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November 19, 2020
12:30pm to 2:00pm
Zoom (details below)

November 19, 2020
12:30 - 2:00 pm

Thabisile Griffin, PhD Candidate, UCLA
"Black Militias in the Era of Revolutions: Politics, Race and Labor"

From 1781 to 1790, the British Caribbean military and colonial administrators struggled with renegotiating their racial truth systems - through a recalibration of defense. The last two decades of the century were ripe with not only the insurrections of enslaved Africans, but also threats from competing European powers and indigenous populations. In order to survive, there were constant re-adjustments made to garrison structure and fortifications, that ultimately disrupted racial sensibilities to security. A contentious reinforcement would develop in the 1780s, incentivized by previous strategies used during the American Revolution. Military officials and colonial administrators in the Caribbean were now reckoning with the possibility of employing and arming entire battalions of Black men for the British Army. The creation of this unit in the Caribbean, the Black Corps, was only possible through the evolving myths and villainization of St. Vincent’s Black indigenous population—the Black Caribs. Only through the narrative of the Black Caribs could the fantasy of the Black Corps be actualized.