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Race and Class in the Colonial Bahamas, 1880-1960$
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Gail Saunders

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780813062549

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813062549.001.0001

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The 1930s and the Depression

The 1930s and the Depression

Tourism and Restlessness

(p.144) 5 The 1930s and the Depression
Race and Class in the Colonial Bahamas, 1880-1960

Gail Saunders

University Press of Florida

Chapter 5 describes economic depression in the 1930s Bahamas, the development of the tourist industry, and the eruption of labor unrest. The historical ties of the Bahamas’ substantial white population with the southern United States drove, in part, antagonistic race relations in the islands from the period of Prohibition during the 1920s forward. The development of tourism in the 1920s and 1930s hardened the prevailing color line in the Bahamas, making racial tensions even worse. The 1930s also saw a newborn consciousness of the contemptibility of racial discrimination among a minority of black, mixed-race, and white (or near-white) Bahamians in Nassau. This consciousness led to restlessness among Bahamian laborers and the consequent establishment of a labor union and an antiestablishment newspaper, The Herald. Labor disturbances occurred in Inagua in 1937 at the West India Chemical Company, and another more serious one erupted in Nassau on Emancipation Day. This latter dispute was led by Milo Butler, who accused his opponent of bribery associated with the 1938 by-election.

Keywords:   depression, 1930s, tourism, tourist industry, labor unrest, The Herald, labor union, Inagua, Milo Bulter

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