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Rise and Fall of an Empire

A Progressive Caribbean

Jerome Teelucksingh

Rise and Fall of an Empire: A Progressive Caribbean emphasizes the significance of literature, media, history, slavery, culture and ideology which helped shape the Caribbean. This interdisciplinary work includes lesser known events, individuals and organizations that have emerged from colonialism and contributed to the foundations of a Caribbean Empire. Furthermore, these personalities and groups made valid contributions to the improvement and betterment of Caribbean societies. There are obvious contradictions within the Caribbean region that denote noteworthy progress whilst other indicators reflect a regression. Undoubtedly, these are features of a dynamic people and stable region that should be considered an Empire.

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7 Abuse, Exploitation and Oppression

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Abuse, Exploitation and Oppression

The enslaved maroons and free Blacks often exchanged stories and recalled life in Africa and during the traumatic Middle Passage. Their reminiscences were passed on to children and grandchildren. This oral history, which was unrecorded, occurred in an informal atmosphere, usually on evenings and during celebrations and festive occasions. These historical sources comprised legends of animal folklore, jokes, myths, riddles, songs and medical remedies. Furthermore, accounts of slave revolts, rebellions, conspiracies and insurrections throughout the Caribbean are common in the historiography focusing on the enslaved.1

The resistance among the enslaved, in the Caribbean, was gender free and thus both sexes participated in antislavery activities.2 The leadership and rebel/warrior-woman traits of the enslaved were partly conceptualized in Africa. There was a sub-division of societies, with enslaved Africans, into various classes and castes. The status in each group, which was legally defined and also hereditary, corresponded with ethnicity. The top of the hierarchy, comprising three tiers, was reserved for Whites, the middle occupied by the free coloreds and the enslaved were relegated to the base of the social pyramid.

Dionne Brand, who resides in Canada, was one of the few Caribbean novelists, of the late twentieth century, who delved into the historical wealth of slavery and weaved a story which spanned almost two hundred years. The novel—At the Full and Change of the Moon, is based in Trinidad, an island in the Caribbean. The exotic tranquility of the island is occasionally...

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