The Journal of Caribbean History: Volume 54, Issue 2

Article 6
The Historian’s Dilemma: Eric Williams’ Response to the Black Power Uprising of 1970

Brinsley Samaroo


During February and March of 1970 Dr Eric Williams faced the most serious challenge to his governance of Trinidad and Tobago since his assumption of office in 1956. This challenge took the form of the Black Power uprising in which many of the young people of the nation demanded that their government should rule in the interest of the people rather than be beholden to foreign imperialists and their local agents. Williams was shocked by this uprising since he believed that he had achieved a good deal which had advanced the fortunes of the local population. His disappointment was reflected in a gradual withdrawal from the turbulent political world as he retreated into the haven of research and writing of history. The result of this last effort was the production of two books, Forged from the Love of Liberty published in 1981 and The Blackest Thing in Slavery Was Not the Black Man (forthcoming).