The Underhill Letter and the Morant Bay Rebellion

05 January 1865

EDWARD BEAN UNDERHILL (1813-1901) was secretary of the Baptist Missionary Society from July 1849 until his death. He visited the Society’s centres in India, Ceylon and the Caribbean and wrote in great detail about his experiences. His The West Indies: their Social and Religious Condition was published in 1862, and the worsening economic conditions in Jamaica prompted him to write to the Colonial Secretary Edward Cardwell in January 1865. The letter, which catalogued the devastating effect of adverse weather and a complete reliance on sugar production, estimated that 340,000 Jamaicans were near starvation. The letter was widely circulated in Jamaica by Baptist missionaries and Governor Eyre blamed Underwood for causing the unrest that led to the Morant Bay Rebellion later the same year.

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Driving around Trench Town with Ivan Coore

13 September 2014

IVAN COORE, who died on September 7, 2019, came from one of Jamaica’s elite families. His father David Coore was a lawyer who helped draft the Jamaica Constitution in 1961 and later served as Michael Manley’s deputy in the People’s National Party Government of the 1970s. His younger brother Steven ‘Cat’ Coore is a founder member of the legendary Third World reggae band. Ivan became a Rasta in the early 1970s while still at school and in 1973, at the age of 19, accompanied Vernon Carrington – Brother Gad, founder of the 12 Tribes of Israel Rasta mansion – on a fact-finding visit to Ethiopia. He subsequently decided to stay and study at the University in Addis Ababa. The following is a transcript of Ivan talking about the turbulent times he lived through in Ethiopia following the overthrow of HIM Haile Selassie, recorded while we were driving around Trench Town, Jamaica, in 2014.

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