Director of the Institute for Gender and Development Studies at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Professor Verene Shepherd, has endorsed a new book, My Father Said, about the Accompong Maroons in St Elizabeth, describing it as a correction of historical myths.
Speaking at the Maroon Resource Centre in St Elizabeth at the book's launch on October 27, an account of the Accompong Maroons, 1655-1738, written by Deputy Colonel Norma Rowe-Edwards, Shepherd lauded the publication.
"It destabilises and corrects the myths that have been presented as historical truth not only about the Maroons, but about the African ancestors in general," she said.
"That narrative is not only presented as a way to correct historical inaccuracies, it is also meant to be inspirational and aspirational and instill pride in other Maroons, in a similar way that she (author) was inspired and anchored to a black identity because her parents had taken the time to educate and socialise her properly."
Stressing that the Caribbean has been affected by a historically constructed image that influences self-knowledge, and a global attitude towards its citizens, she said early writings - especially descriptive accounts of African and Caribbean people - were not all the result of careful research, grounded in truth and objectivity. Much of it, she said, had a discrete political purpose to support the European imperialism, and justify the slave trade.
"But we have new historical knowledge to destabilise the Eurocentric history. Indeed, since the 1940s, Caribbean scholars have embraced the awesome responsibility of producing and transmitting knowledge about the region's history and heritage to a generation disaffected with the colonialist history; instilling in them a sense of pride and identity, grounded in the accomplishments of their free, enslaved and emancipated ancestors," Professor Shepherd said.
In his endorsement of the book, colonel of the Accompong Maroons, Ferron Williams, said it is a most important piece of work that must be read by all who have an interest in Maroon history.
Meanwhile, Rowe-Edwards told the gathering that she was motivated to write the book by the struggles that her ancestors went through "so that we could be the beneficiary of such value, of such beauty. It was just one message that I wanted to get across, and it was the culture of our ancestors".
"This book will tell the experiences of my African ancestors. It is not told from the perspective of world history as is written by Eurocentric scholars. The story I write is personal, it is not political," Rowe-Edwards said.