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An underlying theme throughout the book is the centrality of Africa, the original homeland of the African-Jamaican. The memory of Africa's ancient civilisations, 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 recognise 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.
|Ch. 1||Honour the Ancestors||1|
|Ch. 2||On claiming our great heritage||8|
|Ch. 3||Africa, the original homeland||17|
|Ch. 4||From a colonial to a world perspective||30|
|Ch. 5||The Asians colonise America and the Caribbean||42|
|Ch. 6||Europe: Explorer, coloniser and slave master||51|
|Ch. 7||Spanish Jamaica||63|
|Ch. 8||Two Jamaicas emerge||77|
|Ch. 9||Profits versus human rights||88|
|Ch. 10||The beginning of the African diaspora||99|
|Ch. 11||The Atlantic Slave Trade||116|
|Ch. 12||The African-American liberation wars, 1660-1739||128|
|Ch. 13||The African-Jamaican liberation wars, 1650-1800||133|
|Ch. 14||The sugar estate: Bastion of white power||150|
|Ch. 15||Pens, provision grounds and higglers||163|
|Ch. 16||Into a new age||176|
|Ch. 17||Challenge and response, 1760-1830||191|
|Ch. 18||The primacy of freedom||200|
|Ch. 19||Rebellion and emancipation||212|
|Ch. 20||A home of their own||229|
|Ch. 21||Towards political liberty||246|
|Ch. 22||The people betrayed and vindicated||263|
|Ch. 23||Robert Love points the way||281|
|Ch. 24||Marcus Mosiah Garvey, 1887-1940||292|
|Ch. 25||Building a new society: People from India, China and the Middle East||316|
|Ch. 26||Day da light, oh||336|
|Ch. 27||The birth of a national consciousness, 1920-44||346|
|Ch. 28||The founders of the nation: Marcus Garvey, Alexander Bustamante, Norman Manley||362|
|Ch. 29||From colony to nation: Political progress and economic growth||370|
|Ch. 30||Culture and nationhood||389|
|Index of Names||420|
Posted March 3, 2001
The central focus here -- in what appears to be a secondary school textbook -- is an African-Jamaican view of history. Other groups get short shrift; the Jews, East Indians, Chinese, and Lebanese 'Syrians' all get a total of 19 pages. Coverage of the 20th century revolves around the nation's three founders -- Marcus Garvey, Alexander Bustamente, and Norman Manley, and esentially ends with Independence (1964). Jamaica's other five post-Independence Prime Ministers are pictured, but only Bustamente is discussed. There is no mention of the social unrest in the seventies, nor of the rivalry between Michael Manley and Edward Seaga. Considerable attention is given to athletics and the creative arts, but very little to political economy. 'Development,' we learn, 'is a state of mind' (410); and Jamaica's most serious development problem is not the lack of gainful employment (a view attributed to the Rastas and a woman's group), but its Eurocentric, colonial system of education (402). Does a Jamaican-African perspective really have nothing to say about recent history?
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