Selected Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson - Emancipation in the British West Indies Summary & Analysis

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Emancipation in the British West Indies Summary and Analysis

Emerson delivered this tract Aug. 1, 1844 in recognition of Emancipation Day in 1838, when every black slave in the British West Indies and in every British colony or possession was freed. Former black slaves in Jamaica, Barbados, Dominica, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, as well as other British islands in the Caribbean and possessions worldwide spent the first Emancipation Day in prayer and thanksgiving—not rioting as some had anticipated, according to Emerson. In fact, the queen herself was moved to praise the orderly and peaceful transition of power. With emancipation, many of the stereotypes about blacks were washed away slowly as their white countrymen found them to be eager to learn, industrious, successful entrepreneurs and professionals. Emerson publicly deplores the institution of slavery at a time when it was heating up...

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This section contains 266 words
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