Free and enslaved African communities in buff Bay, Jamaica : daily life, resistance, and kinship, 1750-1834

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Title: Free and enslaved African communities in buff Bay, Jamaica : daily life, resistance, and kinship, 1750-1834
Author: Saunders, Paula Veronica
Abstract: Africans forcibly brought to the Americas during slavery came from very diverse cultural groups , languages , and geographical regions . African -derived creole cultures that were subsequently created in the Americas resulted from the interaction of various traditional African forms of knowledge and ideology , combined with elements from various Indigenous and European cultural groups and materials . Creating within the context of slavery , these complex set of experiences and choices made by Africans in the Americas resulted in an equally diverse range of fluid and complex relationships between various African -descended groups . In a similar vein , Africans in Jamaica developed and exhibited a multiplicity of cultural identities and a complex set of relationships amongst themselves , reflective of their varied cultural , political , social , and physical origins (Brathwaite 1971 ; Joyner 1984 ) . In the context of late -eighteenth and early -nineteenth century Buff Bay , Jamaica , most Africans were enslaved by whites to serve as laborers on plantations . However , a smaller group of Africans emerged from enslavement on plantations to form their own autonomous Maroon communities , alongside the plantation context and within the system of slavery . These two groups , enslaved Africans and Maroons , had a very complex set of relationship and identities that were fluid and constantly negotiated within the Jamaican slave society that was in turn hostile to both groups . Using historical (archival ) , oral , and archaeological sources of data , this dissertation attempts to do two things : first , it examines the daily life conditions of enslaved Africans at a Jamaican coffee plantation , Orange Vale , in order to understand settlement patterns , house structures , access to goods , informal trade networks , and material culture in their village . With constraints on their freedom and general confinement to the plantation , how did enslavement affect the material world of the enslaved Africans at Orange Vale ? What materials did they have access to , and how did they use them ? Second , I examine their cultural , social , and political identities alongside their autonomously freed Maroon “kin ,” the neighboring Charles Town Maroon community . Using a popular origin myth , I attempt to show how descendents of both groups explain the origin of their relationship , as well as use the myth to simultaneously create political bonds based on their blackness and differentiate themselves . I also examine how their various origin , experiences , and worldview were manifested late -eighteenth and early nineteenth century Buff Bay and its place in the revolutionary Atlantic world , on the eve of emancipation .
URI: http : / /hdl .handle .net /2152 /9759
Date: 2011-01-31


Free and enslaved African communities in buff Bay, Jamaica : daily life, resistance, and kinship, 1750-1834. Doctoral dissertation, The University of Texas at Austin. Available electronically from http : / /hdl .handle .net /2152 /9759 .

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