Sir Hilary Beckles launches new book

Barbadians now have an opportunity to learn more about one of the bitter chapters in the island’s history, through the latest publication by noted historian, Vice Chancellor of the Cave Hill campus of the University of the West Indies, Sir Hilary Beckles.

Sir Hilary launched his newest book, The first Black Slave Society: Britain’s Barbarity time in Barbados 1636-1876 last night at the Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination. The launch coincided with the celebration of Barbados’ 50th anniversary of independence.

Sir Hilary signs a copy of his book for Principal Professor Eudine Barriteau.

It explores Barbados’ history, detailing the barbarism of British colonialism on the island.

According to Sir Hilary, the slave trade and treatment of slaves was at its most brutal in Barbados, compared to other islands in the Caribbean.

“There is no doubt in my mind that the African people on this island went through a kind of terrorism that Africans did not go through in other places.

“If there is a scale through which we can measure terrorism on one to ten, Barbados is ten. And if we went to Jamaica it would be five or six. Because there was an opportunity to break free temporarily and move to the hills and mountains, so all of those societies had an alternative form of existence . . . This island was what you called a total prison. There was no place to go, there was no frontier,” he said.

Pointing to Barbados as the birthplace of the British slave society, Sir Hilary said the legacy of slavery laid the foundation for modern society.

However he told the audience that despite the inhumane treatment of the enslaved workforce, there were far fewer slave rebellions in Barbados compared to other islands in the Caribbean.

“Black people in Barbados do not move suddenly and aggressively towards injustice. They don’t respond suddenly and eruptively to an injustice. But there comes a point when they move, they move decisively. They are slow to move but when they do, they move very decisively and very conclusively,” Sir Hilary said.

He pointed to the island’s “unique” history, adding that the slaves were the most oppressed and brutalized in the Caribbean.

“And that history has been driven under the carpet for 200 years. So now it is incumbent upon all of us to explain this, to show what it is and to show what Barbados has been, an island of terror for the Africans who have had to live here,” Sir Hilary said. 

2 Responses to Sir Hilary Beckles launches new book

  1. jus me December 10, 2016 at 9:50 am

    Thanks GOD for SLAVERY, says
    Sir Bilious Heckels, leaves me a lot of room for more ,Hopefully MONEYSPINNING, books.

    YES YES of course I am concerned also with the facts of slavery.

    I am I am, HONESTLY I AM!!

  2. Jennifer December 10, 2016 at 11:46 am

    This book should be interesting especially coming from a “historian”.
    I hope this book is not merely seen as a money making device as the money will be of no use in the time that is shortly to come. I hope he did not make the mistake by separating the Barbados branch of it from the other Caribbean branches and who suffered more than who as this will detract from the full fledged cruelty and cause division in the whole region. There is no difference in treatment. Babies were taken from the mothers and sold to Mr Johnson in St. Lucia and so on. The whole slave trade is the same and evidently produced the same result. Please don’t forget our brothers and sisters in the USA as they started their episode of chattel slavery earlier in 1619 in Virginia. They are currently in the belly of the beast and still experiencing public lynchings to this day. I hope he linked the old negro-land map of Africa and the tribe of JUDAH and the name of the different forts especially Benin (BENJAMIN) too, otherwise his efforts will be in vain. I hope he wrote of the enforcing of Christianity {paganism} on our people in those slave huts called churches which we cannot get out of till this day. I wonder what kept this knowledge hidden or under the carpet for 200yrs – could it be the infamous school curriculum and churches. Lastly i hope that he has tied it all in with the scriptures of Deuteronomy 28.

    In a nutshell (the island of terror as he mentions), these black people are somewhat like Nelson Mandela- placed on an Island to be broken and to serve 400yrs of punishment via servitude. Start the maths – you are still in servitude by the way as you own no WEALTH.


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