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Race and class in the Colonial Bahamas, 1880-1960

Author: Gail Saunders; Bridget Brereton
Publisher: Gainesville : University Press of Florida, [2016] ©2016
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
Saunders shows that, although the Bahamas had class tensions in common with other British colonial lands, Bahamian racial tensions were not necessarily parallel to those across the West Indies so much as they mirrored those occurring in the U.S., with power and/or money consolidated in the hands of the white minority. She examines the nature of the Bahamian race and class relations and interactions between dominant
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Genre/Form: History
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Gail Saunders; Bridget Brereton
ISBN: 9780813062549 0813062543
OCLC Number: 915120637
Description: xiii, 371 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Contents: The Bahamas in the post-emancipation period --
Bahamian society in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries: class, race, and ethnicity --
Gradual changes in the Bahamas, 1880-1914 --
World War I and prohibition --
The 1930s and the depression: tourism and restlessness --
World War II and the 1942 Nassau riot --
The formative years, 1950-1958: political organization, race, and protest --
The 1958 general strike and its aftermath --
Confronting a divided society.
Other Titles: Race and class in the Colonial Bahamas, eighteen-eighty through nineteen-sixty.
Responsibility: Gail Saunders ; foreword by Bridget Brereton.

Abstract:

Saunders shows that, although the Bahamas had class tensions in common with other British colonial lands, Bahamian racial tensions were not necessarily parallel to those across the West Indies so much as they mirrored those occurring in the U.S., with power and/or money consolidated in the hands of the white minority. She examines the nature of the Bahamian race and class relations and interactions between dominant groups--from whites, to people who identified as creole or mixed race, to liberated Africans--between the 1880s and the early 1960s.

"In this one-of-a-kind study of race and class in the Bahamas, Gail Saunders shows how racial tensions were not necessarily parallel to those across other British West Indian colonies but instead mirrored the inflexible color line of the United States. Proximity to the U.S. and geographic isolation from other British colonies created a uniquely Bahamian interaction among racial groups. Focusing on the post-emancipation period from the 1880s to the 1960s, Saunders considers the entrenched, though extra-legal, segregation prevalent in most spheres of life that lasted well into the 1950s. Saunders traces early black nationalist and pan-Africanism movements, as well as the influence of Garveyism and Prohibition during World War I. She examines the economic depression of the 1930s and the subsequent boom in the tourism industry, which boosted the economy but worsened racial tensions: proponents of integration predicted disaster if white tourists ceased traveling to the islands. Despite some upward mobility of mixed-race and black Bahamians, the economy continued to be dominated by the white elite, and trade unions and labor-based parties came late to the Bahamas. Secondary education, although limited to those who could afford it, was the route to a better life for nonwhite Bahamians and led to mixed-race and black persons studying in professional fields, which ultimately brought about a rising political consciousness. Training her lens on the nature of relationships among the various racial and social groups in the Bahamas, Saunders tells the story of how discrimination persisted until at last squarely challenged by the majority of Bahamians."

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"Saunders resoundingly affirms the relevance of island history. Scholars will appreciate the detail and insights."--Choice "Deftly unravels the complex historical interrelationships of race, color, Read more...

 
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