Remembering the Morant Bay Rebellion

The Struggle for Liberation, JUSTICE & Equity continues to this day. In the song, Revolution, Dennis Brown asked us, “…are you ready to STAND Up and Fight the ‘right’ REVOLUTION…many are called, few are chosen..[•••].”

[•••] In 1865, Jamaican people confronted the state in their search for those rights and freedoms they assumed would have accompanied Emancipation from enslavement in 1838, but which remained elusive decades after. Rather than constructing a post-slavery society built on mutual respect, equality and non-racialism, the British colonialists cemented their socio-economic and political control over the Jamaican masses and presided over a system of racial apartheid. This led to increasing protests as those emerging out of slavery, or their descendants, refused to live in a society that simply continued the slave relations of production.

Repeating Islands


Joshua Surtees (The Voice) discusses Jamaica’s 150th anniversary and presents reflections on the Morant Bay Rebellion by Verene Shepherd, professor of social history at the University of the West Indies. Here are excerpts of the historical account and an interview with Dr. Shepherd:

Slavery may have been over, but the situation for many of Jamaica’s freed men and women remained dire in the decades following abolition. Prevented from voting by the unaffordable poll tax and denied the right to own land for cultivation, most people lived in poverty and suffered poor health. A petition from the people of St Ann to Queen Victoria asking for land to be granted was intercepted by the governor, John Eyre, who persuaded the monarch to deny their request. The Royal’s response to her foreign subjects was, effectively, to “work harder”.

Angered at the disenfranchisement of the poor, Paul Bogle (1822-1865), a wealthy…

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