca rose linn (Cath-
aranthus roseus G Don). Excerpta Med. Interna-
national Congress Series 106; (1966), 9-27.
1. Abortifacient An agent which causes abor-
2. Astringent An agent which causes contrac-
tion and arrests discharges.
3. Carminative A medicine which relieves flatu-
lence and assuages pain.
4. Granuloctopenia deficiency of granulo-
cytes (white blood cells) in the blood.
5. Hodgkins disease a painless, progressive en-
largement of the lymph nodes, spleen, and gen-
eral lymphoid tissues, which often begins in the
neck and spreads over the body.
6. Hypoglycaemia An abnormally diminished
content of glucose in the blood.
7. Lymphomes A general term applied to any
neoplastic (abnormal growth such as a tumor)
disorder of the lymphoid tissues.
8. Oncolysis The lysis or destruction of tumor

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The Editor


Robert Hill

Robert Hill (Daily News photo)

Robert Hill was born in Jamaica and educated
at St. George's College. He studied political
science at the University of Toronto and re-
turned to Jamaica in 1967, obtaining his M.Sc.
from the University of the West Indies. While
on campus he was editor of the controversial
Abeng newspaper.
In 1975 Robert Hill edited the Kraus Thompson
Organisation's reprint of Garvey's The Blackman.
He is currently editing the papers of Marcus
Garvey and the activities of the U.N.I.A. world-
wide, and his biography of Marcus Garvey is to
be published shortly.

Ed: Robert, this is not so much an inter-
view as an exchange of ideas. I want to be-
gin with a hypothesis of my own, that the
'slave'/'savage' image made it imperative
for us to prove our intellectual capacity.
Cerebration for its own sake not neces-
sarily' peculiar to Jamaica in combina-
tion with the search for self-image and self-
identity. Is there a point at which this in-
trospective cerebral self-consideration be-
comes self-indulgent, narcissistic; and does
it inherently prove a bar to objectivity in
the study of history. That's rather a lot but
I leave it to you.
RH: Yes, I think the word that I would use
is one-sided; activity becomes essentially
one-sided so long as people are not making
history, that is, so long as one more or less
finds exclusive satisfaction, or maybe finds,
one's self trapped, in reflection. In the ab-
sence of historical efforts or historical
action, that kind of cerebration is funda-
mentally one-sided. Only new facts of life
can transform our situation. The danger is
that this cerebration becomes a substitute
for historical action or it becomes a kind of
perverse act of revenge in which we com-
mit ourselves to a struggle that never be-
comes decisive; we know it will not decide
anything since it is a kind of escape from
the facts of life. Now, the one-sidedness is
cruel because the intellectual is normally
trained to separate himself or herself from
concrete activity; by training the intellect-
ual, the scholar, is supposed to exist at
several removes from historical activity.
This isn't to say that one can't have serious
intellectual reflection and at the same time
be totally immersed in a sort of protracted
set of actions; it's necessary to find some
middle point at which the criticism of
ideas is in action and yet the criticism of
action is also in ideas; we must bring to
action whatever the action is the sharp
skeptical logic of rational reflection.
Ed: How does rational reflection come
back into the same context? Is it not a sort
of pious hypocrisy to imagine that because
the metropolitan white has granted civil li-
berties, emancipation what ever you call
it that he has purged himself of his incip-
ient racialism? By the same token, is it
equally untenable for us to assume that
having attained independence, emancipa-

III 111k is"Lle we pn-cllt part oile of it ";ill-vc %11(" Nolwrt Loc. NIoderil Xilliollilli"'I Mocillell! %%hich
to-pitrl ,erw.: Pohert Hill "k e'; 11i" J()Illl 11('111-ik Clild'e, ituthm. of M al-cus gi\(- it 'citi-chill, illigllt ilito Ille c:11-
views of' prcsent-dit itillhiguities, ri-oll) GancY & the Visioll of, Africa 1-(,Oo%s ctilated opposilion froill Illtenlittiolml
ill(, vantiloc point oI' his specialised I.(- Tom \Iilrtili' tl(.%% hoo! oil (;i1rve%, imperialisin. 'I'llese "Judies deal witil
witi-ch hito the (;ar%-(, % Mmemeiit. Itace First. fir muiilioii iL4wl'icimtl% ill(, The Negro World it circulatioll (itild
141pert Lewis follows With it revi('Walld oppo,it ioll ol, hiterililtiollill Collilliti- himniiii) it) the British We.,,l ftidicsaiid
it st it d relating, to ill(, tiltle known (but ni,Ill to Pall-Alricitlikill. This k fol- it collf)(lential British doctillient of, 1919
historicall N sillificiltlt) Trillidadiall, lo%ed h\ N oextr:wk fi-om \\.I,. I-Ilkin"' %%it'll I dos"iel- oil Ictkilist, alld
He'll-\ S vkestcr Williallis all earl foiihcoliiiw, hooE Black Power Ili thc Black Groups. 'I'll(, eric \61I hc con-
1`111-Africalli."t, and Jamaica!) pre- Caribbean -the )')c ")I till ill I"', ot, the I i Iltiod ill I he )(-t

tion whatever you want to call it we
have rid ourselves of certain incipient char-
acteristics that have been put into us by
slavery. Now there must be a conscious
subjective effort on our part, everyone of
us, to create an idealised image around our
selves; for example, I would cite the sort of
rationalization that goes on over the fact
that it was the Maroons who captured
Bogle and not the English Militia. I don't
think we want to come to terms with the
fact that this capacity for being used
against each other has been ingrained in us
by slavery and that we have not really over-
come it.
RH: Well, the Question of the role of the
Maroons in the historical struggle against
slavery and afterwards is no different to
20th century political and social struggles.
In the recent essay that I wrote for the in-
troduction to the Kraus-Thomson reprint
of Garvey's Black Man, one of the points
that I tried to make there is that the reason
revolutionary black nationalism becomes
revolutionary is because it confronts the
question of the state and the state power;
but usually there is a critical point at which
once it is defeated in its objective of re-
creating the state or transferring black
people under the aegis of another state,
that hitherto revolutionary black national-
ism becomes assimilated into the existing
state machinery. The instance with the
Maroons in which they became an exten-
sion of the state, they became an arm of
the state, is no different in a sense from the
attempt on Garvey's part to enlist himself
in support of Senator Bilbo's "Greater
Liberia Bill" in 1939.
Senator Bilbo was a militant racist
from Mississippi whose whole philosophy
was that white people would be destroyed
by mongrelizationn" if they did not organ-
ize systematically the expulsion and the re-
moval of blacks from America. Garvey
came out very solidly in support of Bilbo's
bill. People have argued about the pros and
the cons of that, but the substance of the
matter was that Garvey was attempting,
having in his earlier objectives been de-
feated, to integrate himself with one wing
of the American state as an instrument for
bringing about either the re-consolidation
of the shattered Garvey structure, or hop-
ing that he could be carried by the state.
There was an earlier problem; you re-
member the famous incident in which
Garvey went to Atlanta in 1922, sought an
interview with the leader of the Ku Klux
Klan. Many hypotheses have been put for-
ward for Garvey going to Atlanta and hav-
ing this meeting. It's been a very serious
problem because it was one of the prob-
lems that threw his whole movement into
terrible confusion in 1922, the year which
was the great divide in the movement. Now
the question is why did he do this? My
own view is: Firstly, the meeting took
place in June 1922. Garvey had been in-
dicted with the mail-fraud charge in Feb-
ruary. Now DuBois and the NAACP claim-
ed that Garvey was hard-up, in fact desper-
ate, for money, and he couldn't enter the
South and propagandise and proselytize
there without the sanction of the Ku Klux
Klan, therefore he went to the Klan leader-
ship and said, in effect, 'look I want to
enter the South, can you sort of give me a
right of passage?' Well that's nonsense, be-

cause there were more U.N.I.A. divisions in
the Southern United States than there were
in the North and their existence preceded
this encounter with the Klan in 1922. The
view has also been put forward that Garvey
was saying to the Klan, 'give me your
assistance in beating back the opposition of
other black American figures' (who were
opposed to Garvey). My view, based on the
research that I have done, is that neither of
these explanations really apply. The truth
of the matter was that Garvey took the
view, one which was very popular in those
days, that the Ku Klux Klan was the "in-
visible government" of America; that not
only in states like Indiana and Texas, but
that in the very leadership of the Democra-
tic Party the Ku Klux Klan called the
shots. Garvey thus went to Atlanta, talked
to these people in the belief that they
could use their influence to lift the indict-
ment from him; so that Garvey by June
1922 decided on a course of steadily ingra-
tiating himself with the American state as a
solution to the problem confronting him at
the time. Prior to 1922, however, Garvey
was a sworn enemy of the American state.
Now transpose that backwards in
time. The Maroon situation was one in
which the price of the consolidation of
their semi-autonomy was contingent upon
them recognizing that, short of a Haitian
solution to the problem of slavery, this
half-free/half-slave condition was held to-
gether at the base by the slave state, the
state of the slave colony of Jamaica, the
Plantation state. So long as that slave state
remained intact, all the contradictions of
their autonomy were capable of mainten-
ance in a situation of relative security
vis-a-vis those still enslaved in the society.
The basic point is that one can sentimental-
ize the heroic struggle of the Maroons; but
on the other hand history is not made by
heroism; history is made by shifts in the
facts of a given situation; sometimes it does
call for heroism, but heroism does not ex-
haust any historical situation by any
means. In the aftermath of heroism comes
the inexorable reality of life, which is: if
you do no liquidate the situation that
brought you into existence, you are bound
to accommodate to it.
Ed: Let us now bring this forward in time
to the present, in which, whether we like it
or not, we are 'free' and 'independent'
within our economic dependence upon the
metropolitan North. Bring it forward in
time in terms of attitudes, in terms of the
inescapable fact that no matter what ideo-
logies or ideals we may propound, unless
we are going to become a doctrinaire Com-
munist state, we will continue to exist, par-
tially at least, within the goodwill (which is
the domination) of the economic North.
Am I making the point? I wish to bring the
same ambiguity of concept forward in time
to the present.
RH: Yes, you are quite right, absolutely
right. But precisely because people recog-
nize this, they compensate for it by trying
to overthrow the fundamental reality, such
as you describe it, at the level of reflection;
they simply try to imaginatively undo it.
There are lots of things that imagination
can do, but it certainly isn't going to
change that situation very much.
-Ed: Compensations; I think we are now

coming full-circle back to the cerebration;
to the self-image, to the 'head against the
brick wall' of reality; because we are trap-
ped situation and we do not wish to accept
that trapped position. We wish to believe
in terms of our own self-respect, in terms
of our own self-identity that we are truly
independent. The constant seeking for self-
image was justifiable, I feel, in the pre-
independence era when we had almost no
catalogued information or direction of our-
selves as a people. What I am trying to get
at is that ideology may be used as an es-
cape from reality.

RH: I am glad you mentioned the pre-inde-
pendence situation. It has always struck me
very forcibly how little really serious re-
flection and intellectual discovery, or gen-
uine intellectual attempt at discovery, took
place in Jamaica and in the West Indies
prior to independence. There was a kind of
intellectual barrenness. The question of in-
dependence, after round about 1945, be-
came essentially one of manipulating a cer-
tain administrative machinery and bringing
certain institutions into being. There was
very little attempt to search out and ex-
amine traditions, to create a sense of libera-
ted national consciousness. Maybe the
assumption was that the new institutions
and the constitutional-administrative mach-
inery would by itself bring this into being.
But what is the point of that today? A cur-
ious phenomenon presents itself, namely,
that genuine West Indian nationalism has
begun to develop precisely at the point
after we have become 'independent'. That
is to say, there is a kind of delayed political
reaction in people, in which we are only
now coming into possession of that nation-
al consciousness that one normally would
have associated with the period prior to the.
attainment of independence, or the period
of its incubation. The result is that our
awakening nationalism is cast today, not so
much in opposition to the heritage of
British rule, as in response to the hege-
mony of American power in the region.

Ed: Ah! But then this long conscious
awakening from colonialism is it not the
result of the fact that Independence was
'given' to us? On the other hand if we had
had a violent struggle for it, then this con-
sciousness you are speaking about would
have had to have been a part of the motiv-
ating force of any violent revolution.

RH: I would put it rather differently.
When I tell people that I grew up as a
colonial, that is true; I grew up under colo-
nialism. Now political scientists have a way
of categorizing that phase, they call that
the period of terminal de-colonization or
terminal colonialism. I was born in 1943,
the period of my youth and adolescence
were spent in that (if you want to call it)
transitional phase out of colonialism, but
I still grew up a colonial. I was, I think 18
or 19 when Jamaica became independent.
I can remember that I never felt that there
was in the society at large a feeling by peo-
ple that they were oppressed by the
British. It wasn't there; there was a feeling
of real internal grievance but there was no
sense of fundamental, irreconcilable, op-
pressive conflict between us and the
British. Now maybe that had gone before...

Ed: Robert, but this again is part of the
subtlety of the British system, and part of
the danger...
RH: But the subtlety, of course, could
only operate provided it had a certain so-
cial arrangement to work with, and that's
the second point I want to make. There
was never really any fundamental disagree-
ment between the British and our leaders
about the kind of society we wanted to see
evolve in Jamaica, at least not such as
would have delayed the granting of In-
dependence. I am struck, for instance, by
the degree to which Garvey himself was
immersed in what Edward Brathwaite likes
to call 'great tradition', the traditions and
cultural standards of imperial rule, the cus-
toms and practices of metropolitan social
organization. What has happened since
1962, I think, is that the myth that Ja-
maica was some kind of stable and unified
society in a state of secure political equili-
brium has become progressively exposed as
the ideological mask behind which the true
bankruptcy of the official society was con-
cealed, even requiring violence at times to
try to keep it from being exposed.
Ed: But Robert, when you speak of there
being no essential conflict between the so-
ciety that we saw and the British saw, I
think we must qualify the British in that
historical context because towards the last
years of the Second World War and the
years immediately afterwards, you had a
peculiarly enlightened period of British
Government; people recovering from the
ravages of war people having a new con-
cept of what was right and what was just;
a period of enlightenment which burnt it-
self out. Biut at that time, when the new
constitution was granted and when the
groundwork was being laid for Indepen-
dence, it was not being lai~-by- the old
colonial masters, it was being laid by peo-
ple with a completely new ideology, peo-
ple who were so completely in sympathy
with what we wanted that in some respects
they might even have been ahead of Ja-
maican thought at the time. But these were
a few rare and extremely enlightened peo-
ple, though this enlightenment burnt itself
out into neo-colonialism.
RH: I think one additional factor was due
to the recognition by everybody that it was
just a question of time before the British
would depart. We were trying to find, and
the British were trying to find, a safe and
respectable way for them to demit their

Ed: And retain economic control...

RH: Well, that's given.. .but through all of
this (and it has happened in Africa as well)
the people themselves surrendered their
political initiative, and the momentum for
their creation of a society in their own
image was lost. Thence-forward a new poli-
tical-administrative elite was created on
their backs that was supposed to manage
their affairs for them. This transition out
of colonialism into our present situation
has resulted in a delayed popular reaction,
a lag in terms of historical tempo, and in
terms of historical necessity. The people
themselves, after a long quietus, are once
again intervening in the historical process
and are getting ready to intervene on an

even more massive scale.
Ed: But this very lag; isn't this the factor
that creates the greatest danger in terms
of objective assessment of our whole his-
tory the delayed and now accelerated

RH: Certainly it does. It leads in some per-
sons to a kind of hysterical instead of
historical thinking. Paradoxically, I do not
think that the vast majority of West Indian
intellectuals have yet come to terms with
or made up their minds about colonialism,
which still remains an open, indeed un-
examined, question for many. This results
today is. a chronic lag between the intel-
lectual heritage of the society and the
popular movement for change. Born into
colonialism, much of the concern of West
Indian intellectuals in the past has been,
and to a large extent still is, with bright-
ness; and brightness measured by how far
one meets or exceeds the standards of the
imperial scholar or thinker. Some intellect-
uals have been thinking in terms of an
alternative ideological direction, but that
doesn't necessarily mean that you have
now closed the gate on colonialism or over-
thrown the relationship which binds so
many of us to the intellectual patronage of
neo-colonial scholarship. It may simply
means that in a revisionist kind of way you
are now expressing a certain displeasure
which takes the form of ideological coun-

Ed: But, in this ideological repudiation,
aren't we going through another pattern
of European development?
RH: In so far as the ideological conscious-
ness takes the form of dabbling in Marx-
ism or dabbling in various brands of So-
cialism, yes; but this really is only one ex-
pression of a deepening crisis in Jamaica
today. I think it's so also in much of the
West Indies.

Ed: In the Third World?
RH Yes, certainly.

Ed: I think that it's in our position in the
Third World where the real ambiguities and
conflicts in our situation arise. If you take
the concept of a Commonwealth associa-
tion, it has its birth not only in British col-
lonialism but in the maintenance of the
common British traditions. How then do
we work towards Third World indepen-
dence within this powerful and useful as-
sociation which ties us to our colonial
RH: There is a funny kind of thing about
West Indians that I realize how that I have
been living outside the West Indies for the
last few years. West Indians are very loathe
to hurt anyone's feelings, and would rather
prefer to feel hurt themselves than to in-
jure someone's psyche, or destroy their re-
gard for us, and that has probably contri-
buted to the way in which we have histori-
cally sold our resources very cheaply to the
world whether it be in the shape of the
arrangements we make for our Cricket
tours or the arrangements we hitherto
made for our Bauxite.
Ed: Is this courtesy or masochism?

RH: I think it's, at a psychic level a feeling

of wanting to be wanted; wanting to be
liked, wanting to be admired. I have been
in situations where West Indians attending
international conferences and meetings
very frequently, at critical moments, rise
above the general level and assert them-
selves, and do with a panache and a self-
assurance and skillfulness that leaves most
people attending these gatherings really
either envious or deeply admiring of this
West Indian, or these West Indians: The
truth of the matter, however, is that it is
most often purely an individual perform-
ance, largely because we still have not
created deep enough linkages connecting
our representatives to institutions which
can translate those achievements into per-
manent advantages for the society as a
whole, so we never take full advantage of
these achievements; and hence the West
Indian remains very much an individual

Ed: But isn't this individualism of the
West Indian, the other side of the coin,
in many respects our greatest bulwark
against any kind of totalitarianism, the
acceptance of any totalitarian govern-

RH: I think that the bulwark against a
totalitarian order is not basically to be
found in the realm of the individual; it
obtains rather in the realm of powerful
social, collective links. That is the basis
of resistance. Many times we forget that
the excesses of Nazism in Germany were
necessitated precisely because of the great
lengths they had to go to smash the power-
ful organizational links of the working-
class and other progressive forces in that
country. They had to smash, moreover,
some very potent intellectual and civil
relationships, and it was out of their des-
truction that we came to know the
horrors of the Nazi regime. The same thing,
to a lesser extent, obtained under Stalin-
ism. I don't believe that the individual is
capable of himself, or herself, effecting
historical change or resisting historical
change. In the West Indian situation, and in
particular the one we know best, namely,
the Jamaican situation, what we have to
confront is the fact that there is a tremen-
dous amount of disorganization in society
here, in which groups exist in very tenuous
circumstances, on very tenuous bases, exist
in very tenuous and fleeting interrelation-
ships with each other. The labour move-
ment in Jamaica and the West Indies is,
with the possible exception of Trinidad
today, a beauracratic structure that is held
together by various kinds of connections
with institutions of the state and capital.
At the grass roots of the society there is
only now beginning to occur some auto-
nomous movement for the building of new
linkages. The question is: will the new re-
place the old?
Now, on the one hand, there is this
disorganization, and yet, on the other
hand, there has always been an incredible
capacity for organizing the business of
everyday survival; one is always forcibly
struck by sheer ingenuity, alacrity, and
creativity with which people respond to
the problems of everyday life and manage
to allay them. Many people may not know
it, but there is a powerful sense of collect-
ive organization in the yard, in the business

of transport for example. These organiza-
tional ties which are largely hidden from
view will grow increasingly stronger as the
formal ties in the society are growing weak-
er. My own view is that the formal institu-
tional ties in the society, if not now, will
be shattered in the not too distant future.
Since these formal organizations, as we
know them in the West Indies today, are
largely, a hindrance to the popular creative
impulse, the more or less spontaneous or-
ganization of the population must find a
way of breaking through; because what we
are faced with in Jamaica and the West
Indies are two contending sets of rules by
which the society operates. You have a
beaucratic set or organizational rules that
nobody any longer really believes in(ex-
cept the people who themselves administer
them, and sometimes not all of them
either) pitted in a life and death struggle
against popular initiative. The resulting
anarchy is perhaps the most patent mani-
festation of this crisis in Jamaica today.
Now at some point this contest has
to be resolved, and it is the organization of
the yard, the self-organization of people
moving from point X to point Y, that will
have to be brought now fully into the
open, and we collectively recognize that,
if there is to be any survival in a society
such as Jamaica, it's going to be based on

that kind of organization, because the
other kind of organizational process is not
only oppresive, but it is also too expensive.
Ed: We come back full circle again to the
question are we not mere going through
another phase of European development?
How can we in a Third World context de-
vise our own form and steps of develop-
ment without aping, mimicking or repeat-
ing developmental stages which are not
really relevant to us in today's society?
RH: That question is best exemplified in
the very tortuous and painful attempt to
accommodate traditional scientific socialist
theory as developed in the Western World
to given local Third World situations. Many
Third World revolutionary thinkers and
activists have had to struggle with this
question. Yet those people who have made
successful revolutions, Ho Chi Minh, Fidel
Castro, Mao Tse Tung, have never struck
me as ever having been overly burdened
with this concern. I think many of them
did what they had to do.

Ed: They were pragmatists.

RH:They were very pragmatic, but in do-
ing what they had to do, the given facts of
life became the essential basis of the criti-
que that they evolved, one that they cast in

.a generalized theory of liberation. Now,
when we talk about scientific socialism, the
socialism is scientific because, to quote
Hegel, "the truth is concrete" and some-
thing is scientific because it is a correct
measure of a concrete reality. (The
Vietnamese were always fond of explaining
their success in struggle as based on three
key precepts: "Understand the enemy, un-
derstand yourself, and build a plan based
on reality". That's scientific.) Now in Ja-
maica currently there is a great deal of dis-
cussion going on, has been going on, about
socialism. What I find missing, however, is
any attempt to relate the struggle for so-
cialism, such as it is at present, to the con-
crete basis for socialism in Jamaican so-
ciety, which can only be found in the self-
organization, self-activity, of the people.
One can try to apply the strict measure of
classical scientific socialist precepts to
every economic, every political considera-
tion. In so far as these are mainly
Western-evolved traditions of struggle, how-
ever you run the serious risk of turning
your back on your own society, that is,
turning your back on the concrete self-
activity going on inside Jamaican society,
the correct understanding of which is the
indispensable basis for any socialist trans-
formation that is to be successful.

Garveyites and U.N.I.A. supporters listen with rapt attention as Robert Hill lectures at St. Luke's Church Hall in 1976.


Review ofJ. R. Hooker's Henry Sylvester
Williams: Imperialist Pan-Africanist
Rex Collins London 1975

This is Hooker's second book on an
important Pan-Africanist figure born in
Trinidad. In 1967 Hooker's biography of'
George Padmore, entitled Black Revolu-
tionary: George Padmore's path from
Communism to Pan-Africanism, was
published. This second biography: Henry
Sylvester Williams Imperialist Pan
Africanist is about a lesser-known figure
who has so far been neglected in studies on

Hooker came to research and write
this small volume through his research on
the career of George Padmore. In the fore-
word Hooker asks the question: "How
could someone evidently responsible for
convening the world's first pan-African
meeting...be so shadowy a figure?"
H. Sylvester Williams was founder of
the Pan-African Association in 1897 and
convenor of its first Congress in 1900, July
23-25, in London. He also organized
branches in the West Indies in 1901. In
the writings of W.E.B. DuBois, George
Padmore and C.L.R. James and the aca-
demic works of Immanuel Geiss 1 andj

Vincent Bakpetu Thompson,2 Williams
does appear as a "shadowy figure." It is
to Hooker's credit that he has published
a biography of H. Sylvester Williams
which enables us to begin filling a gap in
Caribbean history and the history of the
anti-colonial struggles of African people
in general.
Hooker s book does bring together

1. Immanuel Geiss, The Pan-African Move-
ment, Methuen and Co. Ltd., 1974.
2. Vincent Bakpetu Thompson, Africa and
Unity: the evolution ofPan-Africanism,
Longmans, 1969.

Henry Svlvcstce Williams

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,..A, 4WM"







By Rupert Lewis

some basic information on Williams' life,
although there are huge gaps in the re-
search. Its basic weakness however is not
the paucity of material on Williams' early
life but Hooker's bourgeois approach
which shows itself in the absence of a
class understanding of Williams' role and
a superficial grasp of the forces at work
during this period of the hey-day of im-
perialism. These inadequacies lead him
to stumble over questions such as the in-
consistency of Williams' anti-colonial
outlook and his reliance on the philan-
thropy of British liberals. There is much
in Williams' outlook that would em-
barrass the Black Power radicals of the
1960s and Pan-Africanists with a revolu-
tionary democratic persuasion. Hooker's
superficial study does not come to grips
with the essential character of Williams'
work, the school of thought he represented
among colonial intellectuals, and the brand
of early bourgeois-nationalism he advo-
H. Sylvester Williams was born in
Trinidad in 1869 of Barbadian parents and
died in 1911. He began his career as an
elementary school teacher and then mi-
grated to the United States and Britain
where he became a lawyer. He practised
for a while at the Cape Town Bar (South
Africa) and in the West Indies.
Hooker's discussion of Williams' early
life is skimpy and it lacks a grasp of the
social milieu out of which he emerged. The
early chapters of C.L.R. James' Beyond a
Boundary still remain the best study of the
evolution of black middle-class profes-
sionals in colonial Trinidad and should read
to supplement Hooker's first chapter.
Donald Wood's Trinidad in Transition is so
far the most comprehensive on the social
and political conditions of 19th century
At 21 Williams left Trinidad for the
United States and Canada where he worked
and studied. In 1897 he went to England
where he studied law. England was to be
the turning point in his life. Hooker writes:
"He was a steadfast traveller for the
Church Army Temperance Society, reach-
ing all parts of the British Isles with news
of the deadly grape; he enrolled in Gray's
Inn, and he met two women, one white,
one black. The first married him, the other
introduced him to southern African ques-
tions." Hooker's book is most informative
on Sylvester Williams after 1897 especially
during his years in London.
The "African question" was promin-
ent in European politics due to the
"Scramble for Africa" by the imperialist
powers in the late nineteenth century.
Williams seemed to have formed the Pan-
African Association in 1897 due to his out-

rage at the treatment of South Africans, es-
pecially in the mining compounds of the
Rand. In 1900 the PAA held its first Con-
ference in London. It was attended by
some thirty delegates representing the
United States, Canada, Ethiopia, Haiti,
Liberia, Sierra Leone, the Gold Coast, and
most of the West Indian islands. Among
the delegates was Dr. W.E.B. DuBois who
was put in charge of drafting the famous
"Address to the Nations of the World".
In a petition to Queen Victoria the dele-
gates "respectfully" invited Her Majesty's
"august and energetic attention to the fact
that the situation of the native races in
South Africa is causing us and our friends
alarm. The causes are described as follows:

1. The degrading and illegal compound
system of native labour in vogue in
Kimberley and Rhodesia.
2. The so-called indenture system, i.e.
legalised bondage of native men and
women and children to white colon-
3. The system of compulsory labour on
public works.
4. The 'pass' or docket system used for
people of colour.
5. Local bye-laws tending to segregate
and degrade the natives; such as the;
curfew, the denial to the natives of the
use of the footpaths, and the use of
separate public conveyances.
6. Difficulties in acquiring real property.
7. Difficulties in obtaining the franchise.

Wherefore your Majesty's humble Memo-
rialists pray your influence be used in order
that these evils, to which we have respect-
fully called your attention, be remedied,
and thus foster the purpose of a true civil-
isation amongst your Majesty's native
subjects. And your Memorialists shall in
duty bound, ever pray." (pp. 35-36).
In 1901, while on a West Indian trip,
Williams visited Jamaica and attended
meetings of the PAA divisions here, which
were said to have a membership of 500.
The main organizer of the PAA in Jamaica
was the radical-nationalist Dr. Robert
Love, who clashed with the Governor over
the latter's attitude to a local branch of the
PAA being set up in Jamaica. Although the
PAA was short-lived, the emergence of Gar-
veyism was once more to make the ques-
tions of African liberation and an end to
racial oppression major political issues in
the colony.
Williams was influenced ideologically
by British liberalism and Fabian Socialism.
He was himself a member of the Fabian
Society and had contacts with the Webbs,
George Bernard Shaw and Keir Hardie.
A few lines from one of his letters on

racial oppression in Rhodesia demonstrates
Williams' outlook:

"Could Livingston but see today the
sad and appalling state things have
assumed in that land, and amongst
the people for whom he lived and for
whom he spent his last drop of life's
oil, what would he say?...His surprises-
would be great, for the idol of greed
has taken the place of right and.justice-
in the minds of those to whom the
natives have looked for light, and now
they have ceased to confide in the
'so-called civilised' colonists.........The
African Association appeals to the
nation which, after all, is the pa-
rent and controller of colonial pro-
ceedings-to call upon her represen-
tatives to revert to the old and beaten'
track, and to preserve intact her
treasured traditions. (p.26).

Williams' understanding of imperialism as
the "idol of greed" was typical of those
black intellectuals in the colonies who
operated in the 19th century 'abolitionist'
tradition in the period of monopoly capi-
talism. They were publicists who believed
in petitioning the British sovereign and the
Colonial Office and not in the organizing
of the masses for direct action against
colonialism. They believed in the essential
good-naturedness and civilizing mission of
the British bourgeoisie and the mission-
aries. They based their appeal on this
assumption. They did not see anything
wrong with imperialism and colonialism,
did not understand the economic and class
roots of colonialism. They blamed bad
colonial administrators but not the system
of coloniaism itself. These illusions func-
tioned to retard the development of the
national-liberation movement. Some colon-
ial intellectuals were able to shed these
illusions in the light of political experience,
others held on to them.
The final three sections of the book
which deal with Williams' practice as a
barrister in Cape Town, 1903-4, his return
to Britain and election to a municipal body
there and his return to Trinidad in 1908
represent the most disorganized part of the
book. It is disorganized both in theme as
well as in chronology.
Although the PAA was soon dead,
after 1901 Williams' political activities on
behalf of African people continued in
South Africa and Britian. In Trinidad he
does not seem to have been involved in
political activity.
S. Williams' work certainly deserves
further study and analysis from the stand-
point of the unfolding of the national-
liberation movement in the 20th century.

1; k A

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Joseph Robert Love, M.D., Physi
and journalist.



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A~.' .-


A Democrat in Colonial Jamaica

By Rupert Lewis

The democratic struggles against
British imperialism and colonial rule in
which Robert Love played a leading role at
the turn of the century, were shaped in the
period of the birth of imperialism and the
revival of the mass struggle after the defeat
of the 1865 Morant Bay Rebellion. This re-
vival preceded the riots in Kingston and
several country parishes following World
War I and the emergence of the Garvey
movement which revolutionized blacks in
many parts of the capitalist and colonial
Robert Love's activities and his organ-
isations cannot be compared in scope with
those of Garvey which had an international
impact. However, like Garvey, Love was a
revolutionary democrat. As revolutionary
democrats in Jamaica in the early decades
of this century their work sprang out of
the same social and class roots. In a letter
to the Editor of the Daily Gleaner, Garvey
noted in reply to his local colonial critics
that "much of my early education in race
consciousness is from Dr. Love. One can-
not read his "Jamaica Advocate" without
getting race consciousness...If Dr. Love was
alive and in robust health, you would not
be attacking me, you would be attacking
Garvey's reference to "race conscious-
ness" should not be interpreted here as a
form of reverse racism, but understood in
its context to represent Garvey's way of
explaining the anti-colonial struggles of the
black masses and of progressive sections of
the black middle class. "Race conscious-
ness" here is a democratic concept. It is
democratic because it carried forward the
struggle of the black masses to do away
with the semi-slave conditions perpetuated
by the plantocracy and the money-lords of
British and American imperialism who
owned considerable property in the British
colony of Jamaica. It was this economic re-
lationship that determined the position
that the black majority found itself politi-
cally, economically, and culturally under
British colonial dictatorship.
It is the purpose of this essay to ex-
amine Love's work bearing in mind
Garvey's assessment of its democratic

Love and the class struggle in Jamaica
Love was born in Nassau in 1835.2 He
emigrated to the United States as a young
man where he studied for the Episcopalian
priesthood and worked as a clergyman in
the United States South. It seems very like-
ly that Love received his education at the
hands of missionaries and that his educa-
tional advancement and direction were
from early on bound up with his mission-
ary connections. Love afterwards turned to

medicine and by the end of the 1870's he
had completed his course at the University
of Buffalo. He theh travelled to Haiti in
1880 where he was employed to the
Haitian Government as an army doctor. He
settled in Jamaica in 1889, and emerged as
the most prominent radical figure in
Jamaican politics at the turn of the cen-
tury. His newspaper, the Jamaica Advocate
(1894-1905) was his major platform in the
fight for democratic rights, but his views
were also publicised through the Jamaica
Co-operative Association (1897) and the
People's Convention, both of which he
founded. Love died in 1914.
Love's prominence is due to the ini-
tial strivings of the black middle class
which had its roots in the well-to-do sec-
tions of the peasantry, as well as to the
stirring of the poor peasantry.
In fact, both Loveism and Garveyism
attracted these two democratic trends: the
better-off sections of the black population
who generally sought an improvement in
their condition through conciliation with
the big landlords; and the poorer blacks
who turned towards revolutionary struggle
against the big landlords, as seen in the
1938 uprising, and who similarly found a
protest outlet in the Bedward and other re-
ligio-political movements.
The fundamental contradictions be-
tween the people on the one hand- black
and economically destitute, and on the
other, imperialism and the rich white land-
owners, was brought out, each in their
turn, by Love, Bedward, and Garvey. Of
course, there are differences between all
three, but in their work and mass agitation
the question of racial oppression comes to
the fore because of its roots in the system
of large estates and semi-slave peasant/
landlord relationships. The battle for
"racial emancipation", Bedward's "mes-
sianism" and the ideology of Garveyism
and his predecessor, Love, were not only
forms to express economic exploitation
and a rallying cry against the economic
stranglehold of the local ruling class, but
also reflected the struggle against the many
forms of racial oppression throughout the
colonial world.

The monopolistic character of land-
ownership had its counterpart in the poli-
tical sphere. A minority of the population
had the right to vote, and an even smaller
section of this minority had the right to
seek election to the Legislature. On top of
this, the chief executive, legislator and
commander-in-chief of the militia was
appointed by the British imperialist. The
governor, who held all these positions, was
therefore a dictator in the colony. The ten-
sions and deprivations generated by this

system were well captured in Bedward's
challenging words at a later period.
"The Governor is a scoundrel and rob-
ber; the Govenor and Council pass
laws to oppress the black people, take
their money from their pockets and
deprive them of bread and do nothing
for it. Tell the ministers I say they're
scoundrels, that they fill the alm-
houses, hospitals, and prisons. I have a
sign that the black people must rise.
Remember the Morant War..."4
It was against this background that we
see the significance of the appeal of Love,
like Garvey, for the active participation in
electoral affairs by the better-off blacks -
those with education and with sufficient
property to vote and run for seats in the
Legislative Council. In an editorial in the
Jamaica Advocate Love set out his nation-
alist goal of black representation in the
Legislature not as an end in itself, but as a
means towards broader political goals.
After listing several black men who he said
should put themselves up as candidates for
election, he argued:
"And these black men can no longer
hide themselves without being guilty
of treason to the best interests of
their race and to the hopes which the
race have a right to entertain of
Love continued his editorial in words
which correspond closely with Garvey's
perspective during his 1928-30 local elec-
toral campaigns:
"Let no Negro allow any man to de-
ceive him by saying that there is no
class feeling against him. That is a
falsehood. He must, therefore, work
out for himself and have nothing to
do with that man...Let the Negroes
look around them in their own parish,
for a representative negro, gather
around him, help him, and send him
to the Legislative Council."6
In fact, the Chairman of the People's Con-
vention was Alexander Dixon, who in 1899
won a seat to the Legislature, having
defeated a member of the rural "aris-
tocracy". Dixon was the first black person
to win a seat in the Legislature.
Because Love's militancy challenged
the status quo, his electoral struggles of
1896, 1899, and 1905-6 were bitterly op-
posed by the white and mulatto land-
owners and pen-keepers who thought that
they were the natural rulers and that blacks
were there to work on the plantations and
to be ruled.7 Given the limited franchise
which denied the majority of the popula-
tion the right to vote, one could conclude
that Love was unduly optimistic. However,
he was probably calculating on taking ad-
vantage of certain constitutional changes

that had recently been effected. In 189b
the number of elected members rose from
9 to 14 and the franchise had been extend-
ed by lowering the property qualifications
and removing the literacy restriction.8
Voter registration consequently rose from
2,000 voters in 1884 to 43,266 in 1894-95.
This unusual figure of electoral registration
in the post-slavery years was due to the en-
franchisement of the better-off sections of
the black population many of whom
themselves exploited the rural poor. They
were not a revolutionary section of the
black population by any means. Some
"bowed and scraped" before the local
whites, anxious to be accepted as
"civilized" and as cultural black English-
men. At the same time, as blacks and as
small propertied people, the local ruling
class treated them with contempt, and
made it difficult for them financially
through control of the best land, through
credit and through the bureaucracy. They
were therefore at times hostile to the
plantocracy, but at the same time did not
want to be "pulled down" to the level of
the black masses. Selfish and individual-
istic, they were easily flattered by the
British. Love was aware of this contradic-
tion and so was the Colonial Office. The
latter tried to use this strata of the blacks
as a buffer against the thrust of the masses.
On the other hand, Love tried to mobolise
them against the system of semi-slavery.
But the "ten-shilling" voter proved most
unreliable in the attempt to wrest democra-
tic rights from the landowning class.
It may be thought that Love's
struggles for black representation to the
Legislative Council were simply an expres-
sion of "middle-class reformism."9
There was certainly a side to Love that
reflected this trend, and we have already
mentioned its social basis. However Love's
consistent championing of the rural masses
put him in a different camp from those
blacks who attacked Garvey: men such as
D. T. Wint who opposed Garvey represent-
ed the school of conservative thought that
became quite strong among sections of
the black clergy and teaching profession.
But in storming the preserves of the whites
in the Legislature Love was not seeking a
notch for a black elite, but a platform for
democratic change.
A look at the issues raised by the an-
nual congress of the People's Convention
will clarify the nature of Love's democratic
thrust. The aim of the Convention was put
forward as

"...the development and perpetuation
of the sense of obligation and respon-
sibility in the emancipated people of
this land; the assistance and guidance
of the people in all matters relating to
their moral, social and mental devel-
opment and progress, the free dis-
cussion of all those questions affect-
ing their vital interests and the taking
of such steps as will lead to the ob-
tainment of all the advantages which
belong to a free people."10
When the Convention met for the first
time in 1898 on the anniversary of Emanci-
pation from slavery, one of its main themes
was the "Distribution of Land to the Peas-
antry". At this time land was being bought
out by British capitalists. Since 1852, 55%

of the 427 sugar estates in cultivation were
in the hands of absentee owners.11 After
the Encumbered Estates Act of 1854 many
more were sold in London. This pattern
continued into the late nineteenth century.
Between 1866 and 1890 some 105 estates
were sold in London.12 Together with this
development, the Boston Fruit Company,
and later United Fruit Company mono-
polized the banana trade from Jamaica as
was the case throughout Central America.
There can be no misunderstanding of
where Love stood in the class struggle after
an examination of the many articles and
speeches by him and others associated with
him on the land question. The big issue
here was whether the peasantry would be
allowed to farm freely and independently,
or on the other hand, whether the system
of "bonded relations" handed down from
slavery would be allowed to persist. It was
a struggle between two types of capital-
ist development: one on the basis of free
farming, the other on the basis of a planta-
tion landlord economy with its perserv-
ation of the slave-like forms of tenant-
farmer bondage. On this question, Love
agitated for the distribution of Crown
Lands to the landless peasantry on terms
which would bring the land within reach of
all.13 He called for the abolition of certain
land-holding taxes which severely affected
the peasantry,14 and also attacked the
heavily subsidized importation of East In-
dian labour introduced largely to depress
wages and to coerce black labour into
accepting the slave-like conditions of plan-
tation toil. On the land-tax question, the
Jamaica Advocate wrote:

"In the parish of St. Catherine for in-
stance, there are 9896 holdings not
exceeding 5 acres each, possessed by
poor men, and these pay the amount
of 989.12.0.; whilst there are 14
holdings not exceeding 1000 acres
each, possessed by rich men...and
these pay only 25.13.4." 5

Throughout every parish the picture was
the same. It was a system geared towards
the advancement of the big planter and the
impoverishment of the small farmer. The
inequalities of the system not unexpected-
ly forced the small peasant into acts of
theft, which invariably brought him up
against the brutality of the law. On this
matter the Jamaica Advocate had this to

"If it had been proposed to flog for
Larceny, or Robbery, without speci-
fying the kind, the law never would
have been enacted, because our lash-
loving Representatives never would
have consented to lay the lash on the
backs...of white thieves. It is the
negroes who are today as formerly,
the labourers on, and round about,.
the plantations...it is the negroes who,
by their poverty and their landless
condition, as well as by the weakness
of ignorance on their part, and the
acts of oppression and dishonesty on
the part of the great land proprietors,
are tempted, and sometimes forced,
to steal ground provisions: it is they,
from whom the ground is stolen and
from whom oftimes the results of

their labour are also stolen, who are
to be flogged."16

Love's newspaper also exposed the
plight of migrant labourers in South and
Central America. Strong protests were
made against the injustices meted out to
them under the Boston Fruit Company and
later United Fruit Company exploitation
of the region. In 1885, during the construc-
tion of the Panama Canal eighteen West In-
dians were killed at the hands of
Colombian troops in what was described as
an unprovoked attack. The Advocate also
made issue of the fact that in 1906-7, that
is, during the period of the construction of
the Canal under the Americans, the death
rate for West Indians was 47 per thousand
as against 3.7 for Americans.7 The con-
struction of the Panama railway and Canal,
in particular, were carried out under bar-
barous slave-like conditions. In coming out
against these conditions the Advocate be-
came not only an opponent of British col-
onialism but also of American imperialism
as well.
As a democrat, Love's platform of
necessity covered the whole fabric of social
life in the colony since colonialism affected
every facet of life. In the Advocate he con-
demned police brutality carried out by the
special constables drawn from the better-
off sections of the peasantry. He demanded
the appointment of black school inspectors
and generally called for the appointment of
blacks to posts in the colonial administra-
tion. They were excluded from these posts
solely on racial grounds. It is again easy to
argue as in the instance of his legislative
battles that blacks could not get very far in
the colonial institutions set up and run by
the British and the local plantocracy. Of
course. One also recognizes that the basic
question was the destruction of the land-
lord-colonial economy and that this alone
could guarantee the elimination of racial
oppression and economic exploitation of
the ex-slaves. However, the very agitation
against the undemocratic and racist
character of British colonial rule, the stirr-
ing of the people along democratic lines
after the 1865 defeat meant that Love was
no "colonial reformer". Moreover, Love
raised these democratic issues in the con-
text of the struggle for black self-determin-
ation, as his lectures on the Haitian Revolu-
tion and Toussaint L'Ouverture indicate.18

Love and Pan-Africanism
Pan-Africanism developed as an ideo-
logy of resistance to imperialist carving up
of Africa at the end of the nineteenth cen-
tury. This ideology was developed by the
emergent West African, West Indian and
Afro-American intelligentsia of the time.
Robert Love's writings on Africa and his
firm revolutionary stand on the right to
self-determination of African peoples in
the Advocate places him in the camp of
progressive political thinkers of the early
twentieth century who formulated revolu-
tionary thought which not only pre-dates
but in fact spurred on the mass anti-colo-
nial movements.
The following assessment broadly out-
lines the social character and the ideologi-
cal stance of the early Pan-Africanists in
West Africa:
"In the late 19th century Liberia and

Toussaint Louverture (WIRL)

Sierra Leone became the main centres
in the development of the West
African intelligentsia. Settlers from
the USA and the West Indies and their
descendants spread out in a rather
wide circle along the Atlantic coast.
It was then that Fourah Bay, the old-
est university college in the area, was
established. The Western coast be-
came the centre of educated Africans,
who set up their own clubs and as-
sociations, and published newspapers.
The intelligentsia of that period was
educated mainly by missionaries, but
already in the second half of the 19th
century there was a movement in its
midst to introduce secular university
education in Africa.

"By then, the West African intelli-
gentsia had acquired a relatively privi-
leged social status, as African society's
elite educated in European cultural
ideas. In a sense, it served as the main-
stay of the colonial regime, but it was
also the main mouth-piece of the
African national consciousness and
sought to deal with all the political
issues bearing on the interests of the
population in the African colonies of

the European powers...These men
strove to unite their efforts on the
scale of Anglophonic West Africa, and
could be described as "loyal national-
ists". As a rule, mainly at the early
stage, they believed in the civilising
role of the metropolitan country, and
the triumph of liberal elements in its
colonial policy."

Notwithstanding the fact that this
essay has been arguing that Love was more
radical than this characterization of the
West African 19th century intelligentsia
broadly puts forward, the intellectual
milieu out of which he came is similar. But
Love could not be described as a "loyal
nationalist" or as a believer in the "civili-
sing role of the metropolitan country", for
he was in the mould of the leaders of the
Haitian Revolution and promoted the idea
of black self-determination. He was there-.
fore an unloyal and therefore radical na-
tionalist. For the more the black intellc-
tual sided with the-people the more un-
loyal he became. Those who took the op-
posite course and sought for a solution to
colonialism within that system itself found
themselves at variance with the interests of

their own people. The British and other
colonial rulers recognized this and pro-
moted the separation between the intellec-
tuals and the people, through education,
social recognition, appointments of cer-
tain positions and a few privileges.
On the other hand, Love sought an
alliance between blacks of the middle and
peasant classes, and correspondingly was
interested in black national organization
at a national and international level, as a
means, among other things, of hastening
the end of colonialism and racial oppres-
sion. Love therefore promoted ideas on
African national consciousness and agitated
on behalf of the African liberation struggle
which was clashing head-on with European
imperialism all over Africa as a result of the
scramble for raw materials and markets
there. References to and articles by such
black intellectuals and writers as Paul
Lawrence Dunbar, Phyllis Wheatley,
Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. duBois,
Alexander Crummell, John E. Bruce, H.
Sylvester-Williams, J. Albert Thorne, Fred-
erick- Douglass, Edward Blyden and J.
Casely Hayford frequently appeared in the
Advocate. Newspapers like the Sierra
Leone Weekly News, the Lagos Weekly

Lord Olivier (W.I.R.L.)

Record, the Lagos Standard, the Lagos
Echo, the West African Mail and the Gold
Coast Leader were familiar to readers of
Love's weekly organ.20 There is reference
also to the Advocate havin a Special Cor-
respondent in West Africa. 1 In 1897 the
Advocate published a series of articles on
European imperialist policy in Africa by
Dr. Scholes.22Scholes was a Jamaican who
had done medical-missionary work in
Africa and was developing a reputation as a
scholarly writer on political economy. The
works of Edward Blyden and J. Casely
Hayford were also published and reviewed
in the Advocate. Love was therefore in
touch with the West African intelligentsia
who could be described as the initiators of
modern African nationalism.
The slogan "Africa for the Africans"
was discussed in Love's paper. In relation
to the young African national-liberation
struggles the Advocate said:
"Africa for the Africans" is the new
shape of an old cry...This cry will
waken the so-called civilized world to
a consciousness of the fact that others
who are not accounted as civilized,
think, with regard to natural rights,
just as civilized peoples think...Africa
has been the carcass upon which the
vultures of Europe have descended
and which they have sought to parti-
tion among themselves, without any
regard whatever for the rights of the
This slogan was later taken up by the
Garvey movement and became the main
rallying cry of the black national liberation
Love was particularly interested in
preserving the sovereignty of black nation-
hood as it applied in the case of Haiti.
Haiti's exceptional status as the first black
and the first revolutionary republic forged
in the Western world out of slavery, and
Love's own personal experience of Haiti
accounted for his particular concern for
that country. Thus, on the eve of the anni-
versary of the centenary of the Haitian Re-
volution in January 1904, the People's
Convention passed a resolution of soli-
darity moved by Robert Love and address-
ed "To the Haitian Government and
People". Its preamble read in part:
"Resolved that in presuming to re-
mind the Haitian people of the fact
that, being the first-born of civilized
Negro Nationalities, they have a
mission which involved sacred duties
and solemn responsibilities to the
whole African Race."24
The Advocate further warned of the
threat to Haiti of American imperialism.
And indeed, by 1915 the Americans had
occupied Haiti and retained a large military
presence there until 1934.25
Love's hatred for imperialism and his
connections with the democratic black in-
telligentsia was the basis for his work in es-
tablishing a Pan-African Association in Ja-
maica in 1901. It was a follow-up to the
first Pan-African Congress organized by H.
Sylvester-Williams in London in 1900. This
move demonstrates the broader socio-
historical parameters of Love's work in Ja-
maica at a period when the racial and
colonial questions came to the fore because
of the savage actions of the imperialist
countries in the colonial world.26

The establishment of a Pan-African
Association in Jamaica in April 1901 was
preceded by the 1900 Pan-African Con-
ference held in London from July 23-25.
H. Sylvester-Williams, a Trinidad-born
barrister, who was George Padmore's uncle,
became the organizing secretary and was
primarily responsible for convening the
Conference. W.E.B. duBois who later or-
ganized four Pan-African Congresses be-
tween 1919 and 1927 was Chairman of the
Resolutions Committee and also regional
officer for the U.S.A.
Just before Love's People's Conven-
tion met in August 1900 on the anniver-
sary of Emancipation the Advocate in-
formed its readers of the Conference. The
item read:
"The Pan-African Conference com-
posed of black men is to meet and to
deliberate in London during the pre-
sent month. Its object is to bring be-
fore the people and government of
Great Britian the circumstances,
claims and desires of the black popu-
lation incorporated in the British
It is true that the 1st Pan-African Congress
of 1900 was dominated by men who were
appealing to the "conscience" of imperial-
ist Europe and that they hoped liberal ele-
ments would triumph in the colonial policy
of the metropolitan countries. Must we
then write this off as a waste of time be-
cause the imperialists were set on carving
up Africa and because history has shown
that it is the mass struggle of the people
which is the decisive force? This lesson had
to be learnt over many decades. So that the
significance of the 1900 Pan-African Con-
ference lies not so much in the illusions
that these men had about British or French
liberalism; nor in the fact that they were
rallying support from among progressive
people in Europe, but rather in the birth of
new struggles and the revival of old ones
for freedom from colonialism.
Readers of the Advocate were kept
informed on the proceedings of the Con-
ference. Official documents such as "The
Objects of the Association" and "The
Memorial of the Pan-African Conference",
which included the "Address to the Na-
tions of the World" were later published.
In March 1901, H. Sylvester-Williams
arrived in Jamaica to organize the Pan-
African Association as part of a West In-
dian tour. Within a month membership
in the Jamaica Pan-African Association
reached 500 and there were groups in
Kingston, Annotto Bay, Porus, Port An-.
tonio, Black River, Mandeville, and
Yallahs in St. Thomas.28
The Association was largely sustained
through Love'. agitation in the Advocate
and through the executive of the People's
Convention whose secretary was the Bap-
tist minister, Rev. Gordon T. Somers.
Another progressive black Baptist min-
ister, Rev. Samuel Washington, was Pre-
sident of the Porus branch of the Pan-
African Association and he made the Bap-
tist chapel in Porus available to H.
Consciousness of Africa, a readiness
not only to identify with Pan-African ideas
but also to rally around them had a basis in
the history of the Jamaican people. In
many families the memory of African an-

cestry was held dear. In many cases the tri-
bal links were recognized, with the Ashanti
and "Guinea", the Nago, the Mahi, the
Congo or Bongo people, and even with the
blacks of Madagascar. But under conditions
of plantation slavery the peoples from dif-
ferent parts of Africa were being welded
into an "African nationality" which did
not limit itself to identification with any
one tribe. There was therefore, in Jamaica,
a real basis for ideas on Pan-Africanism.
Sydney Oliver, one of the founding
Fabian Socialists29 who was at the time
Acting Colonial Secretary of Jamaica, and
who later became Govenor, presided over
the first public meeting that Sylvester-
Williams held in Kingston on March 28,
1901. The choice of Oliviercame about be-
cause the Pan-African Association had re-
ceived the support of British liberals.
Olivier had become an ideological spoke-
man of British liberalism a trend which
had sprung up among the British middle
class intelligentsia during the nineteenth
century. They defended "enlightened
colonialism" and adopted a paternalistic
approach towards the non-European col-
onial peoples. They fostered the view that
there were "good" imperialists and "bad"
imperialists and sought to rear a colonial
intelligentsia that would look for guidance
and leadership to the British liberal opin-
ion, which represented "good" imperialists.
The latter's influence over the colonial in-
tellectuals provided an important base for
colonial rule among subject peoples..
Sylvester-Williams had brought letters
from two of Olivier's friends, Harold Cox,
Secretary of the Cobden Club, and Keir
Hardie, which further demonstrates the ex-
tent to which British liberal ideological in-
fluence was a factor in the early Pan-
African movement. This factor was essenti-
ally counter-revolutionary, and had his-
torical links with the bourgeois abolitionist
movement of the late eighteenth and nine-
teenth centuries. The British liberals were
counter-revolutionary because of their
class connection with British capitalists
who sought first and foremost to maintain
British capitalism which drew much of its
wealth from the colonies. These liberals
did not stand consistently for the right to
self-determination of the so-called "native-
peoples". Rather, they sought the perpetu-
ation of British bourgeois economy and
civilization in the colonies. At the same
time, they were more far-sighted than the
hardened right-wing British bourgeois who
refused to grant reforms, and who became
the main architects of neo-colonialism.
Olivier showed his true imperial
colours during Sylvester-Williams' visit. The
latter might have thought that with his
letters of recommendation and his intro-
duction to blivier, who was a senior colon-
ial official, that it would have been easier
to avoid the wrath of the local plantocracy
who would obviously accuse him of stir-
ring up racial feeling. But when the time
came fox Olivier to act out his Fabian-
Socialism the local Pan-Africanist intelli-
gentsia saw where he stood. Olivier said
he could not understand the reason for Mr.
Sylvester-Williams' visit to the West Indian
colonies as no race problem existed; and
he generally threw cold water on the
efforts being made to build the Pan-African
Association in Jamaica.30 Olivier's state-
ments were naturally applauded by the

leading colonial newspaper, the Daily
Gleaner, which gave far greater coverage
to Olivier's speech than to the one made by
Sylvester-Williams. The Gleaner editorial-
ized that the Association would not make
much headway: it did not appeal to the
people as "they seem to believe more in
the powers of their white friends than in
any organization of their own."
The Pan-African Association was
nevertheless established. Its aims were:

1. to secure the Africans and their
descendants throughout the world
their civil and political rights;

2. to ameliorate the condition of our
oppressed brethren in the contin-
ent of Africa, America and other
parts of the world by promoting
efforts to secure effective legisla-

3. to encourage our people in educa-
tional, industrial and commercial

4. to foster friendly relations be-
tween the Caucasian and African

5. to organize a bureau as a deposit-
ary for collections of authorized
productions, writings and statis-
tics, relating to our people every-

6. to raise a fund to be used solely
for the forwarding of the above.3

These aims were moderate. They did not
call on the colonial people to prepare for
an uprising against their rulers. But mod-
erate as they were, they provided a focus
for the African and black intelligentsia in
their resolve to achieve bourgeois-democra-
tic freedoms. The basic problem however
was that the struggle for such freedoms -
the right to self-determination being the
most fundamental was incompatible
with colonialism. The best of the colonial
intellectuals came to this position. This is
demonstrated in the work of Robert Love.
One of the first acts of the Kingston
Pan-African Association was to pass a re-
solution in solidarity with the London
group's protest against the oppression of
Africans in the British Empire.33 The
seizure of land from the African people
and the imposition of forced labour by the
Boers and the British were exposed in
speeches made by Slyvester-Williams and
also by Robert Love. Both men argued
publicly that the victory of Britain in the
Boer war did little to alleviate those con-
ditions. In an editorial note following an
article dealing with British mal-adminis-
tation in Northern Nigeria copied from
the Lagos Weekly Record the Advocate
"The above incidents prove how
false is the declaration that the
British Government went to war
with the Boers for the protection
of the rights of the black popula-
tions of Africa."34
In the same edition of the Advocate,
Sylvester-Willimas' protest against British
atrocities in South Africa was also publish-

ed. The Advocate further argued that both
the Boers and the British were mere
buccaneers in Africa and "ought to be out
of it."35 Clearly, Love understood that
colonialism at the dawn of the twentieth
century was modern buccaneering. He did
not foster illusions in his newspaper and
public pronouncements about "good" and
"bad" imperialists, but sought to find and
expose the underlying interests that were
at work.
Love consequently came into direct
conflict with the Govenor who gave three
reasons for opposition to the Pan-African
Association. First, he agreed with his
Colonial Secretary, Olivier, that there was
no jieed for the organization; secondly,
that it was aggressive; and thirdly, that he
would have to submit the matter to Mr.
Chamberlain, the Secretary of State for
the Colonies. In reply, Love attacked
Govenor Hemming in his most incisive
Sir Augustus Hemming, the man, sees
in the African Race, a people subject
and to be kept in subjection, even
though they are called 'British sub-
jects', and, consistently enough, he re-
fuses to sympathise with their aspira-
tions and aims...Sir Augustus
Hemming cannot arrest the tide of
aggression. It is the law of the world
and if the African, like others, is to be
progressive, he must be aggressive. And
he is not to ask leave of Sir Augustus
Hemming in the matter."36
In defense of his stand, the Govenor re-
plied in a carefully worded letter to the
Editor of the Advocate. Hemming reiterat-
ed his objection to the Association and his
opposition to the political platform con-
templated by the Association since in
"British colonies like Jamaica" there was
"one law for black and white, and that
law is impartially administered without
fear, favour or prejudice."31 Love's
classical rejoinder is well worth quoting
at length as it exploded the myth that the
peasant as well as the planter were equal
before the law. His argument is rein-
forced by his American experience:
'There is one law for black and
white', is a convenient phrase fre-
quently employed in Jamaica and
elsewhere, as a vehicle to convey a
false impression as to the prevailing
conditions of the various classes,
positively and relatively. It had be-
come the stock formula under the
plausible sound of which a subtle de-
ception is veiled. 'There is one (con-
stitutional) law for white and black',
in the United States, yet black citi-
zens of the United States are publicly
shot, hanged, and burned at the stake
and thousands are disenfranchised, in
spite of that 'one law'. The letter of
the law and the spirit of the rulers are
very different things. His Excellency
says: 'In Jamaica there is but one law
for black and white, and that law is
impartially administered, without
fear, favour or prejudice' but in spite
of this, we are left to ask, where is the
black man whom His Excellency has
appointed member of. any Public
Board? Although almost all the pri-
soners in the island are black men,
where is the black man whom he has

ever appointed on the Board of Visit-
ors of either the Prisons or Reforma-
tories...'In Jamaica there is but one
law for black and white', yet by that
very law, the black masses are made
to pay more taxes than the white
classes ...We do not deny that 'in Ja-
maica, there is one law for black and
white, but they do deny that a spirit
of impartial justice gives value to that
law; and after all the latter is the main

Love's exposure of Hemming is an in-
dictment of British colonialism. It does not
cover up the class and racial bases for Hem-
ming's attitudes but exposes them. This is,
consistent with out our that he was a de-
mocrat who refused to play the role that
would have led him to gain favour with the
King's House39 circle and the plantocracy.
Instead, Love played an important role in
the democratic movement against British
colonialism in Jamaica at a difficult period
in our history. As pointed out, this was a
period of the down-turn in the mass
struggle, and the hey-day of imperialism.
His contribution was largely ideological in
that he provided a rallying focus for pro-
gressive forces. It was Garvey who gave or-
ganizational thrust to the broad petty-
bourgeois mass movement, the conditions
for which had matured after World War I
and the world's first socialist revolution in
Russia in 1917.

1. Daily Gleaner, February 17, 1930, p.12.
2. A biogrophical sketch of Dr. Robert Love
appears in W. Adolphe Roberts, Six Great Ja-
maicans, Kingston, 1957. See also Jamaica Times,
Nov. 28,1914
3. See Alston Chevannes, Jamaica Lower Class
Religion: Struggle Against Oppression, M.Sc.
thesis, U.W.I., 1971, passim.
4. Ibid., p. 49.
5. Jamaica Advocate, Dec. 1895, p.2..
6. Ibid.
7. G. Knox, Political change in Jamaica (1866-
1906) and the local reaction to the policies of the
Crown Colony government" in The Caribbean In
Transition, F.M. Andic and T.G. Matthews, eds.,
p. 144.
8. Ibid.
9. Chevannes, op. cit., p.27.
10. Jamaica Advocate, August 13, 1898, p.3.
11. W.A. Roberts, The Jamaican Plantocracy:
a Study of their Economic Interests (1866-1914),
Ph.D. thesis, Univ. of Guelph, 1972, p. 13.
12. Ibid, p. 15.
13. Jamaica Advocate, Feb. 29, 1896, p. 2.
14. Ibid.
15. Ibid., Feb. 12, 1898.
16. Ibid., July 4, 1896.
17. Knox, op. cit., p. 154, and Jamaican Advo-
cate, April 13 1901. p. 2.
18. Jamaica Advocate, July-Sept. 1890, passim.
19. I. T. Katagoshchina and L. Ye Kubbel, "Du
Bois's influence on the emergence of the African
intelligentsia" in collection of essays entitled,
William Du Bois: Scholar, Humanitarian, Free-
dom Fighter, Moscow, 1971, pp. 83-84.
20. Jamaica Advocate, 1894-1905, passim.
21. Ibid., July 12 1902, p. 3.
22. Ibid., March-May 1897.
23. Ibid., April 20, 1901, p. 2.
24. Ibid., Jan. 2, 1904, p. 2.
25. Hans Schmidt, The United States Occupa-
tion of Haiti, 1915-1934, Rutgers Univ. Press,
26. See Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness
(novel), and V. Lenin, Imperialism, The Highest
Stage of Capitalism.
27. Jamaica Advocate, July 28, 1900, p.2.
28. For reports on meetings, see Daily Gleaner,
March-May 1901, passim.
29. Alan McBriar, Fabian Socialism and English
Politics, 1884-1918, Cambridge Univ. Press,
30. Daily Gleaner, March 30, 1901, p.9.
31. Ibid., April 1, 1901, p. 4.
32. Ibid., April 11, 1901, p. 7.
33. Ibid.
34. Jamaica Advoate. March 2, 1901, p. 3.
35. Ibid., Sept. 28, 1901, p. 2.
36. Ibid., July 20, 1901, p. 2.
37. Ibid., July 27, 1901, p. 2.
38. Ibid.
39. Official residenceof the Governorof Jamaica.




By John Henrik Clark

Marcus Garvey and supporters (from the Van der Zee collection).

RACE FIRST: The Ideological and Organi-
zational Struggles of Marcus Garvey and
the Universal Negro Improvement Associa-
tion, by Tony Martin. Greenwood Press,
Westport, Connecticut, 1976. pp. 421.

In the opening statement of this
book, the author, Tony Martin, moves be-
yond so much of the early works on
Marcus Garvey when he states:]
This book is based on the simple pre-
mise that no one could have organized
and built up the largest black mass
movement in Afro-American history,
in the face of continuous onslaughts
from Communists on the left, black
reactionaries on all sides, and the
most powerful governments in the
world, and yet be a buffoon or a
clown, or even an overwhelmingly im-
practical visionary.
This is where we need to begin a re-
examination of the impact of Marcus
Garvey on his time and his people. He is
probably one of the most misunderstood
men in the history of African people. In re-
-ferring to his life, Tony Martin says:
Distortions are not new to Afro-
American history, but one would be
hard put to find a major black figure
who has suffered more at the hands of

historians and commentators.
Now that Africa is in the last phase of
the long fight for liberation, it is time to
take a more serious look at Marcus Garvey,
who more than any other organization
leader, made Western Blacks aware of
Africa as their motherland. It is time, as
Tony Martin maintains, to "examine the
major features of Garvey's ideological out-
look, as they manifested themselves both
in theory and in practice."
The rise and fall of Marcus Garvey is
one of the great epics in twentieth-century
Black history. Both he and his movement
stubbornly refused to disappear, after their
days of triumph were over.
It is no accident that Marcus Garvey
had his greatest success in the United
States among Black Americans. There is a
historical logic to this success that is rooted
in the nature of the oppression of Black
people in America. Psychologically,
American oppression makes the deepest
wound and leaves the longest scar. Marcus
Garvey came to the United States and be-
gan to build his movement at a time of
great disenchantment- among Afro-
Americans, who had pursued the
"American Dream" until they had to con-
cede that the dream was not dreamed for
them. They had listened to the "American
Promise" and also conceded that the pro-
mise was not made to them. These con-

cessions only complicated their lives, be-
cause they could not disassociate them-
selves from the "American Dream" and the
"American Promise." No other dream and
no other promise had been held out to
them. Marcus Garvey gave American Blacks
the vision of a new dream, a new promise,
and a new land.
Garvey was an experienced leader be-
fore he came to the United States. He came
out of a radical leadership tradition. He'
was a strike leader before he was twenty
years old. In 1910, he made his first trip
abroad and concerned himself with work-
ing conditions among Caribbean laborers
in Costa Rica and other parts of Central
America. In 1912 he made his first trip to
London. Here he saw new dimensions of
Black man's struggle and was exposed to
ideas that would help to formulate his life's
work. His relationship with Duse Moham-
med Ali, and Egyptian nationalist of
Sudanese descent, helped to shape his ideas
about African redemption. He had come to
the administrative headquarters of the
British Empire to acquaint himself with the
realities of dealing with massive powers.
A year before Marcus Garvey arrived
in London, the city had been host to a
World Congress on Race (July, 1911). The
literature, the attitudes and the debates
about the Congress were still prevailing
when Marcus Garvey began his London

In July, 1914, he returned to Jamaica
with ideas for a new organization, the Uni-
versal Negro Improvement and Conserva-
tion Association and African Communities
League. This was the beginning of the big
dream that he would try to make into a
Professor Tony Martin has given us
the most extensive book that has so far
been written on Marcus Garvey, his mis-
sion, and his movement. This book has the
important element that is missing in most
of the books and articles on Garvey--a poli-
tical analysis of what the Garvey Move-
ment was about.
The movement came into being at a
critical time in history. The European
powers were locked in a World War that
was started by conflicts within that con-
tinent. In spite of the confusion and trag-
edy within their ranks, they still held on to
the idea that they were entitled to rule
over the countries of Africa, Asia, and the
Caribbean Islands; in fact, most of the
known world. The Garvey movement ques-
tioned this idea and called for a new social
order. He came to the United States in
1916 convinced that he had been called
upon "to emancipate his race." Thus began
his years of triumph and tragedy.
Professor Martin tells us that:
Garvey went about the task of con-

averting the disabilities of race into a
positive tool of liberation with a
thorough aggressiveness.
He was no stranger to conditions in
the United States. His wide reading on ra-
cial matters had introduced him to the con-
flicts and contradictions in Black American
life. He arrived in the United States in the
midst of two large-scale migrations: one of
from the West Indies, and another from the
American South. The main constituents of
the UNIA, during its formative years, were
drawn from these two migrations.
Between 1920 and 1925, the Garvey
Movement rose to great heights and, in
spite of its troubles, continued to grow.
This is the period in which the Movement
had its greatest success and was under the
severest criticism. The Convention of 1920
was a monumental achievement in Black
organizations. The Convention came in the
years after the First World War, when the
promises to Black Americans had been
broken, lynchings were rampant, and
Blacks were still recovering from "the red
summer of 1919," in which there were race
riots in most of the major American cities.
During this time Garvey brought the Black
Star Line into being and into a multiplicity
of troubles.
Marcus Garvey's Race First and Self-
Reliance Program became known, and in
most cases respected, throughout the
African World. He attracted to his ranks
some of the major Black writers and
thinkers of his day. Conversely, some of
the same group were his severest critics.
Professor Martin tells us that:
Garvey's heyday in the 1920's coin-
cided with the Afro-American literary
efflorescence known as the Harlem
Renaissance, for the race and Africa-
consciousness of which Garvey him-
self was in no small way responsible.
Writers such as Claude McKay, Eric
Walrond, and Zora Neale Hurston, wrote
for the UNIA paper, Negro World, at vari-
ous times during its existence. More radical
thinkers, William H. Ferris and Hubert H.
Harrison, contributed penetrating book re-
views and articles to the Negro World. The
personality and the movement founded by
Marcus Garvey, together with the writers
and artists of the Renaissance period,
helped to put the community of Harlem on
the map. While the literary aspect of the
Renaissance was unfolding, Marcus Garvey
and his Universal Negro Improvement As-
sociation, using Harlem as his base of op-
eration, built the largest mass movement
among Black people that this country had
ever seen. This movement had international
importance and was considered to be a
threat in the Colonial powers of Europe
which were entrenched in Africa.
For about 12 years, Harlem was
Marcus Garvey's window on the world.
From this vantage point, he became a fig-
ure of international importance. This mag-
netic and compelling personality succeeded
in building a mass movement after other
men had failed. This may be'due to the
fact that he was born and reared in an age
of conflict that affected the world of
African peoples everywhere.
The appearance of the Garvey move-
ment was perfectly timed. The broken pro-
mises of the post-war period had produced
widespread cynicism in the Black popula-
tion which had lost some of its belief in it-

self as people. Adam Clayton Powell Sr.
wrote of Garvey: "He is the only man that
ever made Negroes who are not black
ashamed of their color." in his book,
Marching Blacks, Adam Clayton Powell Jr.
wrote: "Marcus Garvey was one of the
greatest mass leaders of all time. He was
misunderstood and maligned, but he
brought to the Negro people for the first
time a sense of pride in being black."
The Garvey movement had a pro-
found effect on the political development
of Harlem and on the lives of both Adam
Clayton Powells. The fight to make Harlem
a Congressional District began during the
Garvey period.
In Chapter 10 of his book, "Garvey
and the Communists," Professor Martin
takes up a delicate subject that writers have
been avoiding for a generation. At the base
of the Communist Party's objection to
Marcus Garvey's program is their perpetual
opposition to Pan-Africanism and national-
ism where black people are concerned.
They are tolerant, or at least silent, about
nationalistic tendencies in white nations
even when these tendencies are manifested
as racism. The fear of the wrath of the
Communist Party has silenced a number of
Black writers on this subject. Because most
young Black writers, and a lot of old ones,
too, are inclined towards Socialism politi-
cally, they fear being called "Red baiters."
Because of this, they have cowardly avoid-
ed an honest analysis of the Communist
Party and its relationship to Black people
in general and to the Garvey Movement in
particular. To the credit of Professor
Martin, he did not avoid this issue. His
chapter on the subject is the longest in the
book as well it should be.
Garvey and his movement had a short
and spectacular life span in the United
States. His movement took really effective
form in about 1919 and by 1926 he was in
a Federal prison, charged with misusing
the mails. From prison, he was deported
home to Jamaica. This is, briefly, the
essence of the Garvey saga in America.
Marcus Garvey, who was duly elected
Provisional President of Africa by his
followers, was never allowed to set foot on
African soil. He spoke no African language.
But Garvey managed to convey to African
people everywhere (and to the rest of the
world) his passionate belief that Africa
was the home of a civilization which had
once been great and would be great again.
When one takes into consideration the
slenderness of Garvey's resources and the
vast material forces, social conceptions and
imperial interests which automatically
sought to destroy him, his achievement re-
mains one of the great propaganda miracles
of this century.
Garvey's voice reverberated inside
Africa itself. The King of Swaziland later
told Mrs. Marcus Garvey that he knew the
names of only two black men in the West-
ern world: Jack Johnson, the boxer who
defeated the white man Jim Jeffries, and
Marcus Garvey. From his narrow vantage
point in Harlem, Marcus Garvey became a
world figure.
This book, Race First, is as close to
a definite study of Marcus Garvey as we
have seen to date. If a more extensive work
on Marcus Garvey appears in the future, it
would have to begin by standing on the
shoulders of this book.

The capitalists realized that the movement
led by Garvey, the movement for Negro in-
dependence...contained the embryo of the
future revolutionary movement ...And the
American Government decided to smash
Garvey's organization by killing him poli-
tically as a leader...
-Presidium of the International Peasants
August 21, 1925

BLACK WORKERS and petty bour-
geoisie in the British West Indies united
against the colonial structure immediately
after the First World War-black solidarity
challenged white supremacy. The binding
agent for the common front consisted of a
new awareness of the conditions of oppres-
sion, an awakening most notably stimula-
ted by Marcus Garvey through the columns
of the Negro World, the organ of the Uni-
versal Negro Improvement Association
published in New York City.
The new spirit of blacks in the United
States caused agitation that went "far be-
yond the redress of grievances," the British
Directorate of Intelligence warned; it
assumed the form of "Pan-Negroism and a
combination with other coloured races..."1
In Berne, Switzerland, a military attache
reported black agitation to be "internation-
al in its proportions." Great quantities of
propaganda literature, such as the Negro
World, had been shipped from the United
States to the West Indies and Africa.2
The British rulers feared, with cause,
that black nationalism and socialism, ra-
diating from the United States, might in-
fect and inflame their black subjects in the
Caribbean. Most of the British colonies in
the West Indies banned the Negro World. A
brief survey of events connected with the
suppression of the paper in the various
colonies will suggest the potency of the
new national and social consciousness. The
response of the American government to
the growth of Garveyism in the Panama
Canal Zone, where thousands of British'
Afro-West Indians worked, will also be de-
lineated. This response led to a successful
campaign initiated by J. Edgar Hoover in
the Department of Justice to have Garvey
deported from the United States.

British Honduras
The acting governor of British Hon-
duras, R. Walter, prohibited the importa-
tion of the Negro World to the colony in
January, 1919 after he read an article in
which Marcus Garvey decalred that the for-
mer German colonies in Africa should not
be given to England nor returned to Ger-
many. Garvey claimed they rightfully be-
longed to the blacks, who would get them
sooner or later, even if it meant a bloody
fight. Through the auspices of the British


ambassador in Washington, Walter also
sought to have the paper supressed in the
United States.
The prohibition of the Negro World
did not succeed: several sources indicate
that more copies of the paper were smug-
gled into the colony after the ban had been
previously entered legally. More import-
ant, the ban created a definite grievance
among the black population. On July 16,
1919, the Belize Independent, in the intro-
duction to a story about the recent mob
attacks upon blacks in Cardiff and Liver-
pool, implied that a double standard exist-
ed: Walter had suppressed the Negro World
in the colony supposedly to prevent racial
antagonism, but British authorities had not
as yet combatted the growing prejudice
against blacks in the United Kingdom.
On the night of July 22, 1919, a
group of returned soldiers of the British
West Indies Regiment, armed with sticks,
marched through the streets of Belize
breaking windows, inaugurating an uprising
in which an estimated four thousand blacks
vented their anger against colonial oppres-
sion by looting the stores. Two days later
a British gunboat, the Constance, arrived
landed an armed naval party. Subsequent-
ly, a combined force of seamen and local
police attempted to arrest a "notorious
agitator," Claude Smith, while he address-
ed a labor meeting. The black leader es-
caped, and the crowd retaliated against the
seamen by throwing bottles and various
missiles. Thereupon the seamen attacked
the blacks, "shooting a couple of them and
running the bayonets through a couple
more." Apparently none died, but one.
man had to have his foot amputated. The
next day the governor proclaimed martial
According to the District Attorney of
British Honduras the riot in Belize on July
22 "was of a character which savoured of a
rebellion ...."4 The local volunteer force
and the police, both consisting mainly of
men of African descent, proved unreliable
to the colonial administration during the
outbreak. F.R. Dragten, a well-informed
coloured barrister, told Eyre Hutson, the
governor of the colony, that the uprising
had started with the blacks resentful at
profiteering by merchants, and that after it
begun, cries were heard that the whites
should be treated the way of the blacks
had been treated in Liverpool. Dragten
stated that prior to the revolt the blacks
had been suffering from three primary grie-
vances: the censorship exercised on criti-
cism of local military authorities during the
war, the racial discrimination encountered
by black soldiers abroad, and the suppres-
sion of the Negro World by Walter.
The black nationalistic upsurge con-
tinued in 1920. T.D.W. Napier, the com-
mander in chief of the British fleet in
North America and the West Indies, warn-
ed in May that "British Honduras is much

open to and influenced by propaganda of
'the 'NEGRO WORLD' style." He consider-
ed the blacks in the colony "more inflam-
able" because they had "already tasted
blood, beaten white men, looted stores.."5

Governor Eyre Hutson, too, found the
blacks unrepentant. He had received a pe-
tition from a "troublesome agitator," S.A.
Haynes, the general secretary of the local
branch of the Universal Negro Improve-
ment Association and a veteran of the
British West Indies Regiment, asking for
the release of all soldiers imprisoned for
riot. (Later Haynes went to the United
States where he headed the Pittsburgh divi-
sion of the U.N.I.A.) On May 10, 1920,
Hutson wrote Viscount Milner, the colonial
secretary, that if approached about the ban
of the Negro World, he intended to say
that the prohibition had lapsed, since any
other course of action might give import-
ant publicity to the black movement in the
colony, "which would do more harm than
good at the present moment."6

British Guiana
In May 1919, the acting governor of
British Guiana, C. Clementi, asked the Am-
erican Consul in Georgetown to make con-
fidential inquiries to the United States
government about the Negro World and
other Afro-American publications. It is
likely that Clementi hoped the publications
might be suppressed at their source, since
the consul informed the State Department
that the British Guiana government hesita-
ted to forbid circulation of the publica-
tions because the black population in the
colony outnumbered the white several
times and it included prominent persons.
Nevertheless, on June 20, 1919, the Execu-
tive Council of British Guiana proscribed
the Crusader, the Monitor, and the Record-
er, as well as the Negro World, which it
singled out for special treatment as a pub-
lication of "grossly offensive character."
The legal basis for the prohibition of
the newspapers, a censorship ordinance,
had a limited duration, so in early Septem-
ber, upon the advice of the colonial secre-
tary, the British Guiana government intro-
duced a seditious publications bill, a
measure which made anyone possessing se-
ditious reading matter liable to penal servi-
tude for life. The bill prompted mass pro-
test meetings by the newly-formed British
Guiana Labor Union, an association which
had drawn inspiration for its organising act-
ivities from the Negro World and similar
Afro-American papers. If deprived of these
publications the working class of the
colony would be unable to learn about the
methods of self-betterment adopted by la-
borers in the United States, a deputation
from the Labour Union informed Clementi
in a written statement. Furthermore, there

would be no way to gauge the progress of
black people in the United States.
At the meeting of the Court of Policy
on September 26, 1919, the British Guiana
government, obviously reacting to public
pressure, amended the seditious publica-
tions bill, modifying its scope and limiting
the maximum period of imprisonment
under it to two years. In a speech to the le-
gislative body Clementi produced a copy of
the Negro World and called attention to
one of its headlines: "British Colonials the
most prejudiced beasts in the world." He
considered it very dangerous that "half-
educated people" should read such a pub-
lication. A gentleman might read it at his
breakfast table without causing any harm,
"but in the hands of the people it might
create race and class hatred."
The amended version of the seditious
publications bill passed the second reading,
but the government did not move for a
final reading which would have enacted it.
The protests against the original bill had
been so strong that a local naval officer had
been frightened into sending an SOS mes-
sage, with the result that the British gun-
boat Yarmouth arrived on the day that the
Court of Policy considered the measure.
However, apparently something besides the
fear of the people kept the bill from being
passed. According to the Georgetown Daily
Argosy. A.A. Thorne, the leader and ack-
nowledged mentor of the Labour Union,
made a tacit agreement with Clementi that
the legislation would be put aside, in return
for a promise that the Union would no
longer import the Negro World.8
The British Guiana government pre-
sented a new seditious publications bill
to the Court of Policy in February of
1920. By then Thorne had left the Labour
Union, and Hubert Critchlow, the father of
Guyanese unionism, had predominant con-
trol of the organization. Again the Labor
Union protested the bill, again a warship
(the Calcutta) appeared on the scene, again
the measure passed the second reading, and
again the highest official in the government
postponed final enactment. Governor
Wilfred Collet held off on the bill at re-
quest of the elective members of the Court
of Policy, who feared strife if the people
got the impression that the warship had
come to force the measure through the le-
gislature. Collet saw no immediate neces-
sity to bring the bill into force. He wrote
Viscount Milner that some people had the
mistaken idea that "when black people
make complaints, this is seditious, but it is
not if complaints are made by the Euro-

Windward Islands.
The governor of the Windward Islands,
G.B. Haddon-Smith, reported to the colon-



& The Negro


By W.F. Elkins

In The B.W.I.
From Science & Society Vol. 32 No. 1

The offices of The Negro World (circa 1924)

(From the Van de Zee collection).

U.N.I.A. marchers 1924. Note placards "can aliens fight negroes in Africa", "England would
do well to let Ghandi go". (From the Van der Zee collection).

ial secretary in August, 1919 that the
Negro World had openly counseled blacks
to "turn to Lenine and the Bolshevists for
assistance against their real oppressors,
such as Lloyd George, Wilson, and Clemen-
ceau." Haddon-Smith advocated drastic
legislation against the paper "without
A few months later Haddon-Smith'
banned the Negro World from St. Vincent
when he discovered that its circulation
caused a "grave danger" on the island. He
instructed the police to keep a close watch
on the local agent of the paper, R.E.M.
Jack, and if possible to prosecute him. In
response, 375 black people from the
Stubbs District sent a petition to Haddon-
Smith, informing him that any outrages
upon Jack by government would "not be
tolerated by the true and new Negroes of
St. Vincent."11 The blacks asked that Jack
be recognized as their spokesman and that
their wages be raised. The government did
increase the minimum pay of its laborers,
but refused to give Jack any special recog-
In a letter published in the Bridge-
town, Barbados, Weekly Illustrated Paper
of October 18, 1919, Jack revealed that
there were 475 members of the Universal
Negro Improvement Association in St.
Vincent, of whom 275 were from the
Stubbs District. The Association had start-
ed the St. Vincent Trading Company and
had planned a parade at Stubbs later in the
month to celebrate the launching of the
Black Star Line Steamship, a business ven-
ture of the U.N.I.A. in New York. Jack
said that although the Negro World had
been suppressed, he hoped to communicate
with Marcus Garvey by mail. He knew that
the government would try to stop the pro-
gress of the poor and innocent blacks, but
he believed that "the day is not very far
distant when the right of the Negroes will
overcome the might of the whites."
On February 16, 1920, a large num-
ber of laborers and 22 policemen in
Castries, St. Lucia, stopped work, demand-
ing higher pay. It appeared "not unlikely
that the whole community would go on
strike," reported the Voice of St. Lucia.
Officials attributed the instigation of the
trouble to the local branch of the Univer-
sal Negro Improvement Association, head-
ed by a man named Norville. The black agi-
tation included an attempt to bring about
a strike of domestic servants in order to
make "the white and coloured people do
their own work."
With the support of marines from the
warship Constance, which arrived the foll-
owing night, authorities dismissed the strik-
ing policemen, and the laborers returned to
work, but in a truculent and resentful
mood. A few days later, the chief of police
of St. Lucia, in a report on the local
U N.I.A., stated that many laborers were
giving three pence a week toward support
of the Black Star Line and, if required, as a
future strike fund. The organization, he
said, held secret meetings regularly "at
which sedition is preached..." As long as
the Association continued its operations in
the United States, the administrator of St.
Lucia wrote Haddon-Smith, "there will
always be discontent among the natives
here, and antagonism on the part of the
Black to the Coloured and White popu-
lation."1 2

Meanwhile in St. George's Grenada,
the outbreak of many incendiary fires
caused officials to enroll sixty special con-
stables to patrol the town at night. We
find no evidence in government docu-
ments of any involvement by the U.N.I.A.
in the incendiarism, although it is possible
that the Negro World provided partial in-
spiration. In The Hero and the Crowd in a
Colonial Polity, A.W. Singham mentions
attempts to burn down St. George's in
1920 being attributed to the influence of
returning soldiers and "inflammatory lit-
erature from abroad." Whatever the case,
Grenada, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent all en-
acted seditious publications ordinances in
1920. The Grenada law elicited much pro-
test, including the emergency resolution
passed against it by the Labour Party of
Great Britian.

The Other Colonies
Although extra-legally banned from
Trinidad in February 1919, copies of the
Negro World were smuggled into the
colony from North American steamers.13
And black soldiers of the British West In-
dies Regiment brought the paper home
with them. The paper indirectly influenced
the militant longshoremen's strike of
December 1919 in Port-of-Spain. After the
strike the government of Trinidad enacted
a sedition ordinance and officially proscrib-
ed the Negro World. Nevertheless, the
paper still circulated in the colony: at
meetings of the Trinidad Workingmen's As-
sociation black speakers used "verbatim
quotations from the 'Negro World' and the
writings of Marcus Garvey....."14
In Jamaica, the birthplace of Marcus
Garvey, the colonial government never offi-
cially banned the Negro World. But the
American consul in Kingston wrote home
in September, 1920, that the police author-
ities "do not permit the introduction of
Garvey's periodicals into the Island."15
The consul referred to local press reports
about the convention of the U.N.I.A. re-
cently held in New York where discussions
took place about an alliance of the world's
blacks, "with Hindus working for indepen-
dence from British rule, with Japan and
China and with the Russian Bolsheviki..."'
The agitation of the U.N.I.A., he said, had
been given a "certain amount of serious-
ness in Jamaica...."
The governor of Barbados wrote the
colonial secretary in October, 1919, that
the introduction of legislation to control
the press "would only stir up trouble with-
out any chance of becoming law."16 He
did not think the Negro World precipitated
wrongdoing among the population in gen-
eral, even if inflammatory headlines might
cause excitement. In the opinion of the
colored solicitor-general of the colony, the
Negro World provided a useful service: it
was good for "the Barbadian Coloured Man
to see the disabilities of the Negro in
America as he should be better contented
with his position here.""7 Nevertheless, for
some reason the government of Barbados
apparently did introduce a seditious publi-
cations ordinance in 1920. We can find no
indication in colonial correspondence that
the legislature enacted the measure but it
might have-in later years Marcus Garvey
stated that the Negro World had been sur-

pressed in the colony.
Bermuda's governor, James Willcocks,
in April, 1920, characterized the Negro
World as "violent and inflammatory." But
he did not think that it should be officially
suppressed, as this would give it undue im-
portance and drive it underground where it
would circulate anyway. Willcock's atti-
tude toward black nationalism is illustrated
by his treatment of Reverend R.H. Tobitt,
who had been elected "Leader of the West
Indies (Eastern Province)" at the U.N.I.A.
convention of 1920 in New York. Upon
Tobitt's return to Bermuda, Willcocks
caused the government to withdraw its fin-
ancial assistance from a school which the
black clergyman presided over. In New
York, Tobitt had signed the Declaration of
the Rights of the Negro People of the
World, and he supported its principles.
This, Willcocks believed, made Tobitt "no
longer a fit person to be entrusted with the
education of children...18 (The African
Methodist Episcopal Church dismissed
Tobitt from its ranks for the same heresy).
Seditious publications ordinances aim-
ed at the Negro World were enacted in the
Bahamas and the Leeward Islands, in 1919
and 1920 respectively. These laws, like
many of the same kind in other colonies,
had been instigated by the colonial secre-
tary, who in September, 1919, had assured
the West Indian governors that because of
the unrest among blacks, he would be pre-
pared to approve of legislation which
would allower stricter control of the press.

Panama Canal Zone
The national and social awakening
among British Afro-West Indians who
worked in the Panama Canal Zone parallel-
ed that of their comrades in the Caribbean
colonies. They, too, suffered under stulti-
fying conditions forced upon them by their
rulers. Official discrimination in the Canal
Zone between black alien workers, who
were paid in silver, and white American
workers, who were paid in gold, caused
much bitterness. The "Silver Employees"
got less than one-third as much pay as the
"Gold Employees": they were debarred
from the white unions; and they had to
work ten hours before daily overtime con-
The only things that blacks on the
Isthmus were accustomed to receive from
the whites, an organiser for the Industrial
Workers of the World declared in an arti-
cle published in a Finnish-language news-
paper, were "scorn, growl, and abuse." The
only things cheap were "the sun, liquor
and women." To show the militant mood
of black consciousness in 1919 he quoted
a verse by Claude McKay:

Think ye I am not friend and savage
Think ye I could not arm me with a
and shoot down ten of you for every
of my black brethren murdered, burned
by you.
Be not deceived, for every deed you do,
I could match, outmatch:
Am I not Africa's son,
Black off that black land, where black
deeds are done.19

The activities of two representatives
of the United Brotherhood of Maintenance
of Way Employees and Railway Shop La-
borers, with headquarters in Detroit, Michi-
gan, gave impetus to the development of
black solidarity in the Canal Zone. In
March, 1919, J.L. Allen, a one-armed man,
began organizing a branch of the Brother-
hood on the Atlantic side of the Canal,
promising to secure an increase in the
wages of common labor to forty cents an
hour, while his comrade, C.H. Severs,
undertook the same task on the Pacific
side. In their meetings, complained Chester
Harding, governor of the Canal Zone, they
denigrated the Gold Employees, "stating
Americans on the Isthmus are hogs doing
no work and getting all the pay while
negroes [sic] are doing all the work and
getting nothing."20
Unorganized black dock workers in
Cristobal went on strike during the first
week of May, demanding forty cents an
hour. Allen and Severs had no direct con-
nection with the walkout; they publicly
disassociated themselves from it. The Bri-
tish charge d'affaires at Panama City noted
that the strike had been "preceded by agi-
tation of the usual kind, all of which aimed
at the regeneration of the black man."21
When workers at the coaling plant
quit too, a general strike of the entire black
labor force threatened the Panama Canal.

As a conciliatory measure, Canal officials
slightly raised the pay of the class of work-
ers who were on strike and convened the
Silver Wage Board in order to consider a
general increase for all workers. This move,
plus opposition to the work stoppage by
the conservative SilverEmployees' Associa-
tion, broke the strike.
In conference with officers of the Sil-
ver Employees' Association the representa-
tive of Governor Harding agreed upon a
general increase of eight cents an hour for
all classes of workers. Yet when the Silver
Wage Board published the new silver rates
of pay on July 16, the increase amounted
to only two cents per hour for common
labor and less for other categories. Because
of the duplicity of Canal officials, the Sil-
ver Employees' Association warned Presi-
dent Woodrow Wilson in a memorial, the
masses were in a "seething condition of
Governor Harding in a letter of Aug-
ust 21, 1919, to A.L. Flint, Chief of Office
of the Panama Canal in Washington, D.C.,
attributed the unrest among silver em-
ployees to the influence of labor conflicts
throughout the world, the visit of Allen
and Severs, the activities of "professional
negro agitators," and the propaganda of
two local black newspapers modeled after
the Negro World. Harding supplied Flint
with a copy of one of the papers, the Des-
patch, in which "A True Negro" called
upon his brethren to beat their plough-
shares into swords and to heed the bugle
call of Marcus Garvey, the "Modern
In September, Harding heard a rumor
that Marcus Garvey planned to visit the
Canal Zone within a few weeks. To cor-
roborate his opinion that Garvey should be
excluded from the Canal Zone, Harding
cabled Flint, asking for information on the
black nationalist from the Department of

Flint contacted the Department of
Justice and the Military Intelligence Divi-
sion of the War Department. Frank Burke,
the Assistant Director. and Chief of the
Bureau of Investigation in the Justice De-
partment, informed Flint that Garvey edi-
ted The Crisis-a journal in fact edited by
W.E.B. Du Bois. Burke revealed that many
complaints had been made about Garvey's
radical activities, but nothing definite had
been ascertained. Garvey had been "very
discreet in his remarks"; his speeches had
been "somewhat of a general nature."22
In contrast, Military Inteligence, in a
memorandum submitted to Flint, main-
tained that in a speech in Harlem, Garvey
had advocated reprisals agai-nst whites in
the North for lynchings of blacks in the
South. Garvey appealed to the "racial in-
stinct" of Negroes, Military Intelligence
reasoned, "by urging them to do like the
Irish." As an example Military Intelligence
quoted circulars written by Garvey which
stated: "The Irish, the Jews and East In-
dians and all other oppressed peoples are
getting together to demand from their op-
pressors Liberty, Justice, Equality, and we
now call upon the four hundred millions of
Negro people of the World to do like-

The American Response
Upon receipt of the information from
Military Intelligence, Governor Harding de-
finitely determined to keep Garvey out of
the Canal Zone. Flint wrote to Passport
Control in the State Department, seeking
the appropriate action. He thought that re-
latively it would do more harm "to allow
Garvey to go to the Canal Zone than to
allow him to remain in the United States in
view of the preponderant colored element
in the Canal Zone, the stirring up of which
would have a serious effect on the opera-
tion of the Panama Canal."24
On September 27, 1919, Governor
Harding wrote to Flint, enclosing two
newspaper clippings from the Panama Star
& Herald about the imminent sailing from
New York of the first ship of the Black
Star Line, the company which Garvey
headed. Harding believed the stories in the
clippings to be the propaganda of Garvey,
designed to promote the sale of stock of
the Black Star Line in Panama and the
'West Indies. He felt it "unfortunate that
means cannot be found to put a stop to
such a palpable fraud." "However," ack-
nowledged Harding, "it seems that Garvey
has managed, so far, to keep within the
law."25 A copy of Harding's letter and the
two clippings were forwarded by Flint to
the Bureau of Investigation in the Depart-
ment of Justice on October 9, 1919.26
Two days later at the Bureau of In-
vestigation, J. Edgar Hoover used the
Harding letter and at least one of the clip-
pings as the basis of a memorandum on
Garvey for Hoover's colleague. Harry S.
Ridgely. Hoover wrote in the memo that'
Garvey had been "particularly active
among the radical elements in New York
City in agitating the negro movement."
"Unfortunately, however," observed
Hoover, "he has not as yet violated any
federal law whereby he could be proceeded
against on the grounds of being an unde-
sirable alien, from the point of view of de-

portation. It occurs to me, however, fiom
the attached clipping that there might be
some proceeding against him for fraud in
connection with his Black Star Line pro-
paganda..."Therefore, Hoover was sending
the communication received from the
Washington office of the Panama Canal to
Ridgely for his "appropriate attention."
Hoover ended the memorandum by noting
that Garvey's paper the Negro World had
upheld "Soviet Russian Rule" and had
openly advocated Bolshevism.27,
On October 15, 1919, R.P. Stewart,
the Assistant Attorney General, conveyed
to the Labor Department the Harding Cor-
respondence and clippings, along with
Flint's cover letter. Stewart advised the
Labor Department that if no action could
be taken against Garvey under the immigr-
tion laws, they should refer all their re-
cords to the Postmaster General so that an
investigation could be made to find out if
Garvey had used the mails to defraud.28
Subsequently, the government pre-
pared a case against Garvey and brought
him to trial. Found guilty of using the
mails to defraud stockholders of the Black
Star Line Corporation, he received a sen-
tence on June 21, 1923, of five years in
prison and a fine of $1,000. The Justice
Department immediately started proceed-
ings for his deportation. When he entered
Atlanta Penitentiary in February, 1925,
following an unsuccessful appeal of his
conviction, immigration authorities lodged
a warrant of deportation with the warden.
Less than a year later, in January,
1926, the British Consul in Atlanta report-
ed that a local immigration officer had in-
formed him that the Department of Justice
"is now considering the question of com-
muting Garvey's sentence of imprison-
ment into a sentence of deportation."29
The immigration officer applied for a pass-
port of Garvey.
On November 18, 1927, President
Coolidge commuted the sentence of Mar-
cus Garvey to expire at once. Although the
commutation did not contain a word about
'deportation, immigration officials insisted
that it had been made only on condition of
immediate deportation. Conviction of
fraud automatically had made Garvey an
"undesirable alien." The officials put Gar-
vey aboard a ship bound for the West
The evidence indicates that the depor-
tation of Marcus Garvey can not be con-
sidered simply as the outcome of his con-
viction for fraud. On the contrary, his con-
viction for fraud must be considered as the
outcome of the intention of government
officials to effect his deportation. Like-
wise, it is evident that the Justice Depart-
ment initiated efforts to convict Garvey for
fraud not because of any wrongdoing on
his part, but because of his radical ideology
In the national and class struggles of
1919 and 1920, the Negro World was
clearly the revolutionary paper for black
workers and petty bourgeoisie. Marcus
Garvey believed that the suppression of the
paper by white colonial governments re-
vealed the real significance of the doctrine
of black racial inferiority. "Superior beings
do not go out of even the ordinary way to
mingle into the affairs of lesser creatures,"
he stated, "but we find that the whites lose
no opportunity to suppress the intelligence
of 'native races.' "30 See Notes on rage 74



From Science & Society Vol. 36 No. 1

By W.F. Elkins

IN OCTOBER 1919 the British Gov-
ernment alarmed by labor distubances
and the growth of race-consciousness in the
*West Indies, transmitted to the State De-
partment a confidential report concerning
American Negro unrest.1 The document
points to broader currents of Afro-Ameri-
can nationalism and socialism in 1919 than
previously portrayed by some students of
the subject.
The British rulers feared, with cause,
that Afro-American radicalism, radiating
from the United States, might infect and
inflame their black subjects in the Carib-
bean. Marcus Garvey's newspaper, the
Negro World, especially caused apprehen
sion. After American consuls unsuccess-
fully attempted to have the publication
suppressed in New York, several of the col-
onial governments banned it.3 Costa Rica,
urged on by United Fruit Company and
the British Consul, prohibited it "for rea-
son of public safety."4
It is hoped that the following docu-
ment, recently discovered in the National
Archives,5 will stimulate further research
into the background of Afro-American na-
tionalism and socialism, for today, as in
1919, 'signs are abundant that the future
of the Negro race the world over is inex-
tricably intertwined with the future of
radicalism and labor." 6


London, October 10, 1919.

No. 1556
The Honourable
The Secretary of State, Washington,
I have the honor to transmit, here-
with, for the information of the Depart-
ment, three copies of Special Report No.
10, dated October 7th, 1919, on UNREST
I venture to all that in view of the
large colored population in the colonies of
the British Empire special attention has
been paid to the problem of negro unrest
throughout the world. The whole question
is being followed here with the closest
attention. Conditions in America, parti-
cularly in the Southern States, are there-
fore of much interest to the British auth-
I have the honor to be, Sir,

Your obedient servant,
(For the Ambassador)
J. Butler Wright


(Home Office)

Special Report No. 10 Scotland House,

7th October, 1919

(Circulated by the Home Secretary)

Unrest Among The Negroes

The race riots in Washington and Chi-
cago have naturally produced speculation
as to whether the unrest which prevails all
-over the world has extended to the negroes
[sic] not only in the United States but in
the British Colonies and Africa. It now
seems clear that the riots were not the
sporadic outcome of race prejudice, but
the first fruits of the doctrine of socialistic
equality preached by agitators to negro au-
diences throughout the country. (See
Appendix 1).
It was hardly to be expected that col-
oured troops could be employed in France
without stirring up race-consciousness
among returning soldiers. The coloured
leaders of the new movement have been
talking incessantly for the last nine.
months, and they have left no doubt as to'
what their real objects are: the moderate
educated negro opinion has been silent,
and it is therefore specially interesting to
hear the views of a coloured officer, Major
W. Loving, lately of the Phillipine Con-
stabulary. With all his judicial attitude to-
wards the aspirations of his race, it is evi-
dent that he himself has not been left quite
untouched by the feelings of his class.

Socialism Among Negroes

Until about four years ago radical sen-
timent among negroes was of a moderate
character and confined to denunciations of
lynching, disfranchisement, Jim Crow-ism,
etc. For the most part it consisted of edi-
torials in the negro press and speeches of
negro orators aimed directly at the perpet-
rators of each offence. Early in 1915, how-
ever, a number of younger and more intel-
lectual negroes abandoned the attitude of
the older men and boldly adopted social-
ism. Their advent into the socialist party
marked a new epoch in the political and so-
cial history of the American negro and had
far-reaching results. Many negroes, espe-
cially of the younger generation, flocked to
meeting halls and street corners to hear
men of their own race expound a new
philosophy and attack the Government to
which they .attributed all the social and
economic evils suffered by black and white

races alike.
New York City, with a negro popula-
tion of over 100,000 has long been the
fountain head of radical propaganda among
negroes in the United States, and it was na-
tural that negro socialism should have its
inception in this City. Among the more
prominent negro leaders in the City are
Chandler Owen, Phillip Randolph, the
Revd. Ceorge Frazier Miller and W.A.
Domingo. Domingo is an able young man
of West Indian birth; he is director of the
"Messenger" (See Appendix II) and recent-
ly drafted the Socialist plan of campaign
among negroes, a copy of which was pub-
lished in the daily press following the raid
on the Rand School of Social Science.
Black socialism has been given added
impulse by the bitter feeling among
negroes throughout the country in regard
to the alleged maltreatment of negro
officers and enlisted men in France, as re-
ported by returned soldiers and as publish-
ed in the "Crisis" and other negro journals
through the United States.

The League For Democracy

Next in importance to the Socialist
movement among negroes is the League for
Democracy. This organization is composed
of negro Officers and enlisted men who ser-
ved in France during the war. The head-
quarters are in New York City and branch-
es are being established all over the United
States. Under ordinary circumstances, this
organization would have no more signifi-
cance than any other organization of War
Veterans, but on account of the insidious
propaganda alleged to have been carried
on in France by White Americans against
negro troops, the League for Democracy
has taken its place among other radical or-
ganizations dedicated to the negro cause.
Coloured soldiers who were not embarked
for France are also eligible for membership,
which is expected to reach at least
150,000. A weekly newspaper, "The Com-
mon'er," has recently been started in New
York City as the official organ of the Lea-
gue. It is edited by O.E. McKaine, formerly
1st Lieutenant 367th Infantry, and who is
also Field Secretary of the League. The
League has been popularized and democra-
tized by a waiving of all former rank held
in the army. Every member joins on the
same basis and is eligible to hold any office
in the League. Applications for member-
ship are coming in daily from all parts of
the country, and it has been ascertained
that a "welcome will be extended to other
radical elements interested in the negro

The Industrial Workers of The World

For several years a limited number of
negro workmen have been members of the
Industrial Workers of the World. But dur-
ing the past two years several thousands of
negro laborers have joined the organization
in response to vigorous propaganda con-
ducted by its leaders. Unlike the American
Federation of Labour, the Independent
Workers [sic] of the World has never discri-
minated against negro workmen and has al-
ways welcomed them to its ranks. In fact
there is a clause in its constitution prohi-
biting discrimination on account of race,
creed or colour. Another distinction be-
tween the two organizations is that while
the American Federation of Labour is pri-
marily an organization of skilled workmen,
the Industrial Workers of the World is an
organization of unskilled workmen. As the
majority of negro workmen follow the un-
skilled occupations, such as farm hands,
day labourers, etc. (they had been barred
from the skilled trades by the American
Federation of Labour) it has been a com-
paratively easy matter for the Industrial
Workers of the World to enlist them in its
ranks. At its recent convention in Atlantic
City the American Federation of Labour
abolished its traditional colour line and
voted to accept negro members on the
same basis as white members of labour
unions. This belated action will have no
effect on negroes who have already joined
the ranks of the Industrial Workers of the
World, but if the American Federation of
Labour carries out its pledge in good faith
it may be expected to prevent any great
number of negro workingmen from joining
the Industrial Workers of the World in the
The natural tendency of the average
negro is to be regular and follow a beaten
path. He becomes irregular and departs
from the beaten path only as a last resort,
when he finds that no other method will
accomplish results. Under these circum-
stances he is, perhaps, the most radical of
all ,radicals, his trend of thought swinging
from one extreme to the other. The future
relation of the negro workman and his
affiliation with the Industrial Workers of
the World will depend entirely upon the
spirit in which the American Federation of
Labour carries out its pledge. If the pledge
is not carried out, the Industrial Workers

of the World will eventually enlist in its
ranks a vast majority of the negro work-
men throughout the United States. It may
be added that the American Federation of
Labour, by reason of its hostility toward
negro labour, extending over a period of
many years, arouses but little confidence
in the negro workman.

Universal Negro Improvement Association

The avowed object of this organisa-
tion is to awaken race consciousness
among negroes of the United States and
Africa, with the aim of gradually bringing
about a unity of purpose of the negro
peoples of both Continents. The scheme
is very broad in scope and includes the
establishment of closer relations between
all the coloured races of the world with
a view to their mutual co-operation. This
work is being carried on by clever pro-
paganda directed principally by Marcus
Garvey, a West Indian negro, whose office
is at 36 West 135th Street, New York
City. (See Appendix III).
This movement, like most others of
its character, originated in New York City
and has a weekly newspaper, "The Negro
World," as its official organ. The Associa-
tion holds periodical mass meetings which
are usually well attended; with the excep-
ti6n of Garvey and Domingo, however,
most of its leaders lack intellectual equip-
ment possessed by the young negroes in
in the Socialist Party.
It has been ascertained that there has
been considerable correspondence between
the Officers of the Universal Negro Im-
provement Association in New York and
prominent coloured men in foreign coun-
tries, that such correspondence or ex-
change of views between American negroes
and prominent coloured men in other
countries, such as Africa, India, China,
Japan and the West Indies, cannot fail to
have its effect in due time in the establish-
ment of a closer relationship between the
coloured races of the world.
After the peace has been ratified it is
the intention of the association to raise
funds and send agents to the countries
named above to spread propaganda. This is
to be accomplished, not by public lectures,

but by establishing personal relations of
friendship with the more radical natives of
each country and leaving to them the work
of getting the message to the masses.

National Association For The Advancement
Of Coloured People.

This organization was formed about
ten years ago for the purpose of promoting
the welfare of coloured people and oppos-
ing by lawful means all forms of injustice
resulting from race prejudice. While or-
ganized for the benefit of negroes, this
movement differs from those already men-
tioned in that among its founders and
members are some of the most prominent
white men of America, who have always
been active in its affairs and have contri-
buted funds to its support. This organiza-
tion has about 50,000 members scattered
throughout the country. One of the lead-
ing spirits in the National Association for
the Advancement of Coloured People is
Major J.E. Spingarn, who was at one time
connected with the Military Intelligence
Department. Mr. Oswald Garrison Villard
has been one of its principal financial

The National Association for the Promo-
tion of Labour Unionism among Negroes'
This organization was formed in June
1918, in New York City by Philip Ran-
dolph and Chandler Owen. Its object is to
create and develop a spirit of harmony,
goodwill and brotherhood between black
and white workers. Its Advisory Board is
composed of radical white labour leaders,
and prominent Socialists. Its programme
is detailed and far reaching, and caused the
New York State Legislature to assign
$30,000 to the Lusk Committee for the in-
vestigation of radical organizations, etc.
Among those connected with the Na-
tional Association for the Promotion of
Labour Unionism Among Negroes are
Morris Hillquit, the well-known Socialist,
who polled 135,000 votes for Mayor of'
New York at the last election; Charles W.
Ervin, Editor of the New York "Call," a
Socialist organ; Jacob Panken, Socialist
Judge of the Municipal Court, New York
City; Joseph Schlossberg, Secretary of the
Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America

-I L


From the Van Der Zee Collection

and Rose Schneiderman, President of the
Workers' Trade Union League.

The Hamitic League Of The World

A New York branch of the Hamitic
League of the World has recently been or-
ganized. It numbers among its members
John E. Bruce (sometimes known as
"Bruce Grit"), Arthur Schomberg, Mrs.
Augusta Waring, El Latimer, Anselmo Jack-
son, (of "Our Boys and Girls") and Cyril
V. Briggs.
John E. Bruce is a West Indian of Bri-
tish origin and is an extreme radical. It is
reported that he was the editor of the
"African Times of the Orient," published
in London, which was suppressed by the
Government. Anselmo Jackson is editor of
the "Crusader." The League would seem to
have been organized by G. McLean Ogle, of
British Guiana, who has articles in the
"Clarion" from time to time, and is descri-
bed in that magazine as their British
Guiana correspondent and organizer of the
British Guiana branch of the Hamitic Lea-
gue of the World.

Unrest In The British Colonies

Meanwhile there have been slight dis-
turbances in British Honduras and Jamaica.
In the latter Colony there was a riot on the
night of the 18th July, in which the hool-
igan element of Kingston joined with some
discharged coloured soldiers and sailors,
whose slogan, it is reported, was "Kill the
Whites." It was believed to be a counter-
blast to the riots in Cardiff and Liverpool.
Some sailors of H.M.S. "Constance" were
attacked and wounded, as well as one or
two white civilians. There was, however,
no recurrence of the disorders on the foll-
owing evening, which was the night of the
Peace celebrations.
The grievances of the coloured troops
appear to be due to their treatment at
Taranto. They complain that they were
made to do work which should have been
assigned to a Labour Company, and that
they were not treated by the Command-
ant as members of a fighting unit. This is
said to have been the cause of the outbreak
at Belize, in which some local disaffected
negroes took part.
An educated negro named F.E.M.
Hercules arrived in Jamaica on the 5th
July. Up till the 14th August he has done
nothing on which any action against him
could be taken, but it was significant that
there was a strike in the workshop of the
Jamaica Government Railway after he had
addressed the men. There has also been a
strike among the dock labourers.
In Barbadoes there has been no dis-
order, and a rising of black and coloured
people against the whites is considered
most unlikely, for the coloured men are
very loyal to the Sovreign, and are strongly
imbued with the love of their Island and a
desire to possess a small "spot" of land.
Nevertheless, there is undoubtedly some
industrial unrest owing to the high cost of
living and general, feeling that wages ought
to rise as they have in other countries.
It is certain that the various negro or-
ganizations in the United States will not
leave the British Colonies alone. A body
calling itself the "International Uplift Leg-

gue," conducted by a Dr. Campbell, a col-
oured man, has already been sending out
its literature to Jamaica. The leaflets bear
the figure of a woman representing Liber-
ty, holding in either hand the Union Jack
and the Stars and Stripes. It contains the
demands of the "Hamitic" or black races,
and invokes retributive justice on the heads
of the Governments who fail to grant the


In conclusion it is worth noting that
the National Race Congress of America,
which is to meet in Washington on October
7-11th, has issued the following manifesto:

"Conditions arising from the late world-
war and the grave and pressing demands of
real Democracy incident thereto, will make
the work of the Congress this year far more
important than in any session during its en-
tire history. This will be known as the
SUFRAGE SESSION of the Congress, at
which an effort will be made to determine
as to how the civil rights of the Negro in
those States in which he has been deprived
of his right to vote, may be restored, and
how in those States in which he enjoys the
right of franchise, the ballot may be pro-
perly safeguarded and used to best advant-
"To this end, and to the end that all
the interests of the race may have prompt
attention, plans have been laid to raise a
fund of two hundred and fifty thousand
dollars ($250,000), known as a Defence
Fund. This fund is under the management
of Prof. J.R. Hawkins, Executive Secretary,
1541-14th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C.,
to whom all contributions may be sent and
will be administered under direction of our
Executive Committee.
"The annual Membership fee in the
Congress is $2.00 per delegate, and it is in-
dispensable that every unit be represented
this year, and that as many additional units
be secured as possible. At the Session last
year, the Congress had an audience with
President Wilson, the Secretary of the Trea-
sury and Director General of Railroads and
a number of the Senators and Members of
Congress. More will be attempted this year.
The President of the Congress attended
the Pan-African Conference and the Allied
Peace Congress in Paris, and much data has
been gathered during the past year which
will make the sessions of the Congress this
year of unusual interest and supremely
"Some of the most able and thought-
ful men and women of our race in America
and leading statesmen from Liberia, Haiti,
India, France, England and probably from
Japan, have been invited to deliver address-
es during the sessions-of the Congress."

The present negro situation of the
U.S.A. would thus appear to be due to the
growing race-consciousness of the educa-
ted negro and to the use made of the
colour question by revolutionary agitators
to stimulate a sympathetic unrest among
the coloured races in order to make the
breakdown of the Capitalist system univer-
It is very unlikely that there will be
any racial solidarity between the negroes of
the different countries. When asked what

he thought of the agitation among Amer-
ican negroes, the coloured President of
Liberia said that that was a matter entirely
for the American negroes: he was a Libe-
rian and was concerned with Liberian poli-
tics. The danger is that negro agitators
radiating from the United States may in-
flame the Negroes in British Possessions by
playing upon their local grievances.

Appendix I


After four days of disturbances the
race trouble in Chicago has apparently sub-
sided. Thirty-three is given as the number.
of lives lost, and 500 is the total of estima-
ted casualties. Thirty-six -fires are reported
as being of incendiary origin. The negro
population of Chicago is estimated at
150,000, and order was not restored until
Govenor Frank O. Lowden had ordered
out 6,000 State troops to reinforce the
police force which had been augumented
by 2,000 special police. That there is be-
hind these outbreaks more than the
smouldering antagonism of race feeling is
shown by the evidence that the negroes of
this country are the object of a vicious and
well financed propaganda, which is direct-
ed against the white people and which
seeks by newspapers, pamphlets and in
other ways, to stir up discontent among
the negroes, particularly the uneducated
class in the Southern States. Documents
are said to show that among the radical
organizations active in this propaganda are
the Industrial Workers of the World, cer-
tain factions of the radical Socialist ele-
ment, and Bolshevists.
Reports from the Department of
Justice show that Victor Daly, the negro
business manager of the particularly radical
publication known as the MESSENGER,
was interviewed by an agent, who asked
him if he expected any trouble among the
negroes in New York. He seemed very
loath to answer and then finally said that
he did not. He is reported to have said that
"The Washington and Chicago demonstra-
tions were the outcome of economic con-
ditions"; but admitted that "a contributing
cause to the demonstration might possibly
have been the professional agitators, but
stated that the main factors were the large
immigration of negroes into the industrial
centres during the war, the culmination of
many of these industries due to the Armis-
tice, poor housing conditions, the new
valuation of life held by the returned negro
soldiers, the realization that conservatism
will never raise his standard and of course
the increased prices of the necessities of
life." Added to these, he stated, was "the
age-long breach of inequality existing be-
tween the whites and blacks to a climax de-
sire on the part of the negro race for race

Appendix II

The Messenger is a monthly Socialist
Magazine edited by two negro Socialists,
Chandler Owen and A. Phillip Randolph.
Although a very young publication, it has

attracted wide attention by reason of its
extreme radicalism and its excellent dic-
tion. Its first issue was limited to 1000
copies, but so rapid has been its growth
that within six months its circulation has
been increased to 33,000 copies. Its edi-
torials have been quoted and commented
upon, not only by radical journals through-
out the country, but by the daily press of
the large cities. To illustrate the popularity
and growth of this publication the fact
may be cited that on June 1st it placed
$25,000 worth of stock on the market at
$5.00 per share and before June 30th more
than $18,000 of this amount had been sub-
scribed. This circumstance resulted in an
investigation of the MESSENGER by the
District Attorney of New York County.
Among those who have written letters of
congratulations to the editors of the
MESSENGER on the success of their pub-
lications are Reverend John Haynes
Holmes, one of the foremost divines of
New York City; Thomas W. Churchill,
former President of the New York City
Board of Education; H.W.L. Dana, former
Professor of English and Comparative Lit-
erature for ten years in Colombia Univer-
sity, New York City, and Miss Mary White
Ovington, a well known social worker of
New York. The above names will illustrate
the calibre of citizens who are endorsing
the MESSENGER and its policies.

THE CRISIS-New York City

This monthly magazine is the organ of
the National Association for the Advance-
ment of Coloured People. It is about ten
years old and is edited by Dr. W.E.B. Du
Bois, a graduate of Harvard University and
one of the foremost writers of the negro
race. It was the CRISIS that aroused the
bitter resentment of negroes throughout.
the country by exposing the propaganda
carried on in France by white Americans
against negro troops and the race prejudice
exercised by white officers in the adminis-
tration of military affairs. The circulation
of the CRISIS is about 50,000 copies


The Crusader Magazine of New York
City is a radical monthly publication edited
by Cyril V. Briggs, a West Indian Negro. It
does not compare in circulation or quality
with the MESSENGER or the CRISIS.

This is a radical monthly magazine
edited by a man named Bridges, who is also
a street orator. The remarks regarding the
CRUSADER are also applicable to this

Appendix III


W. Monroe Trotter-Boston, Mass.

Mr. Trotter has been an advanced
radical for many years. He is a Harvard gra-
duate and a resident of Boston, Mass.,
where he edits his weekly newspaper, the

BUSTON GUARDIAN. Some time ago he
succeeded in going to France (after having
been refused a passport in Washington) as a
member of the crew of a steamer. His ob-
ject was to place before the Peace Confer-
ence a statement of the wrongs inflicted
upon the negroes in America. That he
attained some measure of success is indica-
ted by cable reports in the daily press
showing that he contrived to establish con-
tact with some of the foreign delegates at
the Conference.
Mr. Trotter returned to the United
States recently and received an enthusiastic
welcome. It is reported that he has collect-
ed a great deal of data bearing on the treat-
ment of negro soldiers in France and is
about to undertake a speech-making tour
throughout the country to expose injust-
ices similar to those reported by Dr. W.E.
Du Bois in the CRISIS. About a year ago
Mr. Trotter's influence appeared to be on
the wane, but the method he employed to
reach France and his success in obtaining
publicity in the French Press have revived
his former influence and he will be a power
to be reckoned with in the future. This is
evidenced by the enthusiastic reception
accorded him by an audience of 3000 peo-
ple at the Palace Casino, New York City,
where he spoke on the 27th July, 1919.

Hubert H. Harrison-New York City.

Mr. Harrison is a Negro of West In-
dian birth. He is a scholar of broad learning.
and a radical propagandist. Most of his
time is spent in lecture tours in cities hav-
ing large negro populations. He is not affil-
iated with any political party and frequent-
ly criticises all of them. He differs from
other negro radicals in that his methods are
purely scholastic. He typifies the professor
lecturing to his classes rather than a soap
box orator appealing to popular clamour.
One of his favourite themes is to review the
history of the exploitation of Africa, India
and other countries by the Caucasian races.
His lectures on this subject are always
interspersed with sarcastic and ironical re-
ferences to what he terms "the brazen
hypocrisy" of the white races, especially
the Anglo-Saxon. He also makes frequent
attacks upon the Church, asserting that its
influence has been inimical to the progress
of humanity by enslaving the minds of the
people with foolish dogmas and theories
that will not bear the light of reason. He
pictures the heads of the Church as being
in league with the master capitalists in a
pact to plunder the proletariat of all
Thoroughly versed in history and so-
ciology, Mr. Harrison is a very convincing
speaker and his influence is considered to
be more effective than that of any other in-
dividual radical, because his subtle pro-
paganda, delivered in scholarly language
and backed by the facts of history, carries
an appeal to the more thoughtful and coil-
servative class of negroes who could not be
reached by the "cyclone" methods of the
extreme radicals. As'a matter of fact, Mr.
Harrison's lectures might well be consider-
ed as a preparatory school for radical
thought in that they prepare the minds of
conservative negroes to receive and accept
the more extreme doctrines of Socialism.
Without any deliberate attempt to serve in
such a capacity, he is the drill master train-

ing recruits for the Socialist Army led by
the extreme radicals, Messrs. Owen and
Randolph. Mr. Harrison's lectures are al-
ways well attended and he ranks as one of
the very important factors in the dissemin-
ation of radical thought among negroes.
Mr. Harrison has recently returned to
this city after an extended lecture tour
through the South and is now engaged in
addressing street meetings in Harlem.

Rev. R. D. Jonas ("Prophet"Jonas) New
York City.

The Reverend Jonas is a white man
and has been the subject of many reports
to your office during the war. He was one
of the leading spirits in the defunct League
for Darker Peoples. Since the signing of the
Armistice the Revd. Jonas has become a
soap box orator on Lennox Avenue in Har-
lem, and was also engaged in assisting to
run a co-operative store located near the
Northwest corner of 132nd Street and
Lennox Avenue. He resides with his wife
in the home of a coloured family at 233
West 137th Street. The Revd. Jonas has no
influence of any great extent with negroes
and I do not believe he warrants any
special attention from the Government.

Marcus Garvey

Marcus Garvey is ,a strong force
among the negroes throughout the East,
and perhaps he is strongest in Chicago,
where he associates with the Left Wing and
I.W.W. elements. He is not openly endorsed
by the moderate leaders or by the preach-
ers, but the churches are nevertheless open
to him. He is a friend of Ida Wells Barnett,
a race agitator of some twenty years stand-
ing. She issued memorial buttons in mem-
ory of the black troops of the 24th regi-
ment who created a riot in the early days
of the war, and were afterwards executed.

W. E. Burghardt Du Bois

W.E.B. Du Bois is the head of the Na-
tional Association for the Advancement of
Coloured People, and the Editor of the
"Crisis." He is a well educated negro, and
was at one time the leading agitator. The
younger and more violent leaders among
the agitators, such as Marcus Garvey and
Chandler Owen, profess to find Du Bois
too moderate for them, and criticise him
adversely in their journals. It is reported,
however, that on the quiet there is more
connection between Du Bois and the ex-
tremists than appears on the surface. Du
Bois was sent by the negroes to Paris, it
is thought overtly with the consent of the
American Authorities, -but he is not sup-
posed to have done nearly so well there
as the now all influential Trotter. Du Bois
had some intercourse with the "African
Times" paper in London.

London, England.

(these extracts are part of W.F. Elkins' forth-
coming book Black Power in the Caribbean
the Beginnings of the Modern Nationalist
Movement to be published by the Revolution-
ist Press, Brooklyn, New York)

:es of the United Negro Improvement

Notes: Marcus Garvey and The Negro World.

1. "A Weekly Review of the Progress of Revolu-
tionary Movements Abroad," Secret Report No.
4, May 21, 1919, PRO, CAB 24/80/7306. [PRO:
Public Record Office, London].
2. "Negro Agitation," Report No. 232 (M), Mili-
tary Intelligence, New York, January 6, 1920,
PRO, FO 371/456'.
3. J. Biddle, American Vice Consul, Belize, to I.
T. Williams & Sons, New York, July 28, 1919,
NA, RG 59, 844a.00/3. [NA: National Archives,
Washington, D.C.]
4. "Report on the cases tried at the OCTOBER
Sessions arising out of the Riots of the 22nd
July," January 30, 1920, PRO, CO 123/299.
5. General Letter No. 4, Admiralty House, Ber-
muda, May 8, 1920, PRO, CO 318/358.
6. PRO, FO 115/2619.
7. Paraphrased in the Georgetown Daily Argosy,
September 27, 1919.
8. See the issues of February 7 and 10, 1920.
9. April 14,1920, PRO, CO 111/630.
10. August 19, 1919, PRO, CO 321/304.
11. October 10, 1919, reprinted in the Bridge-
town (Barbados) Weekly Illustrated Paper, Nov-
ember 8, 1919.
12. February 23, 1920, PRO, CO 321/310.
13. "I have the honour to state that...the 'Negro
World' has been stopped in this colony...I may
add that the proclamation required...has not
been issued and that...the action taken by this
Government is not strictly covered by law.'
W.M. Gordon to the Governor of British Guina,
June 10, 1919 PRO, CO. 295/521.
14. J.R. Chancellor, Governor of Trinidad, to V.
reported that items 5-290 "are missing from the
file...and we regret that we do not have any in-
formation concerning them." In 1919 Hoover
had not yet become the Director of the Federal
Bureau of Investigation.
Milner, November 30, 1920, PRO, CO, 318/356.
15. C. Latham to the Secretary of State, Washing-
ton, D.C., September 12, 1920, NA, RG 59, 811.
16. O'Brien to V. Milner, October 13, 1919,
PRO, CO 38/349.
17. Quoted by O'Brien in a letter to V. Milner,
June 24, 1920, PRO, CO 318/355.
18. J. Willcocks to V. Milner, November 2, 1920,
PRO, CO 318/356.
19. Translation from article by Paul Miller (alias
PaavJ Myllari) in the Industrialists of October
28, 1919, quoted in a report made by Special
Agent F. Pelto of the Department of Justice, NA,
RG 185, 91-C, 220. The article does not attribute

the verse to McKay, but see his Selected Poems
(New York, 1953), p. 38.
20. C. Harding, Balboa Heights, Canal Zone, to
Panama Canal Office, Washington, D.C., March
31, 1919, NA, RG 185, 91-C, 176.
21. British Charge d'Affaires, Panama City, to
Earl Curzon of Kedleston, May 10, 1919, PRO,
CO 318/350.
22. F. Burke to A.L. Flint, September 23, 1919,
NA, RG 185, 91-E, 209.
23. See "Memorandum-RE: Marcus Garvey,"
NA, RG 185, 91-E, 210.
24. A.L. Flint to R.W. Flournoy, Chief, Division
of Passport Control, September 29, 1919, NA,
RG 185, 91-E, 211.
25. NA, RG 185, 91-E, 212. The almost identical
clippings were from the issues of September 16
and 27. The clippings from the 16th reads: "New
York, Sept. 15-Yesterday was a red letter day in
the history of the negroes of the United States.
The first ship of the Black Star Line Steamship
Corporation of which Marcus Garvey is president,
was inspected by thousands of negroes in New
York harbour. The vessel will make her maiden
voyage on October 31," See RG 185, 91-E, 213.
26. A. L. Flint to The Chief, Bureau of Investiga-
tion, October 9, 1919, NA, RG 185, 91-E, 213.
27. J.E. Hoover, "Memorandum for Mr.
October 11, 1919, NA, RG 60, 198940/1-293.
Items 2-4 and 291-293 in this file of the De-
partment of Justice on Marcus Garvey are in the
National Archives. The "Memorandum for Mr.
Ridgely" is not numbered but is located next to
item 4. On November 12, 1970, the Director of
the Legislative, Judicial and Diplomatic Records
Division, National Archives and Records
Service, reported that items 5-290 "are
missing from the file...and we regret that we do
not have any information concerning them." In
1919 Hoover had not yet become the Director
of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
28. R.P. Stewart to the Secretary of Labor, Oct-
ober 15, 1919, NA, RG 60, 198940/4.
29. British Consul, Atlanta, Georgia, to the Bri-
tish Ambassador, Washington, D.C., January 8,
1926, PRO, FO 115/3120.
30. The Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus
Garvey, 2nd ed. (London, 1967), 11, 358.

Unrest Among the Negroes.

1. Directorate of Intelligence, Special Report
No. 10: "Unrest Among the Negroes," Octo-
ber 7, 1919, The National Archives, R.G. 28,
Unarranged Box No. 53, file No. 398.
2. Liberal pedagogues, desiring to dissipate
unsophisticated nativism, play downthe ex-
tent of black militancy. Wilson Record for
example, in Race and Radicalism (1964), p.27,
states the New Negro Movement "was essen-
tially an artistic and cultural renaissance
which touched only a handful of
Racial themes, of course, were not absent
from the works of the New Negroes, and..po-
litical concerns-equal rights, socialist theo-
ries, black nationalism, and separatist ideolo-
gies-informed the efforts of some of them.
But it would be a mistake to conclude that
the disparate and highly individualized chal-
lenges represented any specific movement."
See also Robert K. Murray, Red Scare (1955),
pp. 178-80.
3. Edmund David Cronon, Black Moses
(1955) p. 46. British officials wanted to halt
radical Negro newspapers at the source of
publication in the United States, rather than
at home in the colonies: "The Government
would like to prevent their receipt and distri-
bution, but owing to the fact that the black
population is several times that of the white
and includes some prominent persons such as
officials, lawyers, doctors and ministers, they
[sic] are uncertain as to the advisability of
taking the necessary steps here to prevent
their circulation." G.E. Chamberlain. United
States Consul, GeorgetoWn, British Guiana.
to the Secretary of States Washington, D.C.,
May 9, 1919, The National Archives, R.G. 28,
,Unarranged Box No. 53, file No. 398.
4. Acting School Assistant, Post Office De-
.partment, to the Solicitor, Post Office Depart-
ment, Jan. 8, 1920. The National Archives,
R.G. 28, Unarranged Box No. 56, file No. 500
Walter S. Penfield, Consul,'. United Fruit
Company to Robert Lansing, Secretary of
State, October 27, 1919. The National Archi-
ves R.G 28, Unarranged Box No. 56, file No.
5. The document is located in The National
Archives, R.G. 28, Records of the Post Office
Department, Office of the Solicitor, Corres-
pondence, Reports and Exhibits Relating to
rransmittal of Mail Violating 1917 Espionage
Act. 1917-1921. Unarranged Box No. 53;
file No. 398.
6. Negro World, June 7, 1919.

Marcus Garvey 1924. (From the Van der Zee collection).

Library Assistance: Rowland Noel



Gad J. Heuman is an American who received
his B.A., Hons. in History from Columbia Uni-
versity and his Ph.D. (history) from Yale Uni-
versity. He has taught at universities in the
United States and is now lecturing in Caribbean
history at the University of Warwick, Coventry,
England. Dr. Heuman spent the academic year
1968-69 in Jamaica doing research for his doc-
toral dissertation and returned for another visit
in 1975.

Commentators on nineteenth century
Jamaica have often ignored Robert Osborn,
preferring instead to concentrate on
Osborn's better known political and busi-
ness ally, Edward Jordon. This is not sur-
prising. Jordon was the leader of the free
people of colour1 from the 1830s until the
Morant Bay Rebellion in 1865. He gained
high government office and won plaudits
from nearly every colonial governor and
from several officials in the Colonial
Office. Osborn, on the other hand, never
achieved this level of success. Though he
was also an influential brown politician,
Osborn created a very different impression
among,.his contemporaries than Jordon.
One newspaper reporter, writing in 1861,
noted that:
Mr. Osborn is a very violent man, it is
said, and said truly a desperate man,
and not by any means of safe cha-
racter. His habits are demagogic, his
proclivities are all democratical, his
prejudices and passions are strong and
violent; and it would be unwise to
give him too much power, to trust him
too far.2
Yet Osborn's apparent failings did not
hinder his rise in Jamaican politics. On the
contrary, his blunt speeches and political
agility contributed to the development
of an important faction in the House of
Assembly. While Osborn's "democratical
proclivities" may have worried the planter
class, these attitudes strengthened his
appeal among other groups in Jamaican
society. In addition, Osborn was one of the
few politicians during the first half of the
nineteenth century who sought to improve
the condition of brown as well as black
Jamaicans; as a result, an historian of the
island has identified him as an early
coloured nationalist.3 It is therefore worth
reviewing Osborn's contribution to a
critical period in Jamaican history.
He was born on April 5, 1800. His
father, Kean Osborn, was a prominent
Scottish planter, a leading member of the
House of Assembly, and its Speaker for
several years; his mother was either a free
black or a slave. It was a common practice
in Jamaica for white men to have black or
brown mistresses and these relationships
often resulted in offspring who were mixed
in colour. The legal condition of the
children -- at last at birth depended
on the mother's status. In Osborn's case,
there's some evidence to suggest that he

was born a slave; if this was so, his father
probably would have ensured that Robert
did not remain one for long.4 However,
the elder Osborn appears to have done
little to improve his son's legal status once
he was free. Kean Osborn apparently
accepted the prevailing attitude among
planters toward their brown children; in a
slave society which had established its
social structure on the basis of colour, only
whites could enjoy full freedom.
Robert Osborn was thus subject to all
the statutes which applied to free blacks
and coloureds. As a free mulatto, he could
not vote, was not eligible to sit in the
Legislature, and could not hold office of
any kind. Moreover, he was not allowed to
give evidence in court against whites, was
limited in the amount of property he
could inherit, and would have been
punished more severely for certain crimes
than whites committing the same offences.
Had he been born several decades earlier,
Osborn might also have been required to
wear a blue cross on his right shoulder as a
form of identification. While this regula-
tion was no longer enforced during
Osborn's lifetime, the other laws were
more strictly observed. On occasion, the
Assembly passed privilege bills lifting some
of the rules for favoured freedmen; on the
whole, however, free blacks and coloureds
suffered under galling restrictions which
hindered their social and economic devel-
As a young man, Osborn would have
been affected by these measures and by
social conventions which arose in res-
ponse to them. For example, he would
have found it difficult to obtain work on
the plantations because of the effects of an
eighteenth century statute, the deficiency
law. Since the act required planters to
maintain a certain number of whites on
each estate in proportion to its slave popu-
lation, the measure considerably re-
duced the prospects of advancement for
freedmer on the plantations. During the
latter half of the eighteenth century, estate
owners often found it easier to pay the
fines under the deficiency law rather than
to import whites; nonetheless, the planters
generally continued the practice of exclud-
ing freedmen from positions on the planta-
tions. As a result, free coloureds and blacks
tended to seek employment in the island's
towns, often as clerks, tradesmen, and
skilled artisans.6
Osborn was no exception. He mi-
grated to Kingston and probably received
a smattering of education there. The edu-
cation clearly had its limits as Osborn im-
pressed a visiting American newspaper
editor some years later as "rather illiterate
than ignorant" and with a mind which
lacked discipline and order.7 However un-
disciplined, Osborn qualified as an appren-
tice printer. A few years later, a group

calling itself the Kingston Committee
of Colour began to organise a movement
to abolish the remaining legal restrictions
affecting the free coloureds.
The men of colour who founded the
committee in 1823 drafted a petition to
the Assembly seeking an end to most of
the laws against them. They also corres-
pounded with humanitarians in England
and sought to obtain the support of the
British Government. Although Osborn
appears to have taken little part in these
proceedings, his friend Jordon was one
of the organisation's most active members.
It is likely that Osborn was sympathetic
to the movement as well.8
The campaign to improve the legal
condition of the coloureds was not im-
mediately successful. Planters were re-
luctant to grant full rights to people
whom they regarded with suspicion. For
the whites, free browns as well as blacks
still posed a threat to the stability of the
slave society; many planters regarded them
as potential leaders of a slave rebellion.9
However, the people of colour gained a
more receptive audience among the hu-
manitarians in England and at the Colonial
Office. As a result, officials at the Office
began to apply pressure on the planto-
cracy to grant the freedmen all the rights
which whites enjoyed.10 In 1829, a news-
paper was established in Kingston which
also made the same demands. Known
as The Watchmanm and Jamaica Free'Press,
it was published by Edward Jordon and
Robert Osborn.
Osborn seems to have performed
several important functions for the paper.
Though he was responsible for its printing,
he also helped Jordon edit the newspaper
and occasionally contributed to it as well.
The Watchman and Jamaica. Free- Press
appeared twice weekly, even during 1832
when Jordon spent nearly six months in
prison for libel. After 1832, Osborn's name
appeared on the masthead along with
Jordon's and visitors to the island later
described Osborn as one of the proprietors
and editors of the paper.11
From its beginnings, The Watchman.
sought to better the legal and economic
status of the free browns; in addition, the
paper included the free blacks in its cam-
paign. This was a new development. Earlier
in the 1820s, the free men of colour and
free blacks had submitted separate peti-
tions for their rights; moreover, the two
groups did not remain politically united
after they had obtained their rights. In
1830, however, The Watchman claimed
that the whites' policy toward the freed-

men had brought them together for the
first time.12
Though Jordon and Osborn were con-
cerned about improving the condition of
the free coloureds and blacks, the two
editors were nonetheless wary of any

Robert Osborn

Brown Power Leader

In Nineteenth Century Jamaica

Kooert usoorn ul raining Dy tmino rianm
1842 (W.I.R.L.).
legislation which did not provide full civil
rights for the freedmen. When the Assem-
bly passed a general privilege bill in 1830,
The 'Watchman vigorously attacked it,
citing the measure's restrictive franchise for
freedmen and other clauses designed to
limit their political influence. Partly be-
cause of the paper's efforts, the House
enacted a law later in the same year making
free blacks and browns the complete legal
equals of the whites.1 3
In approving the legislation, the dele-
gates to the House were not simply res-
ponding to the demands of The Watchman
The Assemblymen were faced with the pos-
sibility that the Crown would impose these
measures on Jamaica, if the House did not
.endorse them on its own. The plantocracy
also believed that their action would ensure
the unity of the -free community in the
face of the abolitionists' campaign to end
slavery. Since many free blacks and
coloureds owned slaves themselves, the
whites expected that the freedmen would
join them in defending the system, of
slavery. 4
The planters proved to be mistaken, in

part because they had acted too slowly to
unite the freedmen with the whites. In-
stead of creating a sense of solidarity
among the free community, the Assembly's
delay in removing the freedmen's dis-
abilities had alienated the free blacks and
coloureds. Since the freedmen had found
support among officials and humanitarians
in England, they were more likely to back
British policy and to oppose the planters
when they came into conflict with the
The divergence between the whites
and the freedmen became clear in the early
1830s. At that point, many planters
refused to enact legislation passed in
Britain on behalf of the slaves; moreover,
several leading whites in the island
threatened to secede from Britain. Their
aim was to become a part of the United
States; in this way, they hoped to escape
the necessity of freeing their slaves.15
Along with other people of colour,
Jordon and Osborn strongly objected to
these proposals. In 1831, The Watchman
warned the whites that any attempt to
transfer the island's allegiance would be

By Gad J. Heuman

met by force; the combined force of the
free coloureds, blacks, and slaves who sup-
ported the Crown's policy of amelioration
and eventual abolition of slavery. In a
confrontation of this kind, the planters
who favoured severing ties with Britain
would find themselves isolated.16
Other differences between the freed-
men and the planters arose after the slave
revolt of 1831. The plantocracy blamed
the dissenting missionaries on the island for
the outbreak; the whites maintained that
the preachers had misled the slaves and
encouraged them to believe that they were
free. As a result, a group of planters esta-
blished an organisation, the Colonial
Church Union, to force the offending
preachers out of the island and to destroy
their chapels. By early 1832, members of
the Union had succeeded in wrecking
seventeen chapels and arresting several
leading missionaries.17
Though the mobs who attacked the
missionaries and their churches consisted
of some free blacks and browns, the
majority of freedmen sought to protect
the preachers. Many of the freedmen were
themselves Nonconformists; they armed
themselves and kept nightly watch on the
endangered chapels.18 Others held public
meetings to oppose the activities of the
Colonial Church Union. One gathering of
this kind took place at Robert Osborn's
home in Half Way Tree.
Osborn chaired the meeting which
consisted of free blacks and people of
colour from St. Andrew. Those present
agreed that the actions of the Union were
"illegal and unjustifiable." The freedmen
supported the Government in its measures
to suppress the organisation and con-
That as the descendants of that class
of his Majesty's subjects in this
country, who groan under the iron
yoke of Slavery, we feel ourselves
called upon to express our readiness
to support every act of the Parent
Government, which has for its object
the amelioration of their condition,
with a view to their ultimate emanci-
pation .... .19

At a moment of great tension and at con-
siderable personal risk, Osborn and his sup-
porters made clear their opposition to the
Union and to slavery.
The pro-British stance adopted by the
leading people of colour was not without
its dangers. In April 1832, the Attorney-
General ordered the arrest of Edward
Jordon. As the editor of The Watchman
Jordon was charged with having printed an
anti-slavery article which endangered the
security of the island. Since this was a
treasonable offence, it was punishable by

Price Watkis, who was probably the
first brown barrister in the island and was
also one of the few men of colour to sit
in the House of Assembly during the early
1830s, conducted Jordon's defence.
Though the prosecution called Osborn to
testify, he refused to identify his employer
or divulge his role on the paper. Despite
being placed briefly in custody, Osborn
maintained his silence. The tension in the
courtroom must have been considerably
heightened by the appearance of armed
men of colour; they apparently were there
to ensure that the death sentence on
Jordon was not carried out. Jordon's
acquittal may therefore have prevented the
outbreak of racial violence.20
The highly charged atmosphere in
Jamaica during this period may well have
increased racial antagonism between the
freedmen and the whites; at the same time,
it appears to have encouraged the people of
colour and free blacks to take advantage of
their new rights. After 1830, freedmen
were able to run for elected office and to
vote on the same franchise as the whites.
By 1831, two brown men had succeeded in
capturing seats to the House of Assembly,
one representing Kingston and the other
St. James.21 Like other leading men of
colour, Robert Osborn was also vying for
office. He won a place in 1832 on the
Kingston Common Council, part of the
governing body of that city. Although he
lost his bid to sit in the House a year later,
the voters of St. Andrew elected him to
their vestry. In 1835 Osborn became a
representative to the Assembly from St.
Andrew, a seat he retained for the next
thirty years.22
Osborn proved to be an active member
of the House as well as an outspoken
partisan of the people of colour. In a
speech to his constituency soon after he
had been returned to the Assembly, he
complained about his lack of support
among the white voters. However, Osborn
"complimented the coloured constituency
on the independent manner in which they
had come forward and asserted their rights.
On taking his seat in the house of
assembly, he would endeavour to advance
their interest in every possible way."23
Osborn's early career in the Assembly
suggests that he took this promise very
Osborn entered the House a year after
the abolition of slavery. However, the
slaves were not yet fully free; they were
obligated to work as apprentices to their
former masters for a period varying from
four to six years. Though the apprentice-
ship system was meant to prepare appren-
tices for freedom, the planters regarded it
as an opportunity to take advantage of
their former slaves. Osborn therefore
sought to protect the apprentices. Along
with Jordon, he corresponded with the
secretary of the Anti-Slavery Society in
Britain and warned of planter legislation
which was directed against the welfare of
the, apprentices. In the House, he opposed
these bills and backed measures to educate
the ex-slaves and to bring an early end to
the apprenticeship period.24
Osborn was not the only brown dele-
gate in the Assembly. By 1837, seven other
men of colour had places there. Generally
voting together, the group formed the
genesis of the Liberal or Town Party in

the Assembly. It was a largely urban coali-
tion, which generally supported Govern-
ment policy and was composed predomi-
nately of brown men. Since most of them
lived in Spanish Town or Kingston, they
could more easily attend the meetings of
the House than planters who often were
forced to return to their estates during the
session. As a result, the coloureds could be
more influential than their numbers at
first suggest.25
Not surprisingly, the planters were
concerned about the steady increase in the
number of brown representatives in the
House. They noted that men of colour
were in favour at King's House and were
securing offices in the government. Lionel
Smith, who became Governor of Jamaica
in 1836, was also worried about this devel-
opment; he predicted that every white
member of the House would soon be re-
placed by blacks and browns if the fran-
chise were not altered.26 It was a vision
which made the whites shudder and re-
member what had happened in Haiti.
But the situation in Jamaica was not
comparable to that of its neighboring
republic. The Jamaican men of colour
wanted to participate in local politics
rather than to overthrow the established
order; they had no intention of driving
the whites out of the island. Osborn
proved his loyalty to the local system in
1838 when he backed the planters in a
stand against the Crown.
The issue was broadly over Parlia-
menatary intervention in Jamaican affairs.
In 1838, the Assembly ruled that imperial
legislation on prison reform was a violation
of its constitution; the delegates therefore
refused to conduct any legislative busi-
ness, hoping that the political weakness
of the then-British government would
force it to alter the bill.27 The intention of
the leading members of the House was
clear: a successful resistance to the Crown
would mean a freer hand with the ex-
slaves in the post-emancipation period.
Osborn supported the Assembly's
stance, although his motives differed from
those of the planters. For Osborn, the
House was the vehicle for freedmen to gain
social and political power. Since he could
foresee the day when blacks and browns
would dominate the Assembly, Osborn
joined in voting with the planters to pre-
serve the powers of the House.28 Osborn's
point of view on this issue should have con-
vinced the plantocracy that he was hardly a
revolutionary. His role in Jamaican politics
after 1838 should have confirmed it.
When the apprenticeship system
ended, Osborn was thirty-eight years old.
Already a well-known figure in local
politics, he was no longer a poor man. He
and Jordon ran one of the leading book-
shops in the island; in addition, the two
men had ceased producing The Watchman
in favour of a larger newspaper, The
Morning Journal, which appeared daily
rather than twice weekly. Osborn was in
charge of publishing the paper and had
moved to Spanish Town where he ,also
supervised much of the printing for the
House of Assembly. It was a lucrative
contract: the profits allowed Osborn to
buy land, and when he died many years
later, he had holdings in St. Andrew, St.
Thomas in the Vale, Kingston, and Spanish

Osbom had probably married fairly
early in life. His son, who died while
Osborn was still alive, studied in Edin-
burgh for his medical degree and returned
to work as a doctor in the Kingston Public
Hospital. Osborn also adopted a girl and
had at least two illegitimate daughters; all
three inherited property from their father.
Though many people of colour were Non-
conformists, Osborn remained an Aglican
throughout his life.30
Osborn was an impassioned orator as
well as a highly emotional one. He spoke
often in the House and retorted sharply to
criticism of any kind. When a member of
the House questioned the Assembly's
printing contract, Osborn referred to the
delegate as "a man of a low, grovelling
nature." One newspaper regarded this
behaviour as unparliamentary and sug-
gested that it was characteristic of
Osborn, who too often made use of
violent invective.31 It was not the only
occasion when Osborn acted in this
manner. During a debate in 1860, he be-
came indignant when a coloured repre-
sentative to the Assembly abused Edward
I spare the bastard brown men in this
House, who are the mere mouth-pieces
of others, their feelings when they can
taunt the man who risked his life in
endeavouring to procure for them and
others, the social and political privi-
leges which they now enjoy. ... There
is a vein in the hearts of coloured and
black men, which none can touch but
coloured men, and that the genuine
kind, too, and no bastard.32
At a time when the mention of colour was
unwelcome, such an outburst was hardly
popular, at least among most of the other
delegates in the House.
Yet Osborn was not afraid of raising
the issue of colour nor of his own back-
ground. When a planter complained in a
debate that the British had robbed the
whites of their property, Osborn pointed
out that the speaker "must have known
that I am an immediate descendant of the
negro, and would not suffer any such in-
direct reflections." Though Osborn
claimed that "he had himself had pro-
perty in negroes, he was not like one
of those fellows who denied and were
ashamed to own their origin."33
Despite Osborn's obvious boldness in
discussing the question of colour, other
coloureds nonetheless accused him of
racial prejudice. John Castello, the brown
editor of a newspaper published in Fal-
mouth, claimed that Osborn and Jordon
had refused to help blacks get elected to
the Kingston Corporation in 1838.
Castello also blamed Osborn for insulting
the black wife of a politician during a
party at King's House.34 While these
charges are impossible to substantiate, it
is likely that Osborn accepted the social
patterns of a society which allowed him
access to the upper class. He might well
have snubbed a black woman at a dinner
party. But when it came time to win votes
or influence public opinion, Osborn
painted a wholly different picture of
himself: he became the personification of
the common man.
Throughout the post-emancipation
period, Osborn identified himself with the

majority of the population. In 1842, for
instance, he defended the people's rights
to enjoy their traditional Christmas acti-
vities. Since he was one of them, "he
would not therefore raise his head above
them, and forget himself, because he hap-
pened to be noticed by a few of the
aristocracy; no no one shall accuse him
of being a two-faced fellow."35 At a public
meeting in Spanish Town nine years later,
Osborn characterized himself as a member
of the "working class." Though he was
advocating a modification in the structure
of government, he was in his own terms "a
plain sailing labouring man" and would
not receive a government position as a
result of the proposed change.36
In part, this was a political trick:
identifying himself with the populace was
an obvious way to win votes. However,
Osborn maintained that he had roots
among the people and was in a position to
understand their needs. Though he was
invited to dine with colonial Governors and
mixed with members of Jamaica's upper
class, Osborn attempted to keep his ties
with other groups in society. It was a diffi-
cult role to play.
Yet Osborn was a natural actor.
According to his obituary, he loved to act
on stage and relished playing well-known
figures from Jamaican history.37 He had
a good sense of humour and was parti-
cularly skilful at providing the light touch
at public meetings. Even during debates in
the House of Assembly, Osborn amused
members by occasionally lapsing into the
vernacular. But there was a more serious
side to Osborn as well: the man who had
started life as an apprentice printer and
risen to prominence had done more than
acquire wealth and status. Along the way,
he had developed certain ideas about
Jamaica and its future. Though sometimes
contradictory, Osborn's views tell us some-
thing about himself and those like him.
Osborn's political and social ideas were
not necessarily original. Other coloured
politicians often expressed similar opinions
on the issues confronting them. As a
result, Osborn's attitudes are useful in un-
derstanding an important part of Jamaican
Above all, Osborn regarded himself
as a creole.38 Since he was born in
Jamaica and would die there, he was com-
mitted to the country's future. According
to Osborn, this attitude was in marked con-
trast to the planter view of Jamaica. Os-
born believed that the planters generally
had little permanent interest either in the
island or in its people. For them, Jamaica
was merely a temporary stop-over on
the road to financial independence; they
often came to Jamaica as poor men and
left having made their fortunes. In the
process, Jamaica was the loser.
The history of the country shows the
indelible fact, that it has been the sys-
tem of the planters, for three quarters
of a century past, to take everything
away from the country and to return
nothing to it, except what is necessary
to keep up their estates ... What have
they done for the country?
Osborn maintained that the planters
were guilty of ignoring the needs of the
people. Unwilling to spend more than a

trifle on improving the mental and phy-
sical condition of the population, the
planter-dominated Assembly instead allo-
cated enormous amounts of money to
import labour after emancipation.
Osborn believed that this large-scale
immigration was a scourge to the island.
He pointed to the waste of valuable re-
sources, to the significant number of
immigrants who died, and to the lack
of any improvement in the economy as a
result of the expenditure. It is little wonder
that he lashed out at the planters:
Where was their consideration of the
ruined condition of the country?
There was none: no, all those noble,
patriotic and humane feelings now so
much vaunted, were smothered, if
ever they existed at all. They were
smothered and subdued by the pre-
dominant desire for self-aggrandise-
ment. Yes, to increase the cultiva-
tion of sugar and coffee, every idea of
economy was lost sight of, and thou-
sands upon thousands of pounds were
expended which, instead of improving
the country, conduced to its ruin...40
Osborn was bitter about the failure of

the plantocracy to make their contribu-
tion to the island's welfare; yet he could
not envision a workable alternative to the
plantation system. While he favoured a
more diversified economy and was in-
terested in the development of ground
provisions, cotton, corn, and honey, Os-
born never assumed that these products
could replace sugar.41
The plantations were thus the main-
stay of the economy. Moreover, they
fulfilled another important function: for
Osborn, they were the bearers of European
civilisation. Osborn regarded the estates as
a vital force in preventing the mass of the
population from receding into a form of
barbarism. He was therefore opposed to
ex-slaves moving away from the planta-
tions because they would be less like-
ly to come into contact with whites.42
Osborn's ideas were clearly contradic-
tory. Though he criticised the planters'
lack of concern about the needs of
Jamaica, he believed in the survival of the
plantocracy and the estate system which
bred their indifference. While he worried
about the problem of a largely single crop
economy, Osborn was even more afraid
of the social consequences in a diversified
pattern of production. However, Osborn
was consistent on one important subject;
he had little doubt about the role of the
blacks in the island's future.
According to Osborn, the blacks
would ultimately gain ascendancy in
Jamaica. He pointed out that the number
of whites was declining while the ex-
slave community was on the increase.
Moreover, it seemed to Osborn "in-
tended by Divine Providence that the
wrongs of Africa are eventually to be
vindicated in this hemisphere."43
Yet Osborn did not want to hasten
the process and was opposed to blacks con-
trolling the House of Assembly. Though he
was in a position to encourage this devel-
opment, he claimed that his conservatism
had prevented it. During a debate in 1858,
he noted that he and his friends could
have brought out all the half-acre land-
owners and thereby guaranteed the

election of black representatives. Still,
this was not his aim:

If it were not because many of us
are of conservative feelings, you would
have this place long ago deluged with
negroes; but I don't think this
desirable. If the thing must come, let
it come naturally.44

Osborn wanted to prepare the blacks for
the future. Since it was only a question
of time before they became the leaders of
the colony, he thought it prudent to con-
dition them to the exercise of power. For
Osborn, the best hope lay in a responsive
House of Assembly. Osborn therefore
helped to organise the Town Party and
worked to create support for its candi-
dates. In this way, we hoped to gain
majorities for vital social welfare legislation
and at the same time to encourage the
political rise of the blacks as well as the
browns. At heart, Osborn was a politician.
Like most politicians, Osborn enjoyed
electioneering. He worked hard, travelling
to different parishes in support of black
and brown candidates. In the process,
Osborn often used the issue of colour to
gain votes for the men he backed. In
1849, for example, he journeyed to
present-day St. Mary in hopes of capturing
the seat of a well-known planter for a man
of colour, John Nunes. It later emerged
that Osborn had written to a friend in the
parish asking him to back Nunes on the
grounds that "union is strength, that Mr.
N. is one of us and a native." When an
opposition newspaper published the
letter The Morning Journal responded that
Osborn had nothing to hide. It was
common knowledge that he belonged to
the party "whose object was to promote
the interest of the black and coloured
class, of which he is one."45
In the House, Osborn became an im-
portant delegate, though he differed on
many issues from the majority of repre-
sentatives. During a debate in 1843, for
instance, he criticised a resolution calling
for a halt on Assembly grants toward the
repair of churches, schools, or chapels.
Osborn argued that the House was pre-
pared to allocate large sums of money to
coerce the people but only small amounts
for education. He also opposed special
interests, he voted in 1843 against an in-
crease in the duty on horses because it
would aid the penkeepers at the expense
of the people.

They [the Assemblymen] are forget-
ting 'the whole mass of the people for
the sake of a handful of penkeepers;
let the duty remain where it was, and
not oppress the people, otherwise the
pressure from without would be too
severe for them.46
Osborn was particularly interested in

legislation on education. Though the
planters were able to veto it, he proposed a
national education bill in 1849. Two years
later, he submitted a different measure,
this time suggesting a medical school
for Jamaica. The bill also aroused oppo-
sition; the majority of the House favoured
doctors from abroad rather than locally-
trained physicians.47 While Osborn's
measures were defeated, it is nonetheless
important to note that Jamaicans were

thinking in these terms during the first half
of the nineteenth century.
Osborn was more successful in block-
ing planter attempts to create economic
chaos in the island. After 1846, when the
British Government moved to abolish the
protected market for West Indian sugar,
the price of cane fell sharply and the
planters experienced a severe loss of con-
fidence. Their response was to retrench on
official incomes and to block vital revenue
bills; in the way, they hoped to force
the Crown to reinstitute the protective
tariffs on sugar. Osborn's faction which
formed less than half of the House -
opposed these tactics. By skilful Parlia-
mentary manoeuvring, they were able to
enact the usual finance bills. Though con-
cerned about the loss of protection for
sugar and the economic crisis, the black
and brown delegates as well as the few
whites who voted with them regarded
the island's economy as more than a pawn
in the struggle to regain protection.48
This was one of the few victories for
the Liberals. During the 1850s and 1860s,
the number of blacks and browns in the
Assembly slowly declined; moreover, the
members of the party did not remain
united. The reform of the constitution
in 1854 and the elevation of Edward
Jordon to an important post in the govern-
ment help to explain the dwindling im-
portance and the divisions within the Town
Contemporary photograph of House of Assembly

The new constitution created an
executive committee which superseded
much of the work previously performed
by individual members as well as by com-
mittees of the House. Looking back on
his political career, Osborn noted
the difference which this change had made.
He claimed that he had been one of the
most active members of the Assembly
before "the whole of our labours were
transferred to the executive commit-
There was another significant develop-
ment for Osborn as well as for the Town
Party after 1854. Its leader, Edward
Jordon, was appointed to a place on the
executive committee. Once in office,
Jordon proved to be an excellent ad-
ministrator; however, he was prepared
to sacrifice social welfare measures in
favour of organisational and economic
reforms. The members of his party
responded predictably: they maintained
that Jordon had deserted them.50 Since
Osborn generally backed Jordon's ad-
ministration, he helped to split the party
he had done so much to create.
Differences within the faction de-
veloped soon after Jordon accepted
office. In 1854, several black and brown
delegates opposed the small grant which
the executive committee assigned for
education. A year later, many more
Spanish Town (W.I.R.L.)

reacted against a bill which would reform
the vestries. They objected to the increased
qualifications for vestrymen and one
black representative claimed that measure
was an attempt to deprive blacks of their
right to sit on vestries. During these
debates, Osborn-, who had been nominated
to the Privy Council, was the only man of
colour consistently voting with the
executive committee.51
This was also the case when the com-
mittee submitted a crucial election bill
to the Assembly in 1858. It disfranchised,
many of the small settlers who tended to
vote for black and coloured delegates.
Though Osborn was committed to a-
wider franchise, he again supported Jordon
and the administration, while the more
radical members of the coloured faction re-
mained in opposition. The measure not
only divided the party; it also had the
effect of reducing their numbers in the
Osborn's political fortunes declined
with those of the Town Party. During the
early 1860s, he was sacked from the Privy
Council because of his attacks in the
press on the Governor; thereafter, he
settled into the more comfortable role as
part of the opposition. Since Jordon was
no longer on the executive committee and
it was now a planter stronghold, Osborn
was freer to suggest policies and to oppose
legislation than he had been for several

years.53 He also helped to reorganise his
party and contributed to its brief re-
surgence in 1863. Edward Jordon returned
to the executive committee, but the acting
Governor, Edward John Eyre, worked to
undermine the new administration. Though
Osborn supported a censure motion
against Eyre, it had little effect, apart from
impeding legislation and convincing the
Colonial Office to promote Eyre to the
Governorship.54 In 1865, the riot at
Morant Bay completely altered the poli-
tical situation in the island.
The events at Morant Bay and the re-
pression which followed them not only in-
volved the slaughter of hundreds of
innocent people; they also served as the
pretext for Governor Eyre to abolish the
House of Assembly and to institute Crown
Colony government. Osborn fought
vigorously against the destruction of the
constitution and against legislation curtail-
ing popular rights. For example, he
opposed a bill allowing the Governor to
declare martial law, arguing that the
measure put too much power in the hands
of the executive: "He must confess, that
upon what was called and known as
popular rights, he entertained very strong
feelings indeed."55 Osborn also attacked
legislation against freedom of speech and
freedom of the press. He condemned
Governor Eyre for acting too quickly and
proposed that the people be consulted on
any change in the constitution.56
Though Osborn deplored the riot, he
did not regard it as any justification for
destroying the constitution. For Osborn,
the outbreak at Morant Bay was not part
of a general rebellion against the whites; as
a result, he thought it unjust to punish the
overwhelming majority of Jamaicans by
doing away with their Assembly. Although
he claimed that he would not live long
enough to see its effects, Osborn was,
worried about

our children and of their children, and
the difficulties and troubles they may
have to contend with; and I wish, if
possible, to guard against them. At
present they have little to clamour for,
but take away the constitution; send
them back in to political degradation
and slavery, and tell me if you think
this will render them and ourselves
more contented than we are now.57

Osborn proved to be right. The aboli-
tion of the House and the change to direct
rule from London slowed the pace of
political development in Jamaica until well
into the twentieth century. Since fewer
blacks and people of colour had an oppor-
tunity after 1865 to be involved in
Jamaican politics, the loss of the Assembly
also had an impact on the development of
race relations. Osborn's obituary in 1878
noted the humiliation which he had felt
in the last years of his life "at the establish-
ment in his native land of a despotic
system which demolished all the symbols
and safeguards of local autonomy and
public independence."58
Osborn had failed to achieve his aims.
In a sense, it would have been impossible
to do otherwise because the objectives
themselves were contradictory. Osborn was
a creole and an early Jamaican nationalist;
he was committed to the country and to

improving the condition of the mass of
the population. Yet while Osborn worked
all his life for the advance of blacks and
coloureds, he saw this development within
the context of a planter-dominated society.
Though he wanted blacks to share power,
he did not envision them in control of
the island, at least not in his lifetime. The
planters saw things differently. For them,
Osborn was one of the leaders of a move-
ment to replace Europeans with blacks and
coloureds. Morant Bay confirmed all their
worst fears.
Osborn was caught in the middle
ground. He had tried to create a balance
between black and white and failed. In
the face of planter opposition and his
own inconsistencies, Osborn could do
little. Though he had done well in life, he
forecast misery for those who followed.
1. The term free people of colour is used here
as they generally defined it themselves; that is,
to denote persons who were neither white nor
black. Its synonyms include brown, mulatto, and
2. The Jamaica Guardian, 27 February 1861.
3. Philip D. Curtin, Two Jamaicas; The Role of
Ideas in a Tropical Colony, 1830-1865 (Cam-
bridge, Mass., 1955). pp. 176-77.
4. Two different sources claim that Osborn
was born a slave. One was the manager of a
coffee plantation and the other an American
newspaper editor who visited the island in 1850.
See C.O. 137/235, Sir E.H. East to Glenelg, 28
August 1838, enclosure and John Bigelow,
Jamaica in 1850: or, the Effects of Sixteen
Years of Freedom on a Slave Colony (New York,
1851), p. 35.
5. C.O. 137/91, Williamson to Dundas, 4 June
1793 no. 10, secret, enclosure: Memorandum by
Bryan Edwards, 16 May 1793 The term freed-
man is used to describe a person who is either
black or brown and born free or manumitted.
6. Edward Long, The History of Jamaica (3
vols, London, 1774), vol. 1, bk. 2, chap. 2, p.
381; [Richard Barrett], A Reply to the Speech
of Dr. Lushington in the House of Commons on
the 12th June, 1827 on the Condition of the
Free-Coloured People of Jamaica (London,
1828), p. 36.
7. Bigelow, Jamaica in 1850, p. 35.
8. C.O. 137/175, Lushington to Courtenay, 17
September 1836, enclosures: Statement of the
Proceedings of the People of Colour of Jamaica
in an Intended Appeal to the House of Assembly
of 1823, For the Removal of Their Political Dis-
abilities (1823), p. 5; Ibid., Hill to Allen, 18 July
1823; Sheila Duncker, "The Free Coloured and
Their Fight for Civil Rights in Jamaica, 1800-
1830" (unpublished M.A. thesis, University of
London, 1960), p. 163.
9. See, for example, the testimony against two
people of colour, Louis Lecesne and Edward
Escoffery, who were illegally deported from
Jamaica in 1823: C.O. 137/174, Manchester to
Horton, 27 December 1824, enclosure: Mitchel's
testimony before the secret committee of the
House of Assembly, 18 November 1824; C.O.
137/176, Hibbert to Horton, 7 June 1824.
10. Charles H. Wesley, "The Emancipation of
the Free Coloured Population in the British
Empire," Journal of Negro History, XIX
(April, 1934), p. 159.
11. The Watchman and Jamaica Free Press, 28
April 1832; Joseph Sturge and Thomas Harvey,
The West Indies in 1837 (London, 1838), p. 154.
12. The Watchman and Jamaica Free Press, 22
May 1830. For an example of the separate nature
of the free coloureds' earlier campaign, see
Postscript to The Royal Gazette, 15-22
November 1823.
13. The Watchman and Jamaica Free Press,
7 August 1830; C.O. 139/69, Jamaica Acts,
1830, Act number 2092.
14. Postscript to The Royal Gazette, 13-20
November 1830: House of Assembly Debates,
17 November.
15. Supplement to The Royal Gazette, 9-16
July 1831.
16. The Watchman and Jamaica Free Press, 9
July 1831.
17. Mary Reckord, "The Jamaica Slave Re-
bellion of 1831," Past and Present, XL (July,
1968), p. 124; W.L. Burn, Emancipation and
Apprenticeship in the British West Indies
(London, 1937), p. 95; Curtin, Two Jamaicas,
pp. 87-88.
18. Henry Bleby, Death Struggles of Slavery

(London, 1853), p. 156; Thomas F. Abbott,
Narrative of Certain Events connected with the
late Disturbances in Jamaica. (London, 1832),
p. 38.
19. The Jamaica Watchman, 22 August 1832.
20. Mavis Campbell, 'Edward Jordon and the
Free Coloureds: Jamaica 1800-1865" (un-
published Ph. D. thesis, University of London,
1971), pp. 157-59; Supplement to The Royal
Gazette, 14-21 April 1832; The Watchman and
Jamaica Free Press, 28 April, 1832.
21. The Watchman and Jamaica Free Press: 5
November, 16 November 1831.
22. Glory Robertson Compp.), Members of the
Assembly of Jamaica (mimeo, Institute of
Jamaica, 1965), p. 56.
23. Supplement to The Royal Gazette, 17-24
October 1835.
24. D.G. Hall, "The Apprenticeship Period in
Jamaica, 1834-1838," Caribbean Quarterly, III
(1953), p. 142; C.O. 137/226, Jordon and
Osborn to Robert Stokes, 27 December 1837;
Votes of the Assembly of Jamaica (hereafter
VAJ), 15 December 1837, p. 234; Ibid., 26
October 1837, p. 25.
25. C.O. 137/220, Smith to Glenelg, 11 October
1837, no. 185; Douglas Hall, Free Jamaica 1838-
1865: An Economic History (New Haven, 1959),
pp. 7-8.
26. C.O. 137/213, Smith to Glenelg, 30
December 1836, no. 46.
27. C.O. 137/228, Smith to Glenelg, 7 July
1838, no. 138; The Morning Journal, 6 Novem-
ber 1838.
28. The Falmouth Post, 28 November 1838;
The Royal Gazette and Jamaica Times, 3 Novem-
ber 1838: House of Assembly Debates, 31
29. C.O. 137/351, Darling to Newcastle, 24
November 1860, confidential; Island Record
Office (I.R.O.), Inventory, 162-172: I.R.O., Will:
30. I.R.O., Will: 133-467; C.O. 137/345, Darling
to Bulwer Lytton, 22 July 1859, no. 94.
31. The Falmouth Post, 3 November 1848.
32. Abraham Judah and A.C. Sinclair (comps.),
Debates of the Honourable House of Assembly of
Jamaica. . (13 vols., Kingston and Spanish
Town, 1856-66), 27 November 1860, p. 161.
33. The Morning Journal, 8 March 1844.
34. The Falmouth Post, 14 September 1849.
35. The Jamaica Standard and Royal Gazette, 7
January 1842.
36. The Daily Advertiser, 8 December 1851.
37. The Colonial Standard, 2 April 1878.
38. Creole in the West Indian context meant
anyone born in the island, regardless of colour.
See also Edward Brathwaite, The Development
of Creole Society in Jamaica, 1770-1820 (Ox-
ford, 1971), p. xv.
39. Judah and Sinclair, Debates, 4 January
40. The Morning Journal, 11 July 1849; House
of Assembly Debates, 5 July.
41. Ibid., 25 February, 1850.
42. Ibid., 26 October 1847.
43. Judah and Sinclair, Debates, 21 November
1865, p. 74.
44. Ibid., 31 December 1858, p. 309.
45. The Morning Journal, 25 August 1848.
46. Ibid., 18 December 1843: House of Assem-
bly Debates, 14 December.
47. The Morning Journal, 12 July 1849; VAJ,
18 November 1851, p. 71.
48. The Morning Journal, 22 February 1849.
For an example of the Parliamentary tactics of
Osborn and the Liberals, see Ibid., 18 December
1848: House of Assembly Debates, 13 December.
49. Judah and Sinclair, Debates, 15 November
50. C.O. 137/234, Barkly to Grey, 19 October
1854, no. 107; Judah and Sinclair, Debates, 9
December 1858, p. 180.
51. The Morning Journal, 15 December 1854;
House of Assembly Debates, 12 December; The
Falmouth Post, 16 February 1855; House of
Assembly Debates, 8 February.
52. Judah and Sinclair, Debates, 9 December
1858, pp. 181-83; VAJ, 9 December 1858, p.
53. C.O. 137/356, Darling to Newcastle, 3
September 1861, no. 126; Judah and Sinclair,
Debates, 14 February 1861, pp. 399-400.
54. VAJ, 8 February 1864, p. 383; C.O. 137/
380, Newcastle to Eyre: 1 April 1864, no. 792;
6 April 1864, no. 794.
55. Judah and Sinclair, Debates, 9 November
1865, p. 17.
56. Ibid.: 21 November 1865, pp. 62-63; 29
November 1865, p. 118.
57. Ibid., 21 November 1865, pp. 75-76.
58. The Colonial Standard, 2 April 1878.

Life of John Dunkley

(National Gallery

Exhibition 1977)

John Dunkley, the famous Artist and
Sculptor, was born in Sav-la-Mar on De-
cember 11th, 1891. He went to school at
the age of 7. His first misfortune in life
was an accident to one of his eyes which
caused him to give up schooling at the age
of fourteen.
His father, who was in Panama, sent
for him so he travelled out. Unluckily for
him his father died and was buried the day
before he landed. Although he was de-
prived of his father's wealth, Dunkley
was not discouraged and started to earn a
livelihood for himself. He travelled from
Panama to Colon to Costa Rica, Chiriqui
David and thence to Camaguey where
he earned enough and saved till he was
able to decide what was to be his pro-
He started out for California to study
Dentistry when a revolution took place
and he lost all of his belongings, money,
clothing, etc., only his life was spared. He
ran for miles in woodland tearing off
clothes and shoes until he was left in rags.
He was lucky, as being a Free-Mason he
was able to give the Mason's distress sign
and it was answered by a Mason on a
passing ship and he was welcomed on
He was fitted out with everything
he needed and was offered a job. He im-
mediately signed on as a sailor and went
travelling. He went to England, Scotland,
North and South America and numerous
other places. He got tired of travelling and
decided to abandon it.
He went back to Chiriqui where he de-
cided to settle down as a barber by trade.
He worked hard at his barbering and in
his spare time would do some painting on
canvas and he got an insight of the art
from Clarence Rock, who was the most
prominent photographer in Panama, He
kept on painting, giving the paintings to his
friends and left quite a lot there.
He returned to Jamaica in 1926 and
settled down. He married Cassie Fraser
and took life more seriously as he had
responsibilities to meet. He was fortunate
in his marriage as his wife stuck to him
and they both lived happily together.
Although life seemed hard as there was al-
ways sickness and many worries, his love
for his wife and children was such that
he never shirked his responsibilities.
He continued painting till one day
as he sat alone in his barber shop he was
approached by a white gentleman who
had been attracted by the small signs which
made up the screens of his shop. This
gentleman, who introduced himself as Mr.


Delves Molesworth, (at that time the Se-
cretary of the Institute of Jamaica) ex-
claimed "At last I have discovered a hidden
artist!" Mr. Molesworth encouraged him to
keep on painting as he knew that one day
he would attain his goal. Dunkley was so
encouraged that he followed Mr. Moles-
worth's advice and kept on painting, until
he was brought to the notice of Mrs.
Edna Manley who encouraged him to send
paintings to various exhibitions both a-
broad and in Jamaica.
His paintings were sent to Miami and
he won a four pound prize at the St.
George's Exhibition in 1938 for a carving
in wood a Reindeer.
One of his paintings was bought by
the International Art Gallery in America
where he received a Bronze Medal and
would have received a cash prize if it
hadn't been for the war which came about
in 1939, and caused the closing of the
World's Fair.
Poor Dunkley was in hard luck. He was
never benefited by his talent as there were
always hindrances in his way. Still he was
lucky as his wife knew his needs and
helped him where she could. Dunkley
was a poor but respectable man. His life
made him beloved by all who associated
with him. He thought more of other people
than himself and always helped those
who needed his assistance.
His work was criticised by many
who did not know his worth as he was
the only imaginative painter in the Island
and one could not teach him for he was
Years rolled over Dunkley's head but
he still continued to work harder cut-
ting wood and carving in African style.
After the outbreak of war, in 1940, he
carved a man out of wood and named
him Deliverance. He is seen praying over an
open Bible.
When the Sandy Gully Air Base
was being sighted by President Roosevelt
of America he painted him, and from the
first piece of Lignum Vitae wood that was
cut down, a huge piece, he carved an
African Man sitting down and named
him Sandy Gully. Dunkley kept all these
paintings and carvings all these years
with an aim in view, hoping that one
day he would reach his goal. He was
never lucky to get any help; he never asked
for any, trying to reach" his goal without
anyone's help.
He sent four more of his paintings to
England for the Exhibition in London
which were viewed by hundreds and

highly praised. At this time it was De-
cember 1946.
Health began to fail poor Dunkley
and he was ill for months. His wife
tried, with the help of several doctors, to
prolong his life but death came to him
on the 17th of February, 1947. His
funeral was largely attended by rich
and poor. A lot was said of him for
days in the papers which was the only
time his worth was ever told. He is sur-
vived by his wife and four children. All
his work is left behind, over forty paintings
and lots of unfinished ones, also carvings.

(Reprinted from the catalogue of the
"Memorial Anniversary Exhibition of the
late John Dunkley, Artist and Sculptor",

Mixed media on plywood, 28" x 16". Collection:
Cassie Dunkley.

11801- 1471

Parade with Tram Cars. Mixed media on plywood, 12/2" x 18". Collection: Hugh Dunphy.
~ ~. -~ ,'r

Three Spanish Jars
Mixed media on canvan 1 71/A" x 2R" Collection: Norman Rae.

Prayer Woman on Stool Sandy Gully (dated 1941), Lgnumvitae,
Mahogany, H.9" Collection: Edna Cedar, H. 12"/. Collection: Tina Dunkley. H. 17%". Collection:Cassie Dunkley, On
Manley. extended loan to the National Gallery.

Adam and Eve
Cedar, H. 19". Collection: Cassie D

Photos of Fara-fita kankurang appearing on page 20 of Vol. 10, Nos. 2, 3, & 4, were published by courtesy of AFRICAN ARTS.

Addendum: Minerals & Plate Tectonics in Jamaica, (Vol. 10 Nos. 2,3,4).

Horsfield, W.T., and Roobol, N. J., 1974, A tectonic model for the evolution of Jamaica. J. Geol. Soc. Jamaica, vol. 14, pp. 31-38.
Hughes, I.G., 1973, The mineral resources of Jamaica. Bull. Geol. Survey Dept., no. 8, 88pp.
Mitchell, A.H., and Bell, J.D., 1973, Island-arc evolution and related mineral deposits. J. Geol., vol. 81, no. 4, pp. 381-405.
Oxburgh, E.R., 1974, The plain man's guide to Plate Tectonics. Proc. Geol. Assoc., vol. 85, pp. 299-357

Figure 5:
Key to ore mineral symbols used on this and subsequent figures, is as follows: Ag, silver; Al aluminium; Au gold; Cr chromium; Cu copper; G gypsum;
H halite (rock salt); Hg mercury; Mn manganese; Ni nickel; Pb lead; Zn zinc; Granodiorite intrusions are represented by the irregularly bounded areas with-
out ornament. Sea level position is omitted.


The Historic Marker Programme
of the Jamaica National
Trust Commission
is for bringing an awareness
of their historic wealth
to the Jamaican people.

Photo API

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