The Journal of Caribbean History: Volume 41, Issue 1 and 2

Article 8
Recovering the Lost: Efforts at Reuniting Victims of Forced Separation after 1834. Some Case Studies from Jamaica, 1834–1860

Jenny Jemmott


Characteristic of the Black interpretation of “full free” was the centrality of their families. In the aftermath of 1834, Blacks moved assiduously to reunify and consolidate families who had been disconnected by the experience of British colonial enslavement. In Jamaica after 1834, however, the spectre of enforced separation of family members was again raised, this time occasioned by the continuance of slavery in Cuba and the U.S. South. This analysis examines some cases of family separation in Jamaica, engendered by this persistence of slavery elsewhere after 1834, and which were initiated primarily through abduction from the island for the purpose of detention in slavery in both Cuba and the United States. Highlighted here are the pivotal roles that the British Foreign Office, the colonial government and some Black family members played in pursuit of reunification of “the lost” with their loved ones in Jamaica.