Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Africana Studies

Major Professor

Deborah Plant, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Eric D. Duke, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Navita Cummings James, Ph.D.


Black power, Colonization, Independence, Pride, Nationalism, West Indies


This thesis examines Black Power in Jamaica, Trinidad, and The Bahamas, comparing and contrasting the ability of the movements to garner the support of the people in these different locales. The primary focus of this work is the Caribbean Black Power movements of the 1960s and 1970s. Detailed responses to the movements are presented as those responses relate to not only race, but also class, and the response of local political leadership to the presence and methods of the movements. Following a brief overview of the history of European colonialism and the drive of the colonized for independence from colonial powers, Black Power is studied in greater detail.

In this thesis three issues are addressed that relate to the popularity of Black Power. The first is the impact of racial identity and ethnicity on the acceptance of Black Power. This is done through a comparison of Black Power in Jamaica, an independent country with a predominantly black population, and in Trinidad, an independent nation with a diverse population. The Bahamas provides an excellent comparison, as a colony with a large resident white population. The second issue is the political status of each country, and the effect of political status on the ability of Black Power to gain support and momentum. The status of the location as either an independent state, or a colonial state, may have had an impact on the success, or at least the stated objectives, of the Movement as it evolved in that locale. Lastly, issues of class are addressed through an examination of the impact of the economic status of the individual within the society, and then secondarily the overall economic conditions of the country at a given time.