Slavery and Freedom from the West Indies to West Africa

Author(s): Matthew Reilly; Caree Banton

Year: 2018


"Freedom is what you do with what’s been done to you" is a phrase attributed to Jean-Paul Sartre. While the French philosopher was concerned with political freedom rather than freedom in the context of slavery, Sartre’s words offer lessons for analyzing a vast spectrum of how individuals experienced the conditions of slavery and freedom. This paper explores an ambitious project of freedom and future-making initiated by a group of Barbadians one generation after emancipation in the English Caribbean. In 1865, the Cora landed in Liberia in order for free Afro-Barbadians to assist in the "civilizing" process already underway in the nation. We offer some preliminary thoughts on the material signatures of slavery and freedom observed in Crozierville, the small town established by the Barbadians. The Barbadian settlement in Liberia came to exhibit some of the attributes of the colonial society of their homeland that had been dominated by slavery just 30 years earlier. While the "Love of Liberty" brought Barbadians to Liberian shores, semblances of slavery are still visible on the social and physical landscape, highlighting the fragility of freedom in addition to the complexities of freedom-making for Africans and people of African descent on both sides of the Atlantic.

Cite this Record

Slavery and Freedom from the West Indies to West Africa. Matthew Reilly, Caree Banton. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 445268)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -18.721; min lat: -35.174 ; max long: 61.699; max lat: 27.059 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 21283