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Monday, August 13, 2007

emancipation day

One cannot mention Emancipation Day without mentioning, Sturge Town in Saint Anns.
Sturge Town, 45 minutes drive from Runaway Bay or 20 minutes from Brown's Town, is a village of 2000 snuggled up in the scenic coastal rainforest of St. Ann Parish, Jamaica. The town was founded by freed slaves who, with the assistance of the Baptist Church, established one of the first free villages in Jamaica. In the aftermath of emancipation many former slaves faced low wages and high rents for their humble plantation dwellings. Without control over housing and labour they had limited opportunities. So, free villages were created under the disciplined leadership of the Baptist, Moravian, Presbyterian and Methodist churches. Thus was born Sturge Town the second of some 200 free villages in Jamaica.

Emancipation meant liberation of an entire society from the 'debilitating transgressions of incarceration manifested in the incivility of relations between human beings.' And as Prof. Rex Nettleford said in his 1994 Emancipation Commemoration lecture to the church in general:

Emancipation meant traumas of chronic resistance by violence and otherwise, the cruelness of counter-resistance on the part of those who held dominion over life, the limb and the spirit of majorities of souls. It meant an end to the absence of that most precious of ingredients for civil society - the freedom from fear.

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