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


Filed under Barbados, History, Race, Slavery, Sugar

3 responses to “Barbados History: How The Quakers Challenged Barbados Slave Owners… And Lost

  1. John

    Thanks, will check these two books out.

  2. Pride en Industry

    Bare 2 responses!

    Amazing lack of response re. what should be interesting to most black Barbadians…but obviously isn’t.

  3. Let’s look at a few facts:

    (1) The National Anthem written by Irvin Burgie, who was born in NY of a Bajan Mom and a US father gave meaning to our historical legacy because it appears at the turn of the 1960’s as the movement that was afoot to bring Independence to the island resulted in a 2nd generation son of the soil creating the formidable lyrics for what is recognized as a masterpiece.

    (2) Few really appreciate the awesome depths of these words:

    “We write our names on history’s page
    With expectations great,
    Strict guardians of our heritage,
    Firm craftsmen of our fate.”

    (3) I hate to have to say this but there are few “true” PATRIOTS both historically and contemporary within the pages of our almost 400 year sojourn.

    (4) Bajans are still struggling to find a unique cultural identity as our society evolves with a mish-mash of imported values and norms which we inculcate to fill an ever widening chasm.

    No wonder the subject of history is such a “numbing” experience as we seem to have precious little to look back on and virtually nothing to look forward to…

    All this will eventually result in a “lost” generation if our leaders do not arrest this situation real fast…