Sugar Cane Alley

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Sugar Cane Alley

Sugar Cane Alley and Van Onselen’s article, Worker Responses in a Labor Coercive Economy, show the life of Africans after slavery has been abolished. Sugar Cane Alley took place in Martinique on the sugar cane fields, while Van Onselen’s article took place in Rhodesia in the mines. Sugar Cane Alley and Van Onselen’s article both show Africans working to make a living but not being able to fully leave because of the control of the white owners. The white owners tricked their workers into staying the villages by using money and other ways to think they had it best at this field or mine. The white owners made it extremely hard for their workers to leave the fields or the mines by having laws to follow and debts that need to be paid.

In Sugar Cane Alley all the African workers live in an area called “Black Shack Alley”, all the adult women and men everyday go to work on the fields cutting down sugar cane. While the parents are away working the children are free to roam about the town. One of the main characters Jose lives with his grandmother and runs around with all the other children getting into trouble. After getting in trouble and burning down a man’s garden and chickens, all the children are put to work on the sugar cane fields. Jose is the only one who is not allowed to work on the fields because his grandmother believes he will get out of that town and do something great with his life.

Jose looks up to an older man, Mr. Mdeouze. Mr. Mdeouze tells Jose stories from Africa and the ones his father told him. Jose is mesmerized by Mr. Mdeouze and all his knowledge. Mr. Mdeouze tells Jose when it is his time to die he will go back to Africa and be happy. Mr. Mdeouze keeps Jose’s heritage alive by telling him stories of Africa and reminding Jose of where he came from. One of the stories Mr. Mdeouze tells Jose is about slavery. He talks about how nothing has changed except the white men do not own the blacks anymore and cannot beat them....
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