Troubling Freedom: Antigua and the Aftermath of British Emancipation
“A Landscape That Continually Recurred in Passing”: The Many Worlds of a Small Place
This chapter provides an overview of the social, spatial, and legal contours of colonial Antigua and its sister island, Barbuda, in the late slavery period. The chapter presents the precolonial and early colonial history of both islands. It orients readers to the ways that colonial class and race hierarchies were mapped onto the rural and urban topography and demography of Antigua and Barbuda, and the racial and gendered boundaries circumscribing enslaved people’s lives and forms of subversion. It explains the freedom of movement that enslaved people intermittently enjoyed amid the spatial reminders of their bondage and the ever-present threat of state-sanctioned torture in the form of corporal punishment or death. The chapter ends with a closer look at the slaves’ Sunday market as a rare site of socializing, entrepreneurship, and liberation.
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