BLACK SLAVERY AND SLAVE NARRATIVES IN THE ENGLISH CARIBBEAN
Black Slavery in the Caribbean
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The English Caribbean and the Black Slave Narrative
This type of autobiography, in which a formerly enslaved black narrator testifies to the inhumanity of slavery, represents the most important form of black life writing in the Americas from the late 18th to the late 19th century. contrast to later, often US-centric texts, these narratives testify to often highly mobile experiences, as enslaved individuals were often relocated between different islands when they were sold to a new owner or sent to work on a different plantation. Also, maritime labor played a larger role in the region. Enslaved men employed as sailors or stewards would travel within the West Indies or even between the Caribbean, the mainland Americas and/or Europe.
The following are three case studies of black-authored accounts of Black slave narratives from the English Caribbean. Click on the men’s names to learn more about them and their texts.
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SELECTED RESEARCH LITERATURE
Black Slavery in the English Caribbean
- Zeuske, Michael. “Out of the Americas: Slave Traders and the Hidden Atlantic in the Nineteenth Century.” Atlantic Studies15.1 (2018): 103-135.
The Anglo-Caribbean Slave Narrative
The term “Anglo-Caribbean slave narrative” is used here to refer to Black-authored slave narratives from the English Caribbean.
- Aljoe, Nicole N. Creole Testimonies: Slave Narratives from the British West Indies, 1709-1838. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.
- Bolster, W. Jeffrey. Black Jacks: African American Seamen in the Age of Sail. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 1997.
- Wilker, Frank. Cultural Memories of Origin: Trauma, Memory, and Imagery in African American Narratives of the Middle Passage. Heidelberg: Winter Verlag, 2017.
ONLINE RESOURCES AND LINKS
- Caribbean Histories Revealed. London: The National Archives, UK. https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/caribbeanhistory/
- Digital Library of the Caribbean. https://www.dloc.com/?l=en
- Early Caribbean Digital Archive. https://ecda.northeastern.edu/
- Slave Resistance: A Caribbean Study. Miami: University of Miami Libraries Digital Collections. http://scholar.library.miami.edu/slaves/index.html