All genealogical histories need a point of departure, and where better than with maps showing how white men viewed the world.
For photos of some slave forts and an excellent essay on the slave trade, visit this entry by Yussuf J. Simmonds writing for the Los Angeles Sentinel.
And, next time you go to a funeral think about this.
Amazing Grace was written circa 1772 by unreconstructed slaver John Newton, an Englishman who led a most interesting life to put it mildly. However, to gain a truly objective understanding of the African-Americas slave trade, you need to read Capitalism and Slavery by Eric Williams (1911-1981). Williams, who became the first prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago in 1956, had a positively brilliant academic record which is well documented in his wiki entry. (One of the 300 plus bibliographical entries in my The Concept of Industrial Revolution: Textile History and the ‘Histories’ of Discipline.)
Slavery – capital accumulation of the the most vicious and exploitative kind – provided one of the foundation stones of later British imperial glory. Slaves to the Americas, sea island cotton, sugar etc back to cities such as Liverpool, and finished cotton textiles for both domestic and Indian consumption.
Williams text “….. assaulted many sacred cows of British imperial historiography, and it was not published in the United Kingdom until 1964, meeting with a critical reception”. (Wiki) This is not surprising, given the general racist National Front climate in the UK in the sixties, which was certainly exacerbated by Enoch Powell’s infamous Rivers of Blood speech in April 1968, which also roughly coincided with the first influx of West Indian immigrants to GB. Again an excellent wiki entry, which explains why Williams was denied academic possibilities in Oxford, and so moved to Howard University in the US.
Importantly, like his mentor CLR James author of The Black Jacobins, the definitive history of the Black struggle against their French colonial masters in Haiti, Williams was also a keen soccer player and acknowledged expert on the game. This time a truly crap wiki entry.
Fast forward to the West Indies Cricket Team meeting Australia in 1975 at the SCG (???), where they first encountered seriously fast, blood and bone bowling by Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thompson, two bowlers who could best be described as animals on the field of play.
West Indies humiliated. Capt. Clive Lloyd vows never again.
No more calypso cricket. We are at WAR.
The perfect fast bowling machine came into being. The Fearsome Foursome – Malcolm Marshall, Joel Garner, Michael Holding and Collin Croft – The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse – gonna destroy you physically and psychologically and do it with style, mon. No quarter given or expected.
Garner accelerates. Bowls four and a half ounces. 60mph. 80mph. 90mph plus. Its a wicked ball. Bounces with a vicious upward arc. Attempted left hook. Far too late. He’s down and it looks like concussion. (Meanwhile, back in whiteys dressing room, fear spreads through the batting order like Ebola.) In fact, the Windies hospitalised 44 batsmen, mostly whiteys but including a few Asian sub-continentals thrown in for good measure.
And did whitey whinge and snivel during the Windies 15 year domination of the game. We’ve got to blunt this pace attack. Lets limit the number of bouncers per over. What about extending the length of the pitch! How about shortening the allowable length of the run up. Better still, why don’t we hire the CIA to poison Vivian Richards. After all, they nearly got Castro.
Hold up, KT. You seem to be getting a bit too orgasmic about all this white carnage, broken nose cartlidge and punishing throat and heart contacts (“okay, okay, I’ll talk to my analyst”), so let’s look at the real thing.
(Actually, just found a Chinese site which had the whole movie (of which more in a moment), but here is another great taste before you go out an buy a legal copy.)
Fire in Babylon. Written and Directed by Stevan Riley. Released 2011. 83 minutes plus tremendous extras (interviews). Official Selection at Film Festivals: Melbourne, Tribeca, London and New Zealand.
Brilliant reggae sound track listing HERE, including a couple of dubs by my dad King Tubby.
And signing off with another great Dub – Rockers Meet King Tubby in a Fire House. Dad doing the arranging this time instead of being behind the analogue desk and with Augustus Pablo on melodica.