Charity and terror in eighteenth-century Jamaica: The Kingston Hospital and Asylum for Deserted ‘Negroes’

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The Hospital and Asylum for Deserted Negroes in Kingston, Jamaica, was a major site of care for indigent blacks in one of the most densely populated urban centers on one of Britain's most valuable sugar islands. When the hospital opened, sometime after 1788, blacks outnumbered whites ten to one in Jamaica, and the island's whites continued to enact oppressive measures to control the colony's restive black population. This article shows how the Hospital and Asylum for Deserted Negroes became a strategic component in this scheme, joining an expansive network of workhouses and gaols the colonial government used to instill racialized law and order. From its early inception, one of the hospital's unspoken goals was to prevent lawlessness in a space marred by slave resistance. Finally, this article demonstrates how the early development of Jamaica's public health medical infrastructure was, in a large part, nurtured by the slave system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)281-298
Number of pages18
JournalAfrican and Black Diaspora
Volume10
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2 2017

Keywords

  • Jamaica
  • Slavery
  • hospitals
  • rebellion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science

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