Samuel Sharpe, aka "Daddy Sharpe

Sam Sharpe or Daddy Sharpe Born about 1780, Sam Sharpe was the slave of an English Lawyer of the same name who practiced in Montego Bay. He was baptized as a Baptist and became a lay deacon and appointed by the English Baptist Missionaries. Sharpe was a member of the Burchell Baptist church and leader in the congregation Religious meetings were a permissible form of organized activity by slaves and Sharpe was able to use the meetings to inspire his congregations and communicate his concerns. Up to 1830 the slaves were allowed three days holiday at Christmas.

In February 1831, the House of Assembly passed a law reducing Christmas holidays from three to two, Christmas day and Boxing Day. About 1831 the British Parliament began discussions concerning the abolition of slavery. Many planters were against such a proposal and were determined to resist it. Sam Sharpe became aware of this and brought it to the attention of his congregation. White people, he said, had no more right to hold black people in slavery, than if it were the other way round. He keenly followed the developments of the abolition movement in England reading local and foreign papers.

In 1831Sharpe organized a rebellion in the mistaken belief that freedom had already been granted by the British Parliament. The rebellion, which started in December, 1831, was timed to have maximum impact, as Sharpe knew that if the ripe cane was not cut it would be ruined. Since Christmas Day 1831 fell on Sunday, a rest day, Sharpe reckoned that they were entitled to the following Tuesday and should strike unless they were paid for that days’ work. The plan was taken to other parishes eventually spreading throughout St. James, Trelawny and Westmoreland and some sections of St. Elizabeth.

The strike did not go according to plan. It was supposed to take the form of a passive but firm resistance however other more aggressive slaves took over and went about burning estates. Sharpe hoped to inspire a peaceful resistance, indeed he encouraged the slaves to only fight physically if the managers didn’t agree to their demands. Yet Sharpe probably knew that their strike would not succeed and he made military preparations for the rebellion

On December 28 1831, the Kensington Estate Great House was set alight as a signal that the rebellion had begun. Other fires broke out and it soon became clear that the Sam Sharpe’S hope for peaceful resistance was impossible. The rebellion lasted for 8 days and resulted in the death of around 186 slaves and 14 white overseers or planters. Retribution for the resistance was swift and merciless. Over 500 slaves were convicted and many were executed, most were hanged and their heads were cut off and placed around their plantations.

Those who escaped the death penalty were treated brutally and many did not survive. Sam Sharpe was named as the key figure behind the resistance and he was captured and hanged on May 23, 1832, in Montego Bay on a square now called Sam Sharpe Square. Sharpe’S owners were paid the sum of just £16.00 for their ‘loss of property’.

Just before he was hanged he said “I would rather die upon yonder gallows, than live for a minute more in slavery.” While in prison he was visited by many notable missionaries who paid great tribute to his intellect and oratory.

He was buried like a criminal in the sands of Montego Bay Harbour. His remains were later recovered and buried beneath the pulpit at the Burchell Baptist Church.

The Sam Sharpe Teachers’ College founded in 1975 by the Ministry of Education and funded by the World Bank II is located in Granville, St. James, approximately six kilometers (6 km) from the center of Montego Bay, the tourism Mecca of the Caribbean.

Take a video tour of the Sam Sharpe Memorial in Montego Bay Jamaica along with memorials of Marcus Garvey, Paul Bogle, Nanny of the Maroons, Bob Marley and many more sites in beautiful tropical Jamaica.     Learn the history of the black people pictured on the money of Jamaica in:

        JAMAICAN FREEDOM FIGHTERS
A Rockin Reggae video Visit to “MooreTown” founded by Nanny of the Maroons in 1720, Montego Bay, Morant Bay, Boston Beach, Pt. Antonio, Frenchman's Cove, Kingston and much more.  Lear the Histories of the people on the currency of Jamaica, touring beautiful historic places.

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Sir Dudley Thompson was a Jamaican Lawyer who flew a plane for the RAF during WWII, and defended Jomo Kenyatta during the Mau Mau trials, when Jomo who went on to be Kenya's first elected president after British colonial rule ended, was accused of leading the Mau Mau revolution.    

Dudley Thompson was an ambassador and government minister in his home of Jamaica and served on the UNESCO Reparations Committee until his death at age 93.    

Hear him speak on Pan African History, International Human Freedom and post slavery reparations at the University of Hawaii in April 2008.    1 hr  $9.99 + $5.00 S/H = $14.99.





   Paul Bogle,   (1822- 1865)

Paul Bogle  led the last large scale armed Jamaican rebellion for voting rights and an end to legal discrimination and economic oppression against African Jamaicans.  Because of his efforts Bogle was recognized as a national hero in Jamaica in 1969.  His face appears on the Jamaican $2.00 bill and 10 cent coin.    

Paul Bogle was born to Cecelia Bogle, a free woman and an unknown father in the St. Thomas parish in 1822.    Bogle’s mother soon died and he was raised by her mother.    As an adult Paul owned a home in Stony Gut and had another house in Spring Garden as well as a 500 acre farm at Dunrobin.   He was one of the few Afro-Jamaicans prosperous enough to pay the fee to vote.     In 1845, for example, there were only 104 voters in St. Thomas parish which had an adult population of at least  3300.  
Bogle became a supporter of George William Gordon, a politician and fellow landowner and Baptist.   In 1854 Gordon made the 32-year-old Bogle a deacon and Bogle built a chapel in the Stony Gut which held religious and political meetings.     

Officially Jamaican slavery ended in 1833 after the Sam Sharpe Rebellion a year earlier.  Yet from 1834 to 1838 these former slaves served post-servitude “apprenticeships” to their former owners.  They were also subject to a judicial system controlled by the Colonial government primarily for the benefit of the former slaveholders.      
There were increases in unemployment and taxes, but a reduction in wages.     Gordon appointed Bogle the leader of the group he had chosen to take their complaints to the Governor.    Gordon attacked the British governor, Edward John Eyre, for sanctioning "everything done by the higher class to the oppression of the negroes"

In August 1865 Bogle led a march of small farmers including many former slaves more than 50 miles to meet with Colonial Governor Eyre in Spanish Town to discuss their political grievances including raised taxes and unfair rules.     They were denied an audience with the governor.    

Two months after that attempted meeting, the Morant Bay Rebellion started, sparked by the arrest of a supporter of Bogle from the Stony Gut group, who was summarily arrested for protesting the conviction of another black Jamaican, for trespassing on a long abandoned plantation.    On October 7th, there was an alleged trespassing case resulting in a black man being captured and found guilty.
 Bogle and many others had attended the trial in support of the small black farmers on trial.  

Although Bogle’s neighbor was arrested, he was immediately freed by Bogle and the local population who also forced the police officers to release the man convicted of trespassing and retreat.   Returning to Stony Gut, Bogle and his supporters learned that warrants had been issued for the arrest of 28 men for rioting in Spanish Town.  Colonial police attempted to arrest Paul Bogle but his followers fought them off.

Bogle and his brother Moses, led another protest march of nearly 300 people from Stony Gut, to the Morant Bay Courthouse on October 11, 1865 where they were confronted by the colonial militia which opened fire on them, killing seven of the protestors.    The protesters retaliated by killing the parish official, the Custos, Baron von Ketelhodt, a large landowner and fifteen vestrymen.   They then set 51 prisoners free.

After that, Colonial soldiers were brought to Morant Bay to crush the rebellion and  violently suppressed the rebellion, killing hundreds of innocent people.    Nearly 500 people were killed and a greater number were flogged before “order” was restored.  Stony Gut, considered the stronghold of the rebels, was destroyed. 

Paul and Moses Bogle were captured and hanged on October 24, 1865 at the Morant Bay Court House a day after George William Gordon who did not participate in the rebellion was hanged.    

In January 1866, a Royal Commission was sent from London to investigate the Rebellion.  Following their investigation Governor Eyre was recalled to England, dismissed as Governor of Jamaica, and then charged but not convicted of murder.    Jamaica became a Crown Colony governed directly from England as a result of the rebellion.      

Sources: 

National Library of Jamaica:    http://www.nlj.gov.jm/?q=content/national-heroes#bogle ; Mary Dixon, The Morant Bay Rebellion: The Story of George William Gordon and Paul Bogle (Birmingham, UK: Handprint, 1990); Gad Heuman, "The Killing Time": The Morant Bay Rebellion in Jamaica (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1995); Paul Bogle, 1822-1865 , Dugdale-Pointon, T. (22 September 2008) http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/people_bogle_paul.html

Editor:
Andre’ Wooten