Skip to 0 minutes and 8 seconds We’re going to think about childhood after 1838 and childhood after 1838. And remember thinking specifically about black childhood because white childhood looks different. So when we think about black childhood in the Caribbean after 1838 and we’re thinking about the gross majority, the mass of the population, which would have been employed in unskilled labor, the relationship between childhood and work is deeply intertwined and we want to think about the fact that these economies Our economies that are dependent on people working. I remember that we said what I said in the before that plant. Former planters are former enslavers are very preoccupied with getting access to children’s label. So what you have happening is that parents black parents.
Skip to 0 minutes and 59 seconds Actually decided that their children would not work outside the home. No, this is this varies according to island, right? If you have islands like Jamaica, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Vincent, where there is a strong peasant economy and I and the hasn’t economy termins the food security of the country, then you’re less likely to import food and more bodies get employed in it because it’s a sustainable way to live. In contrast, in islands like Antigua and Barbados where all the fertile land is grounded in agriculture, in ancient, maintaining the sugar economy.
Skip to 1 minute and 41 seconds What you find happening is that children are constantly working in the fields and that their salaries that they earned which are significantly less than what an adult would earn is their studies actually contributed to the sustainability of the family unit and. I want you to think of families as diverse structures, not specifically a mother, father and children, but rather a kinship network which may or may not be tide by blood. So we know for a fact, for example, that formerly enslaved persons at the point of Freedom actually adopted. Children who became orphaned because you know either their parents died at the point of Emancipation and so on.
Skip to 2 minutes and 32 seconds So family structures in the Caribbean, especially black family structures in this process in this period are very diverse, right? And your family could be more than your blood relatives, right? So? Is there anyway so these are diverse structures and people decided that their children are going to work close to home? They are not going to be apprenticed to some planter, but they’re going to be an intrical part of the family unit. No, what? How do you think the planter class would operate reacted to this? And we’re not, and I’m using planted grass to include white merchants or people of color were extremely wealthy that are part of the phone. Doesn’t maintainers of the plantation economy?
Skip to 3 minutes and 18 seconds So how do you think that they would have reacted? Of course they didn’t like it, so they found other ways to access children, and one way to do that is through the education system. And this idea of industrial education is a term that is used very broadly in Europe. In studies of childhood and and very often it refers to learning a skill in working in the Industrial Revolution or components of the Industrial Revolution in the Caribbean and in Africa, when it gets used much later for British colonies on the continent. Africa, it really refers to agricultural work. The whole idea that you will keep working in the field to sustain the economy. No, they were.
Skip to 3 minutes and 56 seconds Using education is about to grown. It wasn’t really working. And So what we have happening is that they still. But they still kind this narrative about the inadequacy of the black family and it within that narrative they targeted black boys, more specifically juvenile delinquents, another term. That comes out of a reformatory movement in the United Kingdoms in the 1850s, and they delinquent is the Black Boy in the urban setting who is not employed in any.
Skip to 4 minutes and 34 seconds Clear work and this really is used very broadly so at delinquent could be anybody from as young as five years old, up to 14 or 16 years and really and truly, the state became very preoccupied with taking children off the streets to then put them in industrial schools slash reform trees to do agricultural work and right up until the 1890s, children were housed in industrial schools in Jamaica. Let’s say in Barbados, somewhat in Antigo. There’s a school in British Guyana, but when you look, these institutions are really institutions to harness children’s labor to continue to meet them apart of the economy.
Skip to 5 minutes and 18 seconds And so by the time you come to 1900, the focus around childhood black childhood specifically is to create the ideal liberal who would work for the sustained sustenance of agricultural based economy.
Black childhood in the post-emancipation era
Dr Roper continues her discussion on Black childhood in the British Caribbean.
We shift to the nineteenth and early twentieth century to understand the role of a child within the Black family after emancipation and how free Black labourers sought to protect the rights and welfare of their children from authorities.