Saturday, August 13, 2011

Emancipation Day Jamaica

Washing clothes in the river a way of life

"I rejoice I am a slave no more, and you are slave no more, Jamaica is slave no more. Amen!" Ex-slave, Thomas Gardner, shouted these words in Jamaica on August 1,
1838, as he celebrated the abolition of the system which had dehumanized his fellow Negroes in the British Caribbean and England for more than 150 years.

With similar jubilation, thousands of ex-slaves, who gathered at town centers and churches in every British Caribbean colony, broke into joyous celebrations after hearing the final words of the Emancipation Declaration, affirming their full freedom from slavery.

"none but ourselves can free our mind." Bob Marley
The Emancipation Act 1838 was passed by the British Government following a sustained abolition campaign, underscored by bloody slave uprisings in the colonies and widespread public outcry against slavery.

In the midst of the campaign, which lasted from 1780 until 1838, several individuals distinguished themselves as true anti-slavery champions.  Among these include:
  • Thomas Clarkson
  • William Wilberforce
  • Joseph Sturge
  • William Knibb
  • Thomas Burchell, and
  • Samuel Sharpe

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