chapter  5
13 Pages

Historiographical issues in the African Diaspora experience in the New World: Re-examining the “Slave Culture” and "Creole Culture” theses

The East End community projects a distinct variation in African Caribbean living experience facilitated by access to a maritime way of life. Maritime activities provided a means by which people of color in the East End gained freedom and a degree of autonomy during an era dominated by the institution of slavery. The East End community of St John began in the late eighteenth century and continued into the early twentieth century. Maritime trade and exchange was intensely skill-based and provided open doors to people that otherwise might have had restricted access based on their phenotypic "racial" identity. The social organization of a community involved in maritime activities fostered personal liberties and the need for crew cooperation. The social structure of the East End community was built upon complex social interactions that shaped the cultural landscape of individual households, the community as a whole, and relations with neighboring communities and trading partners.