The role of Jews in plantation slavery is not documented at all. This silence is troubling especially since so many students visit the museum each year. They end up getting a rather distorted account of Jamaican, not just Jewish, history.
In his prophetic song, “Columbus”, reggae philosopher Burning Spear warns that
“A whole heap a mix up, mix up
A whole heap a bend up, bend up
Go ha fi straighten out”.
How Jewish people came to be engaged in plantation slavery in the Caribbean is a rather long and complicated story. The Tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition, more popularly known as the Spanish Inquisition, launched a holy war against non-Catholics in 1480. Jews and Muslims were the targets of attack. The tribunal was not abolished until 1834, the very same year that slavery was outlawed in the British Caribbean.
Muslims from North African, who were called Moors, had invaded the Iberian Peninsula in 711 and occupied it for almost 600 years.
The Spanish Inquisition was a belated attempt to purify the land of ‘foreign’ religions. Many Jews supposedly converted to Christianity but practiced Judaism in secret. The Alhambra decree, issued in January 1492, put an end to the pretence. It demanded the expulsion of Jews.
Columbus’ ‘discovery’ opened doors of opportunity for Jews expelled from Spain and Portugal. Many Sephardic Jews went to Brazil where they made fortunes in plantation slavery. According to Ralph Bennett in an essay, “History of Jews in Brazil”, “It is believed that the first sugar cane was brought by a Jewish farmer from Madeira to Brazil in 1532. Sugar cane became the foundation of the Caribbean economy for several centuries”.
Fit for exploring embattled grounds or basking in the comforts of your own home. Black, white, and read.
Add these books to your collection.
look how great these covers are for one of Achebe’s other books: Girls at War
ALSO look at his handwriting and notes~~~~~/lovely/~~~~~
Oroma Elewa’s beautiful tribute to Chinua Achebe, Nigerian literary and cultural hero who died this year, 21 March 2013
This is a chapter from the book “Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty” by Dorothy Roberts. I warn you: this material is emotionally difficult to process. It’s basically about how the birth control movement, and Margaret Sanger in particular, became involved with eugenics and racism and how women of color and poor women were forcibly sterilized. What’s even more disturbing is that a woman in my feminist theories class who did an internship at social services said that questions about sterilization (Would a woman being willing to have her tubes tied or be sterilized in some way?) were on the forms that women filled out to receive government aid. I was horrified. I still am.
“The word ‘underclass’ refers not only to its members’ poverty but also to a host of social pathologies such as crime, drug addiction, violence, welfare dependency, and illegitimacy. Although poverty may be relatively race-neutral in people’s minds, these other depravities are associated with Black culture.”
Like citizenship, race is a political system that governs people by sorting them into social groupings based on invented biological demarcations. Race is not only interpreted according to invented rules, but, more important, race itself is an invented political grouping. Race is not a…
In this quick interview, Dorothy Roberts explains her project surrounding Fatal Invention, and the ways in which she brings together a variety of sources and sites to explore how the category of race functions within policies surrounding genetics and biomedicine. Also the program she describes creating sounds super interesting.
how many times have you been stopped by the police? “black people in england and wales are 7 times more likely to be stopped by police than white people. asians are twice as likely. the vast majority are ordinary people guilty only of being the wrong color.” stop and frisk is worldwide, yall! it’s interesting because as much as we think we’re culturally different by country, the system to keep people of color down remains the same. learn more here and read a full report on this injustice here.
posted by @traemili.
Alicia Myers - I Want to Thank You