The Legacy of Eric Williams
This is the first comprehensive historical assessment of the career of Eric Williams, the scholar and statesman. Born in Trinidad and Tobago in 1911, Eric Williams published his classic work Capitalism and Slavery in 1944 and several other books thereafter. A historian of outstanding talent, Williams’s scholarly work has been the subject of various international conferences. He introduced a new era in the study of slavery, focusing less on the oppressive conditions of that odious system of labour and more on its role in the construction of Western capitalism. Historians are still animated by Williams’s conclusions, and the questions he posed are still relevant to our mature understanding of the ways in which the African slave trade and slavery shaped the economies of a variegated group of societies.
Eric Williams was also the head of government of Trinidad and Tobago from 1956 to 1981. He became the premier of his country in 1961 and its first prime minister in 1962. He died in 1981 after dominating the politics of his country for a quarter of a century. This volume also includes analyses of Williams’s enormous contributions to the making of the modern Caribbean as a statesman and a scholar.
CONTRIBUTORS: Selwyn R. Cudjoe, Ronald Findlay, Joseph E. Inikori, Franklin W. Knight, Lydia Lindsey, Rafael Marquese, Kevin Hjortshøj O’Rourke, Colin A. Palmer, Arnold Rampersad, Dale Tomich
COLIN A. PALMER has taught at Oakland University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, and Princeton University, where he was Dodge Professor of History. His numerous publications include Freedom’s Children: The 1938 Labor Rebellion and the Birth of Modern Jamaica; Cheddi Jagan and the Politics of Power British Guiana’s Struggle for Independence; Eric Williams and the Making of the Modern Caribbean; and the six-volume Encyclopedia of African American Culture and History.