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The Story of the Jamaican People

Philip Sherlock & Hazel Bennett

The Story of the Jamaican People

The Story of the Jamaican People is the first general history of Jamaica to be written in almost forty years. It differs significantly from earlier "imperial" histories which have been written from the perspective of the coloniser and which have relegated Jamaicans to an inferior and passive role. In this book, the authors offer a new interpretation of Jamaica's history. The central theme is the long struggle of the African-Jamaican against subjugation, injustice, economic deprivation, and the fight for full freedom. They recount the epic resistance to slavery; from the acts of sabotage on the estates, the legendary exploits of Maroon heroes Cudjoe, Nanny and Tacky, to the final blow delivered by Sam Sharpe which ended slavery in Jamaica.

An underlying theme throughout the book is the centrality of Africa, the original homeland of the African-Jamaican. The memory of Africa's ancient civilizations, its diverse tribes, languages, cultures and religions, sustained the African-Jamaican throughout slavery and remains a positive influence on modern-day Jamaican culture.

Although the focus of the story is on African-Jamaica, the authors recoginise the significant role played by other ethnic groups - East Indians, Chinese, Lebanese, Syrians and Jews - in the development of modern Jamaica.

The Story of the Jamaican People is told in a powerfully evocative and poetic style in which the images of creative writers and artists are blended with extensive quotations from anthropological, sociological and historical sources. The book is copiously illustrated and has an extensive bibiliographical and reference section as well as a useful index.

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