Association for Feminist Anthropology
Association of Black Anthropologists
Cosponsored - Oral Presentation Session
Connie Sutton’s essay of a similar title remarks on the worldly knowledge, some might say urbanity, of villagers in Barbados in the 1950s. Among other influential factors, she notes the impact on villagers’ lives brought by the migration of some to post-war Britain in the 1940s. That same urbanity was evident in the insights of black working-class Jamaicans in Kingston whom I interviewed in the 1970s. In these cases, the striking feature was the manner in which their own and/or their families’ regional migrations gave them a distance that allowed critical, astute and sometimes profound remarks on their own society. This paper presents “thumbnail sketches” of three Jamaicans. The first two are of working-class men born around 1930. Both went as farm workers to the United States in the late 1940s and 50s. The third sketch is of a mid-twentieth century Jamaican politician who engaged with such men, and women, in the same period. His own migration, around 1920, was internal from Hanover parish to Kingston. In each case based on modest formal education, the knowledges of the three are different but complementary. They bear on issues of regional and imperial power that their migrations underlined.