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The British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society, 1838–1956A History$
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James Heartfield

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190491673

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190491673.001.0001

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The West Indies

The West Indies

(p.91) 5 The West Indies
The British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society, 1838–1956

James Heartfield

Oxford University Press

In the years after the abolition of slavery and of apprenticeship the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society took on the role of looking out for the freedmen in the West Indies. The Society helped impoverished freedmen to buy up the plantations from their former owners to make free towns in the interior. The Society lobbied against the planters’ plans to recruit indentured labor to meet the tasks that the freedmen would no longer accept. The Society also opposed what they called “class legislation” imposed by mostly white legislative councils to suppress the rights of the black West Indians. In 1865 inspired by a letter from Edward Underhill protesting the poverty on the island, black Jamaicans rose up against Governor Eyre under the leadership of Paul Bogle. The Society took up the cause of the hundreds of Jamaicans slaughtered in the suppression of the Morant Bay uprising. When the government made Jamaica and the other West Indian islands Crown Colonies under direct rule, the Society welcomed it as better than local white rule.

Keywords:   Morant Bay, Free towns, West Indies, Freedmen, Indentured labor

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