20A powerful example of the involvement of elite enslaved people in revolt was demonstrated in the exposed insurrection plot of October 1736 in Antigua. In the aftermath it was realized that “the ringleaders in the plot were almost exclusively the chief among the slaves, favoured Africans or Creoles, regarded as well affected, whose "employments were handicraft trades, overseers, and domestic servants’.” Michael Craton, Testing the Chains (Ithaca, NY:   Cornell University Press, 1982), 120. 

21Ira D. Berlin and Philip D. Morgan, "The Slaves’ Economy:  Independent Production by Slaves in the Americas," special issue of Slavery and Abolition 12 (1):  1-30.

22The persistence of West African notions of slavery within Jamaican slavery meant that ideas and other non-material influences brought with the enslaved West Africans “must have been very strong, even after the African-born became a minority.” Craton, Testing the Chains, 47. 

23The Anansi stories that survive to this day as African continuities in many of the former plantation colonies, reflected the double identity that many African groups displayed in order to thrive in their new environments. Dunn makes reference to these stories as part of an African legacy of hero creation adopted by the Jamaican 'slaves.'  Richard Dunn, Sugar and Slaves (New York:  Norton, 1973), 246. See also Lawrence W. Levine, Black Culture and Black Consciousness; Afro-American Folk Thought From Slavery to Freedom (New York:   Oxford University Press, 1978), 105.

24For a discussion on the relationship between dependency and the taxonomy of slavery, see Stephen Palmié, "A Taste for Human Commodities; Experiencing the Atlantic System" in Slave Cultures, ed. Palmié, 40-54.

25Enslaved women for example were given extra rations of food and baby clothes for offspring produced. See Cateau “Management and the Sugar Industry.” (Ph.D. dissertation:  University of the West Indies, 1993), 229.   See also McDonald, Economy and Material Culture 112,120-121.

26A wealth of historical literature exists on the use made of provision grounds for enslaved resistance strategies and for economic independence during and after slavery. Sidney Mintz’s studies in 1974 and 1978 established the area of enslaved “pleasantries.” Schuler in the same vein points out how “enslaved Africans constructed their own societies within the parameters of the masters’ monopoly of power, but separate from the masters’ institutions.” For additional references, see   Olwig, "African Cultural Principles," in Palmié, Slave Cultures, 27-29, and  Sidney Mintz, "Slave Life on Caribbean Sugar Plantations," in Palmié, Slave Cultures15.


<back to previous page


continued on next page>


cologo3.gif (6014 bytes)

August 2000