7. How much did the racism of British rule in Jamaica change between 1760 and 1870 ?

7. How did the racism of British rule in Jamaica develop between 1760 and 1870 ?

What are we learning about?

Drawing upon recent scholarship on the history of race, and an understanding of racial categorisation as a source of legitimacy for British rule in Jamaica across our period, students will be asked to assess whether ideas of race changed between 1760 and 1870. At the forefront of this assessment will be a selection of sources of evidence from across the period, and students will be asked to identify any religious, cultural or biological constructions of race in the evidence provided. We use the framing of ‘development’ for two reasons. Firstly it emphasises the gradual and incomplete nature in which ideas of race change across this period. Secondly it foregrounds the continuity of racial hierarchy at the heart of colonial white rule at the same time as allowing students to explore the changes that occurred.

Lesson Objectives

  • To analyse why race has been so difficult for historians to study (define it and what type of sources to look at)
  • To use sources of evidence to make inferences about racial attitudes between 1760 and 1870.
  • To use evidence to form a judgement as to whether Morant Bay brought about a new understanding of race.

PowerPoint Lesson

Download here

Suggested Activities

  • Note taking, discussions on the positioning of race within the discipline of History.
  • Evaluate sources and ‘events’ to draw out inferences on racial ideas between 1760 and 1870.
  • Write a paragraph on the nature and extent of change in racial ideas between 1760 and 1870.

Essential Resources

Lesson 7 Notetaker
Print this notetaker for students. It includes all the sources referred to in the lesson (see below) and allows space for students to take notes around them.

List of sources:

  • Source A : Edward Long, Candid reflections upon the judgement lately awarded by the Court of King’s Bench in Westminster Hall on what is commonly called The Negroe Cause by a Planter, (London: t. Lowndes and Co., 1772)
  • Source B : Josiah Wedgwood’s medallion, ‘Am I Not a Man and a Brother?’, 1787
  • Source C: 1792 – The Benevolent Effects of Abolishing Slavery, or the Planter instructing his Negro
  • Source D: ‘The History of Mary Prince, a West Indian Slave, related by herself’, London, 1831
  • Source E : Hints to the young Jamaica Sugar Planter. By Robert HIBBERT (London: T & G Underwood, 1825), pp. 5-8.
  • Source F: Carlyle, T. (1849) Occasional Discourse on the Negro Question
  • Source G – Eyre’s Submission to the Royal Commission on Morant Bay in 1866
  • Source H – James Hunt : London Anthropological Society in 1866
Race, Slavery and the Enlightenment. A clip from BBC Documentary – Racism: A History
The making of Race and Slavery. A clip from BBC Documentary – Racism: A History
Racism post Emancipation. A clip from BBC Documentary – Racism: A History

Extra Resources

Key Figures

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