IOJ Hosts Lecture on Massacre of Africans Aboard Zong Slave Ship

Photo: Contributed Director of the African Caribbean Institute of Jamaica/Jamaica Memory Bank (ACIJ/JMB), Bernard Jankee.

Story Highlights

  • Political Ombudsman and Attorney-at-Law, Donna Parchment Brown will deliver the lecture, titled ‘Politics of the Zong, 1781: Politics for Democracy and Development in Jamaica 2016 and Beyond’.
  • At the start of its voyage from Accra, Ghana (West Africa), to Jamaica, the slave ship, Zong, was loaded with 442 enslaved Africans
  • No criminal charges were ever brought against the crew of the slave ship for the massacre of the Africans, despite lobbying efforts of the abolitionist community led by Granville Sharpe.

The Institute of Jamaica (IOJ) will present a commemorative lecture on the Zong massacre, in which 133 enslaved Africans were murdered while being transported to Jamaica.

Political Ombudsman and Attorney-at-Law, Donna Parchment Brown will deliver the lecture, titled ‘Politics of the Zong, 1781: Politics for Democracy and Development in Jamaica 2016 and Beyond’.

It will take place at the IOJ downtown Kingston Lecture Hall on Thursday (December 22), to mark the 235th anniversary of the massacre.

Mrs. Parchment Brown will examine, from a legal perspective, the story of the Zong massacre and the commonalities between 18th century pursuits of justice with modern-day realities.         At the start of its voyage from Accra, Ghana (West Africa), to Jamaica, the slave ship, Zong, was loaded with 442 enslaved Africans. By the time the ship docked in St. Elizabeth, 133 Africans had been thrown overboard to ward off illness and prevent a perceived threat of low water rations.

Director of The African-Caribbean Institute of Jamaica/Jamaica Memory Bank (ACIJ/JMB), Bernard Jankee, told JIS News during an interview on December 20, that the lecture, which will start at 12:00 pm, is to remember the incident in which a number of enslaved Africans were killed.

According to Mr. Jankee, as a consequence of the death of the Africans, the shipowners made an insurance claim on the basis that their cargo had been destroyed.

“This created quite a furor at the time because the issue of whether insurance should be paid to the owner of the ship arose. The owners were initially awarded compensation for the loss of their cargo, but this was subsequently disallowed after an appeal was made,” he noted. No criminal charges were ever brought against the crew of the slave ship for the massacre of the Africans, despite lobbying efforts of the abolitionist community led by Granville Sharpe.

No criminal charges were ever brought against the crew of the slave ship for the massacre of the Africans, despite lobbying efforts of the abolitionist community led by Granville Sharpe.

The case, while it failed to secure justice for the murdered Africans, increased public awareness about the slave trade and furthered the anti-slavery sentiment. Mr. Jankee is encouraging persons to come out to the lecture, particularly those who have never heard of the Zong massacre. “It has not played a prominent role in our history as some of the other events, such as the Sam Sharpe Rebellion and the Tacky Uprising, but it certainly stands alongside these events in our history that had an impact on the whole notion of enslavement and the fight against it,” he said.

Mr. Jankee is encouraging persons to come out to the lecture, particularly those who have never heard of the Zong massacre. “It has not played a prominent role in our history as some of the other events, such as the Sam Sharpe Rebellion and the Tacky Uprising, but it certainly stands alongside these events in our history that had an impact on the whole notion of enslavement and the fight against it,” he said.

“It has not played a prominent role in our history as some of the other events, such as the Sam Sharpe Rebellion and the Tacky Uprising, but it certainly stands alongside these events in our history that had an impact on the whole notion of enslavement and the fight against it,” he said.

The lecture is open to the public and admission is free.

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