‘Given the strange power of Jamaica to erase its history . . .’
Jean D’Costa and Barbara Lalla in the
Introduction to Voices in Exile, 1989.
Day after day, as I continue to explore
Jamaica's history, especially, though
not exclusively, in the period between
1865 and 1944, I find many aspects of
that history that seem to have
disappeared - to have been erased,
overlooked, forgotten, and even
rejected. I am trying,in the websites I
am creating, to provide at least a
glimpse of a more extensive view of
Jamaica's past than the somewhat
blinkered and stereotypical view
which has become all too commonly
accepted in the last half century.
My articles 1981-2009
- a growing, I hope, collection of
articles and papers I have written
on topics in Jamaican history.
Some thoughts on 'history':
'Without knowledge of the past, the way into the
thickets of the future is desperate and unclear.'
Lauren Eiseley, scientist
'The past actually happened but history is
only what someone wrote down.'
A. Whitney Brown, U S comedian
'I found out that those folks in the history
books were real people. They didn't live in
the past. They inhabited the present, their
present, and it was filled with problems and
stress and nastiness and decency and
heroism – just as any time is.'
Joy Hakim, teacher, writer, historian
People in the past acted not in response to
the way historians - armed with hindsight and
the technologies of the statistician - define that
world, but in response to the way they deemed
it to be.'
Peter McPhee, historian
'Written history is . . . the fragmentary record of the often inexplicable actions of innumerable bewildered human beings, set down and interpreted according to their own limitations by other human beings, equally bewildered.'
Dame Veronica Wedgewood, historian
'Men wiser and more learned than I have discerned in history a plot, a rhythm, a predetermined pattern. These harmonies are concealed from me. I can see only one emergency following upon another as wave follows upon wave, only one great fact with respect to which, since it is unique, there can be no generalizations, only one safe rule for the historian: that he should recognize in the development of human destinies the play of the contingent and the unforeseen.'
H A L Fisher, historian