White Rebel: The Life and Times of TT Lewis

White Rebel: The Life and Times of TT Lewis

White Rebel: The Life and Times of TT Lewis

White Rebel: The Life and Times of TT Lewis

Excerpt

I first met Atholl Edwin Seymour (alias TT) Lewis in March 1981. By then he had been dead nearly 22 years. His face and some potted details of his life greeted me from the pages of two Barbadian newspaper clippings which my mother had posted to my university address in Canada. Prior to that date I had never heard of the man. But from what I read of his movements and views, they struck me as being particularly uncharacteristic of a white man in colonial Barbados. I was intrigued and determined to learn more.

If you wanted to measure the importance of the changes brought about during the political life of Lewis and his contemporaries you could compare the situation in Barbados at the time of Lewis' entry into politics with a picture of the political landscape which he left behind. The snapshot is illuminating. Lewis entered the island's lawmaking chamber at a time when the number of people who had the right to vote for representatives in the House of Assembly was less than 4 percent of the entire population. Looked at from another angle, there were only a handful of nonwhites as legislators in a society where over 90 percent was nonwhite. The plantocratic economy was dominant and its owners controlled the island's destiny.

When Lewis died, the British imperial recessional was about to produce an independent Barbados. By then, real executive power was in the hands of a homegrown group of nonwhite Barbadians. Sugar had lost its singularly important status. The economy had become more diversified and thus more viable. Crucially, full adult franchise was an accomplished and accepted fact. The changes at all levels were stupendous. No period in the history of the island contains a larger number of political events of comparable importance. This book sets out . . .

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