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Barbado'ed Scotland's Sugar Slaves part 3 of 4

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    ...emancipation, the blacks were able to do anything they wanted,
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    and the poor whites had a very rough time.
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    Almost immediately at emancipation,
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    the plantation owners said "we no longer need militia tenants,
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    we no longer, the freed people will no longer receive clothing from us,
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    and so we don't need these white seamstresses any more to produce this clothing",
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    and they just ordered them off the plantation.
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    [narrator] Displaced, the poor whites were reduced to living in chattal houses like the former slaves.
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    Unique to Barbados, these cheap wooden houses
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    could be moved from plantation to plantation,
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    as workers chased scarce jobs. [/narrator]
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    "They would walk half over the island to demand alms,
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    or, depend for their subsistence on the charity of slaves.
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    Yet, they are as proud as Lucifer himself,
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    and in virtue of their freckled, ditchwater faces,
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    consider themselves on a level with every gentleman in the island."
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    [narrator] Robert Burns almost indentured himself in the West Indies.
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    The poet who wrote "A Slave's Lament".
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    Island paradise?
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    If you're lucky.
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    But we mustn't forget that history also has its victims in the Scottish diaspora. [/narrator]
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    You have the remarkable fact that, ehm,
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    the national poet, Robert Burns, eh, would have been on his way to become,
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    eh, a book keeper, that was the euphemistic phrase used.
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    A book keeper.
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    If it hadn't been for the success of his first publication
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    of the Kilmarnock edition of his poetry.
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    Probably one of the great ironies
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    is that the original population of Barbados and other islands
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    were prisoners who were coerced,
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    prisoners who went there you know to, through no design of their own.
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    So it could be argued, very ironic in a sense,
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    that those Scots who succeeded later,
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    who extracted much profit and fortunes from the Caribbean,
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    were building their achievements on the blood, on the suffering,
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    of their fellow countrymen, of the, of the, of the 17th century.
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    But that has never stopped any 18th century Scot.
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    The mo, the important thing is the profit.
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    The, I mean, the lust for gain in this society,
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    especially among the elites,
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    was quite extraordinary.
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    [narrator] And not all Redlegs remained poor.
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    Richard Goddard in one of the richest businessmen on Barbados,
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    and enormously proud of his Redleg ancestry.
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    His grandfather walked barefoot to town,
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    opened a rum shop,
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    and built an empire. [/narrator]
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    This photograph of nine fishermen on Bath Beach
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    was taken about 1908.
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    There are black and white fishermen,
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    and the one on the back row to the right is Thomas Henry Goddard,
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    and that would be my grandfather's uncle.
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    And you notice that they're all wearing bag, which is the jute bag,
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    where head and shoulders were cut out,
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    and they were all barefooted.
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    There's a bottle of rum on the ground,
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    I would suspect that they were probably bribed to stand still for the photograph.
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    I remember my brother in law telling me
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    that once he asked my grandfather, who is now in his 80's,
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    Mr. Joe, tell me about the good old days when you were a boy,
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    and my grandfather start to cry.
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    He said "No, Dennis, they were not good days,
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    I wouldn't wish them on my worst enemy.
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    I knew what it was like to be hungry, sick, no job, no opportunity,
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    and I certainly would not wish to call those good days"
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    In 1834 when the police force was formed,
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    and the military tenants really were, were then put off the land,
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    they weren't needed any longer,
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    and these people had been on those, as military tenants,
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    for probably 150 years.
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    The biggest majority were _,
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    they ended up there because the land was poor.
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    We're at the top of Hackleton's Cliff, and in the parish of St. John,
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    and eh this was not only a physical barrier, but a social barrier as well.
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    Those who lived below, the poor whites,
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    they were identified as people coming from below the cliffs, so it was a barrier for them.
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    And there were 3 points you could get out,
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    either the gates, monkey jump, or the ladders.
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    And over there to my right, where those coconut trees are,
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    is the base of monkey jump.
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    It would come up probably about 200 hundred yards,
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    you had to come on all fours at times,
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    and then at times in crop you would carry cane on your head,
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    probably bundles of 8 canes, probably weighed 40 or 50 lbs,
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    and you got $1.44 or 6 shillings for 10 of cane.
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    They were living here because that's where land was cheapest.
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    It was very rocky, it was not suitable for cultivation for the plantations,
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    and they would pay about $8/acre per year rent.
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    But down here you really got it for $4, it was just so bad it would have been reduced.
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    You had to plant among the stones to get some form of a crop.
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    It was extremely hard.
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    I don't think that many of them really knew much about their forebearers,
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    they knew they'd come from Scotland and Ireland, or somewhere in England.
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    In fact England covered everything, the mother country that referred to.
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    Their little world, even to go to town, some people who'd lived their whole life here,
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    cannot go into Bridgetown.
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    [narrator] We hear much about Scots who've traveled abroad and found riches,
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    success, contributed to the progress of nations.
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    Not all were so lucky.
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    Many fled poverty only to find it again.
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    Barbados is an obect lesson in what happens to a people who are robbed of their identity.
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    St. Margaret's Anglican Church is on the hill above Martin's Bay.
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    I'm 3,000 miles away from home, from Scotland,
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    yet outside that church I meet an elderly man,
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    a man with whom I've more in common than I could ever have guessed. [/narrator]
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    [narrator] Just down there, there's a Glenburnie?
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    I live quite near Glenburnie in Scotland.
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    What did your grandfather do?
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    And that must've been really hard...
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    This is yer country.
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    This is yer home.
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    You're also Barbadian, but do you feel Scottish as well?
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    [narrator] Irish photographer Sheena Jolley has known the Redlegs of Martin's Bay for years.
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    Now she's back, photographing this diminishing population [/narrator]
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    Initially I went in, and they were quite suspicious of me,
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    but I was on my own, I was female, and I had worked there,
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    so, ehm. they allowed me to talk to them,
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    and the more time I spent with them, the more I got to know them.
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    The poor whites have been suppressed since the 17th century,
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    and really, nothing has changed.
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    They were looked down upon by the blacks, and by the better-off whites.
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    That hadn't changed in 2000,
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    I'm pleased to say that since I've come back,
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    I think there's a huge change there.
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    And I think before there was very little integration between the blacks and the whites.
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    When I photographed Aileen Downey in 2000,
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    she actually lived in a stone house,
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    but there was no running water, no electricity,
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    and once a week she boiled water to wash herself.
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    Life was hard.
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    She was collecting coconuts, splitting the husks,
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    and, and selling those to a nursery to grow orchids.
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    She was in her 70's, she was very fit.
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    So it was interesting for me to re-photograoh her.
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    Perhaps her life was easier in some ways,
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    but her living circumstances were dreadful.
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    They were worse.
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    But she was still happy.
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    In spite of all that adversity,
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    she was still smiling, still telling jokes.
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    [narrator] Joyce and Nita are Aileen Downey's sisters,
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    who also live in a chattal house in Martin's Bay.
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    What kind of fishing?
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    Fantastic.
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    Did you sell the fish or...
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    No that hard a life!
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    Eating lobster, that sounds great.
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    The Redlegs of Barbados run a barter economy.
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    Everyone helps one another.
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    Some breed pigs, others grow breadfruit, some still fish.
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    Between them, they survive as a unit, a community.
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    So that's a really Scottish name!
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    Do you know about your Scottish connection?
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    That's a shame isn't it...
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    My name is Eustace Norris.
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    _ my old parents, my family...
Title:
Barbado'ed Scotland's Sugar Slaves part 3 of 4
Description:

The west coast of Barbados is known as a favorite winter destination for British tourists, ranging from the upmarket Sandy Lane resort to the all-drinks-included package holiday crowd arriving by economy class. Many will come from Scotland, but few will realise that just fourteen miles away on the rocky east side of the island live a community of McCluskies, Sinclairs and Baileys who are not, as might be expected, black Bajans bearing the family names given by slave owners centuries ago, but poor whites eking out a subsistence existence. Known as the Redlegs, they are the direct descendants of the Scots transported to Barbados by Cromwell after the Civil War. Scottish author and broadcaster Chris Dolan went to meet them to discover why they are still here 350 years later, what they know about their roots, and what their prospects are today when they are the poorest community on the island. Chris speaks to leading historians in Barbados and Scotland about how their ancestors were treated when they first arrived. Was their plight as severe as that of the black slaves from Africa? Nearly two centuries after emancipation, this Redleg community has yet to find a role on the island, where it is damned by association with the days of slavery, even though many of its forbears were victims themselves. In recent years, it has begun to come out of its racial isolation; could there yet be a hopeful future for this lost Scottish tribe?

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Video Language:
English
Duration:
13:01
Radical Access Mapping Project edited English subtitles for Barbado'ed Scotland's Sugar Slaves part 3 of 4
Radical Access Mapping Project added a translation

English subtitles

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