African Expectations, Jamaican Realities

Audra A. Diptee

in From Africa to Jamaica

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print July 2010 | ISBN: 9780813034829
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813038414 | DOI:
African Expectations, Jamaican Realities

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This chapter makes clear that captive Africans were much more than the “ultimate human tool” or an extension of their owners' will. Despite the contemporary common perception, held by slave owners, that the enslaved were “bestial” and had an “innate animalism,” the enslaved asserted and reasserted their humanity in their constant struggles with their legal owners. The oft-cited Thomas Thistlewood, in his effort to control his human chattel through dehumanizing punishment, was forced to deal with the enslaved as humans despite whatever may have been the prevailing conception of Africans in Jamaica. In any attempt to sketch a historical portrait of the enslaved as “wholly human,” it becomes quickly apparent that like all other human beings, captive Africans were capable of both vice and virtue and, in a typically human fashion, behaved in ways that seem full of contradictions.

Keywords: captive Africans; ultimate human tool; bestial; innate animalism; Thomas Thistlewood

Chapter.  11342 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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