Daily Archives: July 12, 2009

Barbados History: How The Quakers Challenged Barbados Slave Owners… And Lost

“The Quaker Community on Barbados”

New Book by Dr Larry Gragg Looks Interesting

Barbados Quakers Slavery

Excerpts from an article about the book…

By the time a census was taken in 1680, some 500 of the 20,000 white people on Barbados were Quakers, Gragg says.

Despite their efforts, the Quakers failed in their experiment to transform the culture of Barbados. By the 1790s, the Quaker presence on that island had vanished. “Many of them simply just moved to Pennsylvania,” Gragg says. Persecution drove others from the island. Many faced arrest for refusing to serve in the militia, not supporting the Church of England, not paying taxes and keeping their stores open on holy days, Gragg says. They also tried to convert slaves, leading to the passage of laws prohibiting the act… (snip)

Ultimately, the Quaker movement on Barbados “ended with a whimper,” Gragg writes.

“They challenged the very powerful plantation power structure and lost,” he says. “It was an extraordinary challenge, but today there’s little evidence that they had much impact. But they did have the local government frightened for two decades.”

“The Quaker Community on Barbados” is Gragg’s second book about the island. His first, titled “Englishmen Transplanted: The English Colonization of Barbados, 1627-1660,” was published in 2003 by Oxford University Press. Gragg says the research he conducted for that book led him to delve into his study of the Quakers on Barbados.

… the above excerpts taken from Missouri S&T article Historian’s new book examines Quaker community of Barbados

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