Three years ago in a review essay, Trevor Burnard noted that the social history of the Caribbean remained a somewhat underdeveloped field. There is much that we do not yet know about demographic change, social structure, and economic patterns across the Caribbean—the stuff of social history—compared to the historians of other regions. Thankfully, the University of the West Indies Press has been steadily publishing innovative studies that provide the rich empirical data of social history while attending to the cultural and political significance of these findings. One of their recent publications is Jenny M. Jemmott's Ties That Bind: The Black Family in Post-slavery Jamaica, 1834–1882. In this monograph, Jemmott examines the black family in postemancipation Jamaica, arguing that black Jamaicans saw the ability to preserve and sustain their families as one of the crucial rights of freedom.

Over the course of...

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