Friday, 26 February 2016

Free persons of colour in the West Indies

A Shackled Inheritance is launched today with a Saturday Spotlight feature on

When my heroine discovers that she has two unknown sisters, she crosses the ocean to meet them. On arrival, she is plunged into the half-world of free persons of colour. This segment of colonial society grew in numbers over the centuries as white men freed their mixed-race children. A census of Jamaica taken in 1788 recorded a total population of 254,184, including 18,347 whites, 9,405 free persons of colour and 226,432 slaves. However, freedom came with restrictions. Free persons of colour had property rights, and were often slave owners themselves, but had few political or civil rights. In 1802, the governor of Barbados, explaining his mistrust of them, wrote that "unappropriated people would be a more proper denomination for though not the property of other individuals they do not enjoy the shadow of any civil right."

As I try to show in the book, free persons of colour denied their African heritage and identified with white society. Not surprising in a society which treated slaves as subhuman, worked them to death, and inflicted horrific punishments on those who ran away or challenged authority.

A Shackled Inheritance can be pre-ordered from Amazon:


1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a really intriguing story. Definitely on my TBR list. Now if I could just get through my RITA entries. Sigh.