Front Cover
 Table of Contents
 Back Cover

Title: Jamaica journal
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00090030/00028
 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: 1975
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: VID00028
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
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Table of Contents
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
    Back Cover
        Page 57
        Page 58
Full Text

Jama icaJou rna


"Bronze Head from IFE"

?4O*~# to

OiUt BT.'1 t :: I~: a m ;~ug~Iontt s
~ U A .8 oliqd egmani-

Raphael Shearer

ixhograDhed in Jam.ic. by
lames Pesrs Ltd.


Jamaica 51.00 U.K. & Europe 75p
WV* kdoiesa 3.00 (B.W.I.)
.5. & Cansde S2.00

.li .4

Ovara. Sub~ lp3969 pt~a .
I o

V.9; or U.K.'*lSMBtIM rates uvce


Jamaica JournaL


VOL. 9 NO. 4

The Influence of Voodoo on the Lives of the
Haitian People......... ...... ...................................... Acelius E. Isaac 2

H a itia n A rt..... .. .................................................................................... ........................ 5 ,8 ,1 1 ,1 2

Review: The Haitian Potential......................... ...................... Ifekandu Umunna 13

Q u in c y ................................................................................................................... T e d S h e a re r 1 5

National Exhibition of Art in Schools....... ....................................... ..... 21

My Mother ..... ................................................................ Velma Pollard 24

M usg rave M edallists 1 974 .................... ......... ..... ..... .... ....... .... ......... 26

History of the Jamaica Philharmonic Symphony
Orchestra rebirth and emergence .................. Sibthorpe Beckett 27
Three Poems... ................................................. ........Richard HoLung S.J. 33

Festival P oetry 1974 -7 5............. ... ...................... ...................... ........ ... 34

The Windmills of St. Thomas.... .......................................... David Buisseret 36

The History of Portland 1723-1917 ....................................... Beryl Brown 38

N natural H history C olum n............... .......... ...... ..................... .............. 45

Early History of Geology in Jamaica ...... ........................... L. J. Chubb 46

The Diffusion of Innovations, Soil Conservation
Techniques in the Yallahs Valley, Jamaica ..................... Ann Baxter 51

Cover Picture Art in Preparatory Schools,
Collage 'A Little Girl called Anna.'
(Mona Preparatory School)


The Influence of


o. th..e.. .

HAI. ..

PEPL by Acelius E. Isaac

1. An understanding of the Haitian Voodoo.
Since I have been in Jamaica, almost
everywhere I go, including the University
campus, I discover that many persons have a
keen interest in Voodoo. To any group I
am invited, and to any person I am presented,
when they discover that I am Haitian, they
always ask me one thing: "Tell us about
Voodoo." And, taking account on certain
questions, one thing that comes out clearly
is the general impression, or the general
understanding of Voodoo is in terms of
blood sucking, human sacrifice, demon
possession, sexual orgies, invocation of the
spirits, and a lot of dramatic tales that many
uncritical readers and hearers like to believe,
and that have stuck in people's minds.
For many, Voodoo is nothing but black magic,
sorcery, witchcraft, covered under the name of
All of these misconceptions about Voodoo
can be seen as the result of publicity given
either by some foreign journalists and foreign
writers who knew how to exploit a dramatic
tale, and who went to Haiti and picked up
the bulk of their information by hearsay, in
order to write a "best seller".
I agree that this sensational aspect cannot
be dissociated from Voodoo, but at the same
time one would do well to remember that
is not what Voodoo is all about. Although
Haiti is rightly called "Voodoo land", or

wrongly called "magic land" any one who
might go there with the sole intention of
attending a bloody ceremony with a human
being freshly sacrificed, or with the expecta-
tion of entering a Voodoo temple as one
enters a church or any public office; this
particular person would be very dissap-
pointed and would soon realise that the
picture he has got is not entirely right, in the
sense that he did not read or hear the whole
truth about Voodoo.
What is more surprising is the attitude of
some Haitians toward Voodoo. Some had
been ill-informed by many Christian Churches
or missionaries who have attempted to wipe
Voodoo beliefs out of the minds of the
Haitians by trying to make them despise it.
Some others who claim to be intellectuals
because they have studied abroad, and who
care for the good opinion of other nations,
prove to be very sensitive about even the
word, try to deny or cover the existence
or the reality of Voodoo in Haiti.
That is why in this study I am not confining
myself to what is already written about
Voodoo, but to what I understand it to be
all about. By saying this, I do not mean to
reject or disregard the amount of truth that
can be found in all other previous writings
about Voodoo, but I will look at them with
critical eyes. For I remain convinced that
no one is able to write a full and worthwhile
account on the Haitian Voodoo without an

understanding of the Haitian people them-
Like the African religions, and like
Hinduism, Voodoo is a way of life for the
Haitian people. It is anchored in their
culture, in their beliefs, and in their philoso-
phy of life. Here I totally agree with Harold
Courlander when he writes, "Voodun means
more to the Haitians than temple and ritual,
it is an integrated system of concepts concern-
ing human activities, the relationship between
the natural world and the supernatural, and
the ties between the living and the dead.
It provides guidelines for social behaviour
and demands that the gods be responsive".la
Voodoo in terms of beliefs, practices and
philospohy of life is so natural and even
innate in the Haitians that many are not
aware of it; and because of the bad con-
notations of the word, educated Haitians
may tend to deny its influence upon their
lives. As for me, I dare to say that, directly
or indirectly, Voodoo rules the life of the
Haitians. It has infiltrated all the areas of
their lives. This is why no one can take one
aspect of Voodoo and say "I know everything
about the Haitian Voodoo."
As a matter of fact, Voodoo, when fully
understood, seems to be one of the most
complicated studies since it covers all the
aspects of the life of the Haitian people.

1A. ReligionandpoliticsinHaiti. p. 12

No particular aspect in the life of the Haitian
can be explained or interpreted without a
reference to Voodoo. One would find
Haitians who deny that Voodoo has anything
to do with their lives, but it would not take
too long to notice that their very behaviour,
their philospohy of life reveal the strong
influence of Voodoo upon them. Their
stand can be easily understood by taking into
account how they have been brainwashed
by the system of education that was prevalent
in Haiti, and by the neo-colonialist pro-
paganda which never revealed the whole
truth about Voodoo. Also in studying the
influence of Voodoo, one should remember
that it is at its best among the peasants
rather than among the educated who may
try to show how sophisticated they can be
in their urge for nouveaute. In this context
one should bear in mind that very often the
ancient and even the genuine culture of any
race is kept faithfully by the country people
as being less exposed to foreign influences.
Another fact that is worth while remember-
ing, is that Voodoo leaves a great mark
upon the Haitian identity; apart from it
our culture would be very poor, without it
we would have a purely European culture
and we would be nothing more than disguised
Europeans. It is very unfortunate that many
writers have exploited the term "Voodoo"
and associated it with all sorts of tales.
As for me, Voodoo denotes a way of life of
the Haitians, it is a part of their African
heritage, it is what makes the Haitians
what they are. It is what makes us different
from the Americans, the English, the French,
or any other people.
What has happened in Haiti, and in the
rest of the West Indies, is that we have been
taught directly or indirectly to turn our back
on our true, on our proper heritage, so that
we might forget or ignore who we really are.
The colonial powers and the neo-colonial pow-
ers including the church, have allied themselves
together to make us consider our culture and
even our people, as wild and uncivilized.
That is the sequel to the coloiial prejudices,
because of the lack of sympathy and under-
standing toward the Africans. Voodoo in
its full and real meaning has been looked
down upon by many European and even
by some Caribbean men just because it is
a faithful reminder of our African back-
ground. As long as we are content to walk
in the shoes of the European, as long as
we shield ourselves behind their standards,
it would be very difficult for us to discover
who we really are, and it would be'difficult
for us to occupy our proper place in the
As a Christian, I disapprove totally of
the magical aspect of Voodoo, but with regard
to the other aspects, cultural, social, reli-
gious, historic etc. I feel proud of it. And
no religion in the world, no educational
system, no foreign influences can force me
to close my mind and my eyes on it and make
me turn my back on it by denying its existence
-or its influence on my life. I would not be
fair and true to myself if I do otherwise. I
cannot reject or ignore it.
This view point will be better understood
later when we consider the background of
the African religion, more precisely, the
West African religion; the origin of Voodoo
and its multiple influences on the life of
the Haitians.

2. Short background of the African Religion
Anyone who tries to understand most of
the beliefs, practices and philosophy of the
Haitians should take a closer look at the
African religion which, as Voodoo, is a
way of life.

My knowledge on this matter is based
more specifically on a talk that Dr. Libuwa
Ononuju, an African national, has presented
to a group of students of the University of
the West Indies.
Dr. Ononuju began his introudctory remarks
by pointing out that the African religion
is the only true religion in Africa, in the sense
that it is not an imported religion, but the
natural religion of the African. It is their
primitive religion, that which binds them
together. It gives meaning to their lives
since it is related to their everyday life.
Africans believe in a Supreme God who
is the creator, who does not remain in direct
contact with man, but who can be approached
through the intermediary of the spirits.
God is conceived as father, as mother, as
judge. So the belief in many gods does not
rule out the concept of the Supreme God.
Between God and man are the gods of the
spirits, then come the animals, plants and
the minerals; they too are thought to possess
certain attributes of God in terms of power,
since they were created by God. This is
why some African societies or some African
tribes worship the moon, the sun and even
certain trees.
Whereas the Christian religion is still
wrestling with the origin of evil; in the
African religion God is the creator of good
as well as of evil. God has created evil just
to show to man that he can do anything.
The Africans see nothing wrong in worship-
ping certain objects as long as the Supremacy
of God is acknowledged. "After all", said
Dr. Ononuju, "God does not forbid us to
worship anything after Him",since he says
"you shall have no other gods before me".
He does not say "after me,". Sometimes God
is thought of as the great ancestor. In re-
lation to that comes the will of the ancestors
who play a very significant role in the every-
day affairs of the living.
Man is divided into body and spirit.
The body may perish but the spirit is immortal.
Death does not create any break between
the members, the souls of the departed ones
continue to live with the living ones. The
spirit of a departed can be called upon for
help when the living is in trouble. The
spirit can get angry and can even do harm.
Nothing should be done by any member of
the living family that may displease the
ancestors. No decision should be made
without consulting the ancestors. On the
other hand the living may help the dead and
should live to please him. The African
concept of family is very wide-it includes
even the dead. The family ties are very
strong. Even when an African leaves the
country to settle in town either to further
his education or to find employment, he
does not forget his duty toward the other
members of the family and he does not deny
his family links. On the contrary he con-
siders it as a duty, while in town to help
his parents. He is willing to take care of a
relative until he or she can help himself or
herself. Marriage is not a private affair be-
tween two individuals but between two
families. Children belong to the community
and can be disciplined by any respectable
member of the community.
Africans are very fond of symbols, they
do not like emptiness, that is why fetishism
is so common among them. Witchcraft
and sorcery are not only devices, but a
way of life for many of them. They have no
concept of accident -every event has a
cause, bad events are the work of the witches.
Since every event has a cause, so every event
or cause can be explained. Death has more
or less three general causes.:
1. It might be attributed to God (the

divine cause against which nothing
can be done)
2. It might be attributed to "Kgaba",
this is the punishment inflicted by
the ancestor-spirits because some
senior member of the kinship group
had been insulted or injured by
junior relative. In such a case a sick
person might have a chance to
recover after the performance of
special cleansing ceremony.
3. Death also may be attributed to sor-
cery which is a very complicated
affair involving vengeance, trial be-
fore the chief etc.
Magic is used as a protective or offensive
device; many magical charms are personal
and they are worn on the body, hung over
the house door, or put in shops. Rings,
bracelets, necklaces, and many other decora-
tions have magical as well as ornamental
purposes. Even texts from the Koran and
Bible are used as protective amulets.
Religion is practised at home, it is more or
less a family affair. Because of their fondness
of symbols Africans are connected to their
faith by images. Each family has a reserved
place in the house where the spirits can be
invoked. God, conceived as being every-
where, does not need a special house for
communal worship. No one can confine
Him in a single place. Anyone may offer
sacrifices, but the elderly persons have the
priority since they have to be highly respec-
ted. An African priest may be of any sex,
male or female. In the matter of fetishism
women very often prove to be more effective
than men.
The African religion has been founded
by no prophet or sorcerer, it is based on
nature; it has no constitution, no code of
regulations; it is a united religion, full of
understanding and tolerance. There is no
belief in hell. Nature, gods and man should
never be separated. Africans have no con-
cept of original sin, man is created with a
divine spark, so he cannot be bad, evil is
the work of a witch.
Listening to Dr. Ononuju, I was amazed
to hear how close the Haitian way of life is
to the African's. It was at that particular
time that I was able to understand clearly
the origin of so many Haitian cultures and
beliefs. Not long ago I had the privilege to
listen to another African national the Rev.
Dr. Sawyers; he was giving a series of
lectures on West African religion at the
United Theological College of the West
Indies. I came again to the same conclusions.
About three quarters of what he said was
not unknown to me.
When I reflect deeply on the African
religion in terms of theology and in terms of
philosophy of life, I cannot help concluding
that it leaves man with less uncertainties
than any other religion. It is unfortuntae that
the whole world does not have such a religion,
since it helps man to be himself, to perform
actions that he is able to understand and
interpret. Although the African belief is
complex, for me it is nearer to reality than
many other fabricated interpretations of

Origin of Voodoo In Haiti
The transportation of the Africans to the
soil of St. Domingue by the Spanish marked
the beginning of Voodoo. In taking these
desinherited Negroes from Africa and casting
them mercilessly and brutally as animals for
the colonizers; the traders and planters did
not realize that with massive deportation,
those slaves would keep an unquenchable

faith in their gods, in their spirits and in
their ancestors. Those men who were in
search of easy fortune did not remember
that Africans had already a way of life and
that they would not forget or give it up
easily. More than that, when the behaviour
of many slaves in St. Domingue is taken into
consideration, it seems that the process
of acculturization did not work out very well.
Although the Code Noir (Black Code) of1865
had given religious monoploy to the Roman
Catholic church by prohibiting the practice
of all other religions, some of the Catholic
missionaries had done nothing more than
to pass a superficial knowledge of Christian-
ity to the slaves. And since most of them
were also slave-owners, all that they did
was to teach the slaves how to be obedient,
how to worship the white man as "half god".
Even those who were conscious of their duty
had to deal with the hostility of the planters
who were preoccupied only with fortune
making. The planters' belief was that when-
ever a slave was converted to christian
faith, he could benefit from certain christian
privileges, so they became very suspicious of
the missionaries. The colonial administra-
tors made severe regulations prohibiting the
erection of churches and chapels on the
plantations. The slaves should go to church
in town and could not leave the plantations
but on Sunday. The slaves could not worhsip
in the church with the masters and the
entire white population. They did not have
the same priests. Later on, the planters
started complaining about the idea of sending
the slaves to attend mass on Sundays.
They considered the slaves trip to town on
Sunday as a pretext to desert the plantations,
and as also an occasion for libertinage and
generally as a waste of time and a loss of
money. They complained so loudly that the
colonial administrators promulgated a law
making Sunday a market day, requesting
the slaves to go back immediately after the
mass to the business of their masters.
Because of all that the slaves developed the
habit of forming their own assembly and
trying to meet as often as possible, mainly
at nights. Then they took the very little
Christian knowledge and put it together
with their own beliefs and worked out a
sort of 'syncretization,' a sort of rapproche-
ment in which the holy names and symbols
of Catholicism were worshipped and put
together with the African idols. All that
was left to them, the fetishes the dances and
songs, were used as means to appease their
nostalgia. During the night, after a hard
labour day, in which they were victims of
the cruelty of the plantation owners, they
got together in secret places in the forest
and on the beat of sacred drums, they put
aside their defrogue de resigned's to quote
Dr. Jean Price Mars, and recaptured their
own personality. These nocturnal meetings
favoured the renaissance and the keeping of
their secret societies in which they cherished
their own beliefs, joined together with the
Catholic faith. To quote a very famous
statement of an influential Haitian church
leader, the Reverend Alain Rocourt, pre-
sently Chairman of the Methodist District
in Haiti, "The slave brought here (Haiti)
from Africa did not find in Christianity a
balm for his wounds and much less the
support he desperately needed for his just
claims. He had no other choice but to look
elsewhere for the needed source of moral
and spiritual energy......He turned naturally
to his ancestors' religion, Voodoo. There
he seemed to find the necessary strength for
his struggle to freedom. Voodoo with its
nocturnal ceremonies, its bewitching mystery,
its beliefs, was intimately tied to this search
for freedom. This helps to explain why it is

so deeply rooted in the masses' subconscious1"

Voodoo and History
Rene Derose, a Haitian writer, maintains
in his book Voodoo and Culture that Voodoo
had no influence in the shaping of the Haitian
nation. His point of view can be easily
understood when one takes into account
the attitude of many Haitians in the past
who were convinced by foreign opinions
that Voodoo was an activity of uncivilized
and barbaric people. Who can accept such
a statement without question? The state-
ment falls to the ground when one considers
the whole beginning of the Haitian revolt.
No one can have a full picture of the in-
fluence of Voodoo in the life of the Haitians
if one fails to take into account the very
history of Haiti itself. In this connection,
Robert S. Woodworth has this to say:
"We know a person's past life, how he has
been treated, as a child, what problems he has
encountered in growing up and how he has
handled them, we would understand him better
instead of taking him as he is today. What is
true of individuals is true also of people in gen-
eral. We can understand them better when we
have learned something of their life history" 2
Rene Derose has missed the point because
he looked at Voodoo as merely black magic
and witchcraft. Even if it were so, no one
can deny the place of magic in the struggle
of the slaves of St. Domingue for freedom.
Makandal, the first leader who conceived
the plan of liquidating the entire white
population of St. Domingue, was a runaway
slave with great magical power. It was by
the result of his magical achievements that
he was able to convince the slaves on the
plantations that he was immortal. He consi-
dered himself as a prophet inspired by the
African divinities. That is why even when
he was burnt on the 20th of January 1758
the rest of the slaves were still convinced
that he would re-appear to revenge his
race, since they all believed that Makandal
had the power to transform himself into a
After Makandal, came Boukman, a negro
from Dahomey who arrived in St. Domingue
from Jamaica. On the night of August 14,
1791 he gathered a great number of slaves
at Bois Caiman (Cayman Wood) near Morne
Rouge in the North Department. There were
about two hundred, and during a dramatic
Voodoo ceremony an old Negress arose with
a knife in her hands, with her shaking body
and in the midst of a universal silence, she
plunged the knife into the throat of a
black pig, whose blood caught in a gamelle3
was distributed to all the participants who
drank it and swore to obey Boukman and
who took the decision to live free or to die.
Dr. J. C. Dorcaimil in his book Manuel
d'historie d'Haiti reports that ceremony had
taken place in the midst of heavy rain, great
storms and lightning. 4 After that dramatic
and exciting ceremony the slaves on the
North plantations rose on the night of
August 22, 1791 burnt many plantations
and killed hundreds of white men, as it is
reported by many who write on the Haitian
revolution. During that ceremony the slaves
invoked not the god as conceived by the
European Masters but their own African
gods, their ancestors, the spirits and the
Although no mention is made so far by
anyone who wrote on the Haitian revolution

1. The Star, Jamaica October 10, 1974.
2. Psychology p. 270
3. A locally made wooden long plate
4. History of Haiti, pp66-67

about the source of the power of Capois
Lamort during the final phase of the war of
independence at Vertieres near Cap Hatien,
one can easily imagine, if not conclude that
Capois was not an ordinary general. Histo-
rians praise his bravery, when at the head
of his regiment he refused to move backward
even though he was exposed to the bullets
coming from the French regiment. His
hat was taken off by a bullet, his horse
was killed under him, yet he continued
to move forward, encouraging his soldiers
by crying.
"En avant, en avant,
Boulet le pousie" 5
What made him so invincible? was it not the
magic charm and rites that so many of them
used to wear with the conviction that they
were invulnerable to bullets?
It should also be remembered that it was
always during their social gathering that
the slaves made possible arrangements for
their revolution. It must also be acknow-
ledged with Harold Courlander that:
"The revolution was not fought or motivated
only by witchcraft, and that the armies of Tous-
saint, Dessalines and Christoph fought against
great odds with the conventional weapons of
war and with the determination, bravery, and
hatred of the colonists." 6
So the influence of Voodoo on the Haitian
revolution in terms of culture and magic
is a fact that no one can deny if he wants
to be fair to the first leaders of the revolution.
The slaves in St. Domingue organised their
conspiracies not through prayer meetings
but through Voodoo dances and ceremonies.
There were no priests, no pastors to preach
them blind resignation and utopian hope
in the light of a heavenly reward. With
Haiti, the case was different from the British
West Indian Islands where the church
had to prepare the slaves for emancipation.
The Roman Catholic church (the only
representative church at St. Domingue during
the colonial period) had no positive influence
on the Haitian revolution. All was done
by the slaves themselves. It is tantalizing
to think there might have been no revolution
in St. Domingue had there been the various
Christian groups such as Anglicans, Baptists,
Methodists to control the slaves behaviour
and teach them obedience to the masters.
The Catholic Church although present in
Haiti since tle time of discovery was not
recognized as state church until 1860. The
first protestant church, the Methodist, ap-
peared in Haiti some years after the procla-
mation of the independence. So, prior to
independence, Voodoo was the only living
religion of the slaves. And as such, its
influence upon the History of Haiti cannot
be denied.
Voodoo and Politics
It is a fact that the historical events and
the political events of any nation go hand
in hand. This can be seen in the develop-
ment of the historical events of the Haitian
nation. If Voodoo has had an enormous
influence upon the historical development
of Haiti, then as a result, its political life can-
not be expected to have remained un-
Makandal and Boukman, the first two
leaders of the Haitian revolution were able
to command and make themselves obeyed
because of their "Voodooic" power. They
pretended to be prophets of the African gods
entrusted with the mission of the liberating
the negroes and making St. Domingue an
independent kingdom for the Africans.

5. Forward, forward, bullets are nothing but dust.
6. Religion and politics in Haiti

Top: Left and Right. Two Views Bust by Bertony Duperrier,
one of the famous Duperrier, brothers (all now dead) whose
work is in the National Collection of Haiti.

Below Right:
Fertility Chair

r- ~K

It is true that no strong reference is made
to the two other great leaders of the Haitian
Revolution. Toussaint L'Overture and Jean
Jacques Dessalines concerning their Voodoo
practices (in terms of magic) although it is
equally true that those two leaders showed
themselves to be the strongest opponents of
Voodoo; one has to ask why. Surely, Toussaint
and Dessalines knew very well as did all
other Haitian politicians that Voodoo was
the only force to challenge their power.
They were afraid of what might have happen-
ed if they allowed Voodoo practices (in the
strict sense of the word) to flourish. They
definitely knew that the most important
complots (plots) were made during Voodoo
gatherings. They did not want to repeat
the same mistake of their ex-masters, they
had recognized the potential of the cults
to stir up disorder; so each of them during
their rule made sure that Voodoo practices
were limited and put under control. They
did not overlook the influence that Voodoo
could play upon politics. It is even tradi-
tionally stated in Haiti that Dessalines was
a victim of the Voodoo gods because of
his ingratitude towards them.
It is exactly in politics that the importance
of some outstanding Voodoo priests is
recognized. Because of the power and pro-
tection that Voodoo can guarantee to politi-
cians it is difficult to know exactly who is a
faithful Voodoo cultist among the politicians
or who is only casually interested in it.
From time immemorial it is a well known
fact that in order to remain in power most
of the Haitian leaders had to please the
Voodoo gods and live in harmony with the
outstanding and powerful Voodoo priests.
Another strong enemy of Voodoo in
Haiti was Nicholas Geffrard. As president
of Haiti, he had the intention of wiping
out Voodoo practices on this territory.
In order to materialize his aim, he had in
1860, signed a concordat with the Vatican
through which the Roman Catholic Church
was recognized as the official religion (state
church ) in Haiti.
Once again, the Haitian tradition explained
the decline of Geffrard's Government by
pointing out that, after having made too
many promises to the Voodoo gods, Geffrard
was afraid that those same gods who helped
him to ascend into power, would favour
somebody else; so in order to consolidate his
position he decided to give the strongest
blow to the Voodoo practices. And the tra-
ditional critics concluded that he was vic-
tim of not keeping his promise to the "loas"
The influence of Voodoo in politics is so
great in Haiti that almost all elections, and
downfalls of many Haitian chiefs of state
are always seen and explained in connection
with Voodoo. It is reported that during
those election campaigns, many candidates
received a magic bath in order to make
them immune to firearms; and it is also the
time when most of them seek the assurance of
success through the media of the "houngans".
Harold Courlander in an article Vodun in
Haitian culture points out that:
"Much of the evidence against presidents
alleged to be practicing Vodunists came out of
legend or folklore.............Voodun sometimes has
been an issue but there is no evidence that the
cult has ever controlled or had great influence
in the palace." 7
Here Courlander is just trying to please the
newly sophisticated Haitian elite who try
to take away even the name Voodoo from
Haitian culture. Every Haitian knows
very well that politics in Haiti is almost half
dictatorship and half Voodoo practice.
7. Religion and politics in Haiti

That is why the protestant churches in Haiti
do not encourage any of their members
to be. overtly involved in politics. It is the
belief in Haiti that no convicted Christian
can be a good politician and remain Christian.
Either his Christian life kills his .political
life or the political life kills his Christian life.
The influence of Voodoo in politics was
well demonstrated by Francois Duvalier,
commonly knows as "Papa Doc". His
case was a very complicated one. His
enemies had not told the whole truth concer-
ning his involvement in Voodoo matters.
It is a fact that Duvalier had used his Voodoo
knowledge in order to secure his position and
keep his opponents under control. Most of
Haiti knew that Zacharie Delva, one his
main representatives to any official function
held outside Port-au-Prince, was a "houngan"
(a Voodoo priest) every one in Haiti knew
that Duvalier was very powerful with his
Voodoo practices that was why he was called
"Voodoo priest" or protector of Voodoo
by his enemies. His opponents and some
foreign writers went so far to say that he
had legalized Voodoo and made it the state
religion of Haiti. That was not the whole
story, Duvalier's interest in Voodoo was
more than that. Being at the same time a
sociologist, and enthologist, an historian
and a politician; he was intelligent enough to
realize that Voodoo in its whole sense
constitutes the essence of the Haitian life,
meaning that of the mass of the people.
Duvalier knew that Voodoo was what kept
Haitians together, it was and still is a common
factor or denominator for all the Haitians.
So he proposed to revitalize it, to give it its
proper place as a cultural element in the life
of the Haitian people. So Duvalier did not
seek to promote Voodoo as the official
religion in Haiti, but as an integral part of
the Haitian life. It was because of this
particular interest of Duvalier in Voodoo,
as well as the political advantage he got from
it, that his opponents who saw only one side
of the coin believed that they could undermine
his position and bring about his downfall
by making him internationally known as a
"Voodoo priest". No one could appreciate
Duvalier's bold attempt to rehabilitate Voo-
doo without an awareness of the strength and
influence of Voodoo in the life of the Haitians.
All in all, Voodoo because of the multiple
advantages it offers was considered as a
good asset to be used by many Haitian
political leaders in search of protection,
promotion and power.

Voodoo and Catholicism
We have seen that the attitudes of the
planters in relation to the christianization
of the slaves created great difficulties for
the Roman Catholic missionaries, and en-
couraged the slaves to form their own religion.
This new religion became a mixture of
African beliefs and practices with a super-
ficial understanding of christian beliefs
and practices. As a result, Catholic doctrines
and practices became a part of the Voodoo
religion. Many of the Voodoo "Loas" and
Voodoo gods are identified with Catholic
Saints. For example, St. Peter who is the
Keeper of the gate of heaven, according to
the Catholic belief, becomes Legba, the
the Master of the Cross Roads, in Voodoo;
The Blessed Virgin Mary is identified with
Erzulie Freda; God (Allah) is personified
as Damballah (The Serpent) and He is
called grann met la" (Great Master). The
serpent or snakeis represented in the "Houm-
fort" for (Voodoo temple) as swallowing its
tail symbolizing that Damballah is self created
without beginning nor end.
Jesus (Ye-sou) or Linglesou in Voodoo is

the soul. He is also the Great Legba, the
lion of Judah,.the Master of the gates and
of the Cross-Roads. This can be understood
in reference to the 6th verse of the 14th
Chapter of the Gospel according to St. John:
"I am the way". Legba is symbolized by the
sun and the fire; he is the one who creates
and who kills.
The angels in Catholicism and the 'zanges'
in Voodoo fulfill the same duty as God's
spokesmen. The catholic doctrine of purga-
tory suggesting that the living can help the
dead is to be found in Voodoo where the
living show a faithful care for the dead.
St. John in Voodoo is Agau Lefan;
St. James is Ogou Feray; St. George is
Djab Linglesou. All hold the same virtues
and functions attributed to them by the
catholic church.
The long catholic ceremonies accompanied
with gestures, vestments and songs, which
give to the mass a mysterious flavour and to
the congregation a sense of awe; are not
absent in Voodoo. The same catholic theo-
logy that teaches that God can be invoked,
and during the time of the consecration
come and dwell in the host and then be
locked up in a tabernacle; is the same belief
in Voodoo suggests the spirits or the "loas"
can be invoked from above or below the
earth to dwell in the "houmfort". No Voodoo
ceremony is begun without the sign of the
cross made by the Voodoo priest who does
nothing without begging God's permission
Pa permission gran met la. Most of the time,
a rural catholic cathechist is called upon
and paid in order to recite the litany, mainly
on the occasion of a service for the dead.
Generally speaking, there is much in Voodoo
practice and ceremonies which resemble
the catholic ones. It said that "one has to be
a catholic in order to be a good Voodoo
believer". It is not unusual in Haiti to meet
some one who had never set foot in a Catholic
Church and who is a strong Voodoo adherent
and yet claims to be a Catholic. As a matter
of fact, even the houngan, the Voodoo
priest claims to be a Catholic. After all,
it is there that one of his marriage ceremonies
was performed, it is there he may get his
children baptized, it is there that he may
refer some of his clients to have a mass said
on behalf of a departed soul.
So, since it is difficult to make a great
distinction between Catholicism and Voodoo
in Haiti, most of the Haitians find no harm
in practising both. Even the attitude of the
Catholic Church toward Voodoo prove to
be ambivalent for a long time. On the other
hand the church seems to be tolerant and
permissive toward Voodoo, (perhaps because
of their similarity) but on the other hand,
(perhaps for the reason suggested above)
the Catholic Church proved to be the strongest
enemy of Voodoo. Through many so-called
anti-superstitious campaigns, the Catholic
church sought to wipe out Voodoo from Haiti
through authorizations obtained from some
Governmentsin 1896, 1913,1939 and 1940, the
Church organized concerted campaigns using
force and psychology in order to get the
houngan and his known clients to renounce
or deny all connection with Voodoo. Some
Catholic priests went to houmforts and
destroyed all ritual objects, compelling the
houngan to reject his faith and renounce
his practices, and a certificate of denial was
given to him when he consented to do so.
Many of the houngans, in order to avoid
persecution and in order to fool the priests
pretended to abandon Voodoo. But Catholic
efforts proved to be futile and perhaps
these efforts served to advertise Voodoo.
As far as I understand it, it was not only a
struggle between Catholic priests and Voodoo

priests, but a struggle against the African
gods. In two Haitian novels Les arbres mus-
ciens (The musician trees) of Stephen Alexis,
and La case de Damballah of Petion Savin,
it is reported that some priests got into trouble
and even died for having persecuted too
far the Voodoo gods, by destroying some
houmforts and cutting off some big trees in
which the loas are supposed to live.
What the Catholic Church did not realize
was the fact that they were not only fighting
against a "superstitious" religion, but also
against a culture; nothing dies hard like a
culture. Not only did the Catholic Church in
many respects fight against itself but the
church had nothing new to offer as a substi-
tute. Furthermore, it should be remembered
that the struggle was also an attempt to im-
pose European culture upon the Haitians. It
is worthwhile to remember that from the time
of discovery of the New World, the Catholic
Church was another wing of the colonizing
process. The Catholic Church through her
occidental civilization contributed to enforc-
ing in the minds of the Haitian masses, if
not the Haitian people as a whole, a strong
feeling of inferiority, teaching them to
despise almost everything that was indigenous
and to turn their backs upon their true
culture, which was considered as black,
hence savage, uncivilized, and superstitious.
However, the Catholic Church has not
slept forever in her misunderstanding; with
the revolution brought about by Dr. Duvalier
in terms of the indigenization of the Haitian
clergy, the Catholic Church is presently the
the most progressive church in Haiti in terms.
of understanding the Haitian psychology.
As a Protestant, I was surprised when attend-
ing a four o'clock mass at Port-au-Prince,
on a Sunday of Summer 1973. I found the
whole service so meaningful and appropriate
that I was compelled to agree with those
who conclude that in this present decade
the Catholic Church is the most flourishing
Church in Haiti.
Although the first to throw out the drum
and the Haitian culture including the popular
language (creole) from the religious practices,
the Catholic Church is presently the first
and the only church that makes full use of
the Haitian culture in her worship. I can
testify that the new liturgy of the mass is
fairly geared to meet the Haitian spiritual
needs, worship becomes not a one-man
activity, but that of the whole congregation.
Hymns, Readings, language all reflect the
Haitian way of life. The mass becomes a real
celebration with the accompaniment of a
musical band. In some rural areas the
drum which beats goes right to the heart
of the Haitians and is very often the only
musical instrument. Now Catholics in Haiti
feel quite at home when attending mass.
The Roman Catholic Church has recog-
nized her past mistakes. Now, by ack-
nowledging the strong influence of Voodoo
in terms of culture, in the life of the Haitian,
she is able to direct her members to worship
the true God while remaining themselves
without any need to cover themselves with an
European mask. In other words, the Catholic
Church has learnt the lesson that it is only
when people worship God as they are, that
they really worship.

Voodoo and Protestantism
The attitude of the Protestant Churches
vis-a-vis Voodoo is very complicated. If
Protestantism seemed to be successful in its
campaign against Voodoo as a magical
force, it did not solve the problem alto-
gether. Protestantism arrived in Haiti at
the beginning of the 19th century with the

Wesleyan Methodist Church. From the very
beginning, Protestantism, through its form
of worship, through the preaching of the
gospel, had made it clear that there can be
no relation whatsoever between the faith in
the living God and Voodoo practices and
beliefs. It should be immediately stressed
that protestant missionaries had a very
narrow concept of what Voodoo is all about.
Because of this, Protestantism proved to be
a very strong enemy of Voodoo and was
not prepared to make any compromise
with Voodoo which was seen as witchcraft
and sorcery.
Through the preaching of the power of the
almighty God demonstrated in the healing
and the releasing of many Haitian folks
who had been victims of Voodoo practices
(in terms of witchcraft and sorcery) protestan-
tism proved and still proves to be a very
powerful movement. By developing in the
mind of their acolytes a feeling of hatred
for all that is related to Voodoo practices
and beliefs and by preaching the powerless-
ness of Voodoo gods upon all those who
have decided to follow Jesus Christ by faith,
Protestantism was able to make quick
progress in Haiti. The advantages that
Protestantism offers to the Haitians (mainly
to the peasants) are numerous. It offers
release from witchcraft and sorcery, release
from costly ceremonies to the loas, and
expensive dinners made to the memory of
the departed in order to appease their anger.
It offers also performances of many religious
ceremonies free of cost such as baptisms,
Weddings, reception into church membership
(or first holy communion) it gives also
educational advantages mainly in terms of
adult education in creole, farming, medical
care, and development of indigenous leader-
ship. All that helps the Haitians to break
away from many unneccessary and wrong
practices and beliefs. It would be surpris-
ing to know that in many cases, some
houngans, when confronted with a difficult
case that they cannot handle, advise their
clients to embrace the protestant faith.
Many Haitians who were great practioners of
witchcraft when converted in the protestant
church testify publicly that they are driven to
the protestant faith because of the power they
acknowledge from those who are truly
converted to Christ.
There was even a time when most of the
government employees in Haiti were selected
among the protestants because of their
All that being said, can one conclude
that: since Protestantism offers changes in
both secular and religious matters, such as
giving up of polygamy and common law
marriage, dependency upon technique rather
than on the caprice of the loas to fertilize
the earth, the ability, the courage to laugh
at Voodoo gods and Voodoo priests, the
eagerness to learn, etc. it is the solution to
the Haitian problems.
A definite positive answer to this question
would be very one-sided and incomplete.
Close study of the protestant attitudes
toward the Haitian culture can show that
Protestantism like Catholicism has proved to
be very unmindful and has adopted a very
destructive position toward Voodoo, hence
toward that whole culture of the Haitian
By considering Voodoo as merely super-
stitious practices and beliefs, the protestant
churches develop in the minds of their
proselytes a blind hatred for anything
that is related to Voodoo. They condemn

8. Especially the Methodist Church.

the Haitian folklore, rich in tales, dancing,
drumming; they condemn all sorts of dances.
The protestant churches take away from the
Haitian peasants all that was left to them
to cope with their miseries, and substitute
prayers and hymn singing which proves to
be very weak and unsatisfactory. The Pro-
testant church has even depersonalizedd"
the Haitians in the matter of worship.
Because anything that is not done in an
European fashion is not acceptable. It brings
false pride and pedantism in the matter of
clothing. Whereas a Haitian would attend
a Voodoo ceremony or a Voodoo dance
with any type of clothes, he would refrain
to do the same when he becomes Protestant.
In many so called "established" protestant
churches, the convert learns how to be
passive throughout the service; he has to
stand up and sing at the discretion of the
preacher-such an attitude kills in him the
sence of activity and creativity. The drum,
the tambourine, the maracas, all other
locally made instruments which used to
animate his dance and his singing, are thrown
away with the pretext that psychologically
they are reminders of the Voodoo faith.
What is worse is the fact that most of the
protestant churches in Haiti are unable to
provide organs or accordians as substitutes
to the locally made musical instruments.
As a result the Haitian who is so active and
pleasant in his secular life, finds himself
passive and even lost when he is in church.
Protestantism could have made more
rapid progress in Haiti if it had not tried too
much to "depersonalize" the Haitians who
want to stick as close as possible to their
African heritage. That approach made it
hard for the young and the peasants to
embrace the protestant faith.
Later on, with the arrival of the "evan-
gelical" churches with their practice of
popular hymn singing, hand clappings, and
joyous ejaculations of "Hallelujah!" "Praise
the Lord!" and "Amen", protestantism
reached a higher pitch in Haiti in terms of
free expression emotional approach to wor-
ship. So the "evangelical" churches seem
in some respects to meet the needs of the
masses; they help the masses of the people to
feel more at home in their worship experience.
Through their long services on the morning
and their regular night gatherings, even
through some other consistent practices
such as fasting, the evangelical churches seem
to help the masses to forget for a while
about their hunger, and unemployment.
Also, through preaching "a pie in sky"
gospel, they help the masses to take comfort
and hope with their present state of misery.
Sometime many seem to ask honest questions
about the difference between the spirit
possession of the "evangelical" christians
and the loa possession of the Voodoo
adherents, since the manifestations seem to
be the same.
While Voodoo unites and divides, the
evangelical churches do the same. They are
great agents of disunity, ignorance, (because
they discourage higher learning) laziness and
hence underdevelopment (as opponents of
almost everything that is new).
The point I am trying to make is this,
whenever a christian church, be it Catholic
or Protestant, presents some aspects in its
worship that are similar to, Voodoo (taken
here in terms of culture) it makes more sense
to the Haitians who respond quicker to it.
One of the ways to explain the fast move
of the Pentecostal Churches and also of the
Catholic church among the Haitians, is their
attempt to make their worship experience
more relevant to the Haitian feelings.

Top Left: left to right
"Ashanti" moon-face doll (unknown)
Voodoo Goddess of Love (Wilfrid)
African Statuette (unknown)
Totem Pole (Apnn Civil)

Below Left:
Two views of a carving by Larratt. These master carvers will
often apprentice young boys into the craft. These apprentices
sometimes follow the style of the master or finish his work.

Below Right
Carving by Larrat

From the collection of Miss Gloria Falconer

All in all, it has to be acknowledged that,
although Christianity had diminished in some
way the power of Voodoo practices and beliefs
by trying to educate more people, by preach-
ing them the word of God and by promoting
all sorts of humanitarian works, Christianity
cannot be a substitute to Voodoo as a way
of life. Harold Courlander points out:
"Whereas christianity seems to offer mainly
doctrine and guideline for behaviour, Voodun
offers doctrine, social control, a pattern of
family relations, direct communication with
original forces, emotional release, dance, music,
meaningful socializing drama, theatre, legend,
and folklore, motivation, alternatives to threaten
dangers, individual initiative and through
placation and innovation treatments of ailments
by means of herb lotion and rituals, protection
of fields, fertility, and continuing familiar
relationship with the ancestors". 9
Furthermore, when one compares closely the
attitudes of Voodoo believers and Chris-
tian believers, one finds that in term of
dedication, the former are more serious
than the latter. The Voodoo adherents
very often prove to be more sincere, more
enthusiastic, more confident, more obedient
in their relation to their gods. They are
not afraid to make any sacrifice to spend
anything in order to please the loas; often-
times, they show more unity, more coopera-
tion among themselves. They often show
more dedication to the spirits than christians
do to their God; they show more obedience
to the houngan, they display more confidence
in him in matters related to rituals, regula-
tions and discipline, than most Christians
do towards their ministers or pastors.
So then, in closing this chapter, what I
would like to suggest is that, the christian
religion instead of trying to wipe out Voodoo,
should seek to purify it.

Voodoo and Family Life, Commerce
and Agriculture
African traditions, that I generally call
Voodoo, influence the whole life style of
its Haitian people, particularly the peasants.
African beliefs, practices, rituals and cere-
monies can be easily detected in what we
generally call the basic unit of society-
the family. (Haitian family).
According to the Haitian point of view
the family consists of not the father, the
mother and the children, but also of the
grand parents, aunts, uncles, cousins and
so forth. The old people occupy a special
position. They are considered to be the sages
of the community. Any child who dares to
disobey or make fun of one of them is
subject to severe beating, they are the advisers
of the family and they are expected to be
cared for by their children until death.
Corporateness is another African feature
found in the Haitian family. It is a sacred
duty of those who are better off to help
other members. When a Haitian leaves the
country to live in town he must be prepared
to receive any member of his family at
anytime, without any previous notice, because
it is commonly believed that one should
always be welcomed among his folks. One
living in town would be offended if one of
his relatives comes to town and does not
stay with him. The unwritten motto may
be accommodationn is always possible".
In the Haitian point of view (as it is in
Africa) the family includes not only the living
but also the dead. For any Haitian it is a
sacred duty to have a "good" and "correct"
funeral for a departed relative. Very often
the individual when he dies, received much

9. Harold Courlander, The social and political
significance of Voodun

more attention and care than when he was
alive. Most Haitian peasants believe that
the dead person can still retain his human
personality. He can be jealous, irritable,
and consequently do harm, if he is wounded.
He is supposed to be concerned with the
family welfare and with the behaviour of
the rest of the family. So then, one has to be
careful of how he fulfills his duties towards
the dead. The spirit of the dead is something
to cope with. After the burial, a one-week
wake has to be kept in the house where
the dead body was laid. And at the close of
the wake a big ceremony is kept, it is called
dernie prie (last prayer). During the
service special food is put under the alter,
that is for the dead. A conductor, usually a
Catholic catechist, leads the singing and the
the litany; they are called pe savane (bush
priest). And at the dawn, the spirit of the dead
is conducted by a procession out from the
residential home to the nearest cross-roads or
to the cemetery (if there is one nearby).
Then, everything in the house is turned upside
down, to commemorate the departure of
the spirit. It is also commonly believed that
if a dead is neglected he may retaliate by
troubling the affairs of the family. When
that happens, he might be appeased either
by having a mass sung on his behalf, or by
a manje le mo (dinner for the dead). It is
even believed that a dead has the power to
come for any other member of the family
that he badly needs, a wife may call to death
her husband, and vice versa, a mother may
call to death a daughter or a son, etc. No
special event can take place in the family
without doing something for the ancestors;
if one member of the family is getting married
or is going to leave the country, he is under
the strict obligation to satisfy the desire of
the dead or the ancestors if he does not wish
anything to happen in what he will do.
For most of the Haitian peasants, poly-
gamy is a way of life. If a man can afford
to take care of more than one woman, he is
free to do so. In the countryside and even in
towns, some men may have up to four women
with one as his legal wife. Sometime it
creates conflict, sometime it does not.
What we call "concubinage" or common-law
marriage is an acceptable way of life in
Haiti, and this union in many cases proves
to be as stable as a legal marriage. Most
Haitians make no difference between a legal
marriage and a common-law marriage. A
child from the common-law relationship finds
no difficulty to get on in the society. Because
of the colonial influence, the Haitians had
come to associate Christian marriage or
more precisely religious marriage, with big
dinner, lavish ceremonies, heavy drinking
fine clothes. That is why, whenever a couple
cannot afford all this, they prefer to live
together in common-law relationship hoping
that one day when things is better they will
legally marry. But when accustomed to this
kind of life most of them do not see any
reason to burden themselves with a legal
marriage. Some of them do get married
legally because they are pressurized by various
influences, either by their own children or by
the kind of respectability that people living
in town put upon legal marriage.
Since flogging was the approved way of
correcting and punishing the slaves, the
custom still persists among the Haitians
mainly among the peasants. The right of
any elderly person to whip an erring younger
member of his family is widely accepted in
Haiti. In the country the number of years
is not a guarantee against beating. On
occasion a grown up man or girl may kneel
before his or her father or uncle to receive
the strokes that have been decreed as a
punishment. Not long ago, in many peasant

neighborhoods, a child who got beating
for misbehaviour by one of his relatives or
even by one of the respectable members of
the community would do well not to report
the news at home unless he wanted another
flogging. The whole idea behind it is that the
child belongs to the whole community.
Marriage unites not only two individuals but
two families.
In this sense a corporateness can be seen
also outside the family circle, mainly when
the Haitians happen to live outside their
own country. During a summer holiday in
the Bahamas, a lady reported to me the
great sense of solidarity she notices among
the Haitians, "one day", she said, "I asked
one of the Haitians, why did he risk coming
to Nassau without knowing anybody there,
and without any guarantee that the would find
somebody to support him while he will be
looking for a job". The answer was "man,
when I reach here, one thing I need is to find
another Haitian". What was true for the
African slaves is still true for the Haitians.
Although the African slaves were from differ-
ent tribes and spoke different languages,
and had different customs, yet they were able
to unite themselves in order to fight against
their masters. So it is with the Haitians,
though disunited they may be on their
homeland, they know how to unite when
living in a foreign country.
Another sign of corporateness can be seen
in what is called the "Kombit" which is a
sort of cooperative movement. It works
various ways, first, a group of men get
together and agree to help one another in
cleaning and preparing the field, in planting,
harvesting etc. Today the whole group may
work in the field of X, and he has to provide
some drink, very often it is alcoholic drink
or rum. The next day Y's turn will come.
Also if someone wants to build a house he
may organize a day of "Kombit" in the
community, aiming at transporting and fixing
up the material under the direction of a
"bush" engineer. For this kind of work the
helpers are rewarded by eating plenty food
and by consuming a lot of alcoholic beverage.
Then again, a group of men may organize
themselves in gangs and hire themselves so
each in order receives the daily pay one
after another. Through such organization
the work is done very quickly and effectively.
The group is being encouraged by singing
(local or African songs) and music is provided
by drums, tambourines, conchshells, bamboo
flute, and bamboo saxophone (Valsin).
Devotion to the loas and to the ancestors
is very strong among the peasants. No
devoted Voodoo believer would build a
a house without having a small one beside
or reserving a small room for the loas. In
this special little house or little room he puts
everything that is dedicated to the loas,
garments, kerchiefs, favourite drink such as
Kola, liquor, and different types of perfume.
In this little room there is also a little box
that is called the oratorie a form of small
tabernacle as it can be seen in a Catholic
Church. In the oratorie there may be some
images of the Catholic saints, there the
Voodoosunist put also some candles or
small lights. Here food and coffee may be put
either for the loas or for the departed.
This small room is looked at as a "Holy
Place", children are not allowed to enter
unless they are invited or authorized. When
anybody is possessed by his loas or his
gange, it is there he is received.
In order to show their gratitude to the
gods who give them a good harvest, most
of the Haitian peasants never eat the first
fruit of their harvest without making an
offering to the loas. At the reaping time of

yams, most families have what is called a
manje yam (yam dinner). In some yards one
may see some banana or sugar-cane plants
that are not used by the family even when
the fruits are ripe, because they are dedicated
to the loas. Very often before a peasant
drinks anything, he has to pour some on
the ground that is for the loas or for the
ancestors. It is believed that when someone
drinks or eats anything that falls to the ground,
even by accidents, is not to be taken off, be-
cause the loas or the ancestors begged for it.
Connected with some agricultural custom is
the keeping of"Zombies" in one's field in ord-
er to catch theives. Many well-to-do peasants
called gros neg (big negroes) or gros habitant
(big man) use special devices to prevent steal-
ing, sometimes a thief might enter some-
body's field and after he has picked up all
that he wanted, he is in trouble to find his
way out. Sometime he finds himself immobile
or he might be beaten by an invisible person.
Some time the thief might feel something
pricking his foot and that is the end for him.
This kind of field are known as jardin range
(dangerous field).
As a preventive measure against zombies
or witches some Haitian peasants may buiy
in the middle of the gate of their yard a
bottle of a magical composition. It is believed
that it will ward off all evil spirits. Even in
many "respectable" homes in town you
would see a portrait of a Catholic saint
(St. Michael or St. James) hung up on a
wall facing the entry door or hung at the
door itself. They are put there with the same
belief-to keep the evil spirits out.
As witchcraft might be used in agriculture
either for protection or destruction (i.e.
spoiling somebody else's field or animals),
it is also used on the same basis in commerce.
Someone may have zombies to guard his
shop in order to prevent other zombies
sent by his enemies to steal his money.
Sometimes because of jealousy some one
may use witchcraft to get another one out of
business. This is not confined only to the
peasants. Big businessmen, even foreigners,
the Arabs, Syrians are involved in this kind
of activity.
Witchcraft is even used in education by
some country people. A child who is very
bright at school may catch a supernatural
disease or find himself going mad for no
obvious reason. The child may lose also his
capacity to recall or he may lose all interest
for school. I have a friend who is a very
intelligent person and he refused to continue
going to school just after he had completed
his first year at the secondary school, despite
all good will of his parents. I myself had a
bitter experience of the same kind of thing;
just the day before I was to leave my village
to go to Cap Haitian in order to go for my
secondary education, I felt sick, and I was
not able to recover from that supernatural
disease until my conversion to the protestant
Even love affairs are not free of the Voodoo
influence. Sometimes in the common-law
relationship where a man has more than one
"mistress" a woman may use witchcraft to
force the man love her more than the others.
Sometimes also an arrogant or proud woman
or girl may find herself falling in love with
a man she once held in contempt. A young
man whose intentions might be to fool a-
round a girl may find it impossible to leave
her without marrying her or if he has too
many lovers he may be compelled through
witchcraft to marry the one of whom he
has least thought.
Voodoo Today
Many foreigners who write about Voodoo
assume that one easy way to wipe out Voodoo

from Haiti is to develop the country in terms
of education, agriculture, economy and so
forth. Whenever all that can be done,
Voodoo practices and beliefs would lose
their strength. I find this suggestion very
It is true that nowadays, because of the
expansion of education and the preaching
of the gospel by both Catholics and protes- '
tants, many Haitians tend to get rid of old
customs. Any person who visits Haiti with
the expectation to find a Voodoo temple in
almost every corner, would be very dissap-
pointed. A foreigner, if he is not curious
or interested in Voodoo (considered here in
terms of dance and ceremonies) would spend
his whole life in Haiti and know nothing
about this sort of practice. Voodoo in its
narrow sense is not an activity open to the
public, it remains a sort of secret cult. One
has to be invited or permitted in order to
attend a Voodoo ceremony. Some Haitian
or foreign novelists or visitors, may through
their friendship with a houngan or a "mambo"
(Voodoo priestess) have the privilege of
attending a real Voodoo ceremony. Of
course, someone may say "I have been to
Haiti and saw people practicing Voodoo at
some corners in Port-au-Prince". This may
be so, I have seen it myself, but that is
aimed only at attracting attention of the
visitors. Some smart Haitians knowing very
well how the tourists are fond of Voodoo,
may gather together in a prominent corner
with a drum, maracas etc. and take the
attitude as if they are possessed by the
spirits. All this is done as a means to extract
some money from the curious visitors.
Some people associate Voodoo only with
charms and spells. Some go even so far to
say that Voodoo is the national religion of
Haiti, some pretend that Papa Doc had made
Voodoo the state religion of Haiti. All that
is false rumour. The state religion in Haiti
is still the Roman Catholic Church. No cas-
ual visitor can see easily a Voodoo temple,
even if he sees one it is not likely that he
would recognize it for what it is. The Voodoo
priest has no clerical dress to distinguish him
from the common people when he walks on
the street. He wears his ritual dress only when
he performs. The state gives no support to
Voodoo in order to propagate its beliefs.
Voodoo has no seminary, no publishing
house, no written theology or philosophy,
no membership roll. One is not a member of
Voodoo religion as one is a member of a
particular denomination. One rather believes
and practices it as one likes. Voodoo has
no regular weekly service for its adherents.
The Voodoo faith is not taught at school,
and Voodoo has no written liturgy. The
Voodoo priests keep no open air meetings.
They have no missionary outreach program-
me devised to make new converts. Voodoo
has no committee board to discipline
disobedient members, it has no catechism,
no scriptures, no written sermons printed
in order to feed or strengthen its adherents.
Because of this it would not be surprising to
meet many young Haitians who know
absolutely nothing about Voodoo (considered
here in terms of religion, witchcraft, sorcery)
Nevertheless, when Voodoo is considered
in terms of cultural heritage and in terms of
a way of life, it might be taken as the most
popular religion in Haiti. It is the religion
of everybody and of nobody. It is written
in the hearts of every Haitian, whether or not
they want to acknowledge it. More books
are written about Voodoo than about any
other religion in Haiti. Voodoo is present
almost everywhere in Haiti. Any traveller
who visits Haiti for the first time will be
conscious of the existence of Voodoo by

hearing or reading the names of the most
luxurious hotels, such as Ido-lele Hotel,
Simbi Hotel, Dambalah Hotel. The very
common language of the Haitians (creole)
is a great example of Voodoo influence.
Most of the carvings, paintings are inspired
by Voodoo beliefs. There is a large repertoire
of Voodoo composers Voodoo songs for
tourists and overseas audiences are quite
popular. Most of the Haitian folklore is
based on Voodoo. Voodoo has infiltrated the
popular music in Haiti, Voodoo is even an
intellectual activity, many Haitian poets
write about it.
It is true that, seen "as an institution
Voodoo lacks a hierarchical body capable
of formulating and imposing new policy.
for the benefit of the rural population
Since no houngan has ever sponsored the
building of a school or promoted a programme
of community development, also they never
sought to introduce techniques." To quote
Remy Bastien. That does not mean that as
a cultural force Voodun has no contribution
to make to the Haitian society.
The same Remy Bastienrois so naive to
believe that: "Voodoo will be the bane of
Haiti and the arch-enemy of the progressive
state until its clergy is curbed by a superior
power and learns to cooperate with the
rural teacher, the physician, and the ag ro-
nomist. But should these metamorphoses
occur, the houngan would cease to be houngan
he would turn into a civil servant. The gods
will die"! "
Voodoo as culture can never die, to wipe
out the culture of a particular people is to
kill the same people. That is why Arthur
Holly, son of an Episcopalian bishop,
realizing the importance and the influence of
Voodoo in Haiti wrote:
"Ni les traditions du latinism. nil; anglosaxonism,
ne sauraient, en taut que discipline valon, ni
surpasser les forces de progies que nous pouvons
tirer de I'Africanisne .......Haiti ne connaitra sa
vraie vole que lorsqu'elle se resignera aperpetrer
le culte purifie du vaudou"
Translated this may be rendered like this:
"Neither the latin traditions, nor the Anglo-
saxonism can, as disciplines emulate or surpass
the progressive strength that we can extract from
Africanisms............ Haiti would never find its true
way until it accepts to perpetuate the purified
cult of Voodoo". 12
Voodoo is already embodied and rooted
deeply in the life of the Haitians. This
African mode of beliefs and practices consti-
tute the essence of the Haitian personality.
Though superstition and fetishm may reflect
the superficiality of a primitive cult, there is
deeper spiritual and cultural content in
Voodoo. That has been reinforced by its
history, its traditional role of protecting the
community and family. Because of this no
amount of education is likely to wipe it out.
What constituted the basic failures of
Catholicism and even Protestantism in Haiti
was theirignorance of the customs of Haitians.
The progress of Christianity in Haiti was
kept down because many unmindful mis-
sionaries tried to impose a foreign culture in
the guise of Christianity upon the Haitian
people. By disregarding the culture of the
people they reduced all possibility fordialogue.
This is still the mistake of many Christian
religions in the whole Caribbean. If Catho-
licism seemed at the beginning to be welcomed
as the most popular religion in Haiti, it was
because of its various similarities with the

10. Remy Bastien, "Voodoun and politics in Haiti"
in Black Society in the New World, p298
11. op cit p.296
12. Dr. Catts Pressoir, Historie de la nation Naitienne

African beliefs and practices. Nowadays, if
the same Roman Catholic Church seems to be
the most progressive church in Haiti, it is
because of its attempt to re-introduce what
was thrown away as "Voodoo things". I
mean, the language of the people, the drum
and full participation of the masses in
I do wish that as time goes by, even the
Haitians themselves will have a full awareness
of the influence of Voodoo in their lives.
So that, instead of trying to deny it, they
may work it out in order that we may con-
tinue to be a distinctive people in the Carib-


1. James Leybum: The Haitian people, New Haven
and London, Yale University, 1966.
2. Alfred Metraux, Haiti, Black peasants and their
religion, George G. Harrap & Co. Ltd, London,
3. Religion and politics in Haiti, The Institute for
Cross-Cultural Research, Washington, 1966.
4. Hurbon Laenic, Dieu dans le Vaudou Haitian,
Payot, Paris, 1972.
5. Geoffrey Parrinder, Religion in Africa, Penguin
Books, 1969.

6. Melville J. Herskovits, The Myth of the Negro
past, Beacon Press, Boston, 9th edition, 1972.
7. E. Bolaji Idowu, African Traditional religion,
SCM Press, 1973.
8. Jean Pierre O. Gringras, Duvalier, Caribbean
Cyclone Exposition Press, New York, 1967,
9. Dantes Bellegarde, La Nation Haitienne, Paris
10. J. C. Dorsainville, Histoire d'Haiti, Port-au-
Prince, 1934.
11. Richard Frucht, (editor) Black society in the new
world, Random House, New York, 1971.

Top: Left and Right
Paintings by St. Pierre
Below Right, Painting by Bernard Sejourne

From the collection of Miss Gloria Falconer

Painting by St. Pierre, one of the most distinguished of modern artists.

ii il

Painting by J. E. Gourgue (National Gallery of Jamaica)



by Ifekandu Umunna

Rubin, Vera and Schaedel, Richard P. eds. The Haitian
Potential-Research and Resources of Haiti. New York and
London: (1975) Teachers College Press, Teachers College,
Columbia University.

The name Haiti conjures different images to different people
depending on their orientations and their familiarity with the
society. To some it symbolizes the very essence and manifesta-
tion of poverty. To some it is peopled by ignorant, primitive,
unchangeable people. And yet to some, it is the personifica-
tion of freedom, being proclaimed a republic in 1804; and
still to some it is the beginning and living example of Black
We probably will never get to know the real Haiti until
adequate research has been carried out. The Haitian Po-
tential represents an attempt to provide some insight and
approaches for understanding the Haitian enigma and for
assessing potentials for further research and action-oriented
programs for the development of the society. The papers
collected in this volume were first presented at a conference on
Haitian research and resources in 1967 at the Research
Institute for the Study of Man in New York City. Although
published eight years later the editors believe these are still
germane and vital now as when they were originally drafted.
The Haitian Potential as a publication of the Center For
Education in Latin America, Institute of International Studies,
under the general editorship of Lambros Comitas, joins nine
other titles.
The book is divided into the following sections: Introduction;
Part I-Demography and Human Resources; Part II-
Language and Literacy; Part III-Nutrition and Health;
and Part IV-Institutions. I believe that the editors in doing
this are attempting to organize the papers around certain
common themes, and this I am not sure they achieved success-
fully. Let us give some examples.
In Part I-Demography and Human Resources, the following
papers are included: Demographic Statistics in Haiti; Social
Anthropology: Recent Research and Recent Needs; Observa-
tions on Family and Kinship Organization in Haiti; The
Concept of Community Development in Haiti and Venezuela;
and Africanism in New World Negro Music. It is very diffi-
cult to see how these titles fit together under the rubrics of
Demography and Human Resources. The editors do not
provide any rationale for grouping the papers in this section, nor
in any other section. The papers in Part II are very much
related and I have no quarrel with the editors for lumping
them together. Two papers in Part IV could be transferred
to part I, i.e., "Reflections on the Haitian Labour Force;"
and "Research Problems and Perspectives of the Haitian
Civil Service."

On the whole I believe the papers, which are excellent papers,
could have been published without the sub-headings and still
retain their vitality and validity, or could be organized with
themes that make them hang together more effectively.
I would suggest a reorganization of the papers under the
following headings:
INTRODUCTION: This section will be unchanged.

PART I: Background Information and Methodological App-
roaches and Perspectives: This section will include
the following papers: Social Anthropology "Recent
Research and Recent Needs" (Remy Bastien);
"Africanism in New World Negro Music" (Alan
Lomax); "Haiti and its Institutions-From Colonial
Times to 1957 (Max H. Dorsinville)
These papers have very close relationships-they portray some
methodological perspectives and provide the necessary back-
ground to understanding the Haitian society.
PART H: Language and Literacy (unchanged).
PART II: Demography and Human Resources: to include-
"Demographic Statistics in Haiti" (Robert Bazile);
"Reflections on the Haitian Labor Force" (Francois
Latortue); "Research Problems and Perspectives of
Haitian Civil Service" (Serge Vieux).
PART IV: Nutrition and Health: This will include the follow-
ing: "Nutrition Research in Haiti" (King); "Recent
Research in Public Health in Haiti" (Noel); "Re-
search and Resources in Psychiatry in Haiti"
(Kiev)-all these are health-related topics.
PART V: Institutional, economic and social organization: to
include: "Observations on Family and Kinship
in Haiti" (Legerman); "The Concept of Community
Development in Haiti and Venezuela" (Schaedel);
and "A Research Model on Trance and Possession
States in Haitian Vodun" (Douyon). This arrange-
ment will free Vodun from the restrictions that
may be imposed on its analysis and understanding
by using one (medical) perspective alone.
The above criticism does not detract from the quality of
the papers, which I already noted as excellent each in its own
way. I shall deal with the information contained in the papers
presently. It is now time to ask: what does the book The
Haitian Potential-say about Haitian society and people?
"Haiti is a typical example of a country that has almost always
been alone and whose almost total isolation and solitude have
made more laborious the pursuit of her path toward her
destiny" (Latortue p/222); and I must add, more difficult for
the outsider to undertsand and appreciate her problems with
sympathy. This view is amplified in the following statement
from Dorsinville on p. 185-"There is no denying our faults,
our weaknesses, just anyone, whatever circle he belongs to,
whatever his nationality, whatever his civilization he is proud
of-if he is sincere to himself-can acknowledge the faults
and weaknesses of his own country. But we wonder to what
degree the judgement professed by our traveller was a responsi-
ble one, supported by a real effort to reach a personal under-
standing or was an offspring of prejudice, although, for good
conscience, our traveller usually pretends to rely on the ex-
perience of some pundits. He has not tried to check, electing
to trust those who are rabidly contemptuous of the second
nation of this hemisphere for wrenching from a foreign master

the right to live free in an independent and sovereign country."
With these two statements in view, let us then look at some of
the features of Haitian society.

African Origins:
Brea, in the Introduction to this issue emphasizes the African
origins of Haitians and some Haitian customs. "To speak of
that people (Haitians) is to consider its ancestry, its initial
stock: the man from Africa." (p.XVII) Other aspects of
Haitian culture which reflect their Africanness include family
organization, vodun religion (to be discussed separately below)
art, music, etc.
Alan Lomax using a sophisticated system-the cantometric
system, analysed music of Africa, and Afro-America, including
the Caribbean and reached the conclusion that the main
Haitian rural song performance patterns are first African, and
second, West Indian. (p.39) Lomax indicates some of the
characteristics of African music/song patterns: the ability to
synchronize their motor and their vocal act more readily than
the people of most other cultural regions. He goes on to
emphasize that the relaxed, cohesive, multi-leveled, yet leader-
oriented style is distinctly African. It dominates African song
from the Cape of Good Hope to the Straits of Gibraltar and
West into the American colonies, and is the source of African
cultural homogeneity (p.46) These attributes the Haitian
shares with the African.
Lomax's paper: Africanism in the New World Negro Music, is
an exercise in the use of Cantometrics-a system that looks at
any song performance as a specialized act of communication
whose principal function is to organize the response of human
collectives in ritualized situations. (p.44) It is a very useful
methodological technique for comparative analysis of song
performances of different cultures. Although the paper re-
vealed the affinity of Haitian song performances to African
song performances, yet it is its technique as a method of
analysis that is important. It may not easily be understood by
the uninitiated.
Murdock's classification of African societies which Lomax
used without modification was based on different criteria-
some societies were classified locationally, for example,
Western Sudan, Madagascar, etc; others were classified
occupationally-African Hunters, Gatherers, etc. Nevertheless,
it is difficult to say whether this affected the results of the
The importance of vodun to Haiti is embodied in this state-
ment from Schaedel: "I singled out vodun and creole as
embodying a core of deeply-rooted Africanist beliefs and
modes of cognition that are the essence of the Haitian national
personality.................."(p.x) Brea describes Vodun as "the primi-
tive religion of the Haitian people" (p.xviii). Although ill-
represented by many people outside Haitian millieu, vodun
in the fashion of African religion is a lived religion which
permeates every aspect of Haitian life. It has political dimen-
sions and just as Kenya's independence war was fought
through mau mau movement, the ten-year war that ended in
Haiti's independence was placed under the aegis of vodun.
Vodun is a dynamic religion. Though essentially an African
religion, it incorporates European beliefs.
The paper by Douyon (p. 167 ff): A Research Model on
Trance and Possession States in Haitian Vodun attempts to
look at vodun as a health problem, and regards possession
as pathological. Nevertheless, he recognizes the positive
aspects of vodun. "We know now" he emphasizes, "that
spirit possession in the Haitian context represents an infantile
reaction and requires, in addition to specific conditioning
experiences, a disturbed, anxious, and depressed personality.
It is also a positive mechanism for a society where misery,
fear, anxiety and suspicion are the unfortunate fate. It serves
as a last resort against deeper mental illness........ ................vodun
and trance must be interpreted in reference to the basic concept
of despair". There is also an implication from Douyon that
trance by its symbolic attributes helps to reduce suicide and

One question which Douyon never seemed to have answered
is why men are "never" possessed by the spirits as he indi-
cated, and also whether crime rate was also low for men
It is very necessary that more studies with broader scope
and orientation be conducted to really assess the nature and
impact of voudun on Haitian society.
The therapeutic power of vodun practices is echoed in the-
paper: Research and Resources in Psychiatry in Haiti by
Kiev, in which he suggests that the widespread practices of
vodun could be used in treating mental illness, since they are
clearly psychotherapeutic. (p 177).

Hunger and Malnutrition:
Haitians are often portrayed as hungry people; and the paper
by King deals with Nutrition Research in Haiti. King re-
vealed that the following groups are affected: Pre-school age
children; women in reproductive age; men of working age.
Malnutrition is more acute in the rural areas than in the cities.
But the Haitians are not standing still, as people might think.
There are short-term feeding programmes as well as other
long-term proposals which include education at all levels,
family planning, enrichment of wheat flour with vitamins, etc.

Language and Education:
Another important aspect of Haitian culture is creole language.
Creole incorporates the entire history of the indigenous
people of Haiti. Consciousness of history is achieved through
Creole; as the language it is the repository of the folklore of
the people. Creole, therefore, is the experience of what is
called "the could of the people" (p. 66).
In Haiti, when people are speaking directly and frankly,
brother to brother, they say "that's Creole I'm talking to you
(Berry-p. 83). Creole then is the mother tongue of Haiti.
In spite of this, Creole is linked to social status in Haiti, and
the whole question of literacy, which is very low in Haiti, is
linked with the use of Creole. Berry believes that Creole as a
language of the masses should have been used to increase the
literacy rate of the people. However, he sees opposition to
changes in the status of Creole. Sources of this opposition
may be traced to neo-colonialism among the elite. French
is the language of class and learning of French, with
all its difficulties, is a 'rite de passage', rite of admission, that
everyone has to go through. Broadening educational base by
the introduction of Creole will provide more people with the
ability to read and write, and this may be a threat to the exist-
ing distribution of power. So even though French is a language
of double dealing it confers social status.
Although the future of literacy in Haiti may be very much
related to the future status of Creole; the situation is uncer-
tain and awaits some drastic governmental action.
These are a few of the highlights of the Haitian Potential.
Many of the papers are very technical and are not readi-
ly understandable to the lay. Nevertheless they are valuable
scholarly materials. Some confirmed the stereotypes about
Haiti, others called for a change of approach in looking
at the Haitian society. This is very important especially,
since theories have to be developed with reference to Hai-
tian situations which are not the same as in a regular west-
ern society. The Haitian Potential, no matter its weaknesses, is
a step in the right direction-inspiring more research in the Hai-
tian situation. I strongly feel that there is need to include more
ethnographic and sociological perspectives into the research in
Haitian affairs.

Ifekandu Umunna.
Director, Black Studies
University of Hartford,
Connecticut U.S.A.

Professor Umunna is now attached to the
Ministry of Education in Jamaica.



A little over six years ago, Ted
Shearer resigned from a longtime posi-
tion as a Television Art Director at
Batten, Barton, Durstine & Osborn,
one of the major U.S. advertising
agencies, to produce the very appealing
daily comic strip, "QUINCY.. for
King Features Syndicate, a company
which purchases and distributes the
work of artists and writers to media
throughout the world.
Although he had won five Art Direc-
tors' awards for his work in the adver-
tising field, this article will reveal his
reasons for making the shift from Art
Director to a daily Comic Strip Creator.
In addition, he says many interesting
things about his struggles in the art and
cartoon profession and offers some
very good advice for young people who
are anxious to make their way along
these lines.
Bob Dunn, of "They'll Do It Every
Time" fame, has described 'Quincy'
as having the same warm appeal as
Percy Crosby's 'Skippy'.
Ted was born in May Pen, Jamaica.
His father died and at the age of
nineteen months, his widowed mother
took him to the U.S. He attended
school and grew up in New York City,
later moving North to White Plains
then to Poundridge, New York, where
he and his wife now reside.
His wife, Phyllis, a lawyer by profes-
sion has always directed her energy
toward public service, having been the
Executive Director of the Westchester
Community Opportunity Programme
Incorporated; Executive Director of the
Westchester Coalition and quite re-
cently accepted the position of Deputy
Commissioner of Social Welfare for
Westchester County. Their children and
the rest of Ted's family are active in
the graphic arts, publishing and media
John Shearer, their son, now 26,
won 23 U.S. national photographic
awards as a high school student. He
worked with Look Magazine and Life
Magazine as a photographer, has
illustrated, written and published sever-
al books and is at present the man-in-
charge at the Columbia University
Graduate School of Photo-Journalism.
When not lecturing, he fulfils free lance
assignments, writes and illustrates his

Their daughter, Kathy, was recently
in Jamaica with a team from CBS-TV
New York, to cover an aspect of
Jamaican life for U.S. audiences. She
is a Producer of Public Service Program-
mes for the Columbia Broadcasting
Station's Television Division in New
York. During her High School days
she was cited by the Governor of New
York as the "Teenager of the Year".
Ted Shearers only brother, Raphael,
is Creative Director/Account Execu-
tive with McCann-Erickson Advertis-
ing Agency's, Jamaica, West Indies
Their mother, Mrs. Sophie Parnell
Shearer, lives with Raphael and his
family. Ted and his wife come to Jamaica
quite often for a family reunion and to
spend a little time in the land of his
Q: I know that you were a television
art director at BBD&O, one of the
major advertising agencies, for 10 or
15 years. Would you say something
about how and why you left Madison
Avenue and decided to travel the daily
comic strip route?
A: Well--in the first place-I love
to draw and I love the business of
being an artist. I have little sketch
pads with me all the time, and one
morning I happened to be drawing
on the train on the way in to New

produced by Ted Shearer appears in approximately 100 Newspapers an edited up-dated copy fro
around the World inclusive of "The Daily Gleaner". This interview is Magazine "THE CARTO

York. As it happened, a fellow sitting
beside me remarked causually that he
liked the picture I was making. Be-
fore you know it, we were talking and
it developed that he was an artist
working for King Features Syndicate
and that his name was Bill Gilmartin.
I told him that I had sold King Features
cartoons for their 'Laff-A-Day' panel
which features a different cartoonist's
gag each day, and that before my
advertising agency days; I had done
magazine cartoons for publications
such as the Post, Colliers and most of
the majors. After that, we found our-
selves riding the train regularly together
and we became good friends. Then one
morning I happened to have a copy of
of the Amsterdam News with me and I
showed Bill the 'Next Door' cartoon
panel which I've done for them for
a number of years. It appears weekly,
by the way.
Well, it seems that he liked it and
wanted to take some samples down
to King Features to show. He did this
and later he brought them back to
me and indicated that Sylvan Byck
had liked them very much but that
King wasn't particularly interested in
a panel. At this point I decided that
maybe I should try a strip, so I work-
ed up two weeks worth of 'Quincy'
and took them in. Fortunately, Sylvan
m America's Professional Cartoonist


was interested in the strip. They kept
my samples for two or three weeks, then
I was asked to do another two weeks,
followed by an additional two weeks,
etc. After about the sixth week I was
invited in to see Milton Kaplan, the
President of King Features. By the
time we signed a contract, I had 10
weeks of the strip completed. As
far as letting me do what I wanted to,
King has been beautiful. Of course,
occasionally they have suggested little
things that might result in a better gag,
As for why I resigned as an art
director at BBD&O, in order to do
a daily comic strip-it's just this-in
advertising no commercial or ad re-
sults from the effort of any one man.
There are too many people involved
for that to be possible. There's the
guy who comes up with a germ of an
idea-the writer-the art director-the
creative chief-the advertising man-
ager for the client-the client-the
client's wife, etc. On the other hand,
in the case of 'Quincy', I feel a total
responsibility for it six days a week!
Q: For the benefit of our aspiring
cartoonist readers, would you tell us
how you reacted to life in the advertis-
ing world, and now to the routine of
a daily comic strip artist?
A: I loved advertising-I'm one of
the nuts who really enjoyed it! So
many people knock it but I never
found it hard to get up to go to work.
Each day had a new bag of problems
because we were always making new
commercials. I loved the quickness of
the guys involved in advertising-this
really turned me on-and how I en-
joyed the gassing sessions with them!
In advertising, you're always working
with 3 to 5 other people, whereas I
call the strip business 'the loneliest
job in town'. I was never aware of
this difference at BBD&O, and as
I'm working on the strip, I sometimes
wonder what the guys at the agency
are doing at that moment. But after
you've been doing a strip for a little
while, you get used to the new rou-
tine. I just wanted to point out the
difference for the benefit of young
fellows. One other thing-with all of
the pressure that an advertising art
director is consistently under at one

Ted Shearer, second from left chats with some of the neighbours children who model and provide inspi-
ration for many of the delightful gags

of the major ad agencies, I don't be-
lieve that pressure really equals that
which the daily comic strip artist
works under, since he has to consis-
tently come up with good ideas.
Q: Would you say something about
where you were brought up and about
how you got into art and cartooning?
A: I was born in May Pen Jamaica
in the West Indies. When I was 19
months old, my mother brought me
to America. My father was dead, I
might add. I sold my first drawings
when I was in high school-DeWitt
Clinton High in New York City.
They were etchings by the way. At
this time I was concerned entirely
with serious art and hadn't gotten
into the humorous side of things as
yet. I had a great art teacher-Joe
Hauser-and I owe this man so
much. He spent a lot of extra time,
outside of class, with me and with
four or five others who had indicated
a strong interest in becoming artists.
He went out on sketching trips with
us on Saturday mornings and we
worked for the high school magazine,
'The Magpie' and the school news-
paper. All of the five artists, inciden-
tally, have done reasonably well in
art. We were in different age brackets
but there was a great competition

among us to do the cover for the
magazine, etc. All of this was beauti-
ful training for later on.
Q: I've understood that you won
quite a few honors in high school
-isn't that right?
A: Well, I did win about five
medals and a couple of scholar-
ships-one for the most deserving se-
nior. An account was opened up for
me at an art store in New York, in
the amount of 6 or 7 hundred dollars,
and I was thus able to draw on it for
all my art materials. And I won a
scholarship to the Art Students Lea-
gue where I studied fine Art, graphics
and cereamics. I worked at a variety of
jobs during the day and went to school
at night. I packed perfume bottles at
one place, delivered packages, worked
as an Art gallery boy at the Down-
town Gallery where I hung pictures,
cleaned the gallery up, delivered paint-
ings, etc., and I was a bus boy at S.H.
Kress on Fifth Avenue.
At this latter place I got quite a
morale booster when the manager of
the cafeteria, who saw that I was
always drawing, suggested that the
store give me a little exhibit. I brought
in some drawings and they were put
on display in a little area which was

available for this sort of thing. When
I was picking up dishes, I'd notice
people stopping to look at my draw-
ings and you can imagine how good that
made me feel. I guess when I was
about 15 I sold my first cartoon to the
Amsterdam News, and I've been doing
one for them eversince. By the way, I
began to get involved with cartooning
because of the late, great E. Simms
Campbell who was way up on top at
that time. I heard about, and then
saw his sultan cartoons in Esquire
and immediately became inspired. I
found out where he was living, got a
whole lot of my drawings together,
and just went up and rang his bell.
His wife, who was a gorgeous woman,
was very gracious to me. She said she
knew that he would see me-although
he was a little busy at the momemt-
and asked me to write him a note for
an appointment. Then a week or so
later I got a card from him telling me
when to come-and this was the beginn-
ing of a beautiful relationship. He
not only taught me some of the ins-and-
outs of the cartoon business but gave me
a number of things-knowing that
my mother and I weren't too well off.
I recall a drawing light, and even a
dog on one occasion!
After I started doing things for
The Amsterdam News, I also began to
sell cartoons on the regular Wednes-
day magazine rounds, and I contin-
ued this for a number of years. In
addition, I did children's books for
Western Printing, Simon & Schuster
and others, and I went to work for
a studio which was producing ani-
mated training films. I became an
inbetweener there, working over a
light box. Eventually I approached a
major advertising agency, hoping to
get some free-lance work, and I was
treated very badly there. When I
gave my name, in arranging an ap-
pointment on the phone, I suppose
they figured that 'Shearer' could be
Scottish. But when I showed up for the
meeting and the receptionist saw me,
she went into an inner office and
made me sit out in the reception
rodm for an hour. When I finally did
get in to see my man, he went through
my portfolio in about three seconds
and then said, "If there's anything,
we'll let you know".
Q: You've said that there have been
many, deep, scarring hurts that you've
experienced which you can never for-
get. Do you recall another example?
A: Well, at one point I started to
sell some drawings to a leading reli-
gious magazine in Chicago. I had
submitted some cartoons to them by
mail and they replied that they liked
my art work but didn't buy gag car-
toons. But it seems they were starting
a teenage page, and they sent me six
questions which had been submitted
by teenagers and which were going
to be answered in the next six issues
of the magazine. They invited me to

A Casein drawing of old fisherman near Mon-
tauk, Long Island from memory

make a drawing a month to illustrate
each question. One day, as things were
going along beautifully, I got a wire
from them telling me to keep a cer-
tain date open for a get-acquainted
evening for the various contributors
which was going to be held in New
York City. I remember that my wife

and I worried over the big decision as
whether I should go to the function
since I knew the magazine people
weren't aware that I was black. I finally
decided to go to the hotel that evening,
and though the magazine people were
very polite on the surface, I could
easily tell from the subtle changes of
expression on their faces that my
being black had jolted them. As soon
as they went back to Chicago, the
picture changed and I was told that
the teenage project was being phased
out-although I had previously been
told that they planned to continue it
for another year.
People ask me, "How do you find
doing a black strip where yours is the
only black strip on the page?" I'm
sometimes tempted to do some preach-
ing in the strip, because I've been hurt
so many times-being a so-called
'Black American', but I always have to
catch myself and realize I'm doing a
humor strip and not an editorial strip.
It goes back to my experience in the
army-a segregated army-and later
on I can remember so many bitter
things which have happened to my
kids-my brother-the hurt which a
lot of people aren't aware of-even
when they're dealing it out.
You see, in the strip, I'm working
with a 9 or 10-year-old black child
and no person wants a 9-year-old
telling him what to do. It just doesn't
make sense.
Q: How do you manage to get some
kind of a message across without the
editorializing which you'er determined
to avoid?
A: Well, I try to place this 9 year-
old, and the other characters, in an
environment in which readers can
see the conditions under which these
individuals live. In other words, by
including authentic background draw-
ings, I m making it possible for the
reader to come to his own conclusions.
I don't want to turn my readers off
by becoming preachy, because we
have so many sensitive people on
both sides at this point. Quincy's
lecturing people would be the fastest

"UTTER DEJECTION"; on scratchboard


way to stir things up. My first idea is
to get people to like Quincy, to get
them involved with the character,
and then they can see for themselves,
the broken-down home, the torn sneak-
ers, etc. Then perhaps readers will
say, "Gee, maybe we can help!"
Or even the poor white.can say, "Gee,
I went through this same thing myself!"
Q: Do you do your own gags?
A: Nearly all of them because of
the sort of thing the strip is. I've
bought a few but not many. In doing
the strip, it's like I'm going down an
avenue which isn't too wide-because
I have the red neck on one side and
on the other the hard-core black mil-
itant. But this avenue is wide enough
for me to move down the road com-
fortably at this point.
Q: How do you go about producing
the daily gags?
A: Well, I write down every little
thing that happens throughout the
day that I think I can make a gag out
of. When any person says something
that may start the germ of an idea,
I'll write it down-and I have these
little notes all over. And I work on
gags in the morning when I'm fresh.
I do a lot of strips where Quincy talks
with the audience, by the way. He's
a very poor, little black kid who lives
in the ghetto with his grandmother
and, in one strip, he wakes up, turns
to the reader and says, "Every morn-
ing I have a major decision to make-
should I put on my blue sneakers
with the hole in the toe or my white
sneakers without the laces?"

Q: I believe you've said that a cou-
ple of things operated in your behalf
to make your entry into the strip field
a little smoother than it might have
been under other circumstances, haven't
A: Yes-for one thing, I'd been
doing cartoons for the Amsterdam
News ever since I sold my first car-
toon to them when I was 15. And
then during my 15 years at BBD&O,
I did manage to learn the 'do's and
don't's And I've had a little advan-
tage in working up ideas, since one
of the functions of an art director,
such as I was in the creative group,
is to come up with visual ideas for
commercials-often in a very great
hurry. I ve often been in the position
where the account executive han-
dling a major account such as Du-
Pont, Schaefer Beer, Armstrong Cork
or Betty Crocker, is suddenly stand-
ing in my door at the agency, at 2 or
3 o clock, saying, "Look, we have to
show something to the creative direc-
tor by 5! The client will be in the
office tomorrow at 11!" And during
those 2 or 3 hours I've often had to
come up with something that could
stand up against what' other agencies
were doing. And, as your readers can
see, a constant diet of this sort of
thing is the greatest training in the
world for doing a comic strip. We
called it 'working under the gun'.
Speaking of BBD&O (Batten, Bar-
ton, Dursting & Osborn), my experi-
ence with them was just the opposite
of that at another major ad agency
which I told you about earlier. At
BBD&O I met a delightful guy,

Larry Berger, who invited me into his
office for a half-hour before he even
looked at my things. This was 19 or
more years ago when I approached
them, looking for work. You can
imagine how much I appreciated his
offering me a job a little later, when
I tell you of an experience I had just
at that time. My wife and I had a
couple of kids and we wanted to buy
a house. When I went to the bank to
talk to the loan manager, I almost fell
off my seat when he looked at me
and said, "We don't issue loans to
artists, writers, and tap dancers!"
Q: Would you say something about
the materials you use?
A: I sketch out what I'm going to
do in a strip very roughly on a layout
pad-just for the spacing and place-
ment of the different elements in the
strip. Often I then go right to the
2-ply kid-finish Strathmore on which
I do the finished strip. Occasionally
I may put this thin layout sheet over
a light box to transfer it to the Stra-
thmore but, often as not, I'll start
working in pencil on the Strathmore,
after I've made the preliminary sketches
on layout paper, without bothering
with the light box. After the penciling
is done, I send the strips out to have
the well-known Ben Oda do the lettering.
Following this I ink in the drawings
and indicate, with a blue wash, the
places which are to be screened.
For penciling I use an 'H' pencil-
if you don't press too hard, it will
come up easily, if necessary, with an
Eberhard Faber 'Rubkleen' eraser.
I avoid using a kneaded eraser which


F: N I-r B


seems to pull up the blacks-and,
as a result, they aren't' as juicy as
I'd like. I use a Winsor & Newton
1 brush for my inking, and the only
time I might use a pen would be if I
had to bring a broken line together, or
something like that. Incidentally, I
use a pen only after my blue wash
is down because if the pen line goes
down first, and the blue is put on top
of it, the ink runs. But with a brush
this won't happen. And, like most of
the other comic strip artists, I find
that an electric eraser is very useful.
Q: You've done quite a bit of teach-
ing in our field, haven't you?
A: Yes-I'm vitally interested in all
sorts of art and painting. In order to
keep going as a freelance cartoonist
some years ago, I began to teach at
the YWCA. A woman who was a
director at the Y learned that I was
making some mobiles in my apart-
ment and wanted me to teach the
girls. I had them working in paper
mache, candle wax, etc., and things
went so well that I got a call from the
YMCA, wondering if I couldn't do
the same over there. Then I started
teaching adult classes which gave me
enough money to put bread on the
table-so that I could run around
during the day, doing my freelance
work. One night when I was teaching
one of these adult classes, a guard
from Riker's Island asked me if I'd
like to start a class for the inmates
at the penetentiary. He said they'd
really enjoy it. I taught there twice
a week for about three months but
finally gave it up because it was too
depressing and I saw so much injustice.

Q: For the benefit of our younger
readers, what do you consider the most
important elements in an artist's suc-
cess ?
A: One of the things that is really
needed for success is out-and-out
hard work. The greatest talent in the
world, without application and dili-
gent work, will be lost. The guy who
gets up early and works at his craft
is the guy who makes it. You must
have the ability, after you've been
told that your work is wrong, to start
all over again. Let's say you're orbit-
ing in an area where you think what
you're doing is great. You say to
yourself, "I'm really with it-I've got
it down pat!" You walk into your
client and exclaim, "Gee, look what
I did!" And the guy says, "This is
lousy-you should have done it this
way and that way, etc." And he goes
on for half-an-hour telling you all the
things you should have done which
would have made your art work better.
At that point you're ready to say
"The hell with it!" But the guy who
is able to absorb all this and then go
back to his board and start all over
again, is the guy who makes it. All
of those who've made it have paid
their dues-they've had the tenacity,
the stick-to-it-iveness. You keep pound-
ing away-finally a guy says, "I'll
buy this" because he can't get rid
of you. Then you're in. I remember
I tried to sell when it wasn't popular
to be using negroes. All of a sudden,
a gal at the Ladies Home Journal
bought a drawing of mine. I will
never forget that day- from that time
on I was so highly motivated that I
could have accepted a thousand re-

sections in my stride. Then the humor
editor of 'This Week' bought some-
thing of mine and I sold a little book
to Friendship Press. After you're knock-
ed down, come back again with another
whole set of drawings-that's my
advice to young people. The people
who 'bomb out' (as my son says)
are the people who make one grand
effort, and if it doesn't work, they say,
"Well, I tried it-I guess I'll tackle
some other line."
As for myself, I love art and have
been involved in it since I was 15-I
never seem to get enough of it. I get
a charge out of going to galleries and
being with artists, and am super-
charged with the idea of drawing and
painting. I would be an artist even
if I could just barely scratch out a

rutting the


Let's say a young person, 15 or 16,
who's talented, wants to get into the
art field eventually. He or she should
really begin to work at this age-get-
ting involved in high school art shpws,
high school competitions, going around
with other people who are interested
in art, working on local magazines-
in other words, getting ready. Then
when he, or she, reaches 19 or 20,

he's almost ready to go into the business
world. At this age a company can
hire him at a low salary but the youngst-
er is in. No one is going to teach you
and pay you at the same time. A lot
of major studios pay young people
very small salaries to get them started.
By the time the kids are 25 they're really
on their way-they've gotten a number
of raises, etc.

But if the aspiring cartoonist waits
till he's older to get going, then things
will be more difficult because he's
probably married, with a couple of
kids, and a studio will be obliged to
pay him more money. And, as I said
a moment ago, they won't pay you,
and teach you, at the same time.



Selections from
entries from

Lloyd Carney (3rd Form)-
(Sculpture-masking tape over wire)
Garth Robinson (6th Form)-
(Water Colours)

Omar Chin (4th Form)
(Mixed Media)

Stephen Jameson-
Markers and Water Colours

Detail from
Luther Williams-Gregory Mahfood-
Albert Miller-Robert Edwards (1st Form)
(Papier Mache)


Maurice Thompson (6th Form)-
(Ink and Wash)

Peter Clough (5th Form)
(Sculpture-Masking tape over wire)

S. MacCalla (6th Form)
(Mixed Media)


M y oby elma ollard



VI t*/i/


Nk- --re
Ik C 'E*R0



I /

N *.



The Lexington Avenue train raced into Fourteenth Street
station like a runaway horse and miraculously came to a
stop; belching forth such an army of fast-moving bodies that I
flattened myself against the stair-rails in sheer terror. But
I survived, and after the first flight of stairs, stood near a
tiny candyshop in the station, to let them all pass.
I stared, but only at the blacks-the strangers whom this
heartless machine had rushed out of Harlem, out of the safety
of the familiar 125th Street and into this alien city; to dingy
stores and tiny disorganized offices or to other vague connec-
tions: Canarsie, Long Island, Jamaica etc. They were all
running, in some way or other-in careless abandon or in
crisp, short, overbred paces; the women's girdles and even-
tually their coats, controlling the obviousness of the movement;
the men's coat tails flapping at the inevitable slit below the
The men, whether they were brief-case types or lunch-pan
types all wore little hats with short brims. It was a cold
morning. In New York twenty three degrees is considered
cold. The women didn't need hats. Cheap, curly wigs
hugged their temples protecting their black youthfulness
and hiding their kinky strands. Fifty acknowledging thirty,
needs a wig. For some reason the real hairline tells a story
even when it is dyed black. And here the merciful cold allowed
for the constant sweater or the little scarf that covers the tell-
tale neck.
Everybody was running and everybody looked frightened.
But you could see that all this had become natural. This
speed was now normal and because they couldn't see their
own frightened faces, they couldn't recognize their fright.
When you answer long enough to a name that for one reason
or another is wrong; and when you live long enough with a
face that is always wrong, a frightened look grows on you and
becomes an inseparable part of you. I looked at them and
and became numb with a kind of nameless grief. For I had
seen my mother for the first time in all those tense women's
faces, in all those heads hiding their age and gentleness
beneath the black, curly wigs.

The little journey was a ritual. Very early, the first or second
Saturday morning of the month, my Grandmother and I
would walk to Ann's Ridge and get in the line at the bank.
I would sign my name on the money order made out to me
and we would soon move from the Foreign Exchange line
to the Savings line. I never knew how much money came,
for the exchange from dollars to pounds was too much for
me to handle; and I never knew how much was saved. But I
always felt, one Saturday every month, that we were rich.
Sometimes we stopped in the big Anne's Ridge stores in
town and bought a new plate or two, sometimes dress material
and v-e-r-y occasionally, shoes. Then we stopped in the
market for the few things Gran didn't plant and Mass Nathan's
shop didn't stock.
The journey home was less pleasant. I never ever noticed
the hills on the way back; not because they were so much less
green but because it took all my energy to think up little
stories to help me block out Gran's monthly lecture. It always
had to do with ingratitude. I'm not sure now how she knew
the extent of my ingratitude long before I even understood
the concept of gratitude. It had to do with the faithfulness of
her daughter working hard in America to support me so I
could "come to something" and my not trying to show thanks.
I was no great writer; but Gran saw to it that I scratched

something on an airletter form to my mother every month
and that something always included thanks for the money.
Gran never made it clear in what non-verbal ways I should
express this thanks. I had to do well at school; but the
teachers had a sort of fool-proof mechanism for assuring that-
those were the days of the rod and I meant to be a poor
customer for that. So school was O.K. But the guidelines at
home were less clear. An action that one day was a sign of
ingratitude was, next day, a normal action. It seems that the
assessment of my behaviour was a very abritrary and subjective
exercise and depended partly on Gran's moods.
Now I understand what Gran's dilemma was like. She
herself did not know what she had to produce from the raw
material she was given if her daughter's sacrifice was not to
be meaningless. She had been set a great task and she was
going to acquit herself manfully at all costs; but she was
swimming in very strange waters. And her daughter could
only work and send money; she couldn't offer guidelines.
either-only vague hints like the necessity for me to speak
properly, however that should be.


Every year we expected my mother home on vacation and
every year she wrote that she was sorry she couldn't make it.
But she always sent, as if to represent her, a large round box
that people insisted on calling a barrel. It was full of used
clothes of all sorts, obviously chosen with little regard for my
size or my grandmother's size. 1 never went to the collecting
ceremony. This involved a trip to Kingston and endless
red-tape. I merely waited at the gate till the bus turned the
curve, gave its two honks and slid along the loose stones to
a halt to let my grandmother out. Then the sidemen would
roll the barrel along the top of the bus and shove it to his
comrade. Immediately the bus would honk again and move
Nothing smells exactly like my mother's boxes. It was a
smell compounded from sweat and mustiness and black poverty
inheriting white cast-offs. I still remember one of those
dresses from the box. With today's eyes I can see that it
was a woman's frock; a short woman's voile frock for cocktail
parties or an important lunch. And I was nine or ten then.
But I wore it with pride, first to the Sunday School Christmas
concert and then to numerous 'social' events thereafter. And
even now, that low-slung waist or anything resting lightly on
the hips has particular charm for me whether or not the
beholder's eye shares my judgement... There were blouses
and shoes and hats; something to fit almost everyone in my
grandmother's endless chronicle of cousins. We accepted
our ill-fitting fits and wore them with surprising confidence.


Every year we expected my mother home on vacation.
But she never came. The year I was in third form they flew
her body home. I hadn't heard that she was ill. I felt for
months afterwards that my last letter should have said
something different, something more; should have shown
more gratitude than the others. But I could not possibly
have known that that would be the last.
When the coffin arrived it was clear that nobody from
Jamaica had touched that coffin. Sam Issacs may have kept
it a few days but that was all. The whole thing was foreign-
large, heavy, silvery, straight from the U.S.A. And when
they opened the lid, in the church, so she could lie in state
and everybody could look and cry, it was clear that my
mother too had been untouched by local hands. She had
come straight from the U.S.A.
When my mother left Jamaica I couldn't have been more
than five or six, so any memory I had of her was either very
vague or very clear and original-carved out of my own
imagination with patterns all mixed up, of other people's
mothers and of those impersonal clothes in the annual barrel.
Continued on Page 32




Achievements as an artist
(paintings, in particular)

Outstanding contribution
to Jamaica's culture


Achievements as a painter

Outstanding contribution in
the field of Architecture in

Achievements as a Sculptor

Achievements as a poet

Achievements as a musician
(pianist, in particular)

Achievements in Garden CAM PBELL Outstanding contribution in LEW IS BUCKNOR
Sculpture g c n i the field of Music (Choral
Outstanding contribution in music, in particular) Achievements as a performer Achievements in the prepara-
the field of Jamaican Dance of Popular Music tion and presentation of
Television Documentaries

The late playwright and music critic of Britain, George
Bernard Shaw, inade the following statement at a Kingston
wharf on one of his visits-"I will regard Jamaica as a civilised
when it has its own symphony orchestra performing the works
of the masters". Jamaica today has fortunately outgrown the
the assumption that the only civilisation is European civilisa-
tion; nevertheless the cultural significance of one's own
symphony orchestra cannot be overrated.
The sequence of musical activities from the close of the
19th century is full of interest. One central point of music
in the 1890's was the Lewis Winkler Music Room on King
Street, managed by Astley Clerk who later established the
Cowen Music Rooms, printing and publishing a number
of musical and other literary material, including original
compositions of Benjamin DeCordova Reid and Granville
Campbell. In 1904 Madame deMontagnac conducted
a choir and orchestra at the Theatre Royal. This theatre
which was situated north-east of the Victoria Park is referred
to in our history dating back to the year 1778, as the centre
of musical performances including several presentations of
comic opera. The Ward Theatre, opened in 1912, stands on
the site of the Theatre Royal. Our musical history reveals
that at least two attempts had been made in the past to
provide the country with a permanent symphony orchestra,
but it should not be difficult at this point in time to appre-
ciate why previous efforts did not survive the formidable
problems. The last remembered predecessor went out of

Above THE "Y' 'CHORAL Group and the Jamaica
Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra on the Carib
Theatre stage last night as they performed Han-

existence during World War II. Bandmaster Robert Jones
(later Lt. Colonel) who had succeeded Frank Bradley as
conductor, had additional military duties to perform as
Recruiting Officer with the Forces; the wind and percussion
players were drawn mainly from the personnel of the Jamaica
Military Band and they too had been drafted into the re-
allocated military war-time schedule. The Jamaica Symphony
Orchestra was faced with insurmountable problems and
could no longer function.
On Monday, 1st July 1940, 15 musicians were called together
in the living room at 'Carloville' 4 Central Avenue in Kings-
ton Gardens, realising a dream of nearly three years. There
were youngsters among the group with eager minds and the
will to achieve. They tuned up that night and straightway
began working at the music of Bach's Jesu Joy of Man's
Desiring, Handel's Minuet from the Overture to Berenice
and Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance. The Surrey Philhar-
monic Orchestra was founded.
A group of persons assembled to make music of a classical
nature was novel, and encouragement would not always be
forthcoming. It was no surprise therefore, when that very
night someone waiting outside the gate of the Orchestra's
birth-place assailed the members as they rode home on their
bicycles. In contrast however, words of encouragement had
been received welcoming the idea of 're-birth and goal of
emergence' from at least four citizens of distinction-George
Davis Goode (then"Jamaica's" Father of Music') J. J. Mills
del's "Messiah". Conductor was Mr. Sibthorpe 27
Photo: Daily Gleaner 10.4.57

and two Custodes, Sir Noel Livingston and Sir Thomas
The first duty of the orchestra was to strive for technical
efficiency. If the Surrey Philharmonic Orchestra was to
succeed, individual efforts had to exceed the heights attained
by the members of its immediate predecessor, the Jamaica
Symphony Orchestra, which had had a much larger body
of players. In order to fulfil its mission, the Surrey Phil-
harmonic Orchestra needed a deeper philosophy. Hubert
Fassin in his Concert-goer's Handbook (London 1946) ex-
plained the general intention by way of definition.
"An orchestra is a company of instrumental players assembled and
welded into one instrument. The orchestra is a composite unit; so
is the organ, but whereas the component parts of an organ are made
of wood, metal and dumb materials, an orchestra is composed of
living men and women plus their dumb materials "
It was also realized that there had to be insistence from the
very outset, that objectivity was the sine qua non-players
must live the pre-occupation necessary in work and study
for improving individual technique to enable the concerted
and communal activities, but the level of artistry accomplished
must not be disassociated from the veritable consciousness of
participating in what is in fact a great social and historical
The orchestra's constitution was drawn up with the follow-
ing aims and objects:-
(a) To engage in the study of classical music and the presentation
of concerts from time to time:
(b) To attend to the proper musical training of its members;
(c) Building a repertoire which is to be a source of inspiration to
performers and audiences alike; stimulating to the highest
degree the expression in enthusiasm for the beauty which lies
in the realm of great music.
The Orchestra soon lost its leading violinist who was
busily engaged with organising his string students into what
became the Edward Gordon String Orchestra, which entered
the Musical Competition Festival held in November 1940.
Elise Wood was brought in early to be leader, and with
her came Joe Tomlinson, a former pupil of veteran teacher
Doris Livingston; with this pair of musicians at the first
desk it became impossible for the orchestra to break down
with any music.
The soul-reaching strain of the Berenice Minuet was the
theme for starting and signing-off at rehearsals twice per
week, as diligent study went into the major works-Hayden's
Oxford Symphony in G and Beethoven's Symphony No. 2 in D.
More musicians were found from within the Corporate
Area, representing an interesting cross-section-from a gas
station night-attendant to a physics master; cosmopolitan

indeed-and how better could people learn to live together
than by the example compelled in making music. There
was no room for prejudice; instead there grew a bond of
The Orchestra's first public appearance was arranged
through the interest of Rev. P. W. Gibson (later Lord
Bishop of Jamaica), fora Carnival on the grounds of Kingston
College in November 1941. A Sunday afternoon visit to
rural life brought another opportunity for entertaining at
Jamaica Welfare's Community Centre at Llandewey, St.
Thomas, which earned encouragement from Welfarers,
N. W. Manley K.C.*, Phillip Sherlock (Institute of Jamaica)
Tom Girvan, Evan Donaldson and Rudolph McDowell.
The performing strength of the Orchestra improved as
the attendance roll included Bandsmen eager to fulfill a
loyalty to the cause of good music, as well as other civilians.2
Management of the Orchestra moved into the hands of a
small and most efficient Committee3 which insisted upon
getting through its business on every Agenda within half
an-hour. It was this new approach to work and less talk,
followed by judicious advance press publicity that brought
a near capacity audience to the air-cooled Ormsby Hall
for the Surrey Philharmonic Orchestra's formal debut on
the 16th February 1942. The programme was-Anna Magda-
lena Suite-Bach, Oxford Symphony-Haydn, Larghetto (Sym-
phony No. 2)-Beethoven, Goin' Home-Dvorak, Emperor
Waltz-Strauss, and Selections from Handel's Messiah
arranged by Langey. The music was enthusiastically received
by the audience of practising musicians and music lovers.4
As seen through the perspective of Goode, it was an occasion
that bore signs discernible by those with far-seeing eyes
and understanding minds.
The major work conducted by Charles Draper in 1944
was Haydn's London Symphony No. 104 in D. The services
of the Military Band members were withdrawn by the authori-
ties, the reason given that they were now under the jurisdic-
tion of the Imperial Government. Militia Headquarters no
longer seemed sympathetic. Bandsmen who had rehearsed
with the Orchestra during their off-duty hours could not
play in the performance for fear of being Court martialled!
Additional musicians had to be recruited from the civilian
population, from Alpha and the Stony Hill Industrial School
Bands. As a result the Orchestra entered upon a difficult
year in 1945. Detractors had sprung up all around and it
took more than ordinary courage to face the increasing
factions. Moreover there was now competing interest for
the Edward Gordon Strings. The following year, the "Y"
Choral Group, which was formed as a joint YW/YM Cultural
Activity in September 1945, was included on the Symphony
Concert programmes. To justify the importance of blend
and diction they interpreted for the first time in 1946 selections

Carloville Today -----'

*now Rt. Excellent-One of Jamaica's National Heroes

from Elgar's Bavarian Highlands Suite. John Lyon, sensa-
tional male soprano, was guest soloist in the Aria With
Verdure Clad from Haydn's Creation. Still the air was not
quite rid of petty jealousies and vendettas; around this time
one hostile ex-patriate newspaper critic sounded forth con-
demnation at the musical community for giving support to
the Surrey Philharmonic Orchestra with a capacity house
and failing to do the same for a visiting British Violinist who
gave a recital at the Ormsby Hall.
The same year Stephen Hill accepted a proposal for the
"Y" Choral Group to appear on a Celebrity Concert program-
me with metropolitan Opera star of "The Great Waltz"
fame, Miliza Korjus, at the Ward Theatre. 1948, Bobby Jones
released the ban on his military men playing with the Orchestra
and happily the spirit of friendly co-operation was restored.
So much the merrier for performing von Suppe's Poet and
Peasant Overture at the Silver Jubilee of the Poetry League
of Jamaica at the Institute of Jamaica in October. The quota-
tion applied to that Programme is worth remembering-
"Art comes frankly proposing to give nothing but the highest
quality to your moments as they pass, and only for those
moments sake" (Walter Pater-The Renaissance).

RUDOLPH DUNBAR, the noted conductor, who conducts the Surrey
philharmonic Orchestra at Ward Theatre tonight. Mr. Dunbar, who was
orn in British Guiana, has scored brilliant successes in conducting
great symphony orchestras in Britain, France and Germany. Major works
on tonight's programme are "Surprise Symphony", by Haydn and "Hia-
watha Ballet Music", by Coleridge-Taylor. Box plan is at Montague's
Musicke, 129 Tower Street. Photo: Daily Gleaner 16.6.52

In 1952 there was to be another change; the Ward Theatre
was the venue for a performance of the concert-goers'
favourite-Symphony No. 5 in E. Minor From the New World
by Anton Dvorak. Guest artists on that programme was
Jamaican pianist Olive Lewin who interpreted an arrange-
ment of Handel's Concerto in Bb with the Orchestra. The
internationally famed Guyanese Conductor, Rudolph Dunbar,
who was in the audience, went on stage at the intermission
and not only congratulated Olive on her truly musical
interpretation of the Concerto, but went on to inform the
hundreds of music lovers present that the Orchestra which

he was hearing for the first time was without question the
best in the Caribbean. A fortnight later Dunbar was back
on the same Ward Theatre Stage, this time as guest conduc-
tor with a completely new programme. The Daily Gleaner in its
Editorial hailed the significance of the occasion when a
international figure was here to conduct "our own Orchestra".
Acknowledgement from the audience (a packed theatre) was
unrestrained, it was sensational. One experienced mind
described the Orchestra's playing under Dunbar as a reminder
of his student years when he listened to the Royal Philharmonic
under Beecham. Dunbar himself commended the high
standard of discipline he had found in the Orchestra which
was as good if: not better than what he had experienced
with many European professional orchestras.
Edna Manley, then a member of the Orchestra's Executive
Committee was first to propose a repeat performance for all
the youth of the corporate area to hear, which was given at
the St. Luke's Hall three weeks later, under the patronage of
Lady Foot, President of the YWCA and Sir Kenneth O'Connor
Chief Justice and Vice-President of the YMCA. The Governor
Sir Hugh Foot, also attended and requested a memorandum
on the proposed development of the Orchestra. At this
point the Surrey Philharmonic Orchestra, through sweat and
tears, had earned its National recognition; but the proposals
never materialised; Officialdom quickly abandoned the idea.
In 1952 and 1953 Celebrity Concerts gave two tremendous
concerts. The first featured the world-famous Spanish Pianist
Jos6 Iturbi who appeared with the orchestra in the Greig
A Minor Concerto. The second concert also featured Jon
Robertson, 10 year old American prodigy, performing the
Haydn Piano Concerto with the Orchestra. The Orchestra
played to a packed Theatre and the support was renewed the
following year when Handel's Messiah was presented.
The Jamaica '300' Celebrations came along in 1955 and at
Easter the 2000-seating capacity for the Carib Theater was
completely sold out days ahead for the Orchestra and "Y"
Choral Group's presentation of Mendelssohn's oratorio
Elijah with William Spooner singing the title role at the age
of 73 as his farewell to the concert stage. The management
of the Carib Cinema was moved to give further encourage-
ment to the Orchestra and arranged for weekly half-hour
programmes before the feature film. The K.S.A.C. sponsored
a series of monthly concerts by the Orchestra, which were
free to the public, as the Corporation's participation in the
'300' Celebrations. Concerts were presented in the grand-
stand at George VI Park (now National Heroes Park),
Nelson Oval Pavillion, Ambassador Theatre and the Grand-
stand of Sabina Park. A favoured attraction was the perfor-
mance of Mozart's D Minor Piano Concerto with Maxine
Franklin (talented young pianist and pupil of Rita Coore*)
as soloist.
After presenting Brahm's Requiem at the Ward in 1956,
the following year at Easter the Orchestra and "Y" Choral
Group returned to the Carib Theatre with the oratorio The
Messiah; again the entire house was sold out days ahead.
Except for a lone expatriate newspaper critic, there was
appreciation all round for this performance, and many still
remember what was achieved by orchestra and chorus5. By
popular demand the oratorio was repeated at the State Theatre
and at the Tudor Theater in Mandeville.
A New Constitution
The Orchestra had by now caught the visionary light of the
country's approaching national independence and adopted
a new constitution, retaining the altruism in the aims and
objects of the first, but chnaging its name from "Surrey
Philharmonic Orchestra,"to "Jamaica Philharmonic Symphony
Orchestra". The administration was extended and the officers
now included:-Martin G. Smith* senior reporter on The
Daily Gleaner staff, President; Pauline Mason to the Chief
Executive post and L. E. Bingham, Librarian. Enough has
never been told of the work that goes on behind the scenes
and not in the limelight, at the administrative level; particu-
larly in the exacting post of the Executive Secretary. Holders
of this office, succeeding Pauline were-Merle McLeod,

ITURBI CONDUCTS at the keyboard. The
piano virtuoso conducting the Surrey Philhar-
monic Orchestra through the Grieg concerto for
piano and orchestra on Monday night at the Ward
Photo: Daily Gleaner 4.12.52

Phyllis Terrelong, Vilma Nesbitt, Vivienne Murphy (since
1963). After the death of Martin Smith in 1958, Edwin
Clunes became the new President; two years later Maurice
Gordon was elected Vice-President replacing Wilfred Malcolm
who left to reside in the United States of America.
Under the provision of the Orchestra's constitution, the
Executive Commitee began awarding local scholarships in
1948. The first award was made to Shirley McDermott for
study of the viola; working with Ruby Delgado, she obtained
the ACTL diploma. The Executive Committee embarked
upon the more formidable undertaking of awarding overseas
scholarships in 1955 when as a further mark of recognition
of "Jamaica 300" the first award was made to Joy Thompson
(mezzo soprano); she studied at the Royal Academy of Music
in England, obtaining the LRAM Diploma, and at the Vienna
Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. The second scholar-

.; ..

Edmund Reid
Photo:Daily Gleaner

ship was awarded to Edmund Reid (violin) in 1956; he also
studied at the Royal Academy, obtaining the LRAM Diploma-
first place, and won the Max Bruch Prize; he studied further
with Sascha Lasserson in London, played in the Bourne-
mouth Symphony and is now leader of the Welsh Opera
Orchestra in Cardiff. The third award went to Maurice
Gordon in 1958 and he studied at the Royal College of Music,
majoring on the string bass; he obtained the ARCM Diploma
(Teacher's) in piano and toured the continent before return-
ing home. The fourth scholarship was awarded to Joyce
Britton--soprano, (former pupil of late Sybil Foster-Davis)
in 1960; she studied at the Julliard School of Music, New

York, for five years and obtained the B.S. Degree. Assisted
for the first and only occasion by a grant from the Jamaican
Government, this scholarship was extended for Joyce to do
post-graduate study in Milan, Munich, Paris and London
where she made her debut at the Wigmore Hall in 1968.
She returned home to join the staff at the Jamaica School of
Music in 1972.

Jamaica School of Music
For the purpose of this review the School of Music
ought to be given some passing comment. This institution
came into being'as the result of representations which were
made to the Government by the Jamaica Philharmonic
Symphony Orchestra for implementation of its development
programme in 1957. After study of the proposal by a specially
selected Committee the machinery was set in motion and the
School began operating under a Board appointed with Sir
Arthur Lewis, Vice-Chancellor of the University of the West
Indies as Chairman, and Vera Moody as the first Registrar.
The main purpose behind the original proposal, as can be
well appreciated, was that the School of Music should function
at all times in the closest cooperation with the Jamaica Philhar-
monic Orchestra, which would be looking to that institution
in due course of time for trained talent. It is significant that
the Orchestra was at the very outset able to claim identity
when its first overseas music scholar, Joy Thompson was
appointed to the staff of the school in 1963. Faculty members
have always been willing to perform in the concert season
programmes, but the student body has not been able to
support and assist an Orchestra on an organised basis.
The Orchestra has withstood criticism for ambitious pro-
grammes with an unrelieved religious emphasis; which calls
to mind the enigmatic comment made by a member of one
of the famed London Orchestras: "In the time of Bach and
Handal music-making was to the Glory of God and pleasant
recreation, but in our Twentieth Centyry more pleasant
recreation (Maybe to the Glory of God?)". In 1958 when
Mozart's Requiem was performed, the Carib Theatre was
only half-full and the following year just over six hundred
pesons turned out for the Bach St. John Passion at the State.
In 1960 Haydn's Passion along with the Mozart D Minor
Concerto-Nerine Barrett as solioist-were presented at
the Regal Theatre; the leader of the Orchestra on that occasion
was Alfred Cave, formerly of the City of Birmingham Orchestra
and the Aeolian Quartet. In 1961 with the Orchestra coming
of age, Mendelssohn's Elijah was performed at the Kingston
Parish Church and St. James Parish Church, Montego Bay;
this time with Allan Langley doing the title role.
There was another drama of jostling in 1962 when prepara-
tions to present The Messiah for the Independence Celebrations
had to be abandoned, because of the drain on the Orchestra
and "Y" Choral Group's personnel into other quarters
to form what was to be known as the Jamaica Choral and

Orchestral Society. There was a great deal of disquiet over
this as the ultimate fragmentation brought confusion and
in the end inspired no one. In spite of all this the Jamaica
Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra was able to overcome
the interruption and difficulties. Handel's Detingen Te Deum
and Haydn's Surprise Symphony were performed in the Regal
Theatre with Virginia Rittenhouse, United States violinist,
as concertmaster. These who knew the circumstances realized
that the orchestra had excelled all expectations on that
particular occasion. The major concert season was differently
arranged in 1963 to allow fullest co-operation with the plan for
launching the Government's Cultural Exchange Programme,
with the visit of the Orillia District Collegiate Concert Band
of Canada. The Orchestra for the first time hosted two guest
artists, from the United States under the Cultural Exchange
the following year; they were Mariana Dessi, violin teacher
from Brooklyn and John Thurman, cellist, graduating student
of the Manhattan School of Music. In 1965 there were four
professional United States musicians who took part in the
programme for the Orchestra's Silver Jubilee-David Johnson,
Harriett Davidson (violinist) Marion Cumbo and Katherine
Contos (cellists). The Philharmonic has since made it a
regular feature of the annual concert season to participate
in the Cultural Exchange by hosting guest artistes from the
United States of America and Canada, alternating the Man-
hattan School of Music and the University of Toronto Faculty
of Music; thereby exposing its own members to share musical
experience and fellowship with graduating students of these
institutions. So far thirty-three musicians of the North Ameri-
can continent have been guests of the Philharmonic under
the Cultural Exchange Programme. This has encouraged
the Orchestra to maintain its programmes of music feat-
uring Symphonies of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin's F.
Minor Piano Concerto and in 1972, the world premiere of Sym-
phonic Impressions of Jamaica by Patrick Samuels, which was
dedicated to Jamaica's beloved first native Governor-General,
Sir Clifford Campbell. In 1974 the major work was Moz-
art's Piano Concerto in C performed with Jamaica's own
David Johns as soloist. In 1975 four compositions for orches-
tra by Mapletoft Poulle were greatly favoured.

New ideas of planning and promotion have been interjected
from time to time and it is observed sadly that public interest
and support do not reward the effort which is made. One
realises that the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction.

When The Messiah in 1957 attracted an enthusiastic audience
aggregating over three thousand, ten years later the same
work, in spite of its universal appeal, failed to receive even
one-third of the previous response although the urban popula-
tion had increased considerably. Patron A. Wesley Powell,
whose interest in the Orchestra dates back to its inception,
saw the handwriting on the wall and encouraged the presenta-
tion of concerts for the schools generally as a possible remedy.
The Lunch Hour Concerts in the Institute of Jamaica Lecture
Hall are now of the forgotten past. The Orchestra contributed
to several of those programmes and the "Y" Choral Group
rendered its Christmas Hour as the closing "goodwill-for-
peace" exercise for the musical public in December each
year, in unbroken continuity for twenty-eight years. There
was a time when the attendance at these concerts packed the
Lecture Hall, overflowed into the lobby and out on the steps
leading out into Tower Street.
Changing social and residential patterns have had their
effects; moreover during the 1950's the increasing popularity of
hi-fi and later stereophonic equipment in the home, enabled
listeners to enjoy in their own living rooms, a fullness of
orchestrated sound which previously could only be obtained
in live concert. Nevertheless commercial interests and the
two radio stations cannot disclaim responsibility for the
falling off of appreciation for all but 'pop' music shows.
Before broadcasting became commercialised and even after-
wards when the Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation first went
on the air, the Jamaica Philharmonic had the support of broad-
casters. In the old days, Dennis Gick (at the then ZQI) used
to play over the air extracts from recordings of the major
work of every symphony concert, and thereby captured
the interest of his listeners; the station gave encouragement
to the Orchestra by featuring on its Sunday evening programme
complete recorded broadcasts of the local symphony concerts.
More recently in commercial radio, a situation prevailed
whereby pop music was played incessantly so that little else
registered. With the introduction of FM Radio in recent
years, the public is now treated to a larger diet of classical
music and folk music along with some serious jazz.
It was at the time of the "Jamaica 300" that Councillor
Roy Woodham successfully persuaded the KSAC to provide
a token subvention for the Philharmonic, but since then all
subsequent overtures to Central Government have fallen

on deaf ears. The organisation has therefore had to rely
entirely on financial support from a small panel of sustaining
members plus the contribution of patrons. The box office
receipts, with the decline in attendance at concerts, had
never been able to meet overhead expenses. This made it
necessary on a couple of occasions for the Executive Committee
to secure sponsorship of a concert season by one or other of
the major companies, ensuring that admission prices be
always kept within reach of the less affluent concerts-goers.

Naturally, for every scholarship year a special appeal had to
be made to the sponsors for the additional support needed.
The know-how of operating on strict economic principles
offered voluntarily by the Executive Secretary and Treasurer
for over twelve years-Vivienne Murphy has been invaluable.
The Jamaica Philharmonic has now approached its Thirty-
fifth milestone. It is the only group of its kind in the Caribbean
with such a sustained record and has laid'the foundation for
orchestral activity in this country.


1. Violins: Edward Gordon, Allan McDermott, Samuel
Lindo, Hugh Creary, Tomlin Anderson, Ralph
Swaby, Roy Rainford, Oscar Durrant, O.R. Forbes.
Cello: Joseph Ferres
Bass: C E. Gooding
Clarinet: L. E. Bingham
Trumpets: N.C. Noble, H. G. Crawford
Piano: Clive Barber
2. Amongst the dedicated principals were Mapletoft Poulle
(second violin), Pat Vermont (viola), Alfado Scott (cello),
Adrian Walters (bass) J. 'Spuddy' Murphy (Flute), Cecil
Warren (oboe), Edwin Clunes (clarinet), J. Heywood
(bassoon), Willie McLean (horn), Ossie Wilkins (trumpet)
A. Lindo (trombone) and Arthur Nibb (percussion).
3. T. E. Sealy (now Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Gleaner),
Chairman; Ethel Marson (sister of poet/playwright, Una),
Vivian Wright (Orchestra Representative) and S. L. Beckett,
4. To mention a few by name-H .A. Lake, President Musical
Society; B. de C. Reid F.V.C.M.; George Goode, Conductor
Diocesan Festival Choir; Charles Draper, F.R.C.M.,

Professor of Kneller Hall Military School of Music and
Musician-in-ordinary to H.M. George V; Aileen Brammer,
David Phillips, Ena Helps, L.R.A.M.; L. A. Brammer, R.S.
Martinez and Lena McGilchrist
5. With principals-Laura Murray (soprano), Hope Hendricks
and Mavis Rose contraltoss), Stanley Walters (tenor), Allan
Langley (bass), Flo Wilson (leading violinist.)
6. Later Exhibitions were awarded to Norma Edmondson, also
on the viola; Noel Peck, Paulette Case, Carol Gascoigne-
Smith (all three attained the ATCL standard) and Hugh
Robinson studied violin under Doris Livingston. Other
Exhibitioners were 1954-Joy Thompson (singing), Maurice
Gordon (String Bass); Joyce Britton, Hope Hendricks,
Marilyn Brice, Beverley Aarons and Albert Williams (singing)
the last three were tenable at the Jamaica School of Music;
also to Maxine Franklin (cello) Yvonne Davis (clarinet),
Gloria Anglin (flute), Karl Swanson (bassoon); Ian Johnson
and June Thompson (Violin),
7. Enrolled in 1942 Edward R. Hanna, Issa Bros., J. Wray &
Nephew, Carl R. Webster, Cecil B. Facey, D. Henderson
and Co.

MY MOTHER Continued fromPage 25
The woman in the coffin was not my mother. The woman in
the purple dress and black shoes (I didn't even know they
buried people in shoes), the highly powdered face, framed by
jet black curls and covered lightly with a mantilla was not
like any of the several images I had traced.
The funeral couldn't be our funeral. It was a spectacle.
I don't suppose more than half the people there had actually
known my mother. But it was Sunday and the whole week
that had elapsed between the news of her death and the actual
funeral, made it possible for people from far and near to make
the trip to our village. Those who were from surrounding
districts but had jobs in the city used one stone to kill two
birds-visit the old folks at home, and come up to 'Miss
Angie daughter funeral'.
It wasn't our funeral. It was a spectacle.
The afternoon was hot; inside the church was hotter.
Outside, I stood as far as I could from the grave and watched
several of them pointing at me, their eyes full of tears: "dats
de little wan she lef wid Miss Angle". Near to me was a woman
in a fur hat, close fitting, with a ribbon at the side. She wore a
dress of the same yellow gold as the hat, and long earrings,
costume jewellery, of the same yellow gold.
I could hear the trembling voices from the grave "I know
not oh I know not/what joys await me there/" and fur hat,
beside me, trying to outdo them so her friend could hear her:
-A didn know ar but-a sih dih face; is fat kill ar noh? (My
mother was rather busty but that was as far as the fat went).
She didn't wait for an answer but continued:
-A nevva sih wan of dese deds that come back from Englan'
yet (No one had taken the trouble to tell her it was America
not England).
-But de reason why a come to see ar is becaaz I was dere
myself an a always seh ef a ded, dey mus sen mih back. Is now
a sih ow a would look! But tengad a lucky a come back pon
mi own steam............. An you sih dis big finneral shi have?
she wouldn't have get it in Englan' you know. Since one
o'clock she would gaan an' if they cremate ar, while we
drinking a cuppa tea, she bunnin'.
-Wat? -asked her audience at last-deh gives tea? an people

-Man, deh put dem in soemting like a ovin, an by dih time
we jus' drink dih tea, you get dih ashes an' you gaan-

They had stopped singing about my mother's joys; the
the slow heavy dirge was now "Abide with me" sung with the
Baptist rhythm sad and slow though I hardly think it is
possible for that particular song to be anything but sad and
slow, Baptist or no Baptist. I looked towards the crowd. They
were supporting my Grandmother. I knew she wasn't scream-
ing. She was never given to screaming. She was just shaking
as great sobs shook her body and her hands seemed to hold
up her stomach. It was pointless my trying to comfort her;
they wouldn't let me. Two old women were holding her, Miss
Emma, her good friend, and Cousin Jean who was more
like a sister than a cousin.
Next day I went alone to my mother's grave to push my
own little bottle with maiden-hair fern into the soft, red
earth. When all their great wreaths with purple American
ribbons had long faded, my maiden-hair fern started to grow.
I had never known my mother. I had known her money
and her barrels and my grandmother's respect for her. I had
not wept at her funeral. But that morning, in the subway
station at Fourteenth Street, in the middle of nowhere, in
the midst of a certain timelessness, I wept for her, unashamedly,
and for the peace at Anne's Ridge that she never came back
to know, after the constant madness, after the constant
terror of all the Fourteenth Street subway stations in that
horrifying work-house.
I saw my tears water the maiden-hair fern on her grave
to a lush and green luxuriance. I was glad I was a guest in
the great U.S.A. and a guest didn't need a wig. I would take
no barrels home with me. I saw my mother's ancient grave
covered again with its large and gaudy wreaths. Like the mad
old man in Brooklyn, I lifted from a hundred imaginary
heads, a hundred black and curly wigs and laid them all on
the ancient grave. And I laid with them all the last shapeless,
ill-fitting clothes from the last barrel. The last of the women
had hurried away. I wept for my mother. But I rejoiced that
the maiden-hair fern was lush and that we had no longer, need
for gaudy wreaths.

Three Poems

by Richard Ho Lung, S.J.

A friend asked a friend to ask me as a friend to visit her,
She had dreams and thought a crow preyed with its beak;
It nightly hovered on her flesh and wined madly on her blood
In seven years she was quite thin and needed a priest.
As I made my round of visits the sun hammered on my head
Like the leaden wings of a Pelican falling repeatedly on flesh
And a dry whirl of dust was stirred by a whale of a wind. .
I rapped and came in, you seemed startled but didn't start,
Ladylike you lay with the limp wings of a dying bird,
Your eyes were fading; you couldn't tell a crow from a priest.
It came to raise hell again and make sure you were very sick
With muscular dystrophy.. .what must I say, what please?

Lunch bell. My sister and I joined the cheers;
We were midgets and easily squeezed and sneaked
Pass all the students who shoved each other to get by.
I remember one day my knees buckled
While my tongue considered a fudge and coolie plums;
I struggled.. .stop please please stop please
Their elephant legs clumped on heftily.
I was a caterpillar brushed on Old Hope Road
Curled like a zero. . I prayed to be a zero
As the math class mechanically continued;
My hands held my knee knobs, my tears were indoors.
Little sister kneeled and gently opened my palms
"Never mind." Classes resumed among sleepy giants.
We continued our lessons.

Benjie's head in his hands curled like an old newspaper on fire,
"Please sir, I'm suffering gravely". "What now Benjie?"
I crushed some oats, fed them to my fish. "My house
gwine burn down,
At your convenience, sir, ring the fire brigade immediately.
"Him take board off me house, sir, and set it up in a heap".
Moses' hair stood like the flaming love bush fenced between
He squatted with crab eyes before a hell size blaze. He
saw us
Reared up suddenly clawing fire brands, snarled, and backed
"Fire! Fire!" he squealed in a pigs litany, his eyes slit
It cut clean my nerves, I shivered, giggled and said hello;
Dull lids clicked over his eyes like slides; he fell quiet.
He opened up actually warm, and he offered us some holy
He told us to relax for I man in control
Watch it like a film show.


Dorothea Edmundson

I met her in England
at Getting to know
You Commonwealth

Smilingly she patronized
how she loved
oh so loved
lived years there with the Regiment
but was never allowed to mix
if I knew what she meant.

We eyed each other.
"Ah yes", I replied,
got both our groups heated.
My father raged at me once-
when a soldier visited,
my neighbours ostracized,
my enemies dubbed me
Soldier Peggy".

I surmised
she did not expect
she turned away
"to get a serviette,
Foreign Matter
in my eye."
and don't worry about
the F. M. in your eye,"
I smiled,
"in the upshot
it'll trickle water
and wash away
that bloodshot."

on the walls
in the restrooms
down the aisle

Mr. Manager
wears a smile
walks round
and around
rearranging legs
whole bodies
step after step
he puts out butts
and appeals
gentlemen ladies
please please

Somebody shouts across
Rufus whey you deh
Rufus yells back
Mi deh down ya
cuss-cuss follow-
up cuss-cuss
menace and threat
bounce off the walls

Great accoustics!
Whatever happened to La Golondrina?

The old time melody
strings synchronizing
dimmed lights
the theatre's "theme-song"
filtered back
faded like snapshots
of the fifties
white-shirted neck-tied
junior civil servants
spike heeled office girls
and fragrances ...

A couple
reminiscent of that era
cordoned off
clutch each other
as if they've risked danger
she whispering
we should've gone
to the drive-in...

The film?
Can't remember
word nor plot.
Dialogue and commentary
going on non-stop
the place
alive with laughs
noisy problems
instant solutions
live live happenings


Maxwell Earle

1. You do not know the cold.
So cold,
like teeth on ice.
You know not of the quick
Season change.
We remember how it feels
to sweat,
through daily labour,
year round.

2. Not cold, but cool,
as the name of Christ
draws to a climax.
The children play
on Christmas day,
But not here.
We dress as if going to war
to fight against nature's
I long to come back,
so wait, and I will return.


Pamela Mordecai

Curled up behind
I sight it
tracking in

but no shoot's
scheduled: the sound man's
at the wheel

but he's not wired:
the other chap's
not crew

after this long
I know-without
a cue


Belinda Edmundson

This tree talks to me
Telling me wisdom men will
never hear

This tree talks to me,
We are both alone.
This tree talks to me
Telling of ancient wars,
Telling things no one tells me,
We are both alone.
This tree talks to me,
Telling me where the universe ends,
We are both alone.

This tree talks no more
Chopped down for furniture,
My only friend,

I am alone.

It skids, spins twice
stops, steadies for
the shot

"Action!": we close,
impact-the back
caves in

But I'm deter-
mined not to be
in shot
I'm staying quick:
nimble, I dodge
the frame

I see his fin-
ger slice across
his throat
"Another time
We'll do that take




by David Buisseret

From: CRASKELL & SIMPSON Map of the Island of Jamaica 1763 (WIRL)

Within the Caribbean, Barbados was the classic land for
windmills. They seem first to have been used there for crushing
sugar-cane in the 1600s', having perhaps been introduced by
English settlers from Surinam. By 1674 there were 260 of them,
by 1750 there were 3562 by 1771 there were 432, and by 1846
there number had risen to 5063. After that there was no doubt
a decline, though one windmill was still in use on Barbados in
We are not well provided with studies for other islands, but
one that we do have for Marie-Galante shows a roughly parallel
development. The first windmill was built here about 17004,
and from that time until about the middle of the 19th century
their number steadily increased, to reach 100 in 1836. After
that time their heyday proved to be over in all the territories,
as steampower, first introduced in Cuba in 17975, made
steady progress at the expense of animal,wind and water-
In Jamaica there were of course many more streams and
rivers than in Barbados or Marie-Galante, and water-power
was therefore always more widespread than wind-power.
However, in certain parishes, notably Hanover, Saint James,
Trelawny, Saint Mary, Saint Thomas and lower Clarendon,
windmills became widely used. There were 44 in the island
in 1768 (and 235 watermills)6, and by 1804 Robertson's
map marks 86 of them. Fourteen of these were in what became
the parish of Saint Thomas, at Chiswick, Dalvey, Duckenfield,
Holland, Upper and Lower Lyssons, Old Pera, Oxford, Palmetto
River, Pleasant Hill, Prospect, Retreat, Spring Garden and
Stanton. At the same period, the same area had 56 water-
mills. The shells of the mill-towers at Lower Lyssons, Old
Pera and Oxford still survive7, and as the one at Lower
Lyssons is particularly well preserved it will serve as our example
in describing operations.
Plate 1 shows this tower from the north-east as it now is,
and plate 2 shows a very similar mill in operation, in 18th-
century Antigua. The site of the tower was important, as the
"approaches" needed to be unencumbered by obstacles which
slow down the wind. For this reason mills were often sited
on ridges; the one at Lyssons enjoyed free play from the south-
easterly sea-breeze, with the beach only fifty yards away.
It has now, of course, lost its cap and sails, but they probably
looked like the ones in plate2. Most mills had four sails
(or "points"), composed of an adjustable canvas partly covering
a wooden lattice-work. The miller would set the canvas when
he began work, having estimated the probable intensity of the
breeze. Then, using a bar like the one which stretches diagonally

across plate 2, he would revolve the cap in order to turn the
sails into the wind ("turn her in" was the shout); they would
begin to revolve, and work could begin. To stop the mill,
the sails had to be turned out of the wind, again by using the
bar with its wheeled end.
The top of the tower had to be strongly and precisely made to
enable the cap to revolve smoothly. The Lyssons tower is
made of both square cut-stone and irregular large stones,
other Jamaican towers sometimes used these materials, and
sometimes brick. Most of the towers are round like this one,
though some, especially in lower Clarendon, are octagonal.
It would be interesting to collect measurements from as many
mills as possible, so as to form some idea of their capacity.
The one at Lyssons rises perpendicularly inside to a height
of about 30 feet, and is gently tapered towards the top on the
outside; at the base its diameter is also 30 feet, with a wall
six feet thick (this seems to be exceptionally substantial).
Once the sails were revolving, their power was transmitted
through a large "windshaft" to the "brake wheel", which in
turn was geared in with the wallowerr" (see plate 3). The
wallower drove the main shaft, at the end of which were the
three upright rollers between which the cane was ground.
Roughly speaking, mills were normally greaed so that about
four complete circles of the points would be necessary for one
complete turn of the rollers; if the tower were on a very windy
site, this might be modified for up to seven or so sail-revolu-
tions to give one grinding turn.
The upright rollers used in early windmills were not very
efficient, in comparison either with the steamdriven horizontal
mills, or indeed with the slow but steady grinding possible in a
cattle-mill8. This seems to have been because the speed of
the windmill was rather variable, and sometimes too fast for
optimum grinding. It was also, of course, a rather dangerous
operation; it is easy to imagine the risk run by the person in
plate 2 who is feeding the cane into the rollers. His job was not
only perilous, but also arduous, for the cane had to be lifted
quite high into the rollers for the best performance. A good
mill could handle four or five tons of cane an hour, thus produc-
ing the syrup for something like four tons of sugar in a twelve-
hour day9.
All the mills preserved in Jamaica are tower-mills, with solid
bodies and revolving caps on their tops. It is virtually certain
however, that the earliest mills in the island were post-mills,
turning bodily round a great wooden post. Many of these
survive in Europe, and resemble the ones shown on Samuel
Copen's Prospect of Bridgetown in Barbados of 1695; unfor-

PLATE I Thi I, 16K, at Loneir L~ssons

PL A1 E 2 Similar Tpe % %ndmill in operation
.n I~ih CeniurN -%nhtigua
Fur.,n Clarke i- I w.~. -) .*I 1'iii.

PLATE 3 Operation of a Windmill
- -l- kH

After Richard Sheridan Sugar and Slavery

tunately there seems to be no similar contemporary illustra-
tion for Jamaica.
The countryside from Port Morant to Holland must once
had a very animated look, with the great mill-sails revolving.
fast on the ridges and more slowly in the sheltered places, as
the miller and his hands got the cane ground. Now all the towers
are silent, and most indeed are destroyed; it takes a considerable
brake wLuheea effort of the imagination to reconstruct that lively scene.

(1) see Carl and Roberta Bridenbaugh, No peace beyond the line (New
Sa I ow r- York 1972) p. 292.
(2) these figures come from Richard Sheridan's Sugar andslavery (CARUP
1974)p. 146.
.tarfor turning (3) according to Sydney Dash in his article on "The windmills and copper
\ o\ r e cap. and s walls of Barbados" in The Journal of the Barbados museum and histori-
towa wind cal society, xxxi (1965) 43-60

(4) see the article by Father Maurice Barbotin, "Les moulins de Marie-
Galante" in the Bulletin de la society d'histoire de la Guadeloupe,
vii (1967).
(5) according to Rex Wailes.in his article on "Sugar mills of the Caribbean"
in Tate & Lyle Times, October 1970, pp. 22-23.
ne fed between
on eitSerside (6) figures quoted by Michael Craton and James Walvin in A Jamaican
Boxforr storing liquor plantation (London/New York 1970) p. 123.
(7) some of the others may also survive, though it has not been possible
- to find them. Any reader knowing of a mill of particular interest is
r /---o-c- - invited to get in touch with the author of this article.
ro ghi forfeeding
liquor to factory (8) on questions of grinding-efficiency, see Ward Barrett's chapter on
wnen required "Caribbean sugar-production standards in the 17th and 18th Centu-
ries" in Merchants and scholars (Minneapolis 1965) ed. John Parker.
(9) according to Dash, art. cit., p. 58.




by Beryl Brown

In Portland as in other parishes
responsibility for local government administra-
tion was shared between the island legislature
and the parish Vestry. The abolition of the
political franchise in 1866 led to the dissolution
of the elected Vestries and the introduction of
the Municipal and Road Boards which
continued the functions formerly performed by
the Vestries.
While the duties of the parochial bodies were
clearly defined those of the legislature were
sufficiently flexible to allow for overlapping and
interference with parochial administration.
Parochial bodies were responsible for
maintaining parochial roads, bridges and
sanitation; the administration of schools, poor
relief, gaols, local charities and the collection
and management of parish taxes.

The Legislature (at first the Assembly,
Governor and Council, and after 1865 the
Governor and Legislative Council) maintained
the right to sanction all parochial estimates and
expenditure; to build and maintain main roads;
to provide and staff district courts and to act as
adjudicators in disputes involving parochial
authorities and the inhabitants.
Funds for financing parochial projects were
obtained mainly from land taxes collected at
the island and parochial levels; from licence fees
and from various other monetary impositions
including a tax on houses and livestock. Where
the parochial revenue was inadequate for parish
administration special grants of money were
made from the island treasury to supplement
parochial funds.
In general members of the Assembly and
Vestries were primarily concerned with
promoting the interests of the white propertied
class. Thus, while roads throughout the island
were kept in bad condition it was the consensus
among the non-propertied groups that the main
roads were better kept than roads leading up
the hills and through peasant settlements.'
The change of government from an elected
legislature to Crown Colony Government in
1866 produced little change in attitudes. This
was hardly surprising since the majority of the
nominated members of the Legislative Council
and Parochial bodies were influential men of
substance whose sympathies did not lie with
the peasant and working classes. These
nominated members often gave priority to
projects benefiting their peers and not to the
pressing needs of the population.2 A
correspondent from St. Thomas in 1874
deplored the attitude of the Governor and
legislature towards the poor:
Oppressive taxes are imposed and collected;
the Government has always a surplus
1. The Falmouth Post, Friday, September 5, 1862.
2. The Falmouth Post, Tuesday, January 6, 1874.

revenue at its disposal; and money is wasted,
and nothing is done to benefit the poor
"beasts of burden" .
The correspondent however missed a key
consideration prompting the legislature's
concern for economy and a surplus. Local
administrators were in the 1860's and 1870's
influenced by the political philosophy of
Gladstone's liberal Government. This philo-
sophy placed emphasis on efficiency and
economy in implementing social and other
reforms. A misguided interpretation of this
British model led local administrators to
confuse frugality with efficiency. Consequently
poor economics was practiced in the purchase of
cheap building materials for constructing roads
and bridges because the main concern was to
realize a surplus at the end of the year rather
than spend more money on better amenities for
the parish.
The poor and often dangerous condition of
parochial and main roads was the subject of
island wide petitions to the legislature. A
correspondent from St. Ann in 1862 remarked
on the terrible state of the roads and the refusal
of the road commissioners to repair the
bridges.' A decade later in 1872 the editor of
the Falmouth Post made the following
comment on the state of the island's roads:
With regard to the roads of the island, those
that are called the public or postal roads are
not in better condition than they were nine
years ago, and the parochial roads and
bridges are allowed to remain in a state that
is discreditable to a government which has
declared its desire and intention to promote
social well-being and civilization throughout
the length and breadth of the land."
Clearly, Crown Colony Government designed
to meet the needs of all classes had brought
little improvement in an area which so vitally
affected the ability of peasants to market their
produce or pursue their regular daily activities.
A close examination of local government
policies towards Portland will illustrate the
attitude of the legislature towards social and
welfare provisions in the island. Parochial
policies will be examined under three main
heads Roads and markets; Health and
Welfare services, and Education.
The large body of independent small farmers
in Portland who lived by selling their produce
locally and in other coastal parishes required
good roads as a prerequisite of continued
independent livelihood. But roads in Portland
were bad' and remained so because of
3. The Falmouth Post, Tuesday, January 6, 1874.
See also Olivier, op. cit., p. 190.
4. The Falmouth Post, Friday, September 5, 1862.
5. The Falmouth Post, Tuesday, November 17, 1874.
6. The Falmouth Post, Tuesday, November 17, 1874.
See also Portland Vestry Minutes 1848-1854 and
Road Board Minutes 1871-1874.

topographic conditions, limited funds and
above all administrative indifference.
Roads in Portland were in many areas
intersected by a number of rivers and streams
which flowed rapidly from the mountains. This
was particularly true of that stretch of road
between Port Antonio and Buff Bay.7 During
heavy rains the rivers and streams carried
down large stones and gravel and cut many
channels through the plains. Frequent flood
rains washed away cheaply constructed bridges
and kept the roads in a state of constant
Proper maintenance of such roads required
heavy expenditure and employment of skilled
engineers to lift some roads, divert others and
to build strong permanent bridges across the
Swift, Buff Bay and Rio Grande Rivers. But
the parochial bodies had neither the desire,
expertise nor funds to provide these. Each
Road Board functioned on a limited budget and
could not exceed the annual expenditure
approved by the Governor.' Expensive projects
had first to be approved by the legislature and
then financed by a special grant from the
central treasury. Sir J.P. Grant and his
immediate successors failed to see that the
provision of suitable roads and bridges in
Portland was one way of developing the parish
and consequently opposed the expenditure of
island funds on main roads and bridges in the
The annual surplus of parochial funds over
the period 1860 to 1880 indicates that the Road
Board had adequate funds to provide new
parochial roads and to maintain existing ones.
Yet the Road Commissioners confined their
duties to bushing and clearing roads which
were bridle paths.' It was not unusual for the
commissioners local and island to blame
topographic conditions for the poor state of
roads in the parish. The Director of Roads,
Colonel J.R. Mann, in his report on the Main
Roads in Portland did not deny the fact that
roads were poorly kept. Rather he sought to
explain the general poor condition of roads in
the parish:
The simple problem is that there are five
unbridgeable rivers which are unfordable
in time of flood.'1
But a subsequent comment gave the lie to this
earlier claim and indicates that these
"unremedial obstacles" could have been
overcome if tackled. In the same report Colonel
Mann wrote:
7. In 1866 when Sir J.P. Grant reduced the number of
parishes from 22 to 14 in order to promote cheaper
and more efficient administration, the Buff Bay
section of the old parish of St. George was in-
corporated into Portland. See Handbook of
Jamaica 1885.
8. The Falmouth Post, November 17, 1874.
9. Public Archives. Portland Vestry Minutes 1854.
See also Road Board Minutes 1871 and 1874.
10. Road Board Minutes, 1871.

Beryl M. Brown was born in Kingston, Jamaica and
attended Knox College. She later studied at the University
of the West Indies where she obtained the B.A. (History

Honours); the Diploma in Education and the M.A. in
History. Miss Brown taught at Titchfield High School and
is now a lecturer in the School of Education.

She has special interest in the development of Curriculum
programmes for History and Social Studies and in the
JAMAL educational reading programmes.

It would be absurd to think of doing what
would cost seemingly more than the whole
land in the parish would sell for, for the
convenience of the travellers by one buggy a
week ... There are many places of shipment
for produce along the coast, and the chief
traffic of each estate lies with those
Barqueidiers and seldom Eastward or
Mann's objection to expensive improvement of
main roads in Portland was based on road use.
"The fact is that there is no great necessity for
travelling along the coastline." The main traffic
in Portland lay in the hinterland where Negro
peasants had established small farming
settlements and produce from these
settlements moved directly down the hills along
parochial roads to the coast for shipment and
sale in the coastal towns. The extent of traffic
on-parochial roads would suggest the need for
priority expenditure on these rather than on the
main roads. But Colonel Mann, like his
colleagues on the Road Board, remained
unconvinced of the justice and necessity of
spending public funds on roads which were
mainly beneficial to Negro peasants. Instead of
a vastly improved system of parochial roads
Colonel Mann recommended the provision of
two canoes and footbridges to allow movement
between the hinterland and the coast during the
rainy seasons.
Negro peasants in the parish were however
dissatisfied with the extent and condition of
roadways, and rightly argued that their regular
payment of taxes merited serious consideration
of their welfare." Between October 1871 and
January 1874 petitions and requests for the
construction and maintenance of roads were
made from the following eight districts:
Gunney, Paradise Hill, Industry, Charles
Mount, River View, Breastwork, Swift River,
and Foxes Gap. The substance of these
petitions was the great inconvenience
experienced by peasants in marketing their
produce, attending Churches and obtaining
medical aid because of impassable roads. In
1873 Road Superintendent Gavers reported
that some roads had been completely neglected
for as many as eight years, and that he had
almost lost his life and horse during his official
tour over one of them. He also referred to the
"indecent exposure" exhibited in the attempt
of pedestrians to cross the Breastwork river in
rainy season." A number of petitions from
citizens particularly females of Breastwork
relating similar conditions had been ignored
by the Municipal and Road Boards.
But while Sir J.P. Grant supported Colonel
Mann's reluctance to spend island funds on
Portland's main roads, he was not unwilling to
recommend that the Road Boards build more
and better roads into Negro settlements.
It is not always that all the road money of a
parish is spent where roads are most
requisite for the general population of a
parish. Where gentlemen of property and
influence reside, there always roads have
long existed, and such roads are seldom
neglected, and never forgotten. But where
only small settlers reside, who have no
mouth-piece before the Board, the case is
admitted to be very generally different."
The Governor recommended the immediate
appointment of paid superintendents of roads
as "the best practicable method of curing the
great evil, and of stopping the complaints that
are now disagreeably frequent."
While the Board resented this interference
with their 'legitimate actions' they complied
11. Ibid.
12. Road Board Minutes 1874-1880.
13. Road Board Minutes, Report of Superintendent of
Roads, Port Antonio District, 1873.
14. Road Board Minutes, Colonial Secretary to
Parochial Road Board 1873.

with the Governor's recommendation to
appoint two Road Commissioners in order to
remain eligible for special grants from the
parochial Road Funds." The parish was
divided into two districts: district number one
extended from Hector's River to Hermitage
and included Port Antonio. District number
two extended from the western outskirts of
Port Antonio and included the entire district of
St. George. Both were under the supervision of
J.A. Gavers and Duncan Campbell who were
appointed in 1873 at a salary of 125 per year
plus travelling allowances. Half of this salary
was paid for from the central treasury in order
to placate the Road Boards and to ease the
burden on parochial funds.
The appointment of paid superintendents of
roads did not remedy the situation. They could
recommend but they could not effect change.
Complaints against the poor condition of
parochial roads continued. In 1874 Mr. W.B.
Espeut proprietor of Spring Garden and
Chepstowe estates complained that small
settlers in his area were forced to use a goat
track through his property as a road. And
this was necessary despite a Government grant
of one hundred and twenty pounds made two
years earlier to repair the road at Spring
Garden. He demanded an explanation of the
neglect and injury to the many tax payers and
In a district like this, roads are essential
not only to money making but to the actual
support of life; and the large numbers of
well to do settlers residing in the valley of
the Spanish River deserve better treatment
in this respect than they get."
Such conditions, he added, were deplorable
'when there was in the Bank a very large sum of
money lying idle to the credit of the Portland
Road Board.'
Eleven months later the Board considered a
report from the Committee investigating the
conditions exposed by Mr. Espeut. They came
to this decision:
That the Board is most desirous that a road
from Spring Garden to Chepstowe, should be
made a good safe bridle road, which would
fully meet the requirements of the district.
A further comment that there was 'not enough
traffic to justify the expensive road requested
by Mr. Espeut' reflects the official attitude
towards Negro enterprise.
That a strong carriage road was eventually
built in that district was due to the direct
intervention of Governor Sir William Grey. In
1876 he bypassed the Board and made a grant
of 300 to Mr. Espeut, Mr. Elworthy and Rev.
to improve the road to Chepstowe for
purpose of turning the Spanish River into its
old course, and for the restoration of the
road at Benton's Rock.
Mr. Espeut had also undertaken to give free
supervision and free materials of stones, timber
and land if a proper carriage way was built.
The continued increase in peasant holdings
which was encouraged by the Banana trade
brought increasing petitions for more and
improved parochial roads during the 1880's and
1890's. But though the island and parochial
revenues were increasing with the growing
banana trade there was no general
improvement and the peasants remained
15. The appointment of paid superintendents of roads
was part of the general island reforms introduced
by Sir J.P. Grant 1866-1871. Parishes which failed
to appoint these officers were not eligible for special
grants from the general parochial road funds. It
was this stipulation which forced the Portland
Road Board to comply since they had considered
such appointments unnecessary and a waste of
parochial funds.
16. Road Board Minutes 1874. Letter from W.B
Espeut. Mr. Espeut's description of the Spring
Garden-Chepstowe road was supported by the
superintendent of Roads in the St. George District.

disgruntled throughout the period.
Portland was a provision parish and
extensive trade in provisions was carried on
locally and coastwise. The increasing
population encouraged by the bustling
commercial activities associated with the
banana trade and tourism increased the
demand for locally produced foodstuffs and
commodities. More and more peasants moved
into Port Antonio to peddle their goods but
there was no market place in the parish before
1885. Consequently, peasant vendors conduct-
ed their trade in uncomfortable positions along
the sidewalks and on the piazzas of commercial
buildings in the town. The conditions were
described by a group of shopkeepers in a
petition to the Municipal Board in 1885.
The present site or market place is without
any sort of convenience whatever, being but
the remains of a past age in which the
parochial authorities were not sufficiently
mindful of the moral and social welfare of
the working classes (sic) of their parish-
ioners, as we believe your worshipful
Board to be ... And we submit that the
present barbarous habit of standing all day
or squatting upon their haunches in the
market places in sunshine or rain, to which
these persons have been so long subjected
should not now be permitted to happen."
The merchants were not entirely motivated by
altruistic feelings. A market place while
providing improved and more comfortable
accommodation for the vendors would also
remove them from their business premises and
the market fees charged would make peasant
goods less competitive with the shopkeepers."
The shopkeepers were therefore likely to do
better business if peasant vendors were
removed to a prepared market place.
By 1885 pressures from the growing
influential mercantile community, the as-
surance that market fees would clear expenses
for maintenance and substantial grant from the
Governor led to the construction of two
markets, one in Port Antonio, the other in Buff
Bay. The market at Port Antonio was
described as "commodious" and the best
outside of Kingston but the benefits to the
public were minimized because part of the
market was converted into shops thus reducing
the space available to the vendors. By the end
of the decade conditions in the Port Antonio
market had improved and better display
facilities were provided.
Social Welfare legislation in Jamaica during
the nineteenth century was strongly influenced
by existing social legislation in England, and
where English relief measures were harsh and
demoralizing," it was not considered necessary
to provide more liberal measures for Jamaican
paupers, the vast majority of whom were of
Negro origin. In Jamaica the emphasis on
outdoor relief ensured that the system was not
as inhumane as its British model but it was
nonetheless so motivated by a concern for re-
trenchment that only a token relief was offered
to paupers.
Poor relief measures were entirely the
responsibility of the parochial bodies and were
17. Jamaica Archives. Minutes of the Municipal Board
1871-1883, containing Petition from shopkeepers
in Port Antonio requesting a market and for
measures allowing the open sale of salt provision.
18. The shopkeepers operated under licence while
peasant vendors sold freely on the streets. This
enabled them to sell certain articles at prices lower
than merchants were willing to sell.
19. The new Poor Law which was passed in England
in 1834 was designed to reduce the heavy expendi-
ture on poor relief which had been encouraged by
the Speenhamland system of subsidizing very low
wages of labour. The new legislation compelled
paupers to accept indoor relief in established work-
houses where they were maintained under panel
conditions. By separating members of families
and making conditions generally unattractive
the Commissioners hoped to discourage application
for poor relief.

financed by an annual tax on all dwelling houses
except Negro dwelling houses on sugar estates.
In Portland an additional tax of six shillings
per household was charged for poor relief.20
Funds from these sources were adequate to
support paupers in the parish but the system of
recruitment as well as the disbursement of the
pauper funds was designed to limit expenditure
on poor relief. The practice of accepting as
paupers only those recommended by the
district almoner, church warden, and after
1865, a magistrate or minister of religion
limited the numbers qualifying for assistance
since most of these officers were public servants
who shared the Board's concern for an annual
surplus of funds. Persons eligible for assistance
included widows, orphans, the old and infirm
and cases of proven destitution.
There was no legislation governing the
amount of allowance to be given each pauper.
This was left to the discretion of the Church
warden and almoners who were guided by the
principle as stated by the Vestry and
Municipal Board that the fund was intended
to assist not to support paupers. In 1846 the
Church wardens were allowed two pounds per
month 'for the poor and other contingencies'.
In 1856 A.G. Fyffe on assuming the post of
custos, described the pauper allowances as a
"small pittance". And this despite the fact that
the annual reports of parochial expenditure for
the period 1850 to 1880 frequently showed a
surplus in favour of the pauper fund. Of the
1,115-1-9 collected during the second quarter
of 1872 only 466-16-7 was spent in assisting
paupers. The remainder was lodged in the bank
to the credit of the pauper fund. According to
one custos the surplus was due to the "watchful
administration" of the pauper fund.
It appears that persons were admitted to the
Pauper Roll who did not qualify as paupers.
For example Mr. W.B. Espeut in 1874
disclosed the case of a Mrs. Faloon, who was
rich enough to buy forty acres of land to attach
to other property, being given 12 per year
from the pauper fund while needy black persons
were excluded or given as little as nine pence
per week. Mr. Espeut like A.G. Fyffe, was
opposed to the harsh system of poor relief which
exculpated the commissioners from responsibil-
ity for the sufferings of paupers in the parish.
Nothing at all is done to benefit really those
who are entitled to the good to result from a
proper disbursement of the road and pauper
The Governor in recording his disapproval of
such management of the pauper fund ordered
Mrs. Faloon's name struck from the pauper roll
and ruled that in future no person owning
property should be regarded as a pauper unless
he first surrendered his property to the
Municipal Board.22
By 1874 the distressed condition of the poor
and disabled evoked public sympathy and
protests. A mistaken idea that poor relief
legislation was designed to improve the
miserable condition of paupers led to a demand
for public institutions to replace the extremely
unsatisfactory provision of outdoor relief.
Familiarity with the operations of the English
workhouses might have discouraged expecta-
tions that the poor would have been better
protected and cared for if kept in parochial
In response to frequent petitions on the
subjects the Municipal Board decided to erect
two almshouses, one in each of the two main
towns. That in Port Antonio was to be erected
on land leased from the Titchfield Trust for
ninety-nine years at ten shillings per year. The
Board's concern for economy however led to a
20. Portland Vestry Minutes 1848-1856.
21. Municipal Board Minutes 1871 to 1883. Enclosure
letter from W.B. Espeut to Governor 1874.
22. Loc. cit., Letter from the Colonial Secretary.

decision in 1875, after tenders had been
accepted for the buildings, to house the
almshouse in one of the military buildings at
Fort George. It was cheaper to convert the
barracks into an almshouse than to erect new
cottages. That the Governor approved of this
decision while normal school was already sited
on the grounds is evidence that economy and
not convenience was the prime factor
influencing government expenditure.
The miserliness and callous indifference
which had characterized the administration of
outdoor relief were evident in the management
of the almshouses opened in Port Antonio and
Buff Bay. Neither of the two institutions was
properly furnished or maintained. There were
no bathhouses and the almshouse in Port
Antonio had no latrines. The wards were short
of bedding and paupers usually appeared in
rags. In a letter to the Board in December 1881
Mr. Dodd, the district engineer commented on
the Port Antonio almshouse.
...If the place was fenced in and if there was
a latrine, things would not be so bad, but
the daily exhibition of the sores and the half-
nakedness of the paupers together with the
stench which arises from their excrements
form a nuisance that should not exist.23
The food served was inadequate. A dietary
scale recommended by the government medical
officer was rejected for a much cheaper one
drawn up by the Board. This recommended for
example a serving of meat once per week
instead of three days. A resident of Port
Antonio in 1878 complained about the poor
daily fare given the paupers and the
indifference of the local authorities to their
A few days ago some of the poor people at the
Alms House in this town, were heard to
complain of the manner they are fed for the
amount given them, and no notice taken by
the local authorities; these poor miserable
beings are allowed 3s.6d weekly for food
from the parish, which amount is given on
Saturday to the matron ... If this amount
for twelve poor people located at the Alms
House be given to any one to supply food,
should not the members of the Municipal
Board appoint a Committee to see after
proper food being got for the money?...
We should like to see an Institution
like the Alms House, properly managed in
this place, because it prevents a number of
poor people from knocking about the streets
and piazzas. We should like to see the
Matron more attentive to the Inmates of the
Institution. We should like to see the
local authorities keeping those attending at
the Institution in proper order and to the
work they are employed for."

TABLE 15 Portland's Pauper Population at
about Five Yearly Intervals, 1863-1897.


Males Females


Source: Blue Books 1863-1891.
*These returns were made for the twelve month period
January January.

23. Municipal Board Minutes 1871-1883, with en-
closure. Letter from Mr. Dodd and certain of the
gentry residing in Port Antonio. By 1884 the
Port Antonio almshouse was relocated elsewhere
in the town. For location see diagram of the
Titchfield lands, chapter 3.
24. Gall's Newsletter, Monday, 27 May, 1878.

The management of the poor houses suggests
an unnecessary insistence on frugality at a time
when funds were more than adequate to meet
existing needs and demands. Such misguided
management was encouraged by the belief that
paupers should be kept in uncomfortable
circumstances. According to the census
figures, which were not exactly reliable, the
population of Portland between 1873 and 1897
lay somewhere between 25,000 and 29,000. The
Table 15 shows the number of paupers re-
gistered in select years between 1863 and 1897.
It is possible to explain the increase and
decrease in pauper population during the period
1863 to 1897. We know that times were hard
during the 1860's and 1870's, and in addition to
the natural increase in the population in 1868
nominations of paupers were accepted from
ministers of all denominations. By the mid
1880's the banana trade and earnings therefrom
had improved the lot of the general population
and this was reflected in the declining pauper
Although complaints were rife that the
Municipal Board was parsimonious in handing
out relief it was nonetheless the case that the
Governor in 1881 charged them with excess
expenditure of the poor relief funds. For what
purposes and for whose benefit were these
excess funds used? The case of the pauper
money given to Mrs. Faloon (mentioned earlier)
suggests that the commissioners might have
used money to foster their own personal
interests. There were also isolated cases of
certain commissioners extending financial
assistance to persons not registered as paupers
but who were so poor that they were unable to
maintain themselves." Such cases suggest a
degree of flexibility in administering poor relief
funds, which unhappily was not more
frequently practised.
Apart from the Union Hospital built for
Indian immigrants in the parish26 there was no
parochial hospital. The almshouses therefore
served the dual purpose of hospital and poor
house, but were ill-equipped for either. The
admission of hospital cases worsened the
already poor reputation of both institutions
since there was neither equipment, personnel
nor accommodation for such cases. Patients
were often placed on the floors or left
unattended in the yard. The increasing death
rate at the Buff Bay almshouse was largely due
to this practice.
In addition to the medical attention given in
the poor houses medical assistance was offered
at those district dispensaries which had been
established somewhere around 1840 on Sir
Charles Metcalfe's instructions. But outbreaks
of epidemics cholera, small-pox, whooping
cough and measles after 1850 emphasized
the need for better public health facilities. In
1866 Governor Grant issued regulations which
were followed, for the provision of outpatient
clinics in the various districts of the several
parishes. These were staffed by Government
.medical officers, private practitioners and
specially appointed vaccination officers. The
cost of those who could not afford to pay for
treatment at these clinics was met by the
Municipal Boards."
In January 1878 Governor, Sir Anthony
Musgrave approved the expansion of the Union
Hospital to form a parochial hospital.
Following the general island pattern the
hospital was managed by a Board of Visitors
consisting of the custos as chairman, a local
magistrate, the district Medical Officer and the
25 Municipal Board Minutes, 1872.
26. This was one requirement of the Immigration
Laws. Parishes failing to make this provision
would have their supply of immigrants cut off.
27. Portland Vestry Minutes 1844-1857; 1856-67;
Municipal Board Minutes 1871-1883 with Circular
Letter from the Colonial Secretary re smallpox
epidemic 1876.

fi "
-r -'

5 II



4~K ~1~

S* 4w .

Top-PORT ANTONIO, Late Nineteenth Century. (WIRL)



oiuw-- nsin, Lv.U v

ae uimcCUeenm century kWmKL)

local sub-agent. This Board had the power to
visit all the wards, inspect all account books
and in general to ensure proper treatment of all
In 1880 substantial contributions from L.D.
Baker and his L.D. Baker Company provided
Port Antonio with a hospital which was sited
on Queen Street near to the Titchfield Hotel.
By 1880 the creation of medical and sanitary
districts, the appointment of different
categories of medical officers and the provision
of two hospitals had improved medical services
in the parish.
Until 1882 the bodies of paupers were
interred in the Anglican Church cemeteries. In
that year a decision of the Anglican Bishop t6
reserve Church cemeteries for members only,
coupled with increasing public agitation for the
provision of burial grounds for people other
than Anglicans led to the provision of
cemeteries in Port Antonio and Buff Bay. The
Buff Bay cemetery was opened on the old
prison lands on April 12, 1883 and a fee of six
shillings was charged for burial and one pound
for tombing.
In the immediate post-emancipation period
the island legislature as well as most of the
parochial Vestries were strongly opposed to
"bookish" education for the emancipated
slaves. The members most of whom were
planters opposed any education which would be
likely to create in the Negroes a distaste for
plantation work. Nevertheless in the 1840's to
1860's the Portland Vestry initiated and
financed elementary schools for the benefit of
the Negro population.
In 1838 there were three elementary schools
in Portland two in Port Antonio (one
Methodist and one Anglican) -- and one in
Moore Town established for the children of
Maroons in that district.'- Eighteen years later
in 1856 there were six schools, five of which
were managed by the Anglicans and one by the
In contrast to the pattern in other rural
parishes the majority of the schools in Portland
were founded and maintained by the Anglican
Church rather than by the Dissenting
Missionary Societies. A number of reasons
explain this. The Non-Conformists were
established in other parishes earlier than in
Portland; the Anglican schools were
maintained by the Vestry and the almost total
collapse of sugar estates in Portland had
negated fears of labour shortage consequent on
the instruction of Negro labourers. The relative
unimportance of dissenting religious de-
nominations in the parish left the Vestry free to
entrust the education of the Negro population
to the clergy of the Anglican Church, who could
be trusted to emphasize ideas and values
acceptable to the white ruling classes." By
1864 there were seventeen schools, thirteen of
which were managed' by the Anglicans and
financed by the Vestry. Table 16 illustrates the
growth of denominational and government
schools over the period 1838 and 1887.
The provision of schools did not mean that
they were properly staffed or managed. Until
1856 all the Anglican schools were staffed by
resident clergymen and their wives or by
lay-preachers attached to the Church Missions,
none of whom had any professional training. In
that year the Vestry made a grant of 20 to the
28. These schools had been established between
1835 and 1836 for free children of free parents
and for free children of Apprehtices. Very little
provision had been made for the education of
Apprentices but five estates Bog, Norwich
Prospect, Hope and Retreat held day school once
per week for the apprentices. See Latrobe Report,
Schedule A.
29. C. Campbell, "Social and Economic Obstacles to
the Development of Popular Educqtion in Jamaica
1834-1865". The Journal of Caribbean History,
Vol. 1. Nov. 1970; pp. 67-68.







Pt. Antonio

Pt. Antonio

Mt. Oakley
Golden Bay1
Pt. Antonio

Pt. Antonio

Scattered areas

In Villages
In town and
villages 12

In villages
Pt. Antonio
Charles Town

Towns and
Not stated
Pt. Antonio

Sponsor Enrolment
Titchfield Trust)
Anglican ) 1,400

Total 3 1,400

Anglican 72
Methodist 79
Total 6 304
Other Churches 70
and Missions
Baptist Union 23
Anglican- 13 not given

Total 17
Govt. Grant 20)
Church and
voluntary ) 1,505
Total 32 1,505
Govt. Grant -43 2,950
Government 82
Government 78

Total 45 3,110

Goit. Grant-46 3,748
Government 52
Titchfield Trust 193
Total 48 3,993

1. The Blue Books identify this place as Buff Bay.
Source: Compiled from Blue Books 1738-1888.

Methodist school "they having supplied the
deficiency long felt as a grievance, the want of
proper schoolmaster in this parish."30
Neither the Vestry which financed the
schools nor the clergymen who managed them
had any lofty conceptions of the purpose of
education. The now current philosophy of
education as an instrument of social change
was not entertained either by the British
Government which had initiated popular
education in the West Indies, nor by the white
ruling classes." As far as the ruling classes
were concerned education for the Negroes
should create an acceptance of their role as
agricultural labourers in a society which was
rigidly stratified along racial and social lines.
Consequently the limited curriculum offered in
the elementary schools reading, writing,
simple arithmetic and religious knowledge
including Church doctrines merely produced
children who were probably able to read and
write and were perhaps barely numerate. But
this education did not qualify them for
administrative or civil service jobs nor did
allow them to question, in any meaningful way,
the prevailing social values.
At first, between 1838 and 1864 all the
elementary schools established in the parish
were located in PortAntonio and its immediate
environs and in Buff Bay. This meant that the
vast majority of children of school age either
had no access to schools or had to walk far
distances to attend the nearest school. This
partly explains the low enrollment in the schools

30. Portland Vestry Minutes, May 1856. This was the
first grant made to a non-Anglican institution and
no mention was made of any such contribution
by the Vestry in the succeeding years.
31. C. Campbell, op. cit., pp. 61-68.

TABLE 16 Portland School and School Population

during these years.32 The fact is that
elementary schools were attached to church
buildings and where there was neither church or
mission house, nor resident clergy or curate, to
manage the schools, it was impractical to open
schools there. For example the school at Moore
Town was closed for some time for want of a
teacher." Under the Education Act of 1867 the
number of schools in Portland increased from
seventeen in 1864 to thirty-two in 1867,
forty-five in 1877 and to 48 in 1887."' By this
Act the government of Sir J.P. Grant
encouraged the expansion of schools into rural
areas by offering an opening grant of 40 to
persons opening schools at a minimum distance
of three miles from the nearest school and with
an average attendance of at least 40 pupils. The
Act further encouraged the provision of formal
schooling in all areas of the island by offering a
management grant for all schools applying for
government inspection, and a capitation grant
of four to six shillings for each student in
average attendance. Grants in aid as well as
capitation grants were assessed on the basis of
performance at the annual inspection
conducted by the inspector of schools. First
class schools got a management grant of 20;
second class schools 15 and third class
schools 10."'
Of the 42 schools inspected in Portland in
1883, two obtained first class grades, thirteen
second class, and 24 third class. One was rated
exceptional and two failed. The fact that the
majority of schools fell in the third class
category gives some indication of the quality of
education offered in the elementary schools.
According to a report of schools made by
Inspector Savage in 1864 during five or six
years of schooling children had merely dabbled
with "bare words and dry abstract figures."
His education for all useful purposes to him
has been a complete failure, and he like
thousands before him, sinks into the
condition of the illiterate and uneducated."s
This was a general comment on education
throughout the island. But there is no reason to
believe that conditions of schooling were any
better in Portland in 1883. In fact the very low
percentage of trained as against untrained
teachers in Portland during the early 1880's 3
suggests that children in these schools received
very inadequate guidance in the experience of
learning. One unfortunate result of the
payment by result system introduced by
Governor Grant was the reluctance of
competent persons to enter the teaching
profession throughout the island generally.
Small salaries of 40 and 60 per year coupled
with poorly equipped buildings attracted
mainly the 'inefficient and ignorant'. In
Portland poor climatic and topographic
conditions further discouraged trained teachers
from accepting posts especially in deep rural
areas. A comparison between conditions of
schools in Portland and'three other rural parishes
-two sugar and one cattle rearing- shows that
Portland had the lowest percentage of trained

32. See Table 16.
33. Portland Vestry Minutes; See also Latrobe Report
p. 35.
34. See Table 16.
35. Only schools rated as third class or higher could
qualify for aid. To obtain a pass at third class a
school had to obtain one third of the full number of
marks; second class, one half of the full marks and
first class, two thirds of the full number of
marks. C.O. 137/427, Education, Government
Regulations with regard to Grant-in-aid of
Elementary Schools 1867.
36. Quoted by C. Campbell in "Social and Economic
Obstacles to the Development of popular
Education, in Post-emancipation Jamaica
1834-1865" p. 59.
37. See Table 17.
38. See Table 17.

Critics of Crown Colony Government,
particularly under the "benevolent depotism"
of sir J.P. Grant, were outspoken and often
bitter in their attacks on the quality of
education offered in the schools and
particularly on the system of payment by
results. The eidtor of the Falmouth Post in
1874 observed that money spent on popular
education was wasted.
"For with a staff of ignorant and incompetent
Inspectors, and equally ignorant, incom-
petent and in too many instances,
characterless teachers, it is not surprising
that the education affairs of the country have
been a sham, a delusion and a snare: and
although all has been exposed, the Govern-
ment has not taken any steps to correct the
abuses of which it is cognizant.""
The shortcomings of the education system
were many but for the first time children in
rural areas of the parish had access to formal
schooling, though at a small fee. The provision
of the 1867 Act ensured that schools were no
longer concentrated in the coastal areas. The
collection of school fees a prerequisite of
receiving grants, was based on the principle of
"extending help to those who help
themselves".4" In Portland fees were generally
three pence per week.
Enrolment in the primary schools increased
from 491 in 1864 to 1,505 in 1867, 2,469 in 1871
and by 1833 it had reached 7,631." The average
attendance at the schools was considerably low
though not worse than the attendance in
parishes with more favourable climatic
conditions. Of the 1,505 pupils registered in
1868 only 953 attended school regularly. In
1883, 2,074 of the 4,188 registered were in
average attendance.
The fact is that Negro parents were
disenchanted with the benefits of formal
education. Parents were opposed to the type of
elementary education offered in the schools
because it provided little opportunity for social
mobility or promise of employment outside of
agriculture. The few administrative and clerical
jobs available in the parish were offered to and
taken by the better educated and influential
whites and their associates. For these reasons

39. The Falmouth Post, Friday, January 30, 1874.
40. Circular on New Regulations to Managers and
Teachers by Inspector Savage.
41. These figures indicate the 5 to 18 age group
population. It is therefore reasonable to suggest
that more than half the children of school age
(usually 7 to 15 years) were registered in schools in
Portland. See Blue Book of Jamaica, 1883.

epidemics of measles, whooping cough and
small-pox, poor roads and rivers in spate
increased the general unwillingness to send
children to school. It proved more profitable
economically for parents to have their children
engage in provision cultivation than to acquire
an education which had no value either in terms
of earning money or social improvement.
For similar reasons a normal school
established at Port Antonio in 1872 failed. If
often proved difficult for qualified Negroes to
obtain a teaching position, particularly where
the salary was attractive." The school was
opened in one of the military buildings at Fort
George and was staffed with one headmaster,
two apprentices, two workmasters and one
workmistress. The headmaster, George Rouse
provided boarding accommodation for the six
male students, ages eighteen to twenty-five
years old, at 30 per annum each. Low
teachers' salaries and poor instruction at the
elementary level kept the enrolment at a steady
six until the school was closed. Of the five
Normal Schools established in Montego Bay,
Falmouth, Port Antonio, Bath and Spanish
Town, only one survived after 1879. In all cases
failure was said to be caused by lack of support
and poor management.
A government Industrial School built at
Charles Town and managed by Mr. Elmworthy
won little support from parents and children
though strongly supported by the local
planters. The strong emphasis placed on
manual and especially agricultural instruction
was interpreted by the peasants as a cheap
scheme by the whites to obtain free labour and
to keep their children in the status of labourers.
It was preferable to keep the children at home
or on the streets than to perpetuate the idea
that Negroes were designed for agricultural
work only. The editor of the Jamaica Advocate,
in the 1890's, himself a Negro, was strongly
opposed to the introduction of compulsory
agricultural education:
...If everybody is to be an agriculturalist
where will the public officials be found?
Where are the tradesmen, the artisans, the
professional men to come from? ... This
land will always have agriculturalists ... men
are not going to be tillers of the soil
simply because some other men demand that
they shall be. They will turn to it and work
it when they perceive that their interest will
be advanced by so doing. Most of all they
are not going to till other men's land in order

42. Gall's Newsletter, Saturday, 21 June, 1890.

TABLE 17 Comparative Picture of Grant Aided Schools in Portland, St. Thomas, Manchester & Hanover 1871-92.
Parish & No. Present Percent of
Year of Teachers Pupils on Grants Average
Schls Trained Untrained On Books Av. Attendance Inspection Attendance

1871 S. D
Portland 34 10 24 2373 1457 1745 607- 17-0 61.3
St. Thomas 24 10 15 1947 1080 1382 446- 16-0 55.4
Manchester 37 35 6 3547 2164 2643 869- 16-0 61
Hanover 25 19 8 2076 1191 1302 548- 11-0 57.3


Portland 46 12 33 3054 1710 2212 1049 -13-0 55.9
St. Thomas 38 19 19 2427 1311 1506 759- 3- 0 54
Manchester 59 54 5 4936 2549 3120 1775- 1- 0 51.6
Hanover 34 22 9 2397 1380 1673 754- 1 -0 57.7


Portland 55 26 27 5042 2917 2993 1558- 12-0 57.8
St. Thomas 38 20 16 3666 1875 2367 933- 9- 0 51.1
Manchester 78 59 17 8909 4781 6338 2880- 19 0 53.6
Hanover 43 27 14 4081 2306 2830 1282- 0-0 56.5
Source: Blue Books 1871, 1881, 1891/2. The figures are for grant aided schools only.

to enrich the latter whilst they gain nothing
but abject poverty and dependence."
That parents and children were interested in
obtaining skills which were in demand and
which would earn them a reasonable living was
evident in their enthusiastic support of a
government school built at Port Antonio to
provide training in the industrial arts -
joinery, masonry and sewing. The students
built furniture for the local hospital and other
government buildings, and graduated as skilled
artisans who found employment in the various
businesses connected with the banana trade.
Primary and Industrial education offered no
such scarce skills nor provided employment,
and therefore received faltering support from
the Negro population.
After 1884 there was no significant increase
in the numbers of elementary schools. The 1883
Commission of enquiry into the Revenues,
Expenditure, Debts and Liabilities of the West
Indies had found the island's school system
unsatisfactory. The Commissioners claimed
that the performance of the pupils did not
justify the amount of expenditure. While the
amount spent in 1881 was six times that of
1861, the number in average attendance and
the number literate had only doubled since that
date. This report was followedd by the Lumb
Commission Report in the 1890's, which
recommended a reduction in Government
expenditure especially on schools.
As a result a number of elementary
schools were amalgamated in 1898. Thus by
1898 the Government's concern for economy in
educational provisions meant that fewer
children now had access to formal education
whatever its quality might have been.
The parish had not only supported
elementary education. In 1723 when the parish
of Portland was established one of the
incentives of settlement was the provision of
350 acres of land to be used to build and
maintain a Free school in the parish. By 1784
when no school had been built the inhabitants
petitioned the Assembly requesting a school so
as to prevent the children being "brought up in
ignorance". The petitioners argued that a
school in Titchfield would be:
a means of having the succeeding genera-
tions properly educated without putting
parents to the enormous expense of sending
their children off the island."
As a result of this petition the Assembly of
1785 had passed a law appointing Justices to
administer the 350 acres of land in order to
maintain a school in the parish.
The stated aim of the school was to provide
instruction for youths in reading, writing,
arithmetic, Latin, Greek and mathematics. The
school named Titchfield Free School was
first opened in rented premises and provided
tuition for white pupils only. This restriction
ensured that the enrolment was always small.
In 1852 when there were only two schools in the
parish, there were only twenty-nine students
enrolled at Titchfield. In 1853 there were forty
students. But by 1855 mismanagement of the
Trust's Fund led to bankruptcy and the school
was closed.
The school was reopened somewhere between
1882 and 1883 after legislation passed by Sir.
J.P. Grant in 1871 to reconstitute the
Titchfield Trust, to provide efficient
management and to satisfy the Trust's
creditors that all the debts would be repaid. By
1885 more efficient management of the Trust's
Funds and the increased rental obtained from
43. The Jamaica Advocate, February 4, 18, 1905.
44. Journal of the Assembly of Jamaica VIII,
24 November 1784. It has been the practice of
wealthy settlers in the island to send their
children to England to be educated but the majority
of settlers in Portland were unable to bear the
expense of sending their children to school at all.

lands rented to the American Companies
provided funds to clear all outstanding debts
and to maintain the school.
Reorganized into a secondary and elementary
school, the Titchfield Trust School was
reopened in the old military building at Fort
George. While the elementary school
admitted coloured and black male students the
upper school was reserved for white male
students only. There were sixteen boys in the
upper school and thirty-six in the elementary.
In 1884 the headmaster on his own initiative
accepted forty-six girls as private students in
the elementary school and in 1886 the Board of
Trustees officially recognized them as regular
The special privileges granted to the English
headmaster of the upper school as well as the
provision of secondary education for white
pupils only invited strong public criticism. The
Trust was accused of mismanagement of funds
designed for the public good and of continuing
racial and class discrimination. Some resented
the fact that while the headmaster of the
secondary school was paid 180 per year and
given lavish accommodation and entertain-
ment, the master of the elementary school was
paid 60 per year and with no perquisites.
Such distinction was especially distasteful
since it was felt that the elementary school
served the needs of the community at large
while the secondary school served only a select
The master, who is also styled "Head-
master", for teaching seven or eight little
boys, the most simple and elementary
course receives a salary of 180 per annum.
Of the seven or eight boys four are private
day scholars, and for the salary as above
and a residence of eight bed rooms furnished
nearly through, a man is employed to teach
three or four little boys! [while] In this depart-
ment [Elementary] there are some clever
boys, at least in so far as an English educa-
tion goes. A fee of three pence per week is
demanded for each boy, which is deducted
from the teacher's pay, if not paid over by
him monthly to the treasurer of the Trust;
and for teaching a school of such pro-
portions [60 to 70 boys], a salary of sixty
pounds per annum is paid. Thus with fees
and "Government Grant", very little if
anything, is added from the Trust Funds
towards meeting the salary of a teacher
whose services are meeting the requirements
of the community, sliave those of a select
There was clear justification for public
dissatisfaction with the management of the
Trust's Funds. With an enrolment of under

twenty pupils the secondary school did not
qualify for government grant while the
elementary school did. The Trust had therefore
to support the school. This meant that a lot of
money was spent on the education of about six
small boys. The correspondent in 1884 had
Can Jamaica be better socially, morally, or
otherwise, under such reckless and disgrace-
ful management?
By 1901 public pressures as well as the
commercial needs of the parish dictated
changes both in policy, management and
curriculum of the school. In the elementary
school the headmaster's salary was increased to
120 per annum in recognition of his services
to the community. Then on the advice of Mr.
R.B. Strickland, Inspector of schools, the
secondary department was renamed "Higher
Grade" and the distinction between the two
branches was de-emphasized. It was about this
time that coloured and black pupils were
admitted to the upper school.
The decision to revise the curriculum from a
purely classical to a more "commercial" was
based largely on the demand for commercial
employees in the growing commercial and
industrial community. The expansion of office
and wharf facilities to accommodate the various
firms engaged in the banana business; the
expansion of merchant enterprises in Port
Antonio and the building boom associated with
the tourist trade all created a demand for
clerical, administrative and skilled personnel
which could not have been easily met. For these
reasons the school in 1901 offered instruction in
shorthand, manual training, agriculture and
typewriting. A special woodwork room was
built and furnished with workbenches, tools
and other implements, and the second assistant
master of the Board school in Kingston was
employed to instruct in this department.
In 1903 a number of elementary schools were
affiliated to the Titchfield School 'with a view
to greater educational efficiency'. These schools
were: Norwich, Nonsuch, and St. Margaret's
Bay. They benefited from the curriculum
offered at Titchfield as well as the advice and
services of the staff.
While the school did not provide all the
graduates required to meet the needs of the
community, the society by 1904 seemed
satisfied with the developments and
achievements of the Titchfield School. In 1903
Governor, Sir A.W.L. Hemmings visited
Titchfield and wrote the following comment:
Teaching is of a most practical and efficient
kind. Mr. Plant and his staff deserve the

greatest credit for the good work they are

MAJOR PLANT photo courtesy Daily Gleaner
The headmaster, Mr. W.H. Plant, who was an
efficient and enlightened administrator had
taken the decision to revise the school's
curriculum in order to bring it in line with the
manpower needs of the community in which it
was sited. In this he was perhaps unlike most of
his contemporary colleagues who were content
to copy the British curriculum while ignoring
public pressures for a curriculum geared to local
conditions and needs. In 1905 Titchfield was
referred to as an "ideal of a school".
While parochial administration during the
period 1838 to 1903 was generally unimpressive
and characterized by indifference and neglect of
the majority of the population it did by 1904
provide most of the services of any growing
community. Of the reforms and provisions
attempted by the parochial authorities
education received the least faltering attention
and was perhaps the most successful.

45. Gall's Newsletter,Wednesday, February 18,1885. 46. Annual Departmental Report, 1902-1903.


Natural History Column

Three Jamaican Birds

Richard Hill is remembered as an important person in the study
of Jamaican Natural History because he was a constant and accu-
rate observer of its animal life for many years. Through his pub-
lications, and the works of others which he had re-printed, he
did much to stimulate interest in a subject of which he was a ser-
iuus and competent amateur student.
These illustrations are taken from the sketchbook for his manu-
script both unpublished (WIRL), and show, firstly the
Yellow-shouldered Grassquit (Loxipasser anoxanthus) which is
still commonly seen in Jamaica; the Mountain Witch (Geotrygon
versicolor) which is today a protected species; and the Blue
Mountain Duck (Pterodroma hasitata), which is now extinct.
One of Jamaica's famous sons, Richard Hill was born in Mon-
tego Bay, May 1,1795, the son of Richard Hill Sr., a gentleman
from Lincolnshire, and a mother whose only apparent distinc-
tion was the East Indian blood which coursed through her veins.
He was educated at Lady Huntington's Col-
lege at Chestnut, and when 14, he was sent to ...
finishing school, the Elizabethan Grammar .
School at Horncastle. He returned to Jamaica
upon the death of his father in 1818, after 18
years absence from his native island.
Richard Hill was one of a small group of
coloureds including John Campbell, President
of the Montego Bay Society; Simpson, Presi- .
dent of the Kingston Society; Lyon and Ed-
ward Jordan, who in 1823, the year of the
Amelioration Proposals, commenced their
agitation to obtain equal privileges with their
white brethren. In spite of his pledge to his
father "to devote his energies to the cause of .
freedom, and to never rest until those civil
disabilities ... had been entirely removed" it
would appear that Hill did not openly attach
himself to any of the societies agitating for the
removal of civil disabilities for the coloureds. ..
Even so he was deputed in 1827 to present the
petition from the coloured people of Jamaica RICHARD I
to the House of Commons.
Between 1826 and 1830 Hill resided in England where he as-
sociated closely with the foremost members of the Anti-Slavery
Society, Wilberforce, Buxton, Clarkson, Babington, Dr. Lush-
ington and Zachary Macaulay. He also found time to make both
Literary and Scientific contributions to several popular news-
papers and periodicals. Some of his poetry appeared in the "keep-
On June 1, 1830, Hill arrived in San Domingo, as an emissary
of the Anti-slavery Society to ascertain 'by personal observation
and enquiry ... the actual social and political condition of the
people.' In 1832 he returned to Jamaica from England and im-
mediately communication ceased with the Anti-Slavery Society.
Cundall suggests that this new development may have been the

result of the inadequate remuneration for his labours in San Do-
mingo or 'from motives of policy'. Mr. Hutchings who then pos-
sessed the diaries of Hill, possibly accounts for Hill's change
when he explains that Mr. Hill 'could never be an out and
out radical; it was not in his nature to be one. And all the time
people in Jamaica and elsewhere were clamouring against him as
an arch conspirator, he was nothing more than a moderate
From February 3, 1834 to January 1, 1872, Hill laboured as a
stipendiary magistrate in Jamaica. Following an appeal in 1835 by
Lord Sligo to Lord Glenelg, Secretary of State for the Colonies,
Richard Hill was appointed Under-Secretary to the Governor to
act in the capacity of Secretary to the Stipendiary Magistrate.
This was an exhausting position; which, though conferring much
local distinction, brought even more accusations in its wake
from both planters and coloureds.
His political career was not altogether a
success. He represented St. James and Trelaw-
Sny in the House of Assembly from October 24,
S1837 to November 3, 1838. His failure to be-
-. come the representative of Port Royal in
November 1838 may have led to his early
withdrawal from political strife. A Bill to
prevent Stipendiary Justices from sitting in
the Assembly may have been effective in this
defeat. His other public appointments include
Acting Agent General of Immigration, 1847,
and member of the Privy Council from 1855
-56 for 10 years. He refused the offer of
Governorship of St. Lucia in 1840, and re-
tired early from public life and occupied his
time in Spanish Town with his daily official
duties and literary work.
His scientific interests lay in the area of
Natural History, for which he was interna-
S" tionally recognized. Locally, he was a member
of the original Council of the Royal Agricul-
[ILL (WIRL) tural Society of Jamaica (founded 1843),
Vice-President of the Royal Society of Arts in
Jamaica, and Vice-President of the Royal Society of Arts and
Agriculture. He was particularly interested in ornithology, icthy-
ology and anthropology. Hill collaborated extensively with Philip
Gosse who sojourned in Jamaica between 1844 and 1846 collect-
ing botanical and zoological specimens. His assistance was im-
mensely appreciated and Gosse was lavish in praise and acknow-
ledgement of Richard Hill on the title page of his 'Naturalist's
Sojourn in the West Indies' as well as the preface, "greatly
against that modest gentleman's wish", however.
Richard Hill contributed to many scientific publications both
in England and America. He was a corresponding member of the
Zoological Society of London, the Leeds Institute and the
Smithsonian Institute. His correspondents regarded him highly.
Charles Darwin in 1857 acknowledged Hill as 'a most kind and
valuable correspondent'. J. A. Thorne and J. H. Kimball praised
hiin effusively in their work, "Emancipation in the West Indies,
1838." As a real tribute to his contribution to Natural History,
1 bird, 2 fishes and 4 mollusca were named after Hill.

A. Yellow-shouldered Grassquit (Loxipasser anoxanthus). Still commonly seen.
B. Mountain Witch (Geotrygon versicolor). Today a protected species.
C. Blue Mountain Duck (Plerodroma hasitata). Now extinct.



Early History of


in Jamaica
by L. J. Chubb *

Rocks and stones, minerals and fossils, have always
interested mankind, and the primitive inhabitants of
Jamaica, the Arawaks, were no exception. Their interest
was chiefly practical and they studied the stones with a
view to their suitability for tools and weapons. They used
clays for pottery, but they also used brightly coloured
minerals such as the green malachite and the blue azurite
for adornment, and they discovered gold in the gravels of
the Rio Minho.
It was the search for gold that brought Columbus to
Jamaica in 1494. The Spaniards found little gold but they
mined and exported other minerals, notably copper ores,
and the bells that hung in the great church of St. Jago de
la Vega (Spanish Town) when the English took possession
in 1655, were cast in copper produced in the island.
A proclamation issued by Lord Windsor, six years after
the English occupation shows that the presence of copper,
lead, tin, iron, coal, silver and gold was already known,
and some mining of lead, zinc and copper, on a small scale,
was carried out in the latter half of the 17th and in the
18th century.
Geology as a science began with the publication in 1785
of James Hutton's "Theory of the Earth", which showed
that rocks were formed and fossils embedded in them by
normal processes such as may be seen in operation today.
The first geological maps were produced by William
Smith, who recognized that the relative ages of stratified
rocks could be determined by a study of their fossils; his
map of England and Wales appeared in 1815. This was an
era of great geological pioneers, Sedgwick, Murchison,
Greenough, Lyell and others, among the first of whom
must be reckoned Sir Henry Thomas de la Beche.
De la Beche was a Jamaican by ancestry though born in
London in 1796. His grandfather, Thomas Beach, had
been Attorney General and Chief Justice of Jamaica. His
father, who inherited Halse Hall, the family seat near May
Pen, in 1775, changed his name to De la Beche in 1790,
and died at Bath, St. Thomas in 1801. Henry Thomas,
now five years old, was taken by his mother to England
where he was educated in Devon and Dorset and at the
Military College at Great Harlow.
He developed an interest in geology, collected fossils at
Lyme Regis, and extended his knowledge by foreign
travel, living for some four or five years in Switzerland
and France where he studied alpine geology and gained a
sound knowledge of minerals and rocks. In December,
1823 he returned to his ancestral home and stayed in
Jamaica for a year.
He carried out a geological survey and produced a map,
with accompanying memoir, of the eastern half of the
island, which was published by the Geological Society of

London in 1827. This seems to have been the first true
geological map (i.e. one attempting to show not only the
types of rock but also their geological ages) of any area in
the western hemisphere. The publication includes several
sections illustrating the structure of the island.
The memoir starts with an account of the scenery,
including a description of the limestone topography: "the
white limestone formation is in fact extremely cavernous,
and the rains that fall ... are received into innumerable
sink-holes and cavities and disappear, sometimes, but
rarely, again rising and flowing for a short distance, again
to be swallowed up. The districts occupied by this
cavernous limestone are very extensive".
De la Beche found no fossils in the older rocks and
correlated them with the European succession purely on
similarities of lithology. He referred those composing the
Blue Mountain range to the "Submedial or Transition
Class", a term then applied in Europe to the rocks below
the Old Red Sandstone, i.e. Lower Palaeozoic; other
rocks, forming the Port Royal Mountains, he referred to
the "Medial Class" or Upper Palaeozoic, and those of the
Wagwater Valley to the "Secondary Class" or Mesozoic.
Although he found no fossils there he was on surer
ground when he attributed the rocks of Upper Clarendon
to the "Secondary", for they are in fact Upper Mesozoic,
i.e. Cretaceous in age. His diary and letters shows that he
hesitated long before making up his mind as to the age of
the White Limestone formation, but he eventually arrived
at the correct conclusion. He found many fossils and
recognized that they indicated an age equivalent to that of
the London Clay of England and the Calcaire Cressier of
France, so the age is Tertiary. He included all the Tertiary
limestones in one formation, but realized that it could
reasonably be divided into three parts, the lower or
yellowish limestone, the middle of white limestone, and
the upper of chalky, sandy and marly beds, the last being
the coastal formations such as those of Bowden and
Manchioneal. He mentioned the red earth that in many
places overlies the White Limestone.
De la Beche read a paper on the gravels of the plains of
Liguanea, St. Catherine, St. Dorothy and Clarendon, to
the Bristol Philosophical Society. He referred to the
Oxford Professor Buckland's distinction between dilu-
vium and alluvium, the former supposed to have been
produced by the Moachian Deluge, and the latter being
recent deposits laid down by rivers. De la Beche regarded
the deposits of the Jamaican plains as diluvial "consisting
of the detritus of the Jamaican mountains and evidently
produced by causes not now in action ... causes now in
action tend to destroy the gravel plain rather than form
it:' Some years later Buckland recognized that his
"diluvium" was formed, not by a great flood, but by
glaciers during an ice age. The gravels of the Jamaican
plains were formed at a time when sea-level was relatively

*Dr. L.J. Chubb died in 1971 before properly completing this paper,
which ends abruptly, and has been edited by Mr. Raymond M. Wright,
Deputy Commissioner, Geology, of the Mines & Geology Division.

Geological Map of Eastern half of Jamaica by H.T. de La Beche, 1827.

higher than it is now, perhaps owing to the melting of ice,
and De la Beche's observation that the gravels were
produced by causes not now in action was correct.
De la Beche returned to England where he continued his
geological career, founded and became first Director of the
Geological Survey of Great Britain, the Geological
Museum, the School of Mines, and the Mining Record
Office. He published many memoirs, papers and books,
often illustrating them by reference to his work in
In the second quarter of the 19th century there was a
prospecting and mining boom in Jamaica. Several
companies were formed such as the Mount Vernon Copper
Company and the Wheal Jamaica Copper Company. The
Hope lead and zinc mine was re-opened. Many wildcat
ventures were instituted in different parts of the island
and adits and shafts were dug, not only in promising
places, but also in areas which are geologically
unfavourable for the concentration of minerals. Few of
these were successful but in 1857 over 207 tons of copper
ore were shipped to Liverpool by the Wheal Jamaica
Copper Company from their mines at Charing Cross in
Clarendon. Small quantities were shipped from Stanford
Hill, Gold, and Friendship mines. The miners found gold
associated with the copper ore, but mistook it for "Fool's
Gold" pyritess) and threw it away.
In 1853 the governor of Jamaica, Sir Henry Barclay,
asked the Colonial Office to authorize a complete
systematic mineralogical survey of the island. It was not
until two years later that he received a favourable reply,
but it had been decided that Trinidad was to be given
priority, so it was only in April, 1859, that two geologists
arrived in Jamaica.
The Director of the Geological Survey, Lucas Barrett,
was a very young man who had been interested in geology

since boyhood and had been assistant to Prof. Adam
Sedgwick at Cambridge for over three years, acting as
Museum Curator and Lecturer. He had accompanied
several scientific expeditions northwards to beyond the
Arctic Circle and southwards to the coast of Spain. His
assistant, James Gay Sawkins, a much older man, had no
training in geology though he had acted as assistant to
C.P. Wall in the survey of Trinidad, and had spent many
years prospecting and mine surveying in many countries.
Two geologists carried out their survey of the island
parish by parish starting at the eastern end. Within a few
months Barrett found shells belonging to the group called
rudists in the valleys of the Plaintain Garden River and of
Black River, a tributary of the Rio Grande. He found
ammonites south of Port Antonio. These and other fossils
proved that the rocks of the Blue Mountains were not
Palaeozoic, as De la Beche believed, but Cretaceous, a
much younger formation. He showed that the Carbon-
aceous Shale, which De la Beche had thought to be
Carboniferous in age was actually Eocene. At Bowden, in
beds which De la Beche had regarded as the uppermost
part of the White Limestone, Barrett found almost perfect
shells which he recognized as being Miocene in age.
In 1862 Barrett visited England and exhibited many
Jamaican rocks and minerals at the Great Exhibition that
was held in London that year. He gave his friend, Samuel
Woodward, a section which showed correctly the
geological succession in eastern Jamaica.
He took back to Jamaica a diving suit, and
unfortunately, while doing underwater research among
the Port Royal Cays, he lost his life.
Sawkins, who was appointed Director in Barrett's
place, continued the survey with a succession of
assistants, Wall, Lennox, Barrington Brown. The map
which was completed in 1865 is a good production for its
time, giving a general view of the geological formations

and structure, and showing the localities of many mineral
deposits, which are described in the accompanying report.
Sawkins recorded that the red earth is a mixture of the
oxides of alumina and iron, and he noted the presence of
gypsum in quantities sufficient to justify its extraction if
there were a market for it.
Unfortunately Sawkins was not familiar with fossils
and he dated some of the formations incorrectly. For
example, he placed the Bowden and Manchioneal beds
(which as De la Beche and Barrett had recognized, actually
overlie it) below the White Limestone, and identified them
with the Yellow Limestone which does actually underlie it.
Barrett had regarded the Bowden Beds as Miocene and
the Manchioneal Beds as Pliocene, so Sawkins attributed
these ages to the Yellow Limestone, making the White
Limestone post-Pliocene, when actually its age ranges
from Middle Eocene to Lower Miocene. This and other
mistakes would not have been made had Barrett survived.
Little geological work was done in Jamaica for many
years after the appearance of Sawkins' reports. H.V.
Burger in 1881 and H. Scorland in 1890 published papers
which contain information of mining, but their accounts of
mineral resources were based on Sawkins. In 1891 a report
on mineral springs of Jamaica by J.C. Phippippe
In the 1890's Prof. R.T. Hill devoted several seasons to
field-work in Jamaica, and his memoirs and map were
published in 1899. He corrected Sawkins' mistake of
correlating the Yellow Limestone with the Bowden Beds,
but he himself confused it with the rudist limestone,
believing that he had found a mixed Eocene and
Cretaceous fauna. Hill's map is a copy of Sawkins
coloured in accordance with his own ideas.
Hill's memoir did not deal with economic geology, but
at about the same time F.C. Nicholas visited the island,
and in 1899 published an article on the "Economic
Geology of Jamaica" which was based on Sawkins. He
also collected many rudists from Green Island, Hanover,
and from Logie Green and elsewhere in Clarendon, which
were described in 1897 by R.P. Whitfield of the American

4 t-- .
' ~- -



~i"t~,- 4i=___ -c_
A .- tr-=lj
-=~~e~9'lr3i91~911~,~ B
n ~-
-_~Cr.;i~ ci
~2~L~ = ,.
c_ -
-1- i C
c ir "
C~f~ '~=
~ ----~-


. i

Museum of Natural History, Nicholas published another
article on the Mineral Resources of Jamaica in 1913.
In 1905 a new company, the Jamaica Consolidated
Copper Co., was formed. A considerable amount of
prospecting was carried out, the old mines in Upper
Clarendon were re-opened, and new adits, tunnels and
cross-cuts were excavated. The available reserves in five
mines were estimated at over 1.5 million tons of ore, the
percentage of copper averaging 22.45, in addition to
certain values of gold and silver. The enterprise ended in
1909 and did not lead to further development. A.E.
Outerbridge described the mines in the Engineering
Magazine in that year.
For some years little interest was taken in Jamaican
geology. The 1907 earthquake led to the publication of
several papers. In 1914, J.V. Danes published a study of
the limestone topography karstt) in Jamaica. In 1920
H.E. Anthony described some fossil mammals, including
new species of bats and a monkey from Jamaican caves.

In 1921 Dr. C.A. Matley was appointed Government
Geologist. He was engaged for only a three-year period
and he was required to concentrate chiefly on the
assessment of groundwater potentialities. He was not able
at this time to execute much systematic survey or
investigation of mineral resources. His assistant and
successor, Dr. G.N. Stockley, wrote the Final Report of
the Survey, which was published as a supplement to the
Jamaica Gazette in 1926.
This survey was abruptly terminated by the un-
appreciative authorities of those days for reasons of
economy, and for twenty-four years there was no official
Geological Survey. It proved to be false economy for
during this period the vast Mona Reservoir was
constructed at a cost ofl250,000 on a thick formation of
Pleistocene sands and gravels so porous that the water
seeped away as fast as it flowed in. The discovery that the
arid Clarendon Plains could be irrigated by borehole wells
was long delayed, and it was left to the soil-chemists to



Geological Map of Jamaica by J.G. Sawkins and Chas. B. Brown, 1865.

--r-Y- ---I- ~--~--YL- ~j~j~_-UI~E~a*4)-~U__. I-I





r: j


--- --


I-- -


---- --I

...... ~~...I

I- ".._~._._ _:f

discover that the abundant red earth resting on the White
Limestone was so highly aluminous that it ranked as a
From about 1920 Dr. C.T. Trechmann generally visited
Jamaica during the English winter. He arranged with
Matley that he should undertake the study of the
Cretaceous rocks and of the fossils from all formations, for
Matley was not a palaeontologist. In his first paper (1922)
Trechmann corrected Hill's mistake in confusing the
Rudist and Yellow Limestones, and he followed this with a
series of publications describing these formations and
their fossils, as well as those of the Cretaceous Shales, the
Carbonaceous Shale and the Manchioneal Beds. Other
important work on Jamaican fossils was done by
Vaughan, Woodring and Cox.
Matley was in Jamaica finishing his field-work when
war broke out in 1939. He returned to London in 1940 and
read a paper to the Geological society on the "Geology of
the Kingston District" which was published in abstract.
The map itself did not appear until 1946 when it was
accompanied by a reprint of the abstract. Matley died in
1947 and his full memoir on the "Geology and
Physiography of the Kingston District" was published
only in 1951, having been completed and edited by F.
It was only in 1942 that it was realized that the red
earth commonly found in White Limestone districts was
bauxitic, and could be used as a source of aluminium. The
discovery was made by R.F. Innes, Senior Agricultural
Chemist at Hope, when analysing certain soils from near
Claremont submitted by Sir Alfred D'Costa. Owing to its
high iron content the Jamaica bauxite could not be
processed by existing methods so mining was postponed
while new techniques were being worked out. Bauxite
mining was started in 1952.
Other industries based on rocks and minerals which
have arisen since the Second World War include gypsum
mining and the manufacture of plaster of Paris and
plaster-board; the cement industry and the making of
building blocks and tiles; the extraction of bat guano from
the numerous caves in the limestones for use as a
fertilizer; the ceramics industry based on clays; and the
glass industry based on silica sand.
After the war Stockley was asked by the West Indies
Sugar Company to return to Jamaica to continue his work
on groundwater. His "Report on the Geohydrology of the
Clarendon Plains with special reference to Irrigation in
Vere", dated 1949, exists in manuscript.
On the basis of this work many borehole wells have been
drilled and this arid area has been successfully irrigated.
Trechmann continued his work, and his privately
printed pamplets on the "West Indies and the Mountain
Uplift Problem" contain many references to Jamaican
In 1948 Dr. Frank Dixey of the Directorate of Colonial
Geological Surveys recommended to the Colonial Office
that a Geological Survey of Jamaica should be
established. V.A. Zans was appointed Government
Geologist and arrived in the island in October, 1949. He
was soon joined by H.R. Versey, and in January, 1950,
J.J. Chubb arrived on sabbatical leave from University
College, London; he was appointed to the Survey in the
following October. The Survey at first occupied temporary
offices at 70 Duke Street, but in 1951, moved to premises
in a new wing of the Institute of Jamaica.
The purpose of the Survey was to map the island
geologically, using as a base the twelve topographic

sheets on a scale of 1:50,000 which had just been
published. Many preliminary reconnaissance tours were
undertaken. The mapping of Sheet L, the Kingston Sheet
was begun. This more or less corresponded with Matley's
map and it was thought best to proceed from the known to
the unknown. Later in the year the programme was
amended and it was decided to start with areas having a
water supply problem, so Sheet C, embracing Trelawny
and St. James and including the Queen of Spain's Valley,
was given priority. Field-parties were now concerned not
only with mapping and prospecting but also with
water-supply problems in limestone areas.
As a result of his mapping Zans formed the opinion that
there was a zone of weakness or faulting below the
alluvium of the Queen of Spain's Valley, and that drilling
in this zone would bring to light a plentiful supply of
water. His suggestions were received with scepticism and
no action was taken.
At the suggestion of Captain A. Thelwell, Com-
missioner of Lands and Mines, Zans undertook the
writing of a memoir on the economic geology of Jamaica.
This was an immense task, involving the reading of
everything that had ever been published on the geology,
mineral occurrences, prospecting, mining, wells and
springs, and mineral springs of the island. Zans explored
the old mines and investigated all known mineral
outcrops, freshwater, saline and radioactive springs,
caves and wells. His Memoir on the Economic Geology
and Mineral Resources of Jamaica was published in 1951
as Bulletin No. 1 of the Geological Survey Department. It
was an excellent Summary of everything known on the
subject, with much new information based on Zans' own
Previously, the work of Sawkins and the old mining
companies having been forgotten, little was known about
Jamaican minerals other than bauxite and gypsum, but
the new Bulletin drew attention to the widespread copper
mineralization, the high-grade iron ores, the lead, zinc and
manganese ores, and the possibility of oil. The interest of
prospecting and mining companies was stimulated and
many applied for prospecting licences. Zans personally
conducted the representatives of the companies on tours
of the island to show them the mineral outcrops in which
they were interested. Soon he became heavily involved in
consulting work for various ministries and government
departments and public and private organizations on such
questions as the siting of borehole wells. He also gave
advice on engineering problems; the geological conditions
of the runway at Palisadoes Airport, on appropriate sites
for dams to impound the waters of the Rio Pedro at
Harkers Hall and of the River Yallahs at Mahogany Vale,
and on the suitability of sites for large buildings.
In 1953 the Survey acquired a diamond drill, which was
used for investigating the gypsum of eastern St. Andrew,
the iron ores of Swift River, Portland, and other mineral
deposits. In the same year a Groundwater Branch of the
Survey was established under H.R. Versey, with the
assistance for the first year of a United Nations expert.
Henceforth the drill was often used for the investigation of
hydrogeological problems, exploratory drilling to find the
depth of groundwater at proposed well sites, or testing the
sites of the proposed dams at Mahogany Vale and Harkers
Hall. Drilling was also done and the supply of water was
found at a depth of only 40 feet.
Zans was interested in Jamaican coral reefs. During the
years 1955-57 he undertook a detailed survey of the Pedro
Cays lying 60 miles south of the island, and published a
full account of his results in Bulletin No. 3. His interest in
offshore studies was stimulated by enquiries from the
Fisheries Division, the Beach Control Authority, the

tourist industry and others. He acquired the necessary
equipment, a specially designed boat with outboard
motor, echo sounder, bottom sampler and underwater
camera. For closer examination of submarine features he
took to skin-diving. During the next few years he
surveyed the reef and offshore features of most of the
coast of Jamaica.
After the appearance of Bulletin No. 1 Zans pursued his
investigations of economic geology still further. He
published on water-supply problems, especially karst
hydrology, on the deposits of gypsum, of manganese and
iron ore, and especially on bauxite. He undertook a
detailed investigation of the geology, mode of occurrence,
and origin of the Jamaican bauxite.
In his Bulletin he had accepted the conventional view
that the bauxite is a residual product, derived from the
weathering of the limestone on which it rests. But in later
publications he developed the theory that the material had
been brought in from elsewhere. The Cretaceous inliers
consist chiefly of tuffaceous material (volcanic ashes)
which is stratigraphically below but often, owing to the
anticlinal structures of the island, topographically higher
than the limestone. Rivers arising in the inliers flow
outwards bearing the lateritic mineral produced by the
weathering of the tuffs; they pass either above or more
often below the surface into the White Limestone areas,
where the laterite is trapped in the karst depressions or
poljes. There the material undergoes further weathering
and desilification, and thus is converted into bauxite. He
suggested "that this process has been in operation since
Miocene time".
The mapping programme went on continuously,
Chubb undertaking the stratigraphy and palaeontology of
the Cretaceous, Versey the Tertiary limestone formations,
and Robinson the other Tertiary and the Quaternary
deposits. By 1958 the Survey had on file a set of draft
geological maps of the whole of Jamaica on a scale of
1:50,000, though the extremities of the island, Hanover
and Westmoreland in the west and the Blue Mountain
area in the east had only reconnaissance surveys. It was
decided to prepare a coloured provisional geological map
of Jamaica, on a scale of 1:250,000, based on the office
copies. The draft map was sent to the Directorate of
Overseas Geological Surveys in London, who had it
printed and published in 1959.
The work of the Survey showed that Matley had been
right in believing that the granodiorite did not intrude the
Tertiary limestone but underlay it unconformably, while
Trechmann had been right in believing the metamor-
phosed rocks to be Cretaceous in age, not Palaeozoic. In
fact both the granodiorite and the metamorphics are
The systematic survey of the mountainous parts of
eastern Jamaica was resumed in 1958. Zans left the
mapping of the northern flank of the mountains to other
members of his staff, while he himself undertook the study
of the southern and south-western slopes. He found belts
of metamorphism and serpentinisation which indicated
several zones of thrusting, the most important being his
so-called Blue Mountain Thrust, which brings metamor-
phosed Cretaceous rocks over unmetamorphosed Eocene.
He drew several detailed sections across the ranges.
This work brought him again into the gypsum-bearing
areas and he conducted a systematic survey of the smaller
gypsum outcrops, doing some drilling to help evaluate the
deposits. In 1961 he discovered a large new marble deposit
among the schists and serpentine of Mount Hibernia, at
about 4,000 feet above sea level. In the same year he
undertook a detailed survey and assessment of the Bath
mineral springs in St. Thomas.

The enormous increase in staff from two in 1949 to forty
in 1961, the new equipment, the accumulation of rock,
mineral and fossil specimens and borehole cores had
brought about a congestion in the Department's premises
which seriously hampered the work of the survey, so a new
building was erected in Hope Gardens. It was ready for
occupation in August 1961.
Zans began to plan an elaborate layout for the museum
in the new premises and this project absorbed most of his
interest. For some months it had seemed to his colleagues
that he was over-taxing his strength. His recent field work
had included exploring the Blue Mountains from their
base to their summit and he would complain of feeling
tired on his return, but he had always been in the habit of
driving himself at such a ruthless pace that it did not
occur to himself or to them that he was endangering his
health. But on the 16th of August he suffered a sudden
heart attack and on the next day was taken to hospital.
He seemed to be recovering but on the 5th of September
he had a second attack and died almost instantly. He
never occupied his room in the new building.

L. J. Chubb
The Deputy Director, L.J. Chubb, acted as Head of the
Survey until his retirement in 1963. One of his first duties
was to take Zans' place as Chairman of the Organizing
Committee of the Third Caribbean Geological Conference,
which was to be held in Jamaica in April, 1962. It seemed
desirable to issue to the delegates a Synopsis of the
Geology of Jamaica, which was therefore prepared by the
geological staff and was distributed in mimeographed
form, together with the 1:250,000 map and a biography of
Zans, to the 120 delegates who attended. The Synopsis
was later printed as Bulletin No. 4 of the Geological

F $4/ .~~A '" -~~.i :. i4,. 7. n4$.' -.; ,..4 4A
4. ..~~I~. 4flr&.,j ~.4t.r.4bSS. ..

..A'..f r ..
*I -.i .r C'4~ Vr
i~r,;-~A .,u~tiv..8W.*




/ .. :, ....

.1,~~,~ ~~ .:. .:c.i: :.
~~.~~~r:~~~yj''4. `~/' :r:: l~:(::

"~:Cx:"''~O~:; '~~i'Pa:l;"'""
- .r
:'-~"L :i"~ r~'l~F~;: 'i'P-~-~CZ~,~'R:~Pi:~il 4-1 :: "i" ::I:i3':~:: i:l ,,~ ' :"'
~ i :
"' !:~~~..
~' *': .*, ~ .:~
...~.:'. ~'
~ I"
*.I' ' ; ::
: ~ ~. ~I r:
:. I -': .' .::
' :
;I' ''' :'
..I :
~1:1.: ..i~.. : ':. ;i "' ..... ..::~..;
.... ..:'. ":. ..... '
'I .~::' .rl .
"" : '",::
:;": .,;
- : :;I~"" I :i
~., ~~ ;. "'.' ~:;: ;
: *- ".~r ;~ :
": .~ .:j~:1~~ bl; h- .r/s-~;

Basic Assumptions
"Economic development involves the
perceptible and cumulative rise in material
standards of living foi an increasing
proportion of the population."' Usually,
this implies a reduction in economic
disparity between the rich and the poor
sectors of a community and, on an
international scale, between the developed
and underdeveloped world. Whether
greater equality in income and standard of
living is achieved by industrial or
agriculturally-oriented projects remains the
prerogative of the individual country; but
the economic and social pressures now
facing the tropical world are such that
economic development in all sectors is
imperative if the productive potential of the
Third World is to be realized.
The size and urgency of the problems
facing the Third World necessitate change.
However, plans at the national scale should
not be evolved at the expense of individuals
in society. To reduce any traumatic effect
the introduction of innovations may evoke,
it is imperative that the developing world
understands the processes which govern
the reaction of individuals to change, as
well as the methods and patterns of the
dissemination of information.
It is as well to remember that
innovations for their own sake may not be
beneficial for the society into which they
are introduced. Change for its own sake is
invariably sterile. Innovation in the Third
World, in this instance, can only be of use if
it is relevant to the problems of that
society. Faced with a rapidly expanding
population and growing demands for food,
the Lesser Developed Countries (L.D.C.)
cannot afford either socially or economical-
ly to introduce innovations for prestige
purposes. Each new practice must be
relevant and have tangible benefits both for
the individual and society: its introduction
must be logically and carefully planned to
avoid wasting the limited assets these
nations have at their disposal.

West Indian Case Study
The area chosen to test the basic
assumptions on innovation diffusion is the
Yallahs Valley in the Blue Mountains of
Jamaica (Fig. 1). Situated 20 miles to the
East of Kingston, this rural area has
undergone a remarkable transition from a
state of marked poverty in the 1950's to one
of relative economic prosperity, in a rural
context, in the 1970's. During these 20
years the region has been under the
jurisdiction of the Yallahs Valley Land
Authority (Y.V.L.A.) whose primary
objective is the advancement of the area's
standard of living through agricultural
During its life history the Y.V.L.A. has
continuously promoted soil conservation
measures. The valley is an area of friable
soils, steep slopes and intense sporadic
rainfall which subjects the region to a high
incidence of soil erosion. Under such
conditions other agricultural developments
and achievements must necessarily be
limited unless the potential of the soil, the
basis of cultivation, is fully realized.
Consequently, it is felt that innovations
1. Hodder, B.W. (1968), Economic Development
in the Tropics. London.


._ Fig. 1 Location of the Y.V.L.A.



S .0 1.0 15
,786W ,77 W

connected with soil conservation are of ,. Fig. 2 TheY.V.L.A.
paramount importance within this region; TO, BUFF BAY// JOHN CROW PEAK 5750
hence their selection as the central theme of (NORTH SHORE)// SIR JOHNS PEAK 6332
the research. CLYDESDAL.E ,/A
The aim of the study is to assess the SILVER HILL GAP>CHESTERVAi .
reaction of the farmers to the innovation / H PEK
and to examine their motives for PEAK 12
acceptance or rejection. Tentatively, the SCART.ES NCHO
research aims to identify which groups of PEAK 5060"'- MOUNTAIN
farmers may be more successfully ,-SUPPER
approached concerning innovations and .ST. PET 'PLEASANT,
what methods of approach by the Y.V.L.A. -.HIL WELSTPHALIA/ J. MOSSMANS PEAK 6703
will, in future, be the most beneficial in HALL'S PENLYNE WHITFIELD.
minimizing risk for the individual and yet DELGHT CASTLE ALL BLU MOUNTAIN PEAK
increase his willingness to accept CONTENT GAP \ 7
innovations. .
The Agricultural Structure of the Valley GUAVA /
Exacerbating the undesirable physical RIDGE HAGLEY
conditions (steep slopes, high and sporadic TO KINGSTON GAP
rainfall and friable soils), the traditional MAHOGA '/ ARNTUL
farming structure in the region encourages MT. ROSANNA A AV
wasteful exploitation of resources. Al-
though 87% of the farmers owned their own i CEDAR VALLEY
properties in 1961, many of their title deeds
were unregistered or non-existent. Many of \ TR nrrY VILE
the farmers continue to farm the land as RI COND
owners although legally many are virtually VALE
squatters. Recently the farming com-
munity has been made aware of the need for RAMBLE
legal documents and the more receptive \
farmers have actively sought legal titles to
their holdings. Surveying is however,
expensive and registration of land a long LLANDEWEY
and involved process. Often finance runs MAJOR NUCLEATED CAMBRIGE
out before the completion of the title deed a SETTLEMENTS
or family commitments make it impossible
to undertake the ride into Kingston to the MINOR NUCLEATED
Titles Office. As among many of the Third SETTLEMENTS TO KINGSTON MT
World farmers tenurial or ownership SINAI
insecurity limits investment in the land and A MOUNTAIN PEAKS EASI
tends to encourage a poor standard of / .
agricultural technique. ALL WEATHER ROADS
As well as the legal complexities the
holdings are usually small (average 3.to 5 ROADS NEGOTIABLE .NORRI
acres) and fragmented in layout.-48% of BY LAND ROVER OR
the farmers have plots between 1 and 4 "JEEP" DURING RAINS. ALON HARESASE
miles from their homes. 18% have plots as ^
far away as 8 miles. Such fragmentation POOR TO
leads to the neglect of the more distant MN S CORNER MORANT
plots. Often the more remote plots lie in g-YALLAHS BAY
ruinatee" (the Jamaican term for
secondary vegetative growth) or are 0 1 2 3
grossly underutilised: crops needing the MILES
minimum of attention being grown there
Reproduced by kind permission of Dr. B. Floyd.

("food" trees, sugar cane). Frequently
there is no concept of rotating the use of the
land; so the plot nearest the house is
usually over-exploited leading eventually
to a lowering of productivity, unless
adequate soil conservation and fertilizer
measures are taken. Conversely, the
distant plot is under-utilised and its
potential productivity rarely realized.
Cultivation on any one plot is a complex
system of intercropping. Often cocos (a
staple root crop), are grown beneath
bananas and alternate rows of different
vegetables. The area does, in fact, grow a
large variety of produce especially since the
road to Kingston has been improved,
making readily accessible an increasing cash
market. Food trees such as ackee and
mango, yam, sweet potato, bananas and
sugar cane have long been established in
the area but since the inception of the
Y.V.L.A carrots, onions, lettuce, tomatoes
and flowers have been introduced as high
return cash crops.
Marketing is still dominated by the
higgler system whereby farmers sell their
crops individually to women going once or
twice a week to Kingston's Coronation
Market. Occasionally produce is sold at one
of Kingston's peripheral markets (Papine
usually for the Yallahs Valley) but the bulk
goes to the central downtown market.
As the subsistence nature of production
has declined new marketing outlets have
developed. Some farmers sell individually
to the supermarkets or to the government
outlet, the Agricultural Marketing Cor-
poration (AMC). Many farmers prefer to
use the traditional outlets claiming that
returns are higher and stipulations over
quality and size of produce too stringent in
the AMC. Overall marketing is still a
piecemeal process and due to the lack of
co-operative spirit between the farmers no
guaranteed outlet has been secured making
returns highly variable and farming an
occupation of high risk.
Since 1951 the Valley's infrastructure
has been improved. This new-found
mobility often tends to siphon off the
country's most productive elements, the
young people. Attracted by the glamour of
Kington the younger elements migrate
to the capital in order to avoid the long
hours and low returns of farming.
Consequently, as in the majority of rural
Jamaica, the country suffers from a
shortage of labour as well as under-
employment and unemployment.
Such socio-economic traits are character-
istics of all Jamaican agriculture. In its
functioning the Yallahs Valley is no
exception to the general agricultural
situation in the island. As the valley
appears typical of Jamaican agriculture the
constraints on the diffusion of innovations
should not be exceptional. With the
severity of the soil erosion problem in the
Yallahs Valley and its agricultural
characteristics, typical of many of the Less
Developed Countries, it was felt that the
Yallahs area would be a suitable location in
which to study the diffusion of soil
conservation techniques.
The Questionnaire Survey
To this end a survey of farmers was
undertaken. Firstly, as its major objective,
the survey was undertaken to ascertain the

reasons behind the adoption of the
innovation: who were the change agents,
what actions precipitated adoption, and
which personality variables led to
adoption? Such questioning, it was hoped,
would pinpoint the attributes of an
innovator his social status, cosmopoli-
tan outlook and degree of integration
within society as well as giving an
indication (however cursory) of the efficacy
of the Y.V.L.A. as change agents.
Secondly, the interviews sought to
obtain a more detailed picture of the actual
diffusion of the innovation: the date of
adoption, what specific type of soil
conservation work was undertaken;
whether any other type had been employed
and the reasons for the change. Such study,
it was hoped, would indicate similarities
between the Less Developed Countries and
the Developed World where most of the
work on diffusion had been carried out. The
overall contribution of the survey was to
provide an integrated sociological and
spatial analysis of soil conservation works
in the Yallahs Valley.2
In all, the survey contained 11 questions
(See Appendix). There were basically three
parts to the survey. The first 4 questions
dealt with purely factual data concerning
soil conservation: the types employed, date
of construction and discontinuances. The
next 3 questions considered the farmer's
perception of the status of agriculture and
his degree of involvement and satisfaction
with his present situation. The last 4
questions dealt with personal attributes
related to literacy, mobility and economic
standing in the community. It was felt this
format was sufficiently flexible to be
managed in the field as well as being
relatively fundamental in its questions,
asking information on topics within the
personal experience of most of the farmers.
Using the 1961 population dot map of the
region,an arbitrarily derived reference grid
was superimposed over the area. The
squares were 1 square mile and were used
merely as a convenient co-ordinate system
for the location of the interviews. After
consultation with a rural sociologist' it was
decided to take 20% of the total population
as constituting the farming section of the
population. The farming population, those
relevant to this study, totalled 3,166
persons. Due to the limited number of
interviewers available it was calculated
that a 3% sample (100 interviews) would be
a representative sample of farmers in the
Yallahs Valley.
On this basis the 100 interviews were
located within the grid on the basis of the
population distribution (See Fig. 3).
Although the interviewing within any one
grid square was completely random, the
allocation of the interviews were rather
more stratified. Areas with the densest
populations such as Mavis Bank and Cedar
Valley (squares E3 and H9 respectively)
showed the greatest concentration of
2. Throughout the period under study (1951-1972)
adoption was purely voluntary. At no time in its
history did Y.V.L.A. seek to make soil conserva-
tion mandatory. It was hoped that the farmer,
if left to decide the issue as an individual, would
be less likely to discontinue the innovation.
Adoption has been entirely optional.
3. Personal communication with Mr. C. McCulloch
of the Central Planning Unit, Kingston, Jamaica.

interviews to be completed. Areas with a
low population density such as Lime Tree
(square G3), had few or no interviews
allocated to them.
Space/Time Analysis
Hagerstrand' used a combination of dot
maps and isoline diagrams to present
visually both his empirical and theoretical
data. In this research it proved impossible
to project numerically the pattern of
diffusion but given the date of adoption,
representation of empirical data was
Question 4 ascertained the date of
adoption for each interview Of the 100
farmers questioned 83 employed some form
of soil conservation technique. Dates of
adoption ranged from 1932 to 1971, with
the majority of acceptance falling between
1960-68. Each acceptance date was located
in the grid and the average or mean date of
adoption per grid square was then used to
construct the isoline diagram (See Fig. 4)
using isolines with five year intervals. In
this way the diffusion of soil conservation
methods was seen as a spatial wave-like
process emanating from specific localities
over the 40 year period under
From Fig. 4 it becomes apparent that the
diffusion of the innovation is concentrated
within 4 localities. Those squares having
the lowest mean date of adoption are
presumably those areas where resistance to
new ideas is least, in other words where the
farmers are more receptive to new ideas and
less bound by tradition in their outlook
concerning agricultural matters. From the
isolines produced at the end of the 40 year
period it would seem that the diffusion of
the innovation focused on four centres, in
squares Gl, G4, J8 and D2.

It must be remembered that extremely
early or late dates of adoption will skew the
average adoption date in any one square,
but it is felt that the variation over the
given period is insufficient to nullify
completely the findings. After discussions
with farmers in the field, the ideas
presented and general attitudes towards
farming, the research results seem to
support the hypothesis that the Flamstead
area (Gl), Tower Hill (G4), the Cocoa Walk
district and Content Gap (D2) were the
focal points for the dissemination of
information concerning soil conservation
Initially, the selection of these areas as
innovation centres appear somewhat
unusual. All four focal points are distant
from the Y.V.L.A. offices, the nearest ones
being respectively G1 and G4 Mavis Bank,
D2 Top Mountain and J8 Llandewey. It is
suggested that the earliest innovations
were not necessarily stimulated to accept a
new practice by official bodies. This
assumption is supported when one notices
that five out of six interviewees in these
localities cited personal experimentation
and observation in reply to question 3
(where they learned about soil conserva-
tion). It would appear therefore that these
individuals adopted soil conservation
practices primarily because they had a
more experimental and innovative ap-
proach to farming. The true innovator will,
4. Hagerstrand, T., (1967), Innovation Diffusion
as a spatial process. Chicago.

Fig. 3
1 2 3 4 5 i 7 8 1Co 11

B 1 2
C 1 2 1
D 1 2 3 2 2
E 1 4 2 1 2
P 2 2 4 3 2 1
G 1 1 2 1 2 2 1
H 2 1 2 2 5 2
I 2 1 3 2 2
J 2 2 1 5
K 1 2 2 2 3
L 1

by a trial and error process, arrive at a
decision to adopt a new practice without
the intervention of an external change
From these four centres the acceptance of
soil conservation techniques has spread in a
wave-like form following the NW/SE
orientation of the valley. The general trend
has been towards the development of an
axis of innovation along the main river
valley, with protrusions into the Negro
River Valley in the 1960s and isolated
acceptance in the Dallas area (J1 and J3).
When related to a physical map of the area
the pattern of diffusion becomes self-
explanatory. The rapid fall-off in
acceptance levels on either side of the
central axis is coterminous with the major
road system of the valley. The inverse
relationship between the date of acceptance
and distance from a main road becomes
apparent. Hence the late date of adoption
dates on the periphery of the axis as in
squares B1 (1969) and Fl (1971).
Although the axial trend is self-evident,
the dissemination of the ideas of
conservation seem to have two major
nuclei: one oriented around the
Upper Valley, the other around the Lower
Valley. Around squares G6 and H6 the date
of adoption is later (1960-65) than is typical
for locations in the centre of the axis. This
hiatus in the natural progression of the
diffusion process would seem to indicate
some obstacle to the normal concentric
ideal of diffusion which assumes a plane
surface. Physical constraints within the
Yallahs Valley distort the diffusion ideal
away from its concentric norm to an axial
form with steep gradients away from the
central axis. Further distortions just
indicate some form of barrier across the
The development of these two nuclei and
the barrier to the transmission of ideas
between the Upper and Lower Valley is
indicative of the orientation of each part of
the valley. There is no through road in the
valley; the Upper Valley road terminates at
Mahogany Vale and the Lower Valley road
at Windsor Forest. Subsequently, the
Upper Valley looks towards Mavis Bank,

Fig. 4 Diffusion of Soil Conservation Measures over Time

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

S Isoline of Year of Adoption

Gordon Town and Kingston, whilst the
Lower Valley looks towards Llandewey,
Trinityville and Morant Bay, simply
because of greater ease of communications
in these directions. As a result the diffusion
process has taken place in two places with a
distinct barrier between the Upper and
Lower Valleys. The barrier is not
completely impenetrable as some adoption
has taken place there. The dates of
adoption are however, several years behind
those normally found in the central axis. In
this case the absence of a driveable road has
physically separated the two parts of the
valley and socially oriented the population
in different directions. The adoption that
has taken place has been delayed,
indicating the presence of a permeable
barrier6 to the diffusion of innovation.

Chi-Squared: Application and Results
Data from the major part of the survey
was used as the basis of statistical tests.
On completion of the questionnaire, the
small numbers involved and the un-
5. Gould, P., (1969), Spatial Diffusion, p. 22;

sophisticated nature of much of the data
made it apparent that the use of elaborate
mathematical procedures would be
inappropriate. Consequently, it was
decided to use a non-parametric
test which would be valid with a small
sample yet still indicate the relationships
between variables.
The majority of the data was quantified
amalgamating into groups those items that
were too small to be statistically valid as
independent variables. Twenty-two items
were selected for computer-assisted
analysis:- The first five items were the five
categories of soil conservation; the rest
were learnt soil conservation (question 3);
attendance at J.A.S./Y.V.L.A. meetings
(question 6); literacy (question 8); mobility
(question 9); help on the farm (question 10);
level of schooling (question 11); land tenure
(question 1) and degree of fragmentation
(question 1).
The remaining items were physical
attributes: information gained outside the
scope of the questionnaire survey. By
assigning each interview a grid letter and
number it was possible to allocate land

capability classes and slope angle to each
interviewee's land on the supposition that
his land was within his interview square.6
In this way 102 tables were produced and
Chi-Squared (X2) were then automatically
run on each of the tables with the null
hypothesis that there was no relationship
between any given pair of variables.
It was decided to take 10% as the level of
statistical significance. Consequently,
anything below that was accepted as a
valid relationship whilst for other data the
null hypothesis of no relationship was
upheld. Out of the 102 tested analyses 74
were statistically insignificant. Only 28 had
any statistical significance of 10% or less;
of these only 8 rejected the null hypothesis
of 1% significance or more.
Of the negative relationships perhaps the
most surprising were those between the
physical attributes of the valley and other
variables. Only 3 out of 12 X2 tests had any
significance, yet land capability and slope
angle should logically have some relevance
to the decision to employ soil conservation
techniques. Those lands with lowest
fertility, greatest restrictions on cultivation
and the steepest slopes should be those
farms using some form of soil conservation
practice. However, in this case the most
obvious does not appear to have much
meaning. Nine out of twelve relationships
were rejected. Only land capability and
contour planting (5%) and grass strips
(10%) and slope angle and grass strips
(10%) had any statistical significance.
This apparent lack of concern over slope
angle and soil fertility can only be
explained by two things: either the farmer
is unaware of the casual relationships
involved or he accepts soil wash as an
irreversible fact of nature. Either way
indicates a fundamental lack of under-
standing on the question of soil erosion per
se. This fatalistic approach to the loss of
soil productivity is often found amongst
traditional farmers whose aspirations are
low. This group of farmers even if they
understand the concepts of soil erosion will
accept a lower income rather than expend
the extra effort needed to construct and
maintain soil conservation works. An
acceptance of the situation and lack of
understanding about soil erosion would
indicate an inability on the part of the
Y.V.L.A. to educate farmers as to the
cause and effect of soil erosion.
In terms of innovator characteristics,
Chi-Squared revealed several significant
relationships. Many relationships sup-
ported the work done in North America by
sociologists, concerning the economic
status and educational ability of the
innovator.7 However, not all the expected
relationships materialised, again suggest-
ing some degree of divergence between
developed and underdeveloped society
Each type of soil conservation technique
was tested with land tenure and
fragmentation. Of these relationships only
one was significant, fragmentation and
6. This is a limitation in the data due to fragmenta-
tion but as the average number of plots per farm
is 2, it was thought that at feast one of these
would be in the interview square.
7. Katz, E., (1957), "Two step flow of communica-
tion: an up-to-date report on an hypothesis"
Public Opinion Quarterly, 21, pp. 61-78.

vegetative bunding, which was significant
at the 5% level. Such a relationship
suggests, that, while it is immaterial what
type of tenancy exists as to what type of
soil conservation method is employed,
degree of fragmentation of land is
important in determining the type of
practice utilised. Whether the land is
rented, owned or a combination of both
appears irrelevant but if the land is
fragmented it seems that vegetative
bunding is the most usual practice
employed. Vegetative bunding is simple,
cheap and the material readily accessible
and may be just as easily employed on
fields several miles from the home as at the
home itself. Consequently, if the land is
fragmented this type of soil conservation
measure is preferred; hence the statistically
significant relationship.
Land tenure was also related to help on
the farm. This again was significant at the
2.5% level. Farmers who owned land were
most likely to employ labourers giving
some indication that ownership was
positively correlated to financial standing
as expected. Conversely, ownership and
level of education were not statistically
significant. In a Developed World context
these two variables are usually related,
given the scientific nature of agriculture.
With a Chi-squared value of 0.062 the
relationship in the Yallahs Valley was
highly insignificant suggesting that
ownership levels here are more a hereditary
matter and not related to an ability to
acquire land as a result of commercial
Educational ability was related to where
the individual had learned about farming.
Farmers who gained the majority of their
agricultural knowledge from their parents
tended to have been to school for more than
four years. Those who learned by personal
experimentation also tended to have more
schooling. It would seem that the more
schooling the individual received the more
likely to regard his parents as an authority
on agriculture and the more likely he was to
learn by trial and error. The latter response
would suggest a certain proclivity to
innovate as such experimentation fosters
an adoptive mentality. Overall level of
schooling shows the response expected in
the developed world, although economic
status and educational ability were not
significantly related, perhaps only to be
expected in an underdeveloped, under-
privileged rural community.
Data gathered in question 5 was related
to all types of soil conservation practices
plus the overall total. The Y.V.L.A. was
regarded as an authority on agriculture by
those using vegetative bunding, stone
terraces (both at the 10% level) and the
overall total of soil conservation measures
employed (at the 5 % level of significance).
Farmers who venerate their parents as
agricultural experts tended to employ the
more minor forms of conservation such as
ditches and strip cropping. Those who cited
personal experience as the only means of
learning farming tended to use stone
terraces (5%) or grass strips (2.5%) as
their means of soil conservation.
The question was used to assess how the
individual regarded statutory bodies.
Presumably if the farmer viewed the
Y.V.L.A as an important source of

information concerning agricultural
matters, he was more likely to carry out soil
conservation methods as well as attend
J.A.S./Y.V.L.A. meetings. Conversely,
those farmers who respected their parents
or other agencies as agricultural
authorities, or were self-taught, were the
most likely to by-pass the Y.V.L.A. in its
advisory role concerning agricultural
matters. It was tentatively suggested that
the latter group of respondents would be
those farmers who were likely to form the
late majority group or laggard group in the
innovation acceptance process should the
Y.V.L.A. be the major dissemination agent
of the innovation.
The majority of farmers carrying out
some form of soil conservation tended to
regard the Y.V.L.A as a knowledgeable
agency on farming matters. At a more
detailed level those individuals adopting
vegetative barriers and stone terraces
tended to be particularly prone to accepting
the authority's advice. It is interesting to
note that vegetation barriers and stone
terraces were the two forms of conservation
having specific subsidies during the Farm
Recovery Scheme, and it can be
conjectured having that subsidy made the
farmers more willing to accept other forms
of agricultural innovation promoted by the
Y.V.L.A.: hence the favourable attitude
towards the extension agency on general
agricultural matters.
Individuals attending J.A.S./Y.V.L.A.
meetings or their equivalent are, it is
suggested, those who are the most
receptive to new ideas in farming. Adopters
who regard official bodies favourably are
the most likely to be in frequent contact

with new ideas and, consequently, the most
likely to form the innovator group. When
attendance at J.A.S./Y.V.L.A. was
related to the types of soil conservation
measures employed this theory was upheld.
Only contour planting and other forms of
conservation were statistically insignifi-
cant, presumably because of their small
numbers in the latter case. Every other
method had a significance of between 1%
(total numbers of practices employed) and
5% (stone terraces and vegetative
These significant relationships would
seem to indicate that the agricultural
meetings held in the region do seem to
serve as agricultural information agents.
Almost all the farmers had at least heard
about soil conservation at these meetings.
It is suggested that the J.A.S.did serve as
the introductory agent for soil conservation
techniques although the eventual adoption
was probably induced by a visit from the
extension officer. This theory would lend
support to that put forward whereby mass
media (newspaper, television and meetings)
become less important as the individual
nears adoption.8
It does seem that adopters do have
specific personality traits. However, the
interview schedule was not sufficiently
extensive or precise to be more positive in
determining adopter characteristics. All
that is possible at this stage is to indicate
that such traits do exist and, if properly
analysed, may be of use to the extension
8. Mason, R.G., (1964), "The use of information
sources in the process of adoption," Rural Socio-
logy, 29, pp. 40-52.

agency in promoting a faster rate of
adoption. An understanding of the
individual's mentality would help the
extension agent 'sell' a new idea and may
enable him to concentrate his efforts in the
most receptive quarters. Greater empathy
between individuals would also help the
officer choose the most suitable method of
approach. Overall understanding of the
farmer's mentality is essential if the
promotion of an innovation is to be

The two-fold purpose of this study was to
analyse the distribution of soil conservation
techniques in the Yallahs Valley and to
assess the motives underlying this pattern
of acceptance. Both the spatial and social
aspects of the diffusion of an innovation
were to be integrated in an attempt to find
any relationship between the two
approaches to the problem.
The research tended to show that most of
the work done in a developed world context
was meaningful in a Third World situation.
Diffusion did tend to radiate from specific
centres; the concentric pattern and distance
decay effect were distorted by physical
constraints creating deviations from the
ideal. Barriers to the diffusion of an
innovation were in evidence and the
peripheral locations tended to be those
areas adopting the innovation last as
expected from the Developed World
To understand further the spatial pattern
and temporal aspects of the diffusion
process a sociological analysis was
undertaken. The significant relationships
indicated that the characters of adopters
are important in determining the rate of
adoption. Education, social and economic

status, land tenure and cosmopolitan
outlook were all attributes in influencing
the spread of adoption. Subdivision of such
personality variables makes it possible to
divide a given population into various
adonter categories. Such a subdivision is

important to an understanding of the
farmers, and to increase the empathy
between the farmer and extension agent; a
more comprehensive knowledge of these
attributes would enable the approach to
extension work to be more effective.


Edwards, D.T., (1961), Report on an economic study
of small farming in Jamaica., U.W.I.
Floyd, B.N., (1969), Agricultural Innovation in Ja-
maica: the Yallahs Valley Land Authority., U.W.I.
(Geography Dept.)
Gould, P., (1969), Spatial Diffusion., Washington.
Hagerstrand, T., (1967), Innovation Diffusion as a
spatial process., Chicago.
Hodder, B.W., (1968), Economic Development in the
Tropics., London.

Katz, E., (1957), "Two step flow of communication;
an up-to-date report on an hypothesis," Public
Opinion quarterly, 21, pp. 61-78.

Mason, R.G., (1964), "The use of information sources
in the process of adoption," Rural Sociology, 29; pp.

Rogers, E.M., and Shoemaker, F.F., (1971) Com-
munication of innovations: A Cross-Cultural Ap-
proach, New York.

Blue Mountain Peak is situated in the
eastern section of Jamaica, in the parish
of Portland and runs generally in an east
to west direction. The highest point
reaches an elevation of 7,402 feet above
sea level. From this central range sub-
sidiary ranges run off at various angles.


Lr ^

OPEN MONDAY TO SATURDAY 10.00 A.M-5.00 P.M. SUNDAY 12.00-5.00 P.M.


!7 A

I*. .

:14' .1p*

- up-

.I- w.


on down
-WT --0


:1 ~d
c .. IC

A Record of Jamaican Life-styles

( ~1J


. 7




i 41

University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs