Dark Matter Part 2: Slave Keeper addresses the nature of slavery in the Caribbean, including the effective continuation of slavery, in a more extreme form, in the years of so-called ‘apprenticeship’ in the wake of the emancipation in 1834. Another primary focus is the lives of Maroons and resistance to slavery in the Caribbean region.
There was an anomaly to the slave codes that were prevalent throughout the Caribbean in Berbice that resulted in the documentation of first-hand testimonies made by slaves. There were not only the testimonies of slaves in Berbice but also first-hand accounts of people who witnessed the everyday lives of slaves in the Caribbean and recorded their findings sequentially in diaries. First-hand accounts by slaves across the region have also been uncovered. Collectively they lend clarity to the brutal, barbaric nature of slavery in the Caribbean. Information which will be used to draw parallels between slavery in the New World and the lives of their descendants in the contemporary West.
Large-scale resistance, the greatest fear of the enslavers, through revolts and insurrections, ranging from the razing of the ‘Big House’ to the Haitian Revolution, are considered both in terms of the events and the impact that they had on the institution of slavery. Subsequently, the life of quasi-free Blacks, in the wake of so-called emancipation and the factors that will influence the next steps in a quest for freedom from the ‘bondage’ that still pervades the lives of the descendants of slaves and Africans more generally, in the West.
The persistence of resistance to barbaric regime by chattel slaves and the Maroon communities populated by escaped slaves have been outlined with key examples from across the Caribbean region. The countries with the most brutal history of slave labour and the most Maroon communities were all sugar-producing ones; the relationship was fundamental. How, and why, the fallout of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and the enslavement of Africans in the Caribbean still impacts on the lives of the descendants of slaves today, as well as Africa and Africans more widely, may become clearer to those with the constitution to assimilate the contents of this book.
Details of the history of those who enslaved my ancestors on my father’s side are also included with references to help others who may wish to trace the enslavement of their own ancestors.
Crucially, what are lessons to be learnt? How do we implement change for the better?