THE EDITOR, Sir:
What is Dr Orville Taylor trying to say? That Sam Sharpe doesn't deserve to be a national hero? I don't agree.
Compared to most slaves, Sharpe was treated well by his master. His master allowed him to learn to read and write, skills which proved very useful in his later life. Although a 'privileged' slave, Sharpe resisted his status as a slave and so he conceived and organised the first use of civil disobedience (a strike) to gain political ends, that is, the abolition of slavery.
So, Orville, I am upset with you for writing the article 'Were all heroes really heroic?' (Sunday Gleaner, October 14, 2012)
You are trying to tell the public that Sam Sharpe was selfish, just because he said, "I'd rather die than be a slave."
I am going to give you a quotation from Sam Sharpe: "Do you want to hear about the power in your hands?" Sam Sharpe bent down and took something from the ground. "What I got in my hand?" asked Daddy Sharpe. "A stone. I am holding up this stone; it is my hand which keeps the stone from falling. This stone depends on my hand, but my hand is gaining nothing from holding this stone. So I open my fingers, and look!" The preacher opened his fingers and the stone fell.
"My hand was gaining nothing from holding up this rough old stone," he said. "It only causes my fingers to hurt. So I opened my hand and the stone fell. This is the power in my hand and in your hands. Our hands are holding up the estate owners, all the estate owners. We are not paid, neither do we have our freedom. So, my brothers, I think it is time that we opened our hands."
Sam Sharpe cannot be disqualified from being a national hero.