The Journal of Caribbean History: Volume 50, Issue 2

Article 3
The Caribbean Career of John Willis Menard

Tim Watson


The emigrationist beliefs of his early political career led African American poet and journalist John Willis Menard to Belize and Jamaica in the mid-1860s, where he was caught up in the events surrounding the Morant Bay Rebellion of 1865 and deported back to the United States. Menard’s long subsequent career as a writer, US federal employee, editor, and politician can only be properly understood by seeing his sojourns in Louisiana and, especially, in Florida as intimately connected to his Caribbean experiences. His poetry, family history, and his connections to African American and Cuban rebels are analysed in this Caribbean context.