African cultural forms

Topics: Atlantic slave trade, Slavery, Caribbean Pages: 18 (3938 words) Published: April 24, 2014
School Based Assessment
Name: Mellisa Walker
Subject: Caribbean History
School: St. Hugh’s High
Candidate Number:
Centre Number:
Territory: Jamaica
Teacher: Ms. Hyman
Year: 2013

Theme: Caribbean History
Topic: West African cultural forms and its presence in the British Caribbean up 1838.

Statement of the Problem
Is it true to suggest that there was a strong presence of African cultural forms within the British Caribbean plantation society up to 1838? Rationale
The system of chattel slavery forcibly removed the West African natives from their homeland. As a result of this the Africans were forced to leave a place where they knew as home to a place where they would become the property of another. Their freedom would be subject to the discretion of another person as they would be burdened with restrictions and severe punishment of petty actions. One may ask the question; what really did the West Africans have to hold on to? This research will discuss the various ways in which the West Africans managed to keep the link between their culture and their new home on the British Caribbean plantation during the period of chattel slavery. The research will answer the following questions:

a) What were the various forms of African cultural practices present on the British Caribbean plantation? b) What factors accounted for the retention of these cultural practices during the period of chattel slavery. c) To what extent were the enslaved West Africans able to retain aspects of their culture up to 1838 on the British Caribbean Plantation? Data Collection

The research will require extensive use of primary and secondary sources. The inclusion of primary sources such as a journal extract of Lady Nugent will give the research the first hand details it needs to prove the statement in question correct. Secondary sources such as information from textbooks, photograph illustrations will be useful in the analysis of the data. Presentation of Data

The data will be presented in the form of a research project utilizing journal extracts, newspaper clipping and photograph illustrations.

During the period of chattel slavery, enslaved Africans were used as labours on the British Caribbean plantations. These Africans were captured and brought to the ‘New World’ and forced into a system of servitude. A key feature of chattel slavery is ‘depersonification’ and as a result it was difficult for the enslaved West Africa to practice their culture. However, this research will prove that the enslaved African were able to retain aspects of their culture on the British Caribbean plantation in this period of chattel slavery Aspects of African Culture evident on estates.

The Africans arrived from traditional societies to the British Caribbean with their own forms of values and culture .In their new environment the enslaved Africans wanted to create a life of their own that would keep the African cultural forms relevant and alive. They wanted to revive or recreate much of what they had has their cultural forms while as property on the British Caribbean plantations. Debbion Hyman (2012) defined African cultural forms as the various everyday activities of our ancestors that they brought with them from their homeland and practised on the plantations during slavery so as to keep their heritage alive, as well as to survive the harsh realities of slavery. On an 18th century British plantation there was constant battle between slaves and planters, for the slaves needed to keep their cultural forms alive. Harsh treatment of slaves by the planter, often forced slaves to resort to various forms of resistance in order to keep their cultural forms alive. While the slaves of the plantation were able outsmart the planter at times, the planter also devised schemes that made life for slaves extremely difficult. However, the enslaved tried to retain as much of their culture besides the odds. Cultural forms practiced...

Cited: Lady Nugent 's Journal (1801-1805): 48.
Beckles, Hilary. Liberties Lost. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press , 2004.
Claypole, William and Robottom John. Caribbean Story Book 1. Kingston: Carlong Publishers ( Caribbean) Limited, 2004.
Craton, Micheal. Testing the Chairs. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1982.
Tortello, Rebecca. Out Of Many Cultures The People Who Came. Kingston: Gleaner Jamica, 2006.
Willie- Hamilton, Doris. Lest You Forget Caribbean Economy and Slavery. Kingston: Jamaica Publishing House Limited, 2001.
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