It might be tempting to think that after Emancipation Day 1834 and the public reading of the British Slavery Abolition Act, all slaves were free and that was the end of the story. But the reality was far more complicated, Dr. Angel Smith said during a lecture Thursday at the Eileene L. Parsons Auditorium.

In fact, abolition initially allowed many slave owners to treat their new apprentices worse than they had treated them as slaves, Dr. Smith found in his research. The apprentices, for example, had to work for 45 hours a week for free, and they received wages only for their overtime labour.

About 100 people attended the lecture, which is a large crowd for such a lecture, said H. Lavity Stoutt Community College President Dr. Karl Dawson after Dr. Smith’s presentation.

Dr. Smith plans to deliver the lecture, titled “Transition from Slavery to Freedom in the Virgin Islands,” again on Virgin Gorda on May 29; on Anegada on June 6; and on Jost Van Dyke on June 9.


See the May 30, 2013 edition for full coverage.