On Barbados, the First Black Slave Society

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Barbados was the birthplace of British slave society and the most ruthlessly colonized by Britain’s ruling elites. They made their fortunes from sugar produced by an enslaved, “disposable” workforce, and this great wealth secured Britain’s place as an imperial superpower and cause untold suffering. In The First Black Slave Society: Britain’s “Barbarity Time” in Barbados, 1636-1876, Hilary McD. Beckles explores the inhumane legacy of plantation society that has shaped modern Barbados and charges the inheritors on both sides of the power dynamic to face that truth in order to effect real change and reparatory justice. *This excerpt from the preface was reprinted with permission from The University of West Indies Press.

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