An impressive ethnography of identity and cultural memory among the little-known Windward Maroons of eastern Jamaica, descended from escaped slaves who established free communities in the mountains of this New World colony a century before the abolition of slavery. This book is an essential and rewarding read for all those interested in resistance to slavery in the Americas and its legacy today." -Jean Besson, Reader in Anthropology, University of London "A fine and long-overdue introduction to Jamaican Maroons, based on oral narratives collected in the field. . . . Learning that Maroons have valuable knowledge and insight into their own history and persuading them to reveal some of their 'intimate and hidden culture of remembrance' and to exercise their right to speak for themselves and their past, Bilby has provided an important work of reclamation and rehabilitation of Maroon identity over three centuries of history." -Monica Schuler, professor emerita, Wayne State University. "In this work [Bilby] focuses on the African voices of freedom in Jamaica, demonstrating how the Kromanti spirits of Africa worked with the living people of Moore Town and other communities to forge independent Maroon territory and territoriality in the past, bring[ing] this past constantly into the present. The key anthropological and historical issues of memory, text, play, story, and communication flow beautifully through the author's text and through the texts of the real Maroon people themselves. The author also learned to commune with the African spirits through Maroon people, and he shares these experiences with the reader so that we may vicariously commune as well. But there is no contrivance here; anthropological rigor emerges everywhere to create a convincing and nearly unique document that will serve anthropology, history, and students of vernacular speech and wide-flung cosmology for a long, long time to come. . . . An anthropologist's dream of elegance, accuracy, poignancy, and communicability to others."--Norman E. Whitten, director, Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, University of Illinois. "Reflects the author's quarter of a century of intensive research into the history, storytelling, drama, music, and spirituality of Jamaican Maroons, and immediately establishes a claim as the most comprehensive text ever written about the Jamaican Maroons, making it essential reading for anyone concerned with Jamaican cultures . . . there is nothing simple in the history of the Jamaican Maroons, and Bilby deserves enormous credit for creating a book faithful to the actual voices of a community more readily exploited by the modern world than understood in their own terms . . . short of going to Jamaica and talking with Maroon leaders, if you're able to gain their trust, this book is the best way to enter their world." -Norman Weinstein, author of A Night in Tunisia: Imaginings of Africa in Jazz
About the Author:
Kenneth Bilby is a research associate at the Smithsonian institution. He is the coauthor of Caribbean Currents; Caribbean Music from Rumba to Reggae, which received the Caribbean Studies Association's Gordon K. Lewis Award for Caribbean Scholarship in 1996.
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