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From Africa to JamaicaThe Making of an Atlantic Slave Society, 17751807$
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Audra A. Diptee

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780813034829

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813034829.001.0001

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African Expectations, Jamaican Realities

African Expectations, Jamaican Realities

Chapter:
(p.89) 5 African Expectations, Jamaican Realities
Source:
From Africa to Jamaica
Author(s):

Audra A. Diptee

Publisher:
University Press of Florida
DOI:10.5744/florida/9780813034829.003.0006

This chapter makes clear that captive Africans were much more than the “ultimate human tool” or an extension of their owners' will. Despite the contemporary common perception, held by slave owners, that the enslaved were “bestial” and had an “innate animalism,” the enslaved asserted and reasserted their humanity in their constant struggles with their legal owners. The oft-cited Thomas Thistlewood, in his effort to control his human chattel through dehumanizing punishment, was forced to deal with the enslaved as humans despite whatever may have been the prevailing conception of Africans in Jamaica. In any attempt to sketch a historical portrait of the enslaved as “wholly human,” it becomes quickly apparent that like all other human beings, captive Africans were capable of both vice and virtue and, in a typically human fashion, behaved in ways that seem full of contradictions.

Keywords:   captive Africans, ultimate human tool, bestial, innate animalism, Thomas Thistlewood

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