5b. Why did Eric Williams so vehemently argue that ‘the Monster’ did not die in 1838?

5b. Why did Eric Williams so vehemently argue that ‘the Monster’ did not die in 1838?

28th May 1962. Marlborough House, London. The Independence talks for Trinidad and Tobago.

What are we learning about?

An optional lesson – as part of the requirements for the AQA A Level Coursework module. Using what has been learned in the previous lesson – students will be asked to assess another lively historical controversy – the debate over whether emancipation really killed off the ‘monster’ Knibb described. Having secured an understanding of the controversy, students will be asked to analyse why Williams in particular was so keen to disprove Knibb and others in his 1943 essay ‘Negro in the Caribbean’. Finally students will be asked to assess how convincing they find Williams’ interpretation.

Lesson Objectives

  • To analyse Eric Williams interpretation of the change & continuity of 1838 for Black people in the Caribbean.
  • To analyse why he may have constructed such an interpretation (context, evidence base)

PowerPoint Lesson

Download here – Lesson 5B

Suggested Activities

  • Task A: To read Williams’ interpretation of 1838.
  • Task B: To take notes on the context of the historian
  • Task C: To write an evaluation of Williams’ interpretation using own knowledge and the context of the historian.

Essential Resources

Eric Williams (1942) ‘The Negro in the Caribbean’Extract
Williams provided a powerful and overtly political rebuttal of the Knibb thesis – that the twin ‘monsters’ of colonial exploitation and slavery died in 1838.
Questions are included to guide note taking.

Extra Resources

Olusoga, D. Black and BritishExtract from Chapter 10 : ‘Mercy in a Massacre’
Olusoga provides an account of the events leading up to the Morant Bay War – in particular the demands of the vast majority of Black Jamaicans who, despite over a decade since ’emancipation’, were still landless and were still poor.

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