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IT HAPPENED IN “TOWN”.........

 Trinidadian autodidact John Jacob Thomas (1840-1889) wrote  what was incontrovertibly the most important book by a West Indian author in all of the nineteenth century: JJ’s book is titled “Froudacity: West Indian Fables by James Anthony Froude”. It was a response to Professor J.A. Froude, who published a racist attack on the West Indies in an 1888 book called “The English in the West Indies”. Note the piquant originality of JJ’s book title:  “Froudacity” was coined from Froude and audacity.  

JJ Thomas wrote his important book while vacating in Grenada (St George’s) in 1889; indeed the book was a revision of a series of articles published by JJ in Donovan’s  Grenada Chronicle  newspaper.  

In “Froudacity”, J.J. makes a very telling comment about late 19th century Grenada. He wrote, in part:

 “Those who know Grenada and its affairs are perfectly familiar with the fact that all of all of its chief intellectual business, whether official( even in the highest degree, such as temporary administration of the government), legal, commercial, municipal, educational or journalistic, has been for years upon years carried on by men of colour”    

J.J. made this comment while holding up William Galwey “Lion” Donovan (1856-1929) as the living prototype of these intellectually capable Grenadian men of colour. 

C. Taylor

             

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