A book about one of Jamaica’s National Heroes was recently launched in Toronto, Canada.
‘Daddy Sharpe’, written by Jamaican-born educator, Mr. Fred Kennedy, and published in 2008, is a “narrative of the life and adventures of Samuel Sharpe, a West Indian slave, written by himself.”
Mr. Kennedy, who was a teacher in Toronto for many years and then returned to Jamaica as Principal of St. George’s College, said the book is “a fictionalised account of Sam Sharpe’s life, told, as I have been able to imagine it, from his point of view.”
Explaining how Sharpe became known as ‘Daddy’, Mr. Kennedy said daddies were appointed by ministers of religion to help them administer to the large slave population. “So, they appointed those who were most reliable and in their opinion, could do the best work.”
Author of ‘Daddy Sharpe’, Mr. Fred Kennedy (right), signs a copy of the book for President of PACE (Canada), Mrs. Lorna King (left), at the recent launch of the book in Toronto, Canada.
Sam Sharpe was the leader of the largest slave rebellion to take place in Jamaica and was eventually hanged for his part in the rebellion. However, he has been credited with speeding up the date of Emancipation for the slaves in the British colonies.
Mr. Kennedy said the hardest part of the book to write was Sam Sharpe walking bravely to the gallows, wearing a white suit, sewn by his owners. “His words are quoted directly from eyewitness accounts,” said Mr. Kennedy.
Acclaimed author, Ms. Rachel Manley, praised Mr. Kennedy for creating a book that adds to “both our history and a growing body of Caribbean literature.”
The author of ‘Drumblair’ and ‘Slipstream’, said that one of the many losses that the Caribbean sustained because of slavery was the loss of language, which created a legacy of voicelessness. “When others tell our stories,” said Ms. Manley, “they tell them from their point of view.”
“But in recent years, we are at last starting to tell our own history, doing it ourselves and in our voice. With ‘Daddy Sharpe’, Fred Kennedy joins the company of West Indian writers who are trying to recreate that historic voice for us,” she said.
Author of ‘Daddy Sharpe’, Mr. Fred Kennedy, reads excerpts from the book at the recent launch in Toronto, Canada.
Ms. Manley, daughter of the late former Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Michael Manley, said Mr. Kennedy has taken Sam Sharpe and given him “life, blood and being.”
“Sam Sharpe will no longer be just a name we recite in school or at Heroes Day celebrations, or just a face we see on our paper money or a postage stamp. Fred Kennedy has recreated the mind and the man who seized the unique moment in history, to launch us on the road to eventual emancipation,” she argued.
Vice-Consul at the Jamaican Consulate General, Ms. Andrea Anglin, encouraged the audience to get a copy of ‘Daddy Sharpe’.
“We are free because of people like Sam Sharpe. In his narrative, Mr. Kennedy has reminded us of how suffocating and brutal slavery was. Let us keep the memory of those alive, who fought for our freedom.”
‘Daddy Sharpe’ has already been launched in Jamaica and London, England.