MEMORIALISATION AND REPRESSING THE MEMORY OF SLAVERY IN BERMUDA

ABSTRACT

This paper is the result of three months research in Bermuda on the history, the memorialisation, and the lack of memorialisation of Bermudian slavery. There is a paucity of research in this area, and this study seeks to address this lacuna by contributing to this neglected field. Focusing on the memorialisation of slavery in Bermuda, it begins with a brief history which also considers aspects relating to historical amnesia and the repression of the memory of Bermudian slavery. An account follows of Bermuda’s African Diaspora Heritage Trail, a UNESCO officially designated slave route project, to establish whether there exists an adequate amount of memorialisation on the island. The paper also provides a critique on both the negative and positive aspects of the trail, and explores what the trail actually means to the history of slavery in Bermuda, and around the world. It further considers why there is a universal need for a trail which allows citizens to actively participate or perform, as Elizabeth Kowaleski-Wallace describes it. Specific sites included in the trail are identified, and the reasons why certain sites are left out examined. The paper also touches on the trail’s funding and the missing plaques on the houses where Mary Prince (co-author of the first female slave narrative published in Britain) was once enslaved.

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