Sam Sharpe Biography

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Biography Part 2 - Organising a peaceful protest

From reading many newspapers, Sam Sharpe was aware that slavery was attracting a lot of criticism in England. He mistakenly concluded that slavery had been abolished and the Jamaican plantation owners were greedily withholding this information in order to benefit from the continuation of slave labour. To confront this Sam Sharpe planned a peaceful rebellion to take place after Christmas 1831.

Sam Sharpe urged his followers to refuse to work following the Christmas holiday in 1831 unless they were paid for their labour. Sharpe's followers spread his word throughout St James Parish and parts of other parishes in Western Jamaica. Christmas time was chosen because this is when the sugar crops were due to ripen. If crops are not cut soon after ripening then they quickly spoil, leading to potentially ruinous results for the plantation owner.

News of Sam Sharpe's plan also spread to several plantation owners. The plantation owners notified the government who, in turn, deployed troops and battleships to Montego Bay and Black River in anticipation.

Previous: Early years and preaching

Next: The protest turns into a rebellion

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