Streams

Caribbean Family History

Friday, February 01, 2013

Andrea Stuart, British journalist and author of  Sugar in the Blood: A Family's Story of Slavery and Empire (Knopf, 2013), talks about her family's history of slavery in Barbados.

Guests:

Andrea Stuart
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Comments [10]

Nia Ford from brooklyn

This is a very difficult converstion for me as an African American woman living in New York. I struggle with resentment on a daily basis. I feel that, reparations,apologies and an honest telling of American History needs to happen. I think we as Americans are in denial, its like a dirty secret that's not talked about in the mainstream. People of European Descent who had ancestors that owned slaves seem to tell their stories without compassion. Look at all of the Americans who glorify the stars and bars.

Feb. 03 2013 11:40 AM
Len from Forest Hills

I also did genealogy research on my family tree in Barbados. My family's oral history was that my great, great grandfather was white and my great great grandfather was of African descent. My great grandmother was raised in her white family's house. When I went to Barbados, I visited records office and the church where my great grandparents were married, which the marriage certificate supported the oral history. I also found out that my white great grandfather was actually a colonel in the British army and from a prominent family. As in teh case of Sally Hemmings and Thomas Jeffereson, it shows that family oral history is often correct.

Feb. 01 2013 11:54 AM
Amy from Manhattan

I think there's another difference btwn. Caribbean countries & the UK in the way they view race: In the UK, "black" means not only people w/African ancestry but also people w/ancestry from the Indian subcontinent & related places. I don't know if that's because the British had colonies there as well as in North America. I have a friend from Sri Lanka who lives in England who refers to herself as "black" & has been called that by other people there. I don't get the impression that's the case in the Caribbean, but I don't know for sure.

Feb. 01 2013 11:46 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

40 years ago it was difficult for a dark skinned woman to get a job as a bank teller in the English speaking Caribbean. Shades of color still matter in the diaspora.

Feb. 01 2013 11:42 AM
fuva from harlemworld

Newsflash Brian, and white people, almost ALL blacks in the Americas have white ancestors, including, unfortunately, me. This is largely due to systematic rape. And so I (and other blacks attempting to be self-determined) don’t go around glorifying them. Their blood may “run through” our veins, but we mostly regard them as rapists of our ancestors. And so, unlike this author (who seems to exhibit symptoms of un-self-aware trauma), there is really no “ambivalence”.

Feb. 01 2013 11:41 AM
Cynthia from East Harlem (at work0

With the British - the indentured servant process they used, I think made slavery more palpable in addition of away to divide and "conquer" to keep control. Just a thought

Feb. 01 2013 11:36 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

I remember on the People's Court - two women saying they didn't trust each other because of the respective Caribbean islands of which they came. It took Ed Koch, of all people to remind them that they were BOTH BLACK, and they should have bigger things to worry about. Divisiveness in the West Indies - another legacy of slavery.

Feb. 01 2013 11:35 AM
antonio from baySide

Brian can you ask the guest what where the resources that gained her all this history?

My mom is from Haiti and her family is multi-cultural...

Feb. 01 2013 11:34 AM
emmanuel from westchester

Yes hello, I'd like to make a correction to your introduction where you say that the Brits invented slavery by bringing africans over. This is true but there were also indigenous populations which existed on these islands which were either murdered or enslaved.

Feb. 01 2013 11:31 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

The Empire needed their sugar and rum as much as their cotton.

Feb. 01 2013 11:30 AM

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