The African Caribbean Institute of Jamaica/Jamaica Memory Bank (ACIJ/JMB) hosted a symposium on October 29, 2015, commemorating the 150th anniversary of the 1865 Morant Bay Rebellion in St. Thomas. Titled “War Dung a Monkland!: The Morant Bay Rebellion and its Aftermath”, the symposium was held at the Institute of Jamaica Lecture Hall.
The presenters were:
- Mrs. Marcella Phillips Grizzle, Research Officer, ACIJ/JMB
- Dr. Swithin Wilmot, Senior Lecturer, Department of History and Archaeology, Faculty of Humanities and Education, The University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona
- Dr. Clinton Hutton, Senior Lecturer, Department of Government, Faculty of Social Sciences, The UWI, Mona.
They spoke on various events surrounding the Morant Bay Rebellion, the conditions which prevailed in society prior to the revolt, and the consequent social and economic changes that took place in the island as follows:
- Mrs. Phillips Grizzle’s paper examined the role of the religious body – the Native Baptists – in sowing the seeds of the uprising in Morant Bay in October 1865 and demonstrated how they instigated a movement against the Vestry.
- Dr. Wilmot’s talk was a discussion on the rebellion in the wider context of the social experience in Jamaica after emancipation in 1838, including the plight of the newly freed ex-slaves, their development as a peasantry, the rise of free villages, and the socioeconomic conditions which spurred the revolt.
- Dr. Hutton’s overview elucidated the underlying issues which triggered the revolt, as well as philosophical factors such as freedom, justice, development and identity which came into play.
The symposium closed with a question-and-answer session directed to the panel, which drew participation from many of the students in attendance. A total of 84 students and eight teachers from the following schools attended:
- Wolmer’s Boys’ School
- Mona High School
- St. Andrew High School
- Camperdown High School
- St. Hugh’s High School
- Dunoon Park Technical High School
- Alpha Academy
Symposia of this nature, as well as seminars, have been a longstanding feature of the activities of the ACIJ/JMB. They are a forum for exposing the work of the division’s research staff and others engaged in similar endeavours.